fighting for the ny southern tier
Scott Noren’s a husband and father of a special needs daughter, and of 2 other daughters and a son. He has been an advocate and provider for special needs healthcare for over 20 years, and is an opioid issue expert. He is also a U.S. Army vet, an athlete in Olympic Weightlifting and a firm 2nd Amendment advocate. He is a businessman that knows we are taxing businesses out of NY State and the Southern Tier which needs to stop.
DR. NOREN WANTS TO REPRESENT ALL PEOPLE IN THE 23RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT REGARDLESS OF POLITICAL PARTY OR LACK THEREOF!
HOW DO I DIFFER FROM TRACY MITRANO AND WHAT GIVES ME MORE RELEVANT EXPERIENCE?
The best way to do this is to compare, contrast and add my areas of interest, relevance and experience for working class people that she lacks. I would like you to first look at her bio and her positions and note if she changes any of them to mimic mine like some politicians do. Hopefully she will not do that. Some of my positions have been in the works as an activist for a decade or longer. I originally looked at challenging Senator Gillibrand on the corporate Democracy, lobby money from dark places and flip flop on issues by her and was a constant commentary on the web about those things. You can see some of the flip flop and inconsistencies from the interview with Jake Tapper and Senator Gillibrand if you Google that. To note, in the last election where Tracy lost 10 of 11 Counties, Senator Gillibrand was a supporter of hers. I find this distasteful since just one example of Senator Gillibrand’s’ lobby money was from a company that locked its workers out for years. I would never seek the endorsement from such a Senator no matter how much I felt they could influence the electorate. Not my style. That goes a long way in showing that Tracy is willing to seek help from such a dark money politician like Senator Gillibrand. Here now is the comparison and contrast on many but not all issues between myself and Tracy Mitrano.
This will read like a book, but if you really give a rat’s patoot about who you want to elect to represent you, you’ll read it.
Please note, everything that you read below in bold is what I wrote, all non bolded text is taken directly from Tracy Mitrano’s website.
Tracy Mitrano is a cybersecurity expert, teacher, and mother. She was born and raised in Western New York and has lived in the Southern Tier and the Finger Lakes throughout her adult life.
Tracy’s main background is as a Cybersecurity expert and lawyer. She however has been in academia almost her whole professional career. My background as an oral surgeon has been to actually practice as an oral surgeon since 1997, 6 of those years on active duty Army. I actually delivered healthcare when you count being out of dental school in 1990 for 28 years. I am a subject matter expert on the opioid issue and have a novel approach in the healthcare section below. I have practiced in many areas of the country both North and South and in many health care systems. I am a father of 4 kids, now grown and one is special needs who was born 1 lb 4.2 ounces, has a seizure disorder, mild cerebral palsy and is autistic. She is in day hab but needs constant supervision. My wife, who is my nurse at my practice is the amazing primary caregiver, but we both work to make her life healthy and happy. During 3 months of part of my oral and maxillofacial surgery residency, my daily routine was hospital work as a resident, going to the hospital where my daughter incubated as a preemie under a cake cover (true) and endless hours there then to go home exhausted and start all over the next day.
As one silver lining in these experiences, we experienced what is was like to go through airports with her and how difficult it is to navigate with an autistic child. Therefore, I am starting a practice/mock airport experience for special needs children and adults in the Tompkins County Airport with the help of Director Mike Hall this Spring and plan on this being an annual event. It would be the only one in far Upstate New York, Albany having had this done as well as JFK. Stay tuned.
Tracy is running to bring economic opportunity to the 23rd District, which has been left behind for too long. Her election will also bring cybersecurity expertise to Congress, where Tracy will work to ensure the integrity of our elections and the security of our digital borders.
Growing up in Rochester and helping her father in his downtown restaurant, Tracy learned firsthand the importance of community and hard work. From a young age, Tracy learned how crucial it is to have access to good healthcare. Her older brother is developmentally disabled and blind, and when her mother became critically ill, her family nearly went bankrupt paying medical bills.
In contrast, I worked blue collar jobs that included busboy, $1.90 per hour at McDonald’s, salad deliverer, medical sterilization in a facility with Cobalt 60 radiation at 700,000 rads at one-foot distance shielded by a 37 ton door on railroad car tracks, and 28 years of healthcare delivery. I am also a part time medical writer, entrepreneur with a sports equipment/patent pending machine I helped design with engineering students at RPI. I paid for my own college and racked up expensive student loan debt that I am at the end of paying off at 58 years old. See my student loan initiative that way precedes Tracy’s venture into politics by many years.
The first member of her family to go to college, Tracy believes that our current generation of young people should be able to attend college or vocational schools without incurring lifelong debt. Her education made her deeply appreciative of the excellent schools that New York State has to offer – Tracy graduated with a B.A. from the University of Rochester. She went on to receive her M.A. and Ph.D. in American History from Binghamton University, as well as her J.D. from Cornell Law School. Tracy’s education prepared her for a career as an educator, lawyer, and cybersecurity expert.
I have a B.S. in Biology, my DDS and 4 years of residency in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, and have been an activist in student loan reform, marching with students in NYC and advocating for a 3% cap on all student loans for 8 years, based on the overhead cost of Medicare as a model for plan expenses. Her latest 0% interest platform is pandering, will never pass and position that won’t actually help anyone. I think community college should be a voucher system and that is more affordable budget wise than college for all which will also never pass anytime soon. My college loans for undergrad and residency for the first year which was unpaid far exceed what most students endure with a bachelors alone. Schools are sitting on millions of dollars of endowments and need to help fund medical and dental school as Columbia U. has started with medical school.
Tracy’s expertise is widely recognized in higher education, government, and the private sector. As the Director of Information Technology Policy at Cornell University from 2001 to 2014, she facilitated some of higher education’s first-generation information security policies. She has acted as an expert for Internet2, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Delaware, Tufts University, SafeGov, the New York Public Library, and many others. Her work has given her significant federal policymaking experience, preparing her to serve as a Congresswoman in a district that desperately needs someone who can immediately get to work in Washington to develop legislative responses to the challenges facing NY-23.
Tracy is the proud mother of two adult sons raised in the district. When not traveling around the 11 counties that make up New York’s 23rd district, she resides in Penn Yan.
I have 4 children; my oldest is bi-racial and has made a career in Esthetics of skin care despite enduring the growing up difficulties as a woman of color. My son is finishing his college education, my youngest daughter is finishing up her college in a SUNY school studying Broadcast Journalism. I encourage her to be truthful and have ethics that supersede the current environment of bias and hatred that some journalists promote all to freely. My wife grew up in rural Kansas, and unlike Senator Warren IS part native American and proud of that. She is an amazing wife, mother and Registered nurse with a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Wichita State University. She has worked in the surgical and emergency room setting for many years as well. We have both been providers of severe trauma at Level 1 facilities. I have been in life and death experiences both personally and for patients over the years.
The buzz word amongst my Party has been “Universal Health Care” and although I support it, there are two key elements not discussed by Tracy or many others promoting it. Firstly, such a system will outright fail unless we have a healthier population to begin with because the costs of ‘making them healthier’ at this point is exorbitant. People on average, need to eat better and exercise more even with simple exercises they can do at home. How many people have expensive smartphones of electronic gadgets, wide screen TVs but don’t invest in a floor-based stepper or even just do home aerobics for 15 minutes a day for 4-5 days. The cost of treating an obese, smoking, poor diet U.S. population smashes the cost curve in the wrong direction. This will take a President and a Congress to tell it like it is.
The second show stopper in a single payer system is just that; really crappy provider reimbursement. Here’s part of that hypocrisy; we want as progressives to have living wages for nurses, home health aides, nursing assistants, etc. but want to reimburse the physicians at Medicaid levels and yet run 5-star clinics with all the cost of current paper regulations that make the system so expensive. Compliance with some ridiculous regulations cost money and the government mandates it but doesn’t pay for it enough. The opioid crisis is both a pharmaceutical invention and an over-prescribing issue that has not been dealt with. There is no American Board of Medicine Chronic Pain Specialty and there needs to be a dual gatekeeper of narcotic pill prescribing by them, and pharmacists. There are too many illegal drugs still pouring into our borders BOTH north and south and this accounts for the injectable narcotic overdose epidemic. As a anesthesia provider since the early 1990’s I am a subject matter expert in this matter vs Ms. Mitrano.
All Americans deserve access to a basic level of healthcare. While many people enjoy access through their employers, some—young and old, employed and not—lack health insurance, often through no fault of their own. Ensuring that everyone can access basic health services doesn’t mean just giving a “hand-out” to some; on the contrary, making sure that our healthcare system is better equipped to serve everyone is an economic investment in our community. Preventative care costs less than emergency-room visits. Healthier people make healthier neighborhoods and more robust communities. When we invest in healthcare, we’re investing in each other.
For these reasons, I support all policies that increase the number of people able to access health insurance. For instance, young people should continue to be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26. People should not be denied health insurance on the basis of a pre-existing condition. And I am committed to maintaining Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) so they are well able to serve vulnerable populations. In addition to increasing the number of people on health insurance, we should also work to increase the quality of care that Americans are able to access, and that means ensuring access to quality care for mental health as well as physical health.
Lastly, high prescription drug prices present a major barrier for many Americans seeking medical treatment. We should not allow pharmaceutical executives to turn big profits at the cost of Americans’ health, and certainly not their lives. I support policies aimed at reducing the cost of prescription drugs.
I’ve already addressed the cost of education regarding student loans. The area NOT covered by Ms. Mitrano or many others is the ballooning costs of education executives and their over the top pay compared to teachers. School budgets just keep spiraling and this is one of several factors that artificially inflates these budgets. Assistant, assistant principals and more add layers of bureaucracy and costs. Many of the most qualified teachers are never the ones to ascend to these positions and you don’t get the ‘cream rising to the top’ but rather the most political of the bunch. If interested, ask the State Ed Dept. of NY for a printout of education executive pay for 2018 and you will be stunned. We lose intramural programs that get cut just to pay those positions which unfortunately in some cases, is the glue that keeps some kids in school. Lastly, educational design belongs at the local level and not the No Child Left Behind garbage shoved down the throats of local school systems.
Education is integral to our economy; if we do not ensure that our children have access to high-quality education, from pre-K through high school, college, trade school, and even graduate school, our local economies will remain stagnant. We will not have the resources required to train the next generation for twenty-first century jobs.
The first step, then, is to strengthen our public schools. We do this by increasing funds for needed school resources and activities, including perhaps the most important resource we can give our children: good teachers. We must ensure that our school teachers receive wages that are reflective of the incredibly important work that they do, so that talented teachers are not dissuaded from the job due to low pay. I also support the expansion of universal Pre-K education and the Head Start program, so that all children can come to kindergarten ready to learn.
Beyond high school, I believe that we should make it easier for motivated students to access post-secondary education, including college, graduate school, and trade school, without being burdened with excessive levels of student loans. The cost of attending school should not lead to lifelong debt. I support making interest-free loans available to anyone who qualifies for admission to a college, university, vocational training or certificate program.
I met with the Chemung County Sewer District Director Matthew Hourihan and the bottom line is that roads and bridges get funded with much more free money and less loans than water and common sewer runoff projects and this needs to get turned around priority wise statewide and federally. That alone would be a huge accomplishment for the 23rdHouse District of NY State. Our water treatment systems get back door to roads and other infrastructure projects and you can’t live without pure, clean water. I have good ideas that I shared with Matt and hopefully will be able to get this done if elected. Broadband to the last mile is also crucial and we need public private partnerships to make that happen. It is in the best interests if Google and Amazon to make that happen and I feel with the right pitch that could at least get started.
In this day and age, fast, reliable internet service is vital, for both businesses and individuals. As your representative, I pledge to work to expand robust rural broadband services for residents, business-owners, and farmers, so that NY-23 is able to forge the connections necessary to create a truly twenty-first century economy.
It isn’t just internet connections that need updating. Many of our roads and highways are in need of repair work, and we all need funding to restore bridges, railways, and levees. As your Congresswoman, I will work to secure congressional funds. In order to grow our economy and attract new businesses and jobs to our community, we need to have the networks in place to accommodate them. I pledge to work to make NY-23 the flourishing community we all know that it can be.
I spent the last 9 years trying to urge a federal ban on fracking before it became a progressive widespread pandering platform item. I know there are people in this 23rd that don’t agree with that but if other economic alternative opportunities were presented, they might change their minds; at least some of them. I won’t flip flop but I do respect the right of those to disagree. I feel the Southern Tier could be a major manufacturer of geothermal equipment globally and this alone could really make the Southern Tier a manufacturing competitor. We have a state legislature and Governor though that taxed businesses out of NY and they need to figure that out really quickly. We need a tax coup, and find ways to budget better while not cutting essential services. Carbon taxes btw were tried in Europe and never resulted in significant reductions in carbon emissions; just juggling of money around.
More projects that conserve energy in office and residential buildings need to be done with or without help from the government.
We are privileged to live in one of the most beautiful places in the country. As someone who grew up in the Southern Tier and Western New York, I am well acquainted with its natural loveliness. We have a responsibility to keep our environment beautiful, which means, first and foremost, that we keep it clean. We must not allow our water, air, or land to be polluted, as any short-term economic gains will be outweighed by the long-term damage to our natural endowments–and to our public health. For these reasons, I strongly support the current New York State moratorium on hydraulic-fracturing, which would destroy our magnificent district and poison our lands. I also support federal funding for climate change research, as learning ways to combat the effects of climate change is absolutely vital to assuring the health and vitality of our communities.
I will also work to coordinate federal and state alignment to address water quality and fund the cleanup of sites like West Valley. No one should have to live in a community where pollution threatens one’s ability to breathe clean air and drink clean water; ensuring the integrity of our environment is a way of ensuring the health of our neighborhoods.
I mainly agree with Tracy’s positions on Ag but would conduct more panel discussions with stakeholders in the Ag businesses to help solve problems before they escalate. Access to capital is still a problem for some small farms, Property valuation for rural areas can always be tweaked and the State needs to be fluid in helping these farms be properly evaluated and rated.
The bedrock of our district’s economy is agriculture, and this vibrant industry needs support from its elected leaders. I will expand rural broadband access, fight for comprehensive immigration reform, and protect our agricultural products from tariffs that affect farmers’ bottom lines.
Agriculture has undergone a technological revolution. To stay competitive in the modern agricultural economy, it’s essential that we provide internet access and reliable cell phone coverage to rural areas. We insist on the importance of technology for small business owners in urban communities; we will do the same in rural areas.
I am committed to a comprehensive immigration reform proposal that prioritizes expanding H-2A visas. The H-2A program provides temporary work status for agricultural workers. Such an expansion of the program will decrease the pressures to cross the border illegally and lead to a cyclical and transitional—rather than permanent—system of need-based economic immigration.
Lastly, tariffs are a major problem for farmers across NY-23. International allies have increased duties on American dairy products, making the jobs of our dairy farmers even more difficult. China has imposed potentially crippling tariffs on soybeans, which are the fourth most abundant crop in our district by planted acres. We must renegotiate bad trade agreements to the benefit of American workers.
Undocumented students are a major class of people in the U.S. that need to be brought out of the shadows and given a swift path to citizenship with fair and consistent vetting. Redistricting of political areas of States has adversely affected the electoral college system and ease of voting for legitimate voters needs to be continually enforced. Non biased employment and cultural acceptance of all people regardless of sexual orientation should be enforced, balanced with the fact that not all people share the same ideologies on religion, sexual matters and cultural norms; we need to be respectful on both sides of this divide and the hostile behavior by those who perceive themselves as oppressed can occasionally make for even more hostility by those who view them as different and ‘wrong’.
At the core of our American democracy is the idea that we are all equal citizens, that we each have the same power to influence decisions, that we all have a right to vote. We cannot consider our nation a truly democratic one if some among us are categorically denied that right on the basis of race, ethnicity, or religion. I believe that the Voting Rights Act should be restored, so that states are no longer allowed to ignore its requirements and that citizens everywhere are allowed to cast their ballots.
The battle over civil rights is not one of the past but of the present. We must be vigilant in ensuring that the gains of the ‘60s and ‘70s are not lost, and that we continue to push for more equality and more justice in our institutions. I believe that the Equal Rights Amendment should be passed, so that gender equality is truly made the law of the land, and that Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act should be expanded to include the LGBTQ community. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation should be no more permissible than discrimination on the basis of race or gender. I will also support funding for vocational programs for people with disabilities, to ensure that all people are given the opportunity to live full, happy lives.
Every law-abiding citizen and resident should have equal protection under the law. That said, we have some examples of fake civil rights violations that have cropped up that only stir the racial divide that still exists in our society. Too far left and too far right views have made some feel that individual inalienable rights have either been destroyed or by some to have no place in society. As a defender of the constitution, I feel that every person deserves an unbiased fair chance to live, grow and work towards their life goals; when those goals contradict common sense law and the Constitution, then we need to reevaluate those goals as a deserved right.
We need a strong vetting process for those desiring either asylum or immigration balanced with the need to be careful not to unnecessarily place them in danger. Our borders need adequate security in various fashions, not just a long wall, but even more importantly, we must decide on common sense immigration number goals based on needs of country and available resources that support this process. We must consider that there can be some inflation inherent in providing living wage jobs and yet keep food and product costs down for lower- and middle-class Americans; there is a fine balance between the need for low cost labor, living wages and food safety. It will take a broad array of experts to try to determine a year by year assessment of where to set immigration goals and adjust with an economy that is in a constant state of flux.
Our immigration system has not been substantially changed since the Hart-Cellar Act established the foundation of our current system in 1965. More than fifty years later, we need new laws to handle new realities. It’s important that we safeguard our border, certainly. As a Congresswoman, my top priority is to ensure the safety and security of my constituents and, indeed, all Americans. But we cannot forget that America is—and always has been—a nation of immigrants. Legal immigration does not jeopardize our economy, but strengthens it; the immigrants that come, year after year, to America are an enormous part of what makes our country so great.
I believe we should reform our immigration system so that we raise the number of people who are legally allowed to come here, while also financing border security measures. We need more funding for judges to hear immigration cases, so that asylum seekers are not left in limbo for years. I am absolutely opposed to the separation of families at the border on the grounds that it is a deeply immoral and anti-family practice, and I support the DREAM Act, which allows people who were brought to this country as children to obtain legal status.
Finally, as your representative, I would expand the H2A visa program to allow people who come to work for agricultural companies to stay year-round. This is particularly important for our local economy because H2A visas are currently supplied only seasonally. Our dairy farmers require laborers year-round, not just during a harvest season.
Differently than Tracy, I am not just a lifelong advocate of labor unions; I am a union health care provider for more than a decade. I also believe that there are times when union members are not adequately represented by their leadership and this has gone astray at times. Politicians need to temper their support at those moments; there have also been fewer times when members have overreached and created a hardship on the very business they are working for; this also needs to be objectively addressed at the public level at times. This happened in the U.S. auto industry, namely Detroit, MI. I agree with President Trump that companies should not be rewarded for taking their businesses out of the country at times but we need to be careful not to cherry-pick at companies blindly, since there are situations where companies are expanding globally and that entails establishing business outside of the U.S… Having run a business for almost 14 years and being in the process of starting a sports equipment business puts me in a more experienced position for Congressional service than Tracy.
I am a lifelong advocate of labor unions. Unions help ensure that the economy works for everyone, so that everyone is paid a fair wage and works under safe conditions. As a Congresswoman, I will protect existing labor law and also seek reforms that will provide compensation for public-sector unions and expand the definitions of “organizing” and “collective bargaining” so as to bring more types of work groups, such as information-technology employees, into unions. I will be a tireless advocate on behalf of our nation’s hardest workers, supporting legislation to introduce a livable wage for all employees and establish paid family and medical leave as a federal requirement.
I will also push for measures that keep jobs in our district, rather than allowing them to be outsourced to other nations. Big companies should not receive tax breaks when they move abroad. Trade should be fair, not free. I support trade deals that are aimed at protecting the integrity of the American worker and businessperson by requiring equitable wages and equivalent health, safety, and environmental requirements.
The biggest risks to our National Security start with our military and economic relations with Russia, China and North Korea. Vladimir Putin just threatened the U.S. with air and sea supersonic missile and drone attacks that could defy detection in time to counter, and this could really escalate a really precarious military relation between our countries. We need to reset this hostility while at the same time protect ourselves with adequate missile defense systems. There is massive waste fraud and abuse in our military budget that was extremely out of control during the last Bush administration. Tracy dwells on cybersecurity which is her forte, and although this is a critical component to national security, so is the stability of the relationship to POTUS and the intelligence community. For that reason, I would support the idea of any new POTUS being schooled extensively in many areas of defense planning immediately upon election rather than the obviously inadequate training by the last 3 administrations. An example of this was the extremely poor judgement exhibited by President Obama supporting Nouri Al Maliki which partly led to the rise of ISIS by Maliki’s imprisonment and massacre of Sunnis in Iraq. This could have been addressed by the President by recognizing that Maliki’s paranoia led to these massacres.
We must ensure that our national-security agencies and diplomatic corps are equipped to meet 21st-century challenges, including cybersecurity and terrorism.As a cybersecurity expert who has worked for many years at Cornell University on information security policy, I have a grasp on the intricacies of cybersecurity that will allow me to make informed decisions on the best way that we can protect our nation, and our elections, from hacking threats from state and non-state actors. Many in Congress, although well-informed on many other matters, struggle to understand the new technologies that are now absolutely vital to our security agencies. With my background, I will be an asset to my fellow Congressional representatives, providing the kind of knowledge that only an expert can.
The United States is an undoubtedly great nation, with a vast array of means to defend itself from all kinds of threats. Nonetheless, in the realm of national security, we cannot go it alone. The U.S. must maintain its strong bilateral and multilateral alliances, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, if we are to triumph over the complex threats that confront us.
I am firmly for net neutrality; Senator Gillibrand, who is one of the supporters of Mitrano, turned her back on net neutrality but then flipped when protests erupted outside her and Schumer’s Manhattan offices. I am not a flip flopper and will maintain support of the integrity of the internet and make sure small and big players have a fair shake regrading neutrality issues. Again, allowing yourself to be chummy who had abandoned net neutrality shows a political potential to hang out with ‘the wrong crowd’.
In this information age, internet access isn’t a privilege so much as a necessity. Companies should not be allowed to limit internet access to those who can afford it. Net neutrality is absolutely vital, because robust communities and commerce will be impossible in a nation where the internet is in the hands of only the wealthy. Our democracy rests in large part on the ability of citizens to make decisions; if the most widely-used means of sharing information (the web) is controlled by corporations, this will also directly jeopardize the integrity of voting systems.
Net neutrality is also good for the economy. I believe that the Southern Tier can be a vibrant community, a place where business is booming, but that cannot happen until we ensure that all people here, no matter their class, have access to the internet. If elected, I will work to ensure access to comprehensive broadband for all areas of my community, rural and urban.
THE SECOND AMENDMENT
There is a move by a fringe of NY State lawmakers to make NY divided into 2 new States. Not only am I against that, I am also opposed to the segregation of concealed carry laws that govern Upstate vs the City. I am for federal legislation that bars this kind of intrastate segregation of gun laws. I am also for aggressively preventing violent or mentally unstable people from having access to firearms and improving the detection of this with the help of increased cooperation between the public and law enforcement. Most homicides are committed with handguns and increased efforts need to be funded to eradicate the possession of them by felons or otherwise unqualified owners. The illegal sale of handguns to violent felons need stricter sentencing as a deterrent in my opinion.
As a longtime resident of New York’s Southern Tier, I understand that guns are an important part of life to many in the district, and as your Congressional representative, I will work to protect the Second Amendment rights of responsible gun owners. Still, there must be a balance between a right to bear arms and public safety. We must implement safeguards, not to inhibit the rights of responsible gun owners, but to ensure that all gun owners are indeed responsible. There have been too many tragedies, in recent decades, to allow us to think that current gun control legislation is adequate to the task of ensuring our families’ safety.
I support comprehensive background checks for all gun owners, as well as the elimination of loopholes, such as the gun show loophole, that allow people to purchase guns without undergoing background checks. I support laws that would prevent people with a history of domestic abuse from buying weapons, and I will work to limit the influence of the gun lobby over legislation in Congress. Gun control legislation is a matter that should be decided by the people and their representatives, not lobbyists from the National Rifle Association.
We need representatives in Congress who understand what it means to deploy soldiers overseas and who will ensure that the government provides the highest form of care and support upon our soldiers’ return. I will be such a representative, ensuring that the government provides the best technology for our soldiers, not just in war, but when they come home.
Unless you are a Veteran and you have either navigated the VA healthcare system or, you help someone who is family or a friend, you may not know what service-connected conditions are. Unfortunately, there are people who serve active duty and many who have not retired but nevertheless served our country. A large number of them are not service connected for ailments or diseases that they developed after discharge. The criteria to cover these needs to be expanded so that more people who committed themselves to serving this country should have healthcare coverage. I also feel that a first denture sat the least should be a free benefit for our older veterans even if they are not service connected for dental care. Basic cleaning once a year should be covered and funded as well. Regarding under employment, there is still work to be done to make sure the underemployment rate amongst U.S. Veterans is lowered; the rate is higher than the regular national rate which is also very high.
We owe an incredible debt to all those who serve in our armed forces. The dedication and sacrifice of our veterans is truly deserving of commendation—but we cannot also simply commend. We must also provide adequate funding for veterans’ services, including health care, mental health support, job programs, and housing, and we cannot do this through the privatization of veterans’ services, which would allow companies to get rich off of providing support and treatment to our veterans. We cannot “farm out” our veterans’ care to the highest bidder, for we will be failing, on a most basic level, if we turn our backs on the people who sacrifice so much. Veterans should not be abandoned to the dictates of the free market.
WOMEN’S AND FAMILY RIGHTS
In addition to supporting the Fair Employment Protection Act as Tracy Mitrano does, the additional pieces of legislation she fails to mention supporting for workers, including women, are the Fairness for Farm Workers Act (https://tinyurl.com/y6m9ojyg) and the Paycheck Fairness Act (https://tinyurl.com/y3uucjq9). These pieces of legislation could be monumental for improving equality in the workplace for women, farm workers and in general level the playing field so that there would be incentives to treat workers with more respect and fairness. I have seen both sides of the coin personally and know that employers deserve a fair shake when falsely accused of discriminating but that when it does occur, the worker needs ample protection under the law. I feel it is crucial to be objective in these areas and fair to all, workers and employers.
Since the Equal Pay Act of 1963, equal pay for equal work without gender discrimination has been the law of the land. In practice, however, there is still work to be done. Nationally, women earn 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, and the wage gap is even higher for women of color. In New York State, where pay is relatively more equal for women (New York women earn 89.1 percent of what men do), 14.8 percent of women in the state remain in poverty. In Congress, I will support legislation to force corporations to disclose information about pay equity and, if necessary, to implement programs to address pay equity issues.
We should also work to ensure not just that everyone is paid at a rate commensurate to their work, but that everyone is treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Sexual harassment is wrong, and we should do all we can to prevent it, including supporting initiatives that will enable more women and other gender minorities to hold leadership positions, which will be critical in changing the culture of sexual harassment in workplaces. I support legislation aimed at helping those who have suffered sexual harassment or sexual assault at their workplaces, and I will also be an advocate for the Fair Employment Protection Act, which should be advanced in Congress.
Outside the workplace, I will support the right of women to make decisions about their healthcare and family planning in consultation with their doctors. Access to reproductive care, like other health care, should be safe and legal, no matter where a woman lives or how much money she makes.