Priorities

Veterans

We have an all-volunteer military in this country. When someone signs up to serve – usually at great sacrifice to themselves and their families – they make a promise to protect our nation. In turn, we promise to take care of them after their service.

This is a solemn commitment we make to our veterans. When that commitment is broken, it is a serious moral failing as a nation. Worse even, it discourages folks from volunteering for service, making us less safe and less secure.

We need to make sure we’re living up to our commitments to veterans so that the best and brightest continue volunteering the way that James did after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Today, there is a big debate in Washington on how to reform the VA system; how to make sure that our veterans get the health care they were promised. There are some members of the President’s administration that want to nearly privatize the VA – suggesting that the market will take care of America’s veterans. While best practices from the private sector can be incorporated when appropriate, James stands with the vast majority of veterans groups that believe that complete privatization of the VA is exactly the wrong approach to take. Under no circumstance does James believe that we should put our veteran’s care in the hands of corporations that prioritize profits over the unique needs of his brothers and sisters-in-arms.

Politicians paying lip service to the promise of helping our veterans is nothing new. Those same politicians turning around and voting against veterans is why we need to elect a veteran like James Mackler to the U.S. Senate to comprehensively reform the VA so it provides the benefits and care our veterans have earned.

Health Care

Healthcare has become a seemingly intractable political problem in the United States. Rather than fixing the Affordable Care Act, Washington Republicans like Congresswoman Blackburn are more interested in appeasing extreme ideologies and billionaire donors in their party than actually creating a healthcare system that works for all Tennesseans.

The Republican healthcare bills are about two things, tax cuts for the wealthy and destroying Medicaid. Republicans philosophically do not believe that healthcare is a right. For them, healthcare is simply another commodity to be consumed and they believe the marketplace should determine availability and cost. After eight years screaming that the Affordable Care Act must be entirely repealed or replaced with by a system that prioritizes profits over people, Republicans control all three branches of government and are unable to move forward on real solutions.

The price of inaction is not paid for by elected officials in Washington. Members of Congress, including Congresswoman Blackburn, receive excellent healthcare while many middle and working class families fear they will lose coverage they have or get priced out of the market. Women are worried about the accessibility of comprehensive coverage. We have already lost nine rural hospitals in Tennessee and if anything like the proposed Republican bills pass, many more of these valuable institutions will be at risk. Over two-thirds of all nursing home beds in Tennessee are paid for by Medicaid — what happens to our elderly loved ones when Medicaid is gutted and their coverage is ripped away to fund a tax cut?

James knows where he stands on health care: it is a right. James knows that cuts to Medicaid, increases in premiums for our sick and elderly, and decreases in necessary coverage would be wrong and disastrous. It is no wonder that the American Medical Association as well as the American Hospital Association oppose the recent assaults in Congress on healthcare and the elderly.

Jobs & the Economy

A hard day’s work should earn a living wage. Every American that works a full-time job should be able to meet the basic needs of their family. Ensuring our people have good jobs fosters a strong work ethic, builds a sense of community, and reduces crime. James will push for investments in vocational education and job re-training, put Tennesseans to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, and fight for simpler tax policies that help businesses create jobs in both rural and urban areas. Nobody should have to live in poverty or leave their family and community behind just to make ends meet.

Americans can benefit from a global economy but only if we stop being taken advantage of in bad trade deals. James will never support a trade deal that hurts American workers or helps companies ship our jobs overseas. He’ll work to re-negotiate deals that have been a disaster for our workforce, starting with NAFTA.

Investing in infrastructure here in Tennessee through the Federal Government can foster job growth and make us all safer. In 2016, Tennessee earned only a “C” on its infrastructure report card. With Tennessee’s natural beauty, proximity to our nation’s greatest rivers and Fortune 500 companies opening locally, there is no excuse for our state not to have some of the best roads, bridges, dams, and irrigation in the country. In the U.S. Senate James will fight for investments that enhance our quality of life, improve safety, and put Tennesseans to work.

We cannot forget that ensuring affordable access to community college and four year universities can make a major difference in educating our workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow. A product of public schools and someone that repaid his student loans with combat pay, James will work to ease the burden on those with college debt and make sure that college is affordable for any Tennessean that seeks a higher education.

Education

James believes in the power of our public schools, and he knows every child in Tennessee needs access to high-quality education. With 146 school districts and nearly one million children in our public schools, increased investment and support to our students and teachers must be a top priority.

The administration is putting our children’s future at risk by reducing accountability for charter schools, promoting public funding for voucher programs, and loosening the regulations on for-profit colleges. Tennessee needs a U.S. Senator that will stand up and fight against these policies, not enable them to continue.

Our state is leading the way by providing free community college to all high school graduates through the “Tennessee Promise” program. Let’s make sure our public schools and teachers have the tools and resources they need to make all of our high graduates ready to take advantage of that opportunity. James believes we need to expand access to pre-K programs, invest in more Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) opportunities, and increase access to broadband if we want to ensure our children are college-ready upon graduating from high school.