PIVNICK FOR CONGRESS 2020 PLATFORM -
I. GENERAL PLATFORM
Larry Pivnick supports the individual rights of all Americans to life, liberty, and property, and the orderly opportunity to pursue happiness, without government restrictions that are not authorized by the Constitution.
Larry strongly believes in a “socially just” America where we the people, every one of us, has a moral and legally protected right to be treated with fairness, and a reciprocal obligation to treat others fairly, so that we all have a fair shot, when we play under rule of law, to reach the American dream.
Larry believes in the core principle that no one should face discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status.
Larry believes that “we the people’, every one of us, have a right to live with economic security in a democratic and capitalist America, under a government that applies fair, just, ethical, and reliable rules of law that provide structure and avoid failures in the market.
Larry believes that our government has the duty to provide Americans with essential public goods, e.g., public health, education, safety, defense, courts, roads and highways, water and utilities, and basic research, that are necessary and made available to all, for the common good of all of us.
Larry supports the growth of the American economy through the adoption of responsible national balanced budgeting which (a) reduces wasteful and unnecessary expenditures,(b) reduces bailouts to large corporations, banks, and insurance companies; and © limits deficit spending that does not serve the common good of the people. Larry supports measures that will increase government revenues to pay for expenditures by adopting limited protective tariffs, closing of corporate tax loopholes, and restoring pre-Trump corporate tax rates cuts, and cuts on inheritance taxes paid by the richest Americans.
Larry supports the lowering of income taxes paid by working class and middle class. More particularly, Larry proposes: (1) the elimination of federal income taxes for every working family of four whose annual net adjusted income is $50,000 or less (or $25,000 or less for single workers); (2) a reduction to 10% of the income tax rates paid by families whose annual adjusted earnings are not more than $150,000 a year; (3) a reduction to 20% of current tax rates for families earning up to $300,000 per year;
To rebuild America's economic foundations, Larry supports the development of small business opportunities in the private sector of the American economy. Larry supports small-business tax cuts and tax credits, e.g., in helping to pay for the cost of coverage for affordable health care for workers; the cutting of red tape for small businesses; providing access to the capital small businesses need to grow; and helping small business run by women, people of color, and rural Americans to help nurture entrepreneurship.
Larry supports the creation and maintenance of good jobs that pay well in the public sector, e.g. increasing the number of teachers in Head Start, Pre-K, and public elementary schools, high schools and academic and technical institutions of learning; increasing the number of police, sheriffs, fire fighters, sanitation workers, emergency service workers, hospital doctors, nurses, technicians, and social workers; and increasing the number of legal services attorneys and paralegals to assist indigent persons in civil litigation.
II. SPECIFIC ISSUES (In alphabetical order)
2.. ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
3. FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND AMERICAN LEADERSHIP
4. HEALTH CARE
6.. LABOR - STANDING UP FOR WORKING PEOPLE
7.. MUSIC AND ART
8.. PUBLIC SAFETY AND CRIME PREVENTION
9.. REVITALIZING AGRICULTURE AND RURAL COMMUNITIES
B. RURAL COMMUNITIES
10 SECOND AMENDMENT
12 VETERANS RIGHTS
Free public education is one of America’s critical democratic institutions. Larry Pivnick is committed to ensuring that every child in West Tennessee, whether living in a city, town, village, or rural area, has the opportunity for access to a free high quality public education in pre-K, to kindergarten to 12thgrade, trade school, jr. college, college, and graduate school. In doing so, we must close the achievement gap in Tennessee's schools and ensure that in every neighborhood in West Tennessee, children can benefit from high-quality educational opportunities.
Larry supports educational programs for students interested in agriculture, mechanics, manufacturing, building trades, communication, transportation, service and care providers, artists and musicians.
Larry supports developing comprehensive plans to raise standards and improve instruction in early learning programs such as Head Start; providing Tennessee schools the flexibility and resources they need to improve elementary and secondary education in a way that works best for students and teachers; aiding Tennessee school districts in saving and increasing the number of educator jobs; attracting and rewarding great teachers; raising standards for programs that prepare our teachers; carefully crafting evaluation systems that give struggling teachers valuable feedback; and increasing parent involvement in their child's education.
Larry supports partnerships between businesses and community colleges to train workers with the skills they need for good jobs waiting to be filled; creating business-labor apprenticeship programs that provide skills and opportunity; and investing in science education programs that promote the next generation of scientists and engineers.
2.. ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Larry Pivnick supports America’s movement towards a sustainable energy-independent future by harnessing, in a safe and responsible manner, all of America's great natural resources. That means an all-of-the-above approach to developing America's many energy resources, including wind, solar, biofuels, geothermal, hydro power, nuclear, oil, clean coal, and natural gas.. We can further cut our reliance on oil with increased energy efficiency in buildings, industry, and homes, and through the promotion of advanced vehicles, fuel economy standards, and the greater use of natural gas in transportation.
In order to ensure the safe harnessing of natural resources, Larry supports: implementing safeguards to protect against water contamination and air pollution; advocating for the use of clean fossil fuel, while ensuring that public and environmental health and workers' safety are protected; placing more funds in infrastructure investment to speed the transition to cleaner fuels in the transportation sector; balancing environmental protection with development by preserving sensitive public lands from exploration, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Pacific West Coast, Gulf of Mexico.
Larry supports working with local communities to conserve our publicly owned lands, to expand investments in conserving and restoring forests, grasslands, and wetlands for generations to come; and to ensure the integrity of the waters Tennesseans rely on every day for drinking, swimming, and fishing.
3. FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND AMERICAN LEADERSHIP
Larry Pivnick supports the U.S. foreign policy of strengthening international alliances and expanding international partnerships to combat military dangers posed by Russia, North Korea, Iran, and other belligerent nations, and modern dangers involving terrorism, nuclear proliferation, cyber and biological attacks, climate change, and transnational drug crime--that cannot be solved by any one nation alone. Addressing these challenges requires broad and effective global cooperation, through close collaboration with our traditional allies, cultivating partnerships with new centers of influence, and strong U.S. leadership within international institutions.
Larry is absolutely and unshakably supports the right of Israel to exist and its right to defend its security as an independent, democratic state. A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States not simply because we share strategic interests, but also because we share common values. Larry supports increasing security assistance to Israel to ensure Israel's qualitative military edge in the Middle East; U.S./Israeli defense cooperation--including funding the Iron Dome system--to help Israel address its most pressing threats, including the growing danger posed by rockets and missiles emanating from the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran.
Larry opposes any attempt to delegitimize Israel on the world stage by destabilizing its economy and the academic freedom of its educators through boycotts and divestments.
Larry supports efforts by America's diplomats to seek peace between Israelis and
Palestinians through a just and lasting accord recognizing Israel's right to a exist as a secure Jewish and democratic state, with its capital in an undivided Jerusalem accessible to people of all faiths.
4. HEALTH CARE
All Americans should have the security that comes with good affordable essential health care, and no one should be subject to bankruptcy due to medical costs.
The Affordable Health Care Act, even without required participation, has been a good start, with its preventing insurers from refusing coverage to Tennesseans with pre-existing medical conditions; with its requirements that people with private insurance be afforded preventive services like cancer screenings, annual well-woman visits, and FDA-approved contraceptives with no out-of-pocket costs; with its extension of programs for workers who earn under 140% of the Federal poverty guidelines, and authorizing funding for home and community-based services; and with its limiting the ability of insurance companies to set arbitrary caps, cancel coverage, and charge women more simply because of their gender.
While efforts have been made in recent years to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and Medicare, Larry Pivnick supports extending these programs to all West Tennesseans.
As the nation battles the corona virus epidemic, it is now clear to all that the US, needs to have ready in place a universal health care program that is cocked and loaded to provide all Americans with readily available medical equipment, supplies, medical facilities, and medical staff, to provide essential medical care, which is accessible, affordable, and effective.
Larry Pivnick is committed to promoting a strong health care work force with an emphasis on primary care; eliminating disparities in health; making sure families have access to mental health and substance abuse services; working to strengthen Medicaid by opposing efforts to adopt block grant programs and the slashing of funding that leave millions without health insurance. We must invest in our public health infrastructure--ensuring that we are able to respond to emergencies and support community-based efforts to prevent disease.
West Tennessee’s town and rural areas cannot thrive without access to affordable, quality, essential health care for its residents. Too many West Tennesseans are uninsured or insufficiently insured by private for profit insurance companies. While wages have become stagnant and many employers have stopped providing health care benefits to its employees, rising insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays, have rendered insurance unavailable or insufficient useless for far too many. Hospitals and pharmaceutical manufacturers like insurance companies, have also been jacking up prices without concern for consumers.
Larry will support legislation extending the availability of medical care by supporting legislation to:
create and fund a new medical school located in West Tennessee for educating primary health care physicians who, in exchange for tuition relief, commit to remaining in rural areas that are medically under served.
extend nationally the licensing qualifications for nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and emergency medical technicians;
create and/or fund hospitals in every West Tennessee county;
create a public health care insurance option so that every Tennessee resident has assess to affordable, quality health care.
lower the age of Medicare eligibility to 55;
mandate that all health insurance companies provide essential benefits on a non-profit basis, ensuring that shareholders don’t benefit to the detriment of patients
protect public health through continued funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides much-needed health services unrelated to abortions in so many communities;
fight any effort to restrict a woman’s right to choose;
implement a national commitment to beating opioids;
improve and adequately fund prenatal and postnatal care for mother and child;
improve and adequately fund Alzheimer’s research and care for patients and their families;
improve access and funding for nutrition and other preventive care for children and adults;
improve access and funding for nurses, social workers, and other health care provides in our public schools.
Larry Pivnick is committed to enacting comprehensive immigration reform that supports America’s economic goals and reflects our values as both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. Any reform act should address the creation of a system for allocating visas that meets our economic needs, keeping families together, and enforcing the law.
Larry supports securing America’s Southwest borders to prevent unlawful crossings, but opposes spending billions of dollars on useless walls,
Larry supports prioritizing the deportation of criminals who endanger our communities over the deportation of immigrants who do not pose a threat, such as children who came here through no fault of their own and are pursuing an education.
Larry supports the enactment of a DREAMERS Act, ensuring that young people who want to contribute fully to our society and serve our country are able to become legal residents and ultimately citizens.
6.. LABOR - STANDING UP FOR WORKING PEOPLE
Larry Pivnick believes in an America where people looking for work can find good jobs, where hard work pays, and where responsibility is rewarded.
Larry supports the raising of the minimum wage to a minimum livable wage with indexing to inflation.
Larry supports the fundamental right of workers to organize, join a union, and collectively bargain . Every American should have a voice on the job and a chance to negotiate for a fair day's pay after a hard day's work.
Larry will fight for labor laws that provide a fair process for workers to choose union representation, that facilitate the collective bargaining process, and that strengthen remedies for violations of the law. He will fight for collective bargaining rights for police officers, nurses, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, teachers, and other public sector workers--jobs that are a proven path to the middle class for millions of Americans
Larry will fight against the exploitative practice of employers fraudulently mis classifying workers as independent contractors or white-collar workers to evade taxes or deny them protections and overtime benefits.
Larry supports the work of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in adopting and enforcing comprehensive safety standards.
Larry supports equal pay for women and will oppose any efforts to allow wage discrimination.
7....MUSIC AND ART
Larry Pivnick supports art and music education, and is committed to continuing the policies and programs that have already done so much for our creative art and music industry and economy. Investment in the arts and strengthens our communities and contributes to our nation’s rich cultural heritage. Larry will support public funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and providing art and music education in primary and secondary schools
8.. PUBLIC SAFETY AND CRIME PREVENTION
Tennessee state, county, and local governments need federal government support to keep us safe and protect our rights. Larry will fight for funding that will keep police on the street and will support our police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. Our courageous police officers, fire fighters, and other first responders must be equipped with the best technology, equipment, and innovative strategies to prevent and fight crimes.
Larry will work to end the dangerous cycle of violence, especially youth violence, and to reduce recidivism, making citizens safer and saving the taxpayers money.
Larry supports reform of the criminal justice reform by improving communications between affected communities and law enforcement agencies and the use of Citizen Law Enforcement Review Boards, working together to amend the divides between the criminal justice system and the public.
Larry will fight to reform the inequalities in our criminal justice system. E.g., the death penalty must not be arbitrary. DNA testing should be used in all appropriate circumstances,; mandatory sentences for non-violent offenses should be removed; the use of cannabis should be classified as a non felony with reduced sentences; and voting right restoration should be simplified..
Larry supports the appointment of federal judges who are women and men of unquestionable talent and character and will always demonstrate their faithfulness to our law and our Constitution.
Larry supports federal, state and local joint law enforcement efforts to combat and prevent drug crimes and drug and alcohol abuse, which are blights on our communities.
Larry is committed to ending violence against women. He supports funding for the Violence Against Women Act and will oppose any proposals that would undermine this law and deprive law enforcement of the tools it needs to combat violence against women.
9....REVITALIZING AGRICULTURE AND RURAL COMMUNITIES
Agriculture today is not working for too many West Tennessee small family farmers and their rural communities, as big agribusiness corporations have extracted government farm policies incentivizing a “get big or get out” approach to agriculture. This approach has consolidated the entire food system, reducing farm net income, and driving farmers off the land in droves. As farms disappear, so do the businesses, jobs, and communities they support. Too many local businesses have been replaced with national chains, many schools and hospitals shut down, and good jobs have left at an alarming rate. The next generation of rural Americans is finding better opportunities outside of the small towns where they grew up in.
It is not too late to adopt policies that will drive a transition in our agricultural system away from a consolidated, profit-driven industrial model to one that rebuilds and restores rural communities. These policies include:
(1) Leveling the Playing Field for Farmers and Farm Workers
(2) Fostering Investment to Revitalize Rural Communities
We need to ensue that farmers have the Right to Repair their own tractors or other equipment, change engine settings, retrofit old equipment with new features, and modify their tractors to meet new environmental standards on their own without going through an authorized repair agent.
We need to reform patent law to protect farmers from predatory patent lawsuits from seed corporations.
We need to change regulations to improve markets for family farms so they may enter the organic food market which is now a $50 billion market, and, over the last five years, has grown 10% annually, and makes up about 6% of the total food sold in America.
We need to develop fair trade partnerships that do not drive down the prices paid to food producers and that, instead, protect farmers here and abroad.
We need to enforce country-of-origin-labeling so companies cannot import foreign produce, passing it off as American grown to undercut domestic producers.
We must ensure a fair price for family farmers: Independent family farms have been decimated by past and current farm policies, in the pursuit of short-run economic efficiency. The food security of the nation still depends on farmers on family-scale farms who are committed to being good stewards of the land and good citizens of their communities and nation.
We need to re-establish a national grain and feed reserve to help alleviate the need for government subsidies and ensure we have a food supply in case of extreme weather events.
We need to Reform agricultural subsidies so that more federal support goes to small- and mid-sized family farms, rather than that support going disproportionately to a handful of the largest producers.
We need to guarantee farmers a living wage by establishing a parity system that sets price floors and matches supply with demand, thereby guaranteeing the cost of production and family living expenses.
We need to pass comprehensive disaster coverage and allocate payments to independent family farming operations.
We need to provide relief to help prevent independent family farm bankruptcies.
We need to help beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers get fair access to land and resources.
We need to invest in beginning farmers to purchase land and equipment for sustainable farming.
Government owned farmland should be made available as incubator farms for beginning farmers.
We need to fund the rebuilding of small and medium scale agricultural and food processing infrastructure in rural communities, and fund development of local, independent processing, aggregation, and distribution facilities.
We need to protect the environment for all rural residents. Large farm practices should not infringe on the ability of other farmers and neighbors to carry out the normal activities of farming and rural lifestyles.
We need to ensure rural residents have the right to protect their families and properties from chemical and biological pollution, including pesticide and herbicide drift.
B. RURAL COMMUNITIES
We must prepare the next generation to rebuild, rather than to abandon, rural America.
We must guarantee a strong public education system from childcare up to college and jobs training programs for every child and young adult in rural America.
We must enact a universal local rural child day care program for every child in rural America.
We must increase funding for rural public education including ESL programs, classes for students with disabilities, student transportation, college accredited classes, etc.
We must pay rural teachers a living wage with health benefits. Rural schools face significant challenges filling vacancies for educators.”
We must stop consolidating rural schools and start building rural schools that can access and utilize distance learning opportunities.
We must provide free higher education, job training, apprenticeship programs and other professional development programs that cover low-income and rural areas.
We must guarantee health care to all rural people as a right, not a privilege, through a Medical Care-for-all program, that provides access to affordable, quality health care.
We must provide funding to rebuild and expand rural community health care infrastructure, including hospitals, maternity wards, mental health clinics, dental clinics, dialysis centers, home care services, ambulance services, and emergency departments. in medically underserved areas.
We must expand funding for the National Health Service Corps, which places health care providers in under served areas and will bring more providers to rural America.
We must expand access to public addiction recovery services in rural areas. We must make
sure people have access to treatment, so they can get help where and when they need it.
We must lower the cost of prescription drugs and make prescription drugs more accessible to people in rural areas.
We must promote local foods to encourage healthy lifestyle and wellness, including incentives for schools to source their meals from local farmers.
We must promote rural economic development programs that increase employment opportunities and decrease depressed local economies and population decline in rural America.
We must ensure access to affordable high quality, high-speed broadband internet to every American.
We must raise the minimum wage in this country to a fair living wage, so that every American can afford an adequate standard of living” that covers typical rent, food, transportation, and other basic living costs.
We must start investing in small businesses in rural areas.
We must invest in affordable rural housing and end housing discrimination.
We must focus substantial federal resources on distressed rural communities that have high levels of poverty.
We must provide support for rural community banks and credit unions.
10.. SECOND AMENDMENT
Larry Pivnick supports the Second Amendment constitutional rights of all Americans to own, possess and use arms in self defense, subject to reasonable statutory regulations that are enacted to secure public safety and well being, including background checks, licensure, and safety training. Felons, incompetents, and persons who have engaged in domestic violence, except in the most limited circumstances, should be denied access to firearms.
Larry supports the traditional common law rights to own, possess, and use arms when engaged in hunting and sporting activities, subject to reasonable statutes regarding hunting seasons, bag limits, permitted locations, respect for the environment, and respect for other hunters and members of the community.
Larry opposes both open and closed “carry of arms” by private citizens, particularly on school premises and in court houses and other buildings, unless otherwise permitted by compliance with permit statutes.
11. SENIOR CITIZENS
All Senior Citizens in West Tennessee deserve a secure, healthy, and dignified retirement. Toward this end, Social Security and Medicare must be kept strong for senior citizens. America's seniors have earned their Medicare and Social Security through a lifetime of hard work and personal responsibility. Larry Pivnick is committed to preserving that promise to present and future generations.
Larry supports the provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act which make Medicare stronger by adding new benefits, fighting fraud, and improving care for patients.
Larry supports increased federal funding for researching a cure for Alzheimer's disease and for the care of senior citizens suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
12. VETERANS RIGHTS
Larry Pivnick is committed to supporting America's troops, not only in the field, but also when they return home and need care for injuries and mental health issues, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD);
Larry is committed to providing our veterans with health care, educational assistance, and job opportunities with living wages.
Larry supports improving and extending assistance under the G.I. Bill, the Veterans Jobs Corps program, that places veterans in jobs as first responders, and other programs; increasing funding for the Veterans Administration (VA), and eliminating its backlog in providing services to veterans; providing subsidies and the availability of guaranteed loans so veterans can purchase homes; providing educational benefits to spouses, children, and widow/widowers of military personnel and veterans; and providing monthly payments to veterans who are unemployed through no fault of their own. No veteran should ever be hungry and without a residence.
13. WOMEN’S RIGHTS
Larry Pivnick supports the constitutional, statutory, and moral rights of women to full equality, as enjoyed by men, under rule of law. He supports the extension of time for the adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and supports civil rights statutes and increased enforcement of laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace and other settings.
Larry will fight to protect women from domestic violence and other forms of violence; to provide equal opportunities for women; and to ensure equal pay for women.
Larry is committed to a woman's right, after consultation with her physician, to choose the medical care she deems appropriate.
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