JEFF WOODMANSEE . . . ON THE ISSUES:
A LEGISLATIVE AGENDA FOR ARKANSAS
Make no mistake about it, getting Arkansans back to work and getting our economy back on solid footing will be my top priority upon arriving in Congress.
Following years of economic mismanagement, uncontrolled spending, and policies that favored big banks and Wall Street and not everyday Americans, we have landed in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. While the costs of nearly everything we depend on to live and that lead to upward social mobility – necessities like housing, food, transportation, technology, and the access to education – have skyrocketed in recent years, median incomes for the middle class have remained stagnate, millions have lost their jobs outright, and the only visible “recovery” appears to be happening on Wall Street, not Main Street. Funny, since it was we taxpayers who let them off the hook with monumental bailouts just a few years ago. You can rest assured I am someone who realizes the foundation of our nation’s economy rests on the backs of our middle class and working families, not in CEO boardrooms.
In fact, with the national unemployment rate hovering around 10%, and with some 6% of Arkansans looking for work and unable to find it, bringing about the reform that will begin digging us out of this mess and will prevent its reoccurrence will be no small feat.
Other specific areas of legislation, policy, and rhetoric of current priority:
- Dedication to true democracy, including standing up against efforts to restrict voting and to shut out regular citizens out of the political process.
- Advocating for open and transparent government initiatives and embracing technology to increase direct discourse with elected officials.
- Engaging our growing Latino population and encouraging their participation in federal and state political systems.Strongly committed to funding and improving public education at all levels, including publicly-funded universal Pre-K educational access.
- An increase in the financial support and general promotion of two-year technical colleges and trade schools for job training for tomorrow’s workforce.
- Easing student loan burdens on our citizens looking to acquire a job and provide for themselves and their families, including permanent low-interest repayment options, loan forgiveness programs in exchange for public service, and a reform of current bankruptcy code which singles out student loan debt as being non-dischargeable.
- Explaining, in very direct terms, what proposed cuts to programs to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security would do for the elderly and disabled adults.
- Support for a “War on Poverty 2.0” on a regional level.
- Calling for an immediate increase to the federal minimum/living wage.
- Promoting a savings economy through education on the value and methods of responsible spending, beginning with a curriculum shift to prioritize practical life-planning skills in our schools in order to equip the next generation with the tools they need to live financially successful lives.
- Direct admonishment of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision with attempts to legislate it out of practical existence through campaign finance reform.
- Supporting any and all efforts to get the corporate money influence out of our politics and putting an end to unethical campaign fundraising practices.
- Support for a system of full public funding in U.S. Congressional campaigns — right now there is no public financing for congressional races, favoring candidates who are incumbents, have personal wealth, or have strong support from the wealthy and their corporate interests.
- A new emphasis on Central America – specifically, a new cultural, economic, and information-sharing partnership with our neighbors in Mexico.
- Strengthening (and being a leader) in international peace organizations, like U.N. and NATO, rather than making light of their importance when their goals don’t match our political interests.
- Recognition that our dependence on foreign oil not only cripples our economy, but makes us less safe.
- An appreciation and respect for the unique duty we have in this area to support our large veteran community— from basic needs and access to health and dental care to providing free legal representation for veterans’ disability claims.
SOLUTIONS THROUGH A NEW DISCOURSE
At a basic level, every candidate has the same goals. We all want a strong economy, more jobs, and lower taxes; we all support the brave men and women of America’s armed forces; and we would all like less crime and better healthcare for every Arkansan. The difference between candidates lies not in what we hope to achieve, but in how we plan to reach those goals. While any candidate can offer general promises and catchy slogans, you will find that my political crusades are focused on finding specific solutions to the great challenges of our time that will benefit the citizens of Arkansas and the rest of our nation through changing the narrative in our standard political discourse.
Armed with a plan to promote awareness and find solutions for these pressing needs, a strong desire to challenge the status quo and to engage with folks from across the political spectrum and, perhaps most importantly, an unshakable core belief that our best days really do remain ahead of us, I strive to be a zealous advocate for my family, my community, and for all of the dedicated people that are currently writing that next chapter in the history of our great nation and this state I am so proud to call my home.