Issues

Jon Powell, Candidate for U.S. Congress, Texas District 36

Time for a change

I am running to represent you in Congress because our country is headed in the wrong direction. We must change direction by electing a new Congress and new U.S. Representative for our District. We need a U.S. Representative who is honest, direct, and will serve for the benefit of everyone in the Texas 36th.

As your Representative in Congress, I will address several key issues to help our District and the entire country to get back on track:

Economic and Job Opportunities for Southeast Texas

Hartman Bridge, Baytown, TXOur economic growth—and the jobs we depend on—are at risk with the Trump/Babin agenda. Trickle-down economics does not work and will not build a strong middle class. We should invest in our infrastructure and create policies that help our neighbors get good paying jobs. The current leadership in DC has not put you first; they too often put big corporations and tax breaks for millionaires before making sure the middle class is thriving.  When the middle class does well, the entire country thrives.

  • Close corporate tax loopholes so that big business pays their fair share
  • Strongly support increased government investment in innovative science, both in pure and applied sciences
  • Work to prioritize federal investments and infrastructure projects in Southeast Texas, particularly flood and hurricane storm surge protection.
  • Support to raise the minimum wage and a living wage including non-wage compensation for full-time workers.  The dignity of full-time work should not be undone by hefty housing and transportation costs.

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Protecting our Environment

One of the biggest threats to our future is global climate change.  The Republicans continue to stick their heads in the sand on this vital issue. There is no doubt that we contribute to warming of the planet; what is not known is how we will combat it. Trump wants to retreat and double down on dirty coal. Sustainable energy is our future; even the major petroleum companies acknowledge that. We need a leader in DC who will see saving our environment as a priority and will find ways to bring green jobs in the developing clean energy industry to Southeast Texas.

  • We need energy and economic policies to reduce, mitigate, and reverse the impacts of climate change. Done correctly, such policies can stimulate renewable energy economic development and create sustainable growth.
  • We need to lead global initiatives such as the Paris Agreement to effectively implement true change.
  • We must adjust our environmental regulations so they adequately protect the oceans. This includes addressing field runoff, fish farming, and regulating previously unrecognized pollutants such as microbeads used in cosmetics.
  • We must ensure that proper safety rules are in place at chemical plants and refineries. This issue is key to our health and safety and to the economy in Southeast Texas.
  • We must evaluate environmental and safety rules and regulations regularly and often to make sure they work in the most effective and efficient way and do not burden industry.
  • We must watch carefully and advocate forcefully for the proper clean-up of the San Jacinto Waste Pits and other hazardous waste sites in Southeast Texas.

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Educating our Kids

School BusesA strong economy depends on a solid education system.  We should invest more in our students, not less, and recognize that learning is a lifelong process. The young and old need job training opportunities that prepare them for the jobs of the future. Further, we need advocates who understand real educational needs and will not get misled into failed solutions like teaching to the test and predatory for-profit colleges. We must:

  • Fully fund Head Start, emphasize early childhood education, and expand after-school programs
  • Work to reduce the number of standardized tests our students take and give teachers more resources
  • Pay teachers a salary commensurate with their professional status and the important role they play in preparing for the future.Prioritize teacher development.
  • Emphasize the importance of teaching students critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills.
  • Emphasize and fund non-classroom STEAM-related activities in after-school, enrichment, and summer programs.
  • Continue the focus on educational initiatives in our federal scientific agencies (NASA, NOAA, NIH, etc.) as they provide accessibility to the nation’s most exciting research to students around the country.
  • Oppose any effort to use taxpayer dollars for private school vouchers.

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Prioritizing Health Care

Medical CareRight now, people are scared of losing their health care coverage through the actions of the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans.  Health care is a right and we need a system that expands coverage and lowers costs for everyone.  We cannot go back to a time when you can be denied health care because of a preexisting condition. We must:

  • Strengthen, stabilize and adequately fund the Affordable Care Act so more people can get access to quality and affordable healthcare.
  • Support and advocate for universal access to health care.
  • Allow Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical manufacturers for reasonable drug prices comparable to prices in other countries. Americans pay the highest prices of all countries for prescription medication.
  • Evaluate pain management practices. The opiate addiction problem has come about because of a flawed approach to pain management that favors big pharma.
  • Establish a system to address mental health care before problems arise. We must recognize that early intervention and community-based treatment yield the best outcomes and lower costs.

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Protecting Veterans and Seniors

Senior CitizensI will work every day to protect Social Security and Medicare and the commitments we have made to our seniors.  We need a Congressman who will actually work to solve the problems at the Veteran’s Administration as well as create meaningful employment opportunities for veterans.

  • Vets returning to civilian life may require support and guidance to prevent predictable and avoidable adjustment crises. We now recognize that many returning vets have PTSD and other mental health conditions that are best treated with ongoing counseling.
  • Our senior citizens will require increased care as our country faces is the demographics of an aging population. We have no universal program established  to address this need. We will need to expand Medicaid or establish other means to care for those who led productive, self-sufficient lives, but can no longer do that.

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Advocating for NASA

Astronaut EVA outside International Space StationNASA is an anchor for our community, a source of pride for our country, and an engine for discovery and innovation.  We need a strong advocate with a science background to help move the debate past politics.  NASA should not be a political football; we should adequately fund NASA and space science and ensure we continue to be a world leader.

  • We must continue to invest in our space program–both human spaceflight and instrument-only observational missions. Collaboration with commercial launch companies should proceed with adequate oversight to ensure safety and reliability.
  • We must continue to invest in NASA and NOAA earth science programs to:
    • Provide the fundamental data to predict weather and understand climate change;
    • Continue the critical archival of that data to enable increasingly sophisticated analyses and definition of trends in the data; and
    • Maintain the applied research that translates the data into operational products that are critical to our daily lives.
  • We should increase our emphasis on earth, space, and planetary science and new technologies that allow us to ask new questions and explore further. This includes sample collection and return, space telescopes, and most of all, ensuring that research results are made available to the public.  This includes re-posting scientific findings and reports that have recently been removed for political reasons.
  • I will request to be appointed to the House committee for Science, Space and Technology.

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Fair Immigration System for All

U.S. PassportWe need a fair immigration system built upon America’s values.  Let’s enforce the law and hold businesses accountable for their hiring practices.  The only additional wall we need should be built on the coast to help protect us from future storms. We must:

  • Pass the DREAM Act immediately as well as comprehensive immigration reform
  • Promote the reunification of families by supporting immigration reform that allows immigrants to sponsor family members.

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Get us back on track

2018 voting dates in Texas
Important voting dates in Texas, 2018

Let’s get our country headed in the right direction. I need your support to create a better future for our community. The 2018 Midterm elections are closer than you think… please get involved today, and make sure to vote in the March 6 primary!