At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin is said to have responded to a question about the form of our new government by answering: “A Republic, if you can keep it.” What was true then, remains true today: the principles and institutions of our democratic republic must not be taken for granted, and we – the American people – are responsible for their preservation.
New Hampshire's Granny D, who marched across the country for campaign finance reform, often told us that, “Democracy isn’t something we have, it’s something we do.” And while this is a responsibility we all share, our elected officials have a special obligation to be good stewards of our democratic norms and institutions.
The freedom of the press, the rule of law, and the separation of powers are all fundamental to our democracy. These are not partisan principles, they are American values. Even in times of political polarization, we should be able to unite around these common values. Yet, we have seen increasing attempts by some in power to undermine our free press by deriding them as “fake news” or “enemies of the people”; to undermine the judiciary and disregard ethics and anti-corruption standards; and to disregard the oversight role of the Executive branch by the Legislative branch, such as Congress relinquishing its responsibility to authorize the war. These are in direct conflict with the very principles that underpin our democracy.
Naomi knows that public office is a public trust, and she strongly believes in respect; respect for each other and respect for our institutions. “Keeping the republic” relies on respect and civility and vigorous participation in our democracy. She will work to protect everyone's right to vote.
Veterans certainly deserve to be thanked for their service. But we need to do more than that. We also owe them the benefits they have earned.
Veterans have spent significant time away from their families and friends. They have missed the everyday routine of their workplaces and their communities, and special events such as births and funerals, weddings and graduations. They have missed the comforts of home and the support of loved ones. Too often, veterans face further difficulties when they return home. Some battle Post-Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, or other challenges, such as exposure to toxic chemicals. They deserve their benefits and the best medical care.
New Hampshire’s veterans live in the only state without a full-service hospital or access to similar services at a military facility. That is why Naomi will re-introduce Carol Shea-Porter’s legislation, the Veterans Health Equity Act, to require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to restore the VA Medical Center in Manchester, New Hampshire to a full-service VA hospital, or provide our veterans with comparable in-state care through local health care providers. Naomi will continue to fight for equal care for New Hampshire’s veterans.
Education has been the driver of progress in America. Families know that a good education is essential for most good jobs, but they are finding it harder than ever to pay the high costs of college or technical school. Naomi still has big school loans herself, so she understands the pressure working families are facing as they try to pay for education.
She wants to reduce the interest rates for school loans, allow families to deduct the interest, and provide more money for grants and loans, as well as protecting loan forgiveness for public service. These steps will help families earn higher wages, which will help grow our economy.
Health Care, Medicare, Social Security
Naomi believes that health care costs are out of control, and she supports allowing people of any age to buy into Medicare. She also knows that our seniors paid for and earned their Medicare and Social Security benefits, and she will fight to preserve and strengthen these successful programs.
Naomi wants to allow the federal government to negotiate the costs of prescription drugs to help drive down costs, and wants to increase the number of auditors and improve technology to crack down on waste and fraud. She supports robust investment in medical research and disease prevention.
Naomi has always been passionate about protecting our environment and fighting climate change. She loves the outdoors. She camps, skis, swims, runs marathons, and has climbed all 48 4,000 ft mountains in New Hampshire, always inspired by the beauty of nature.
But she knows that sea levels are rising, the planet is warming, pollinators are in trouble, and so are we. In Congress, Naomi will fight for sane environmental policies that will support renewable energy and provide greater oversight so Americans have safe water, clean air, and fewer pesticides in our food and our environment. She will fight to protect endangered species and to punish polluters.
In Congress, Naomi will protect our country by making sure we always have the resources to defend our nation and honor our commitments. She will also support policies that seek to promote understanding and cooperation and conflict resolution. She believes foreign aid, diplomacy, and soft power are essential tools, and will support fully staffing and funding the State Department and its diplomatic efforts around the world.
Gun Violence Prevention
The students of Parkland, Florida have been a true inspiration. For too long, the NRA and its allies have dominated Washington politics - peddling their influence through threats of primary challengers for those who do not remain “pure” by opposing every single common-sense effort to reduce gun violence in America.
In the Granite State, we have a culture of responsible gun ownership. I grew up in Epping and for some of my friends’ families, venison was an important staple to get them through the winter.
But there are many steps Congress can take to help reduce the amount of gun violence in our country. No one law will stop all of the violence, but Congress has a moral obligation to take what steps it can in order to lessen the bloodshed. Inaction is unconscionable and the current lack of positive action must not be allowed to continue.
In Congress, I will fight to implement those common-sense proposals. I commit to joining the Gun Violence Taskforce on day one. All gun purchases, except for gifts between immediate family members, should require a background check. We must stop the gun show loophole. Additionally, the national background check system should be strengthened, and include all relevant information from those who report to it. Right now it’s like saying only 1 in 4 people need to go through TSA at an airport. Lastly, law enforcement most have the ability to take firearms away from those who have shown they might be a danger to themselves and others.
As I stated above, we cannot fix this problem with legislation alone. But these proposals, along with the grit and determination showed by students around the country, will make a world of difference.