For too long, Democrats and Republicans in Washington have put scoring political points above working together to find solutions that benefit the people they’ve sworn to represent. We were elected not to point fingers but to lead, to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
The people of our region have made it clear that their top concerns are jobs, the economy and the future of the middle class. I hear concerns from workers that their good-paying jobs may be sent overseas, and worse, that their children may not be able to make a decent wage in the community they call home. In our still-recovering economy, they want action on our debt and deficit, but not in a way that risks their retirement security.
I’ve listened, and that’s why my top priority is to grow our economy in a way that puts middle class families first. I’ve facilitated opportunities to put people back to work and pushed for investments in job training and workforce development. And I’m leading an effort to protect Social Security from a proposal that risks the certainty of this important benefit for seniors.
We cannot balance our budget on the backs of seniors, veterans and working families. But something we can all agree on is the need to make progress in reducing our debt. That’s why the first bill I introduced attacks government waste and streamlines services. After learning that the federal government is paying billions of dollars to dead people, I asked a Republican congressman to help me lead a common-sense effort to end this senseless practice.
I know that to get things done and protect the middle class, it takes cooperation, sidelining partisanship. Standoffs like the one that caused the government shutdown last fall hurt middle class families. In the midst of that crisis, I became more determined than ever to be part of the solution. With the paychecks of workers hanging in the balance, I became part of a small group of Democrats and Republicans who met daily to try to find a way out of the calamity. Those workers deserve better. While resolution wasn’t going to come without compromise, it was my duty to be fighting for them at the table.
The people I represent have a simple expectation: that their elected officials get things done and look out for them. This means continuing to focus on ways to create jobs and improve the economy, to make sure we are training our workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and to keep our promises to seniors and veterans.
People don’t expect us to agree on everything, but they expect good governance and leaders that put the needs of our nation first.