Education is the most important predictor of individual financial success. It’s also the key to America’s long-term success in a 21st-century economy. Yet too many American families worry that they won’t be able to afford to invest in the opportunity higher education provides.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
As a former teacher and life-long educator, John is proud to have helped pass the largest investment in student aid in history – at no expense to taxpayers. By ending costly subsidies to banks, those savings have been invested into making higher education more affordable through increased Pell Grants and lower interest rates for student loans. John also championed the American Opportunity Tax Credit to help over 9 million families afford to send their children to college.
John believes that our nation must invest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education to ensure that our students have the skills necessary to meet the future needs of our workforce. STEM skills are necessary for jobs in the fastest growing sectors of our economy and will help ensure America’s global competitiveness. John has fought to secure STEM resources for students in Connecticut and ensure it is a priority nationwide, in addition to helping bridge partnerships in Connecticut manufacturing to develop a new manufacturing education program.
John’s top priority is to rebuild our economy and invest in a strong economic foundation that works for all Americans. Since the Great Recession that followed eight years of failed leadership under the Bush Administration, our economy is improving through the hard work of many in both government and the private sector. Today, the unemployment rate sits at a three-year low as private sector jobs have continued to grow over the past 25 consecutive months.
Although we have seen modest improvement, change has not happened fast enough. That is why we must reignite the American Dream – so that any American who works hard and plays by the rules can make it.
John has always been a strong advocate for investing in manufacturing, which must play a key role in our long-term economic strategy. Studies show that one manufacturing job supports four service sector jobs. Manufacturing has been an important source of jobs in Connecticut for years. That’s why our local manufacturing heroes are also some of our nation’s greatest: Samuel Colt, Eli Whitney, Amos Pratt and Igor Sikorsky. Their legacy and Yankee ingenuity carries on today and defines our region. In fact, over the next several years, Pratt and Whitney will manufacture more than 1,000 engines a year for the first time since 1983 and will continue to bring a number of job growth and economic opportunities to Connecticut’s vast manufacturing supply chain.
Over the past several years, John has helped bring economic security to the First Congressional District by fighting for the Air Force refueling tanker to be American-made with Pratt and Whitney engines and to have Pratt be the sole-source engine provider to the Joint Strike Fighter. These two projects guarantee hundreds of billions of dollars of work for Connecticut over the next 30 years. Additionally, he helped acquire federal resources to incubate companies like Arcor Manufacturing at the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technologies (CCAT). Arcor started with just five employees. After two years it grew to 15 and today has built its own facility and employs 30 people.
John also believes that this country needs to think creatively about how jobs are created. Recent studies have identified thousands of manufacturing jobs that are presently unfilled, with even more openings in the near future, here in Connecticut. Many small machine shops don’t have the human resources capacity to acquire top talent. That’s why John recently worked to bring academia, local manufacturers, government and machinists together to develop a new manufacturing education program at Goodwin College in East Hartford. The program, already graduating students, will both help residents looking to get into the growing field of manufacturing and help those already working further their careers. This program and other efforts are helping Connecticut residents back to work.
In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing corporations to spend unlimited secret money in elections. Since then, we’ve seen the rise of Super PACs and unprecedented amounts of corporate money overtaking our elections.
John is working to change that by leading the effort of Democrats in Congress to ensure that candidates are responsive to the American people – not to Washington lobbyists and special interests. As Chairman of the Democrat's Task Force on Election Reform, John is bringing together his colleagues to develop solutions that will increase transparency in our elections and refocus our campaigns on grassroots supporters.
The American government must work for the American people and it works best when there is transparency and bipartisanship.
America’s veterans deserve the same level of commitment that they have given to our country. John has voted to increase funding for veterans’ medical care, provide a pay-raise for our troops, support military family housing programs, and restore the promise of a full college education for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
From medical care, disability payments, homelessness prevention, vocational rehab, education assistance and pensions, America owes a debt of gratitude to our veterans that we must honor to the fullest. That’s why over the past several years, John has advocated allowing veterans to use their existing VA coverage at non-VA facilities if their wait times are too long and continues to believe we have a moral obligation to care for our veterans.
John has also worked to give employers tax incentives to hire veterans, previously introducing President Obama’s American Jobs Act. This program will work to alleviate our high unemployment rate among veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. John was glad to see Congress come together in a bipartisan fashion to get this provision passed into law for our veterans and military families.
Locally and nationally, homelessness among veterans is a challenge. John continues to take every opportunity to support local projects like Veterans Crossing in East Hartford that provide transition assistance for homeless veterans. John has also worked to highlight veterans’ homelessness nationally, previously hosting then-VA Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth at a local forum.
Our dependence on foreign oil puts our national security and economy at risk. We see this risk each time instability in the Middle East hits our pocketbooks at the pump. We need to invest in an energy future that’s abundant, affordable and American, while finding ways to keep energy prices down as we transition.
One way to keep energy prices down is to fight unnecessary speculation in oil markets. Exxon/Mobile and the investment bank Goldman Sachs have reported that speculation accounts for roughly ⅕ of the price of a barrel of oil. John has fought for stronger oversight of the commodities market to be included in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill. Now, thanks to Wall Street reform, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission has the authority to crack down on excessive and abusive oil speculation that adds to the price of gas and home heating oil.
Ending our country’s dangerous dependence on foreign oil makes our nation safer, our air cleaner and will help make America a global leader in renewable energy. John has voted against Republican bills that would gut our nation’s clean water funds, while reiterating his support for alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and fuel cell technology. John supports President Obama’s initiative to increase mile-per-gallon standards and strongly believes that we should be exploring alternative fuels such as natural gas. John has for years introduced the bipartisan NAT GAS Act, which looks to incentivize companies to replace diesel-powered fleets with natural gas trucks.
Time and again over the past several years, Congressional Republicans have proposed radical plans to end Medicare as we know it. Instead of extending the Medicare guarantee for future generations, the Republicans have proposed to “voucherize” Medicare and reopen the Medicare Part D “donut hole”. John believes this is wrong and will continue fighting to protect and strengthen this critical program along with Social Security.
Four years after the historic passage of the Affordable Care Act, Connecticut and the United States continue to see positive results. Thanks to the law, millions of young adults have been able to stay on their parent’s health insurance until age 26 and millions of seniors have saved billions of dollars in prescription drug costs thanks to the law closing a gap in coverage, known as the Medicare Part D “donut hole.” The law also ends the injustice of Americans with pre-existing health conditions being denied or charged more for health insurance and makes sure Americans have access to affordable coverage.
Despite this historic step forward, Republicans in the House of Representatives have voted more than 50 times to repeal the bill and deny Americans these vital benefits. Instead of strengthening the Medicare guarantee for future generations, Republicans have looked to provide future seniors with a voucher and undo the donut hole provision that has and will continue to save seniors billions of dollars. John was proud to vote against these disastrous proposals and will continue to fight to protect Medicare and the Affordable Care Act.
President Obama’s stark rebuttal of the Bush Doctrine has kept the United States on the offensive in the War on Terrorism, while making our country safer. His gutsy decision-making and the hard work of our armed forces and intelligence services brought Osama Bin Laden to justice.
Additionally, President Obama has continued his promise to end a near decade-long occupation in Iraq. As the situation overseas develops to this day, John believes we cannot go it alone in Iraq and has called for global and regional support to address the area. John has also time and again given the public an opportunity to comment on our nation’s involvement in Iraq, Syria and around the world, and brought your comments and concerns back to Washington.
As John has said numerous times, Israel remains the U.S.’s strongest ally in the Middle East. He supports protecting security through the use of sanctions on Iran and Syria while working with our international partners towards peace in the region.