It is not right that in the greatest country in the world one unexpected trip to the emergency room, or medical diagnosis can leave a family financially devastated. Before Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, over 40 million people in the United States had no health insurance. While the ACA was a step in the right direction and enabled more than 20 million previously uninsured individuals to have coverage, it didn’t go far enough.
I believe in the creation of a “Medicare for All Who Want It” plan – an affordable public option. Millions of people in the US that have excellent employer-provided health insurance, and they shouldn’t have to give up their private insurance. But for those among us with no insurance, or that are underinsured, a public option would not only provide them with the ability to get the care they need; but would reign in the out of control private insurers; forcing them to bring down costs. A Medicare For All Who Want It plan is what our country needs.
A bold vision for the future of Northwest Indiana is crucial to spur economic growth and job creation. As mayor, I have a proven track record of thinking outside the box to bring investments to the region – during the last 16 years, we’ve had over $900 million in investments, bringing thousands of jobs for Northwest Indiana residents and keeping our labor unions working. I’ve partnered with our state agencies to help bring a $40 million state-of-the-art data center to the shores of Lake Michigan. I have also supported the expansion of the South Shore Railway, which will bring hundreds of millions of dollars and well-paying jobs into Northwest Indiana. I’ve used economic development tools to keep our companies here in Indiana and have brought new companies in from out of state and the investment and jobs that comes with them. No other candidate has the track record that I do – I’ve actually accomplished things; hundreds of millions of dollars invested and thousands of jobs created.
As a Member of Congress, I have the experience and knowledge to continue to bring large-scale infrastructure projects to our region and will work to make it easier for businesses to invest in our local communities. We need the type of bold leadership that I will bring to Washington, D.C. to continue to grow the economy and bring projects home to Northwest Indiana.
As mayor, I'm committed to public education, teachers, and students. As a father of a high school English teacher, I know how hard our teachers work and how important it is that they have the up-to-date facilities and good salaries while they are teaching our students to compete and excel. That's why I supported efforts on referendums to fund the construction of a new high school, make improvements to other school buildings, and increase teachers’ pay. One of my proudest achievements is the award-winning College Bound Scholarship program, which has been recognized twice by the U.S. Conference of Mayors for sending over 6,000 students to college and allowing them to graduate with little to no debt. Throughout the past 16 years as Hammond's mayor, I have visited countless classrooms to talk with students during my regularly scheduled Lunch & Learn events. I've also made sure our youth have great facilities like the new Sportsplex, ice rink, and park improvements for baseball, football, and soccer, all so our children have safe and fun places to enjoy and compete.
Ensuring that public education is well-funded and supported should be a priority for Congress – Title I funding should not just be increased, but the allocation of these funds through the Department of Education should also be improved. As a Member of Congress, I will look out for our teachers and children so that public education is properly funded. I will work with solutions-oriented individuals and groups to enact reforms that will support public education and make much needed investments; not just into our schools but also into important programs, including early childhood education and the Individuals with Disability Education Act. Our children's future and education is at stake; I'm going to Washington to fight for them and all of Northwest Indiana.
As mayor of the biggest city in Lake County (and the eighth largest in Indiana) I have spent 15 years improving the city’s infrastructure: rebuilding miles of residential streets, creating a huge stormwater basin to avoid water pollution, developing new paved bike trails and pedestrian bridges, and supporting the expansion of the South Shore Railroad. I know how to bring large improvement projects to the region because I have been doing it since 2004. As your Congressman, I will work to bring home federal dollars to keep our infrastructure from decaying and keep the thousands of infrastructure jobs safe. It's estimated that our country as a whole will need trillions of dollars in the next 15 years to fix its roads, bridges, and railways. I will fight to make sure Northwest Indiana's infrastructure priorities are funded.
As the Mayor of Hammond, I have fought every day on behalf of the residents of our city. Being a fighter for Hammond has allowed the city to thrive, attract new businesses, build new city features, and attract new residents. Being a fighter on behalf of my constituents is one of my best traits as an elected official – one that I will bring to my work as an elected Member of Congress. Northwest Indiana deserves new infrastructure, investments into existing businesses, strong unions, and protection of our natural resources; I have the track record to prove that I will fight harder than anyone else on behalf of the Region for these investments into our community.
Being available and accountable to my constituents has been a hallmark of my over fifteen years of elected office. As mayor, I started Mayor’s Night Out, a public forum where residents could ask me and my department heads any question that they wanted to pose. I have a weekly radio show on WJOB in Hammond and another radio show on WLTH in Gary where I talk about issues and answer questions from callers. I’ve also made sure that Hammond was at the forefront of social media utilizing facebook and twitter to ensure a strong presence, as well as starting GoHammond.tv, an online service allowing residents to see their government at work online if they were unable to attend in person. Being transparent and available, both in person and online, means that I will always be accountable to the voters and taxpayers of Northwest Indiana. I will continue being available and accountable to you as your Congressman.