Candidate Responses - Greg Pilkington
In addition to answering the 20 survey questions, this candidate provided the following elaboration on several progressive issues.
Seeking a fair, honest, and open government that works for all:
I fully support the efforts of organizations like “End Citizens United” in their efforts to end Big Money in politics and fix our rigged political system. I support their efforts to elect campaign finance reform champions like myself and elevating this issue in the national conversation. When elected I will work in partnership with these champions to overturn Citizens United and end the unlimited and undisclosed money in politics.
Seeking broader rights and better wages for workers:
I fully support Sen Bernie Sanders bill "Pay Workers a Living Wage Act" and the Progressive Majority's Action Fund statement on minimum wage, "America is supposed to be a land of opportunity, where hard work is rewarded. But today’s minimum wage is not enough for a family to make ends meet. Raising the minimum wage provides hard-working Americans with income to spend on the basics they need. This, in turn, generates business for our economy and eases the burden on taxpayer-funded services. It’s a win-win. Raising the minimum wage helps build an economy that works for everyone, not just the richest one percent."
Seeking to maintain a strong economy:
I fully support President Obama's efforts to encourage insourcing, including the four actions his administration proposed that the federal government take: - Create incentives for businesses to invest in hiring and expanding; - Ensure that U.S. businesses seeking to expand globally have access to new markets; - Guarantee that American workers are the mostly highly-educated and best-trained in the world; and - Provide the financial and technical support necessary for companies to grow and expand. In 2016, nearly three in four Fortune 500 companies maintained subsidiaries in offshore tax havens, according to “Offshore Shell Games,” an annual study of offshore tax avoidance released by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Fortune 500 companies’ offshore cash hoard now totals $2.6 trillion, a sum on which these companies are avoiding up to $752 billion in U.S. taxes." I agree with Richard Phillips, senior policy analyst at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, that real tax reform, unlike the recent tax bill passed by Republicans, would fix the deferral loophole, not reward companies for using the loophole to avoid taxes year after year. Federal Infrastructure projects are the cornerstone of my campaign platform. I propose these federal infrastructure projects as a way to improve the quality of life for those that live in FL-15. These projects should also be proportionally set aside for companies that have union membership and the wages paid on any federal project should be subject to prevailing wages under the Davis-Bacon Act. I would propose legislation to improve our nations, roads (like I-4), bridges, waste water treatment facilities, schools, and fire stations, for starters.
Seeking to provide a quality public education for all children, as guaranteed by our State Constitution:
I support free two year post high school training as well as the addition of technical/vocational training, which should include federal subsidies for union-related apprenticeship programs. Likewise, I agree that basic subsidies should be provided based on a needs assessment.
Seeking justice and equality for all:
Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said that private prisons “compare poorly” to facilities run by the federal Bureau of Prisons. The DOJ found that, in general, private prisons provide fewer correctional services at greater security and safety risk to inmates and staff, without producing substantial savings. I believe that we should never privatize the incarceration of a human being. There should never be a commercial incentive to keep people in prison. I fully support the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. It has been far too long and people have waited for our representatives to act, with no resolution. It is time we make the changes needed in Washington and obtain the needed ratifications in Congress to finally pass this historic piece of legislation. I fully support women's rights, including her absolute freedom of choice to determine appropriate medical procedures in cooperation with her family and medical service provider. Under no circumstance would I ever support nor advocate for an employer or any government agency to have discretionary power over a Physician's diagnosis or medically-needed procedure. I will proudly stand with Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL) as a lead cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act (S. 510/H.R. 1322). I will work to raise awareness among my peers that the assault on access to abortion care is a national crisis, and not one limited to a few states. My position is that the federal Women’s Health Protection Act is a critical policy response to the abortion access crisis and I clearly appreciate that the bill is a top priority of the reproductive health, rights, and justice movements.
Seeking recognition of the fundamental right to affordable housing, health care and retirement security:
It has been the goal of Democrats since Franklin D. Roosevelt to create a universal health care system guaranteeing health care to all people. Every other major industrialized nation has done so. It is time for this country to join them and fulfill the legacy of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson and other great Democrats. I will stand with those in Congress that are willing to find workable solutions to fund the basic healthcare needs of all Americans. Expanding Medicare, controlling prices through RVRBS-based mechanics, and incentivizing medical service providers for "well care" as opposed to remedial care are all important foundations of my platform. I will go one further. We do not need to 'negotiate' prices. We're talking about human beings’ health and wellbeing. We can 'fix' the profit margin and control the pricing model. We must develop this legislation and execute these regulations as soon as possible. People should not go broke because they get sick or injured. I support the importation of prescription drugs, but not necessarily for the same reasons as others. I believe that we should allow foreign pharmaceuticals to be sold under the same stringent controls as domestic pharmaceuticals. That said, when we impose price controls on pharmaceuticals there will be less incentive to import them as the price will be determined by the mechanics of the price control and not necessarily the origin of manufacture. In other words, if the selling price is capped and production costs are similar it may not be profitable to import. If it is, then we should allow for the import of these pharmaceuticals with the caveats mentioned earlier.
Seeking a clean and safe environment:
We need to move away from the end-consumer use of fossil fuels. We should contain the use of these energy sources to facilities that can practice carbon capture and liquefaction to sustain the electrical grid and related transportation grids (electric light rail, electric car recharging, etc). We should expand the use of offshore wind farms and solar arrays. In the right locations the infrastructure could be coupled with open sea fisheries. In any case, Fisherman must be given access to areas that are necessary to sustain commercial fishing operations, while moving to these renewable resources. We cannot continue to allow these emissions. We know their presence is detrimental to our environment. We should encourage as many energy users as possible to establish and maintain their own sources of energy through the use of solar technologies. Likewise, we need to give tax credits to individuals and businesses that convert to this technology including the use of alternative storage and use devices like "home batteries".
Seeking a peaceful and secure world:
I have worked in international trade for more than two decades, including nine years with the World Customs Organization. I have worked with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, USAID, the US State Dept, the US Justice Dept and most of the development banks. Working with Customs at the border, we use diplomacy and non-military aid to not only stabilize but improve the distressed societies we work in through trade facilitation initiatives. I have personally led World Bank-sponsored Leadership and Management Development workshops for ministerial staff around the globe and have seen firsthand the impact of this aid. I absolutely oppose torture in all instances and support the prosecution of any officials who aid and abet torture. I also support the International Criminal Court and denounce any use of force or torture that would denigrate human rights of an individual. We are better than that. Police agencies must act within their remit to serve and protect. Militarized police units are an invitation to civil disobedience through confrontation and escalation. We would be much better served investing in trained psychologists and sociologists to help our brothers and sisters that give their lives to protect us rather than spending millions of dollars on used military hardware.