As a Hospital Corpsman in the Navy, Austin Songer served our country faithfully. While working in the American Academy for Orthopaedic Surgeons, he further extended his service to the nation by helping citizens directly. With his service to citizens he has learned that one must stand by their duty and execute it faithfully. That's why, with the ascension of Donald Trump, he decided not to re-enter the Navy, but run for Congress in Illinois' 6th district as a Democrat.
Had he re-entered the Navy, his duty would have been impeded by his superiors. Donald Trump's convictions stand against both what Austin stands for, our servicemen stand for, and our country stands for. His attempts to stifle the investigation into Russian interference are wholly unpatriotic, and impede the function of democracy. His rejection of the Paris Agreement stands to allow entire cities to be sunken underwater as global warming melts ice caps and ocean volume increases.
Peter Roskam, the current member of Congress from the 6th district, has done nothing to stop Trump. He embraced the travel ban, saying that "Americans are safer because of Trump." He supported the AHCA, which would take healthcare away from many of his own constituents. He will be the main architect to Trump's efforts on tax reform, which will only serve to benefit special interests.
And when Roskam's constituents desire accountability, what does he do? He doesn't show up to town halls and has closed-door meetings with constituents he cherry-picks to talk with.
Frankly, we need someone who will stand up for the 6th District's, and ultimately American values. Austin Songer is the man for the job.
How Songer will stand for his constituents' values:
As someone who has worked in health for much of his career, Austin understands this issue better than most. He believes, like many, that single-payer will ultimately be the way to go. He finds it unfathomable that we cannot consider healthcare as a right as almost every other modernized nation does.
The AHCA is an example of Trump and Roskam's unpatriotic values. Any sensible elected official would not take away benefits from their own constituents. To take away the security of Americans by not giving them affordable health care plans is the equivalent of making American soldiers allow terrorists to pass through American cities and ravage them.
Reforming the ACA is the logical option, as Austin and Democrats nationwide see it. Addressing the concerns of healthcare providers by amending the ACA to stabilize the market will make it so that we don't have the situation we see today, where providers are exiting counties rapidly and leaving consumers with little to no providers of healthcare.
Austin believes healthcare reform must be systemic and must make an effort to help the most needy. To do this, he believes in making prescription drugs affordable to the consumer and curbing the greed of pharmaceutical companies. He also believes that we must help those with addiction and mental health problems by expanding care for them.
For those in the 6th district of Illinois that know Roskam, you know that he hates Iran with a burning passion. However, that resistance to undemocratic societies is not seen when Roskam talks about Russia. He does not hold Trump accountable to the people by demanding an investigation into Russian interference in our election.
Austin will hold Russia, along with all other non-democracies accountable for their lack of rule of law and human rights. Iran, Russia, North Korea, Syria, no one will get a free pass from Austin.
In terms of Middle East policy, Austin's approach will be more nuanced than that of Trump's or Roskam's. No more of "let's bomb the hell out of ISIL" or blind pro-Israel support. Austin sees the need to be diplomatic, to support human rights and democracy, and to not be entangled. Austin lived through Iraq and Afghanistan, and he does not want boots on the ground any longer.
The travel ban is something that is close to Austin's heart. His fiance is Muslim, and was born and raised in a Muslim nation. He believes that people should be allowed to seek refuge where they want to, and should not fear being turned away and sent back to their home nation. To do so would contradict the perception of America as a melting pot of cultures and the land of the free.
Austin wholeheartedly rejects the border wall as a solution to illegal immigration problems. While border security is necessary, Austin believes in efficient law enforcement, less militarization, and assistance to asylum-seekers rather than a wall which Mexico will never pay for.
Austin also wants to welcome those families which are already in the US. They should not have to fear racial profiling, the separation of their families, or deportation by immigration authorities. He believes we should allow those who have established lives here to flourish and to have a path to citizenship. The foundation of Trump's argument for detention and deportation that illegal immigrants are criminals is completely false.
Unlike Trump, Austin does not feign criticism of NAFTA. While Trump goes on acting as if he will renegotiate NAFTA or other free trade deals, Austin will make an attempt to improve free trade deals. Sadly, support for free trade by both parties has led to jobs in manufacturing leaving the US and going to Mexico, China, and other places where wages are much lower. Not only is it unfair to Americans who can no longer enter the workforce because their job is obsolete, it is also unfair for the foreign worker who makes very little money for hours and hours of toil.
Austin will make sure we address poverty issues globally without having to give away jobs to address the issue. He will fight for the global economic success of the working class, not for special interests in the US who want to increase profits by lowering production costs.
Betsy DeVos's ideas on education ultimately mean to serve special interests. Creating a market structure for education, which is effectively what school-choice policies do, does not work because it becomes a question of profits for education providers rather than how many kids actually get a good education. It becomes more about what is the cheapest school a parent can take their kid to than what is the best school in the area. This model is not viable for the obvious reason that good education is not equitable and can only be afforded by well-to-do families.
Austin does not believe this model is viable either. He believes that this system is effectively socioeconomic segregation. This segregation can also turn racial, as seen from case studies of charter schools in across the nation*. Rather than look to a market structure to improve schooling, Austin believes in improving the public school system already in place.
Austin believes even in college, students should not be profited on. He believes interest rates on student loans should be reduced and students should be able to refinance loans. In addition, tuition for public colleges should be free in Austin's view, as countries like Germany are able to do.
Climate change is real, as Austin and scientists both know. However, most Americans do not realize that scientists have a consensus that climate change is occurring and human-caused**. We cannot have public officials such as Rick Perry, Scott Pruitt, and most of all, President Trump denying what is considered to be a truth in climate science.
The censoring of climate change by the EPA is wrong in Austin's view, and Austin will fight this and Pruitt's crusade against climate change and climate science while doing so.
Austin also wants to promote a greener economy. Already we have companies like Tesla and Volvo making the push for affordable electric cars. The cost of solar has gone down dramatically over the course of a few years due to increased scale of production***. Petroleum execs will claim that renewable energy sources and products running on them will never be affordable, but the evidence contradicts this. Austin will make sure that we increase the push for the affordability of renewable technology, which will increase such technology's use and will reduce carbon emissions.
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July 8, 2017