Liz Watson is running for Congress because she wants to bring good jobs, affordable health care, high-quality public education, and clean energy to Indiana’s working families. Liz has developed strong plans concerning four key issues she feels are critical in improving the lives of Hoosier families.
LIZ'S PLAN FOR GOOD JOBS
People who work hard and play by the rules should be able to earn a good living for themselves and their families. They should have the freedom to pursue the American Dream of home ownership, high-quality child care, affordable college or job training, and a safe and dignified retirement.
Indiana has the potential to deliver for hardworking families and small business owners. We have strong public schools and thriving career and technical education programs. We also have a large manufacturing sector, which is a source of good-paying, steady jobs. At about three percent, our unemployment rate is well below the national average.
But our economy isn’t working the way it should: too many people are stuck with low wages while costs keep rising. Working people have more than doubled our nation’s productivity in the last four decades, yet their wages have barely grown. At the same time, CEO pay has risen by more than 900 percent. This isn’t good for families, and it isn’t good for our economy. It’s not fair that Hoosier families are struggling to keep their heads above water. The minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 per hour for the past decade, which leaves families who work full-time, year-round living in poverty. Today, nearly 14 percent of families in our district have household incomes below the poverty line.
Working people who are underpaid cannot invest in their families, their neighborhoods, and or retrain for the jobs of the future. Hoosiers deserve a long overdue raise, access to training for in-demand careers, fair treatment on the job, help juggling work and family life, and a secure and dignified retirement. They also need the freedom to join together at work to speak up for their fair share. But for far too many, these basic protections have slipped out of reach.
The solutions to these problems are there, if we are ready to stand up for what’s fair. We need a new economic approach that helps working people and businesses, not just the one percent. We have to decide whether we are going to let special interests continue to manipulate the rules of our economy for their own short-term gain, or whether we’re going to invest in the future of our families and our nation.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON IMPORTANT STEPS WE CAN TAKE TO MOVE INDIANA’S WORKING FAMILIES, OUR BUSINESSES, AND OUR ECONOMY FORWARD.
LIZ'S PLAN TO STRENGTHEN HEALTH CARE
Health care is very personal for me. My dad was very sick last year, and he was fortunate to have access to life-saving treatment, paid for by Medicare. We sat by his bedside in Indianapolis for nearly a month while he was in a coma. But we didn’t have to worry about our family going bankrupt to pay for his care, because Medicare was there for him. And I didn’t have to worry about losing my job, because I was able to take paid family and medical leave.
My family’s story is not unusual. Every family faces unexpected health care expenses, and there is no way of predicting them. The whole point of insurance is that it covers the unexpected. That is what it’s there for.
Instead of making coverage more affordable, Republicans in Congress want to take us back to the days when your health plan didn’t have to cover essential services, you could not get coverage if you had a pre-existing condition, and you could lose your insurance if your care became too expensive. They will make care more expensive for our seniors, and take away their long-term care.
We need to move forward, not back, in the battle to expand access to affordable, quality health care. A solid majority of the American people believe that the federal government should insure, and ensure, universal health care coverage. That is why I support the Medicare for All Act of 2017, which the Democrats introduced in Congress this year. It is the only proposal on the table that will accomplish the three essential goals of universal coverage, quality care, and affordability. This legislation would gradually expand eligibility for Medicare and allow people to buy into the system during the transition to universal coverage.
Don't let anyone tell you this can't happen. It is a proposal that will bring down the cost of care, make our communities and families more secure, and make us more competitive with countries that spend much less money and get better care. In a Medicare for All program, no one will have to pay $700 for an EpiPen. Drug companies won't be able to get away with price-gouging any more, because the Medicare program can negotiate with drug companies and bring down these outrageous costs. Americans and Hoosiers deserve nothing less.
And don't let anyone tell you this isn't realistic. We can win the war for universal coverage and also fight and win the battles along the way that get us there. That is why I also support the bipartisan effort of Senators Patty Murray and Lamar Alexander to stabilize the health care market while we fight for meaningful reform. It's clear that "Repeal and Replace" was all hat and no cattle. We need to move forward, not back, and that's why this bipartisan deal is essential.
Medicare isn't perfect. I recently spoke with a man who told me about having to pay thousands of dollars per month for his wife's life-threatening chronic condition that Medicare will not fully cover. No one should go bankrupt paying hospital bills. We can reform Medicare to bring down the cost of care, while expanding coverage to every American.
The solutions to these problems are there, if we are willing to join together and fight the special interests who make our health care system the most expensive in the world.
LIZ'S PLAN FOR STRONG
I have two children in public school, and I know the difference that great schools can make in our children’s lives. All of our children deserve a high-quality education. At every level—from early childhood education and pre-K through community and four-year college—we must ensure that we are supporting our students and teachers.
Public schools are often the hub of community activity in many of our small towns in southern Indiana. When our schools shut down, this hurts whole communities. We need to make certain that every public school has the resources it needs to help our children thrive. We must support early learning and pre-K for our youngest learners, continue to develop a strong and thriving career and technical education program in Indiana, support our community college system in training students for today’s in-demand jobs, and address the skyrocketing costs of higher education.
My dad went to college at Indiana University on the G.I. bill after serving in the U.S. Navy. He was able to do this even though his family lived paycheck to paycheck and his mother did not have a high school diploma. That opportunity gave our family a shot at the American Dream, and it would not have been possible if the federal government had not invested in his future and in the future of our family. I believe that we must strengthen educational opportunities for our students—from pre-K through affordable two and four-year colleges. Our kids are counting on us, and we cannot let them down.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON LIZ’S PLAN TO SUPPORT A STRONG PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM FOR ALL OUR STUDENTS.
Liz's Plan For Energy And The Environment
We are fortunate to have the Hoosier National Forest, countless lakes and streams, and rich farmland in Indiana. I grew up camping in our forests and swimming in our lakes. I am proud that Indiana’s natural beauty supports a thriving tourism industry in our district.
Hoosiers are strong believers in being good stewards of our land. This means leaving clean air and clean water for the next generation. We can also strengthen our national security through reducing our dependence on foreign oil and increasing our domestic energy production. By addressing climate change, we can protect our health and the environment.
I will support the growth of clean energy jobs and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Indiana through smart public policy. For example, I support tax credits for homeowners to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes.
We should not be losing the race for renewable energy jobs to China or any other country. We should be producing wind turbines and other clean energy solutions right here at home in Indiana. We should make investments in training a clean energy workforce, and in upgrading our public buildings to become more energy-efficient.
Indiana already has more than 44,000 clean energy jobs, most of which are in energy efficiency. This sector helps make existing systems, such as HVACs, more energy-efficient, and it produces advanced building materials. With a strong building construction industry, we have the potential to grow this sector of our economy substantially.
Indiana is among the top ten coal-producing states, with our coal production concentrated in the southwest corner of the state. This is a $750 million industry in Indiana. As other forms of energy increase their footprint in Indiana, I would support legislation to make workforce training opportunities available for miners in these new forms of energy production.
We also have a responsibility to protect the health and well-being of our coal miners who are suffering from black lung disease. This aggressive lung disease is the result of exposure to coal dust, and it is all too often fatal. Over 76,000 miners have died from black lung since 1968.
Supporting our miners means ensuring that their health care needs are met and that their pension funds are solvent. I support the Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act, which would streamline the application process for black lung benefits, and the Miners Pension Protection Act, which would ensure that our miners’ pensions are adequately funded.