To Fix Our Problems, We Have to Change Washington

To Fix Our Problems, We Have to Change Washington

Up to two years ago, it never occurred to me to get involved in politics, let alone run for Congress.  But like many of you, I was disgusted by what was going on in Washington.  They were spending away our children and grandchildren’s futures, shouldering them with trillions of dollars of debt and mortgaging their future.

The opportunities we had to reach the American Dream were being threatened.  I could not sit idly by and watch that happen.  Our children and grandchildren deserve the same opportunities my generation had growing up. 

I grew up in a little town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan called Iron River.  At an early age I lost my father in a mining accident.  Even without a father, my mother and grandmother made sure I understood the meaning of hard work and the value of family.  Together they taught me the American Dream was achievable through hard work, responsibility and independence.

So I saved the money I earned doing odd jobs in order to attend college and become a doctor.  It wasn’t it easy, but it was worth it.  That’s the American Dream.

After medical school, I started my medical practice and served the community for nearly 30 years. 

I’m not a politician.  I’m not somebody who will make a career in Washington; I have a career in medicine back here in Northern Michigan.  Simply put, I’m a doctor. I diagnose an ailment then set out to cure it.

And one of our countries biggest ailments is our growing national debt.

Our debt adds up to over $48,000 for every man, woman and child.  Yet Washington keeps spending.  A recent study shows that government duplication and waste within Washington bureaucracies is costing us tens of billions of dollars each year.

I’m trying to end that; it’s one of the main reasons why I ran for Congress.  I’m supporting a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution because Washington can’t be trusted to police themselves.  Some politicians say it can’t be done. I’m glad I’m not a politician, because I know it has to be done.

We also have to focus on getting our economy going.  I’ve talked to small business owners during my “100 in 100” Tour in which I am visiting 100 small businesses in Northern Michigan in 100 days.  I am meeting with local small business leaders to hear from them firsthand how their businesses are being affected by Washington.  They tell me they’re worried about the impact of things like Washington regulations, threats of higher taxes and the effects the new health care law will have on them and their ability to grow and create good jobs. 

A great example is Russ Lowe, President & CEO of 41 Lumber Company in Quinessec, Michigan.  He is hampered by over-regulation.  His business depends on inexpensive access to lumber and timber.  However, the government prevents foresting on Federal lands through an overly complicated system that promotes litigation from outside groups and increases the cost of the lumber.  Over regulation in foresting has hurt 41 Lumber Company and reduced their ability to hire — what they need is less government bureaucracy so they can access the forests that are essential for the growth of their business.

Uncertainty is hampering job growth.  We need to help small business owners in Northern Michigan, remove the uncertainty, get rid of the unreasonable regulations and finally repeal and replace the health care law with patient-centered health care solutions.  We can’t afford to wait.

John and Star Romp, owners of the Stonehouse in Escanaba, Michigan, cannot wait.  They are going to have to drop health insurance for their employees when the new healthcare law takes effect.  They have always provided insurance for their employees, yet with the new regulations raising costs, they will not be able to afford insurance for all their full time and part time employees.  They have made the business decision that it is cheaper to pay the penalty than to pay for health insurance for every employee.  They want to continue to provide health insurance for their employees, but they also want to keep their doors open–they cannot do both.

I know there is a lot of frustration with Washington.  I share it.  It’s unbelievable, and we can’t let it stand.

But I look back at that decision to run two years ago and know it was the right one.  The American Dream is something I was lucky enough to have a shot at growing up.  We can’t let Washington take away the opportunities we had growing up.  Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.