FRANKEN FOR IOWA
ON THE ISSUES
- Democracy creates opportunity. Authoritarianism destroys opportunity. With our voting rights under attack and our civil liberties threatened on a daily basis, we cannot sit back and watch our democracy crumble amidst GOP lies and false propaganda.
- The crisis in Ukraine and the courageous Ukrainian people are an example to all of us of the vital importance of defending democracy. In Mike Franken, we have a military leader who understands the importance of diplomacy and might. We must work together to protect our democracy. It is the responsibility of the people and their elected leaders to do this. Franken will protect our democracy in the halls of the U.S. Senate, where there are Republicans who seek to silence the majority through suppression of voter access. He will work actively to rein in the influence of special interests, particularly through campaign finance reform.
- January 6th set a dangerous precedent that we as a nation condone political violence. There are elected GOP Members of Congress who continue to perpetuate the Big Lie in their quest to destroy free and fair elections. For instance, Senator Grassley blocked efforts to protect our democracy when he voted no to form a bipartisan commission to investigate the attack. He needs to explain his actions to Iowans and the nation. Iowans deserve a leader who will speak truth to power. They deserve a Senator who will represent every Iowan and use leadership to help heal the divisiveness between us.
When I’m elected to the United States Senate, I will work with Democrats and Republicans to address the challenges and concerns of older Iowans and the families who love, support, and often worry about them.
My priorities are to:
Keep Social Security Solvent for this and Future Generations
- Currently, workers and the self-employed are required to make a Social Security contribution only on the first $147,000 of earnings. We need to make all earnings subject to the Social Security tax. Removing that earnings cap will increase revenue and bring greater fairness to the system.
- Make Medicare available to everyone. Iowans deserve a health care system like the one I had in the military; one that provides high quality and affordable health care. A big first step is to make Medicare available starting at age 50.
- Add coverage for vision, hearing, and dental care. Medicare has been part of the fabric of American life since its passage in 1965. It can be improved by adding coverage for basic, essential vision, hearing, and dental services. Adding this vital coverage will greatly improve the health and quality of life for older Iowans.
Lower the Cost of Prescription Drugs
- High drug prices are putting too many Iowans at risk. Many skip getting needed prescriptions filled, cut their pills in half, or take them less often than required. To drive down the cost, Medicare needs to do what the Veterans Administration does – use its national purchasing power to negotiate prices with drug companies. We have a system in place that works. Let’s expand it to benefit everyone.
Improve Long-Term Care Services, While Expanding Ways to Pay for Them
Long-term care services can be hard to find, the quality spotty, and the costs enormous. Congress must act with policies and programs that
- Help people age-in-place by providing more services where they want them, in their homes,
- Pay for quality of long-term care services rather than volume,
- Ensure that jobs for those providing care offer good pay and benefits,
- Establish paid leave to help family caregivers juggling their careers and caregiving responsibilities, and
- Help pay for services by establishing new public programs and expanding private insurance options.
How do we pay for all of this? We can pay for any additional costs with a simpler and fairer tax system where every American, including the wealthy and big corporations, pays their fair share. The first step is to eliminate the Trump tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest Americans.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Senator Ted Kennedy taught me to dream big but to be pragmatic. We can’t talk about things forever; we have to take action and get results. I did that as an Admiral in the Navy, I’ll do that for older – and all – Iowans as their Senator.
- As a principle, this nation was founded on the idea of fairness, with the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” There was recognition that unfairness exists in part of our Constitution, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. Mike Franken lives by these principles.
- Our criminal justice system is not and has not been fair for many reasons. There are different standards built into the system that penalize black and brown communities. Franken will fight to make our criminal justice system work fairly for everyone, not just the wealthy, connected, and wily.
- Fairness means that everyone has the right to make their own personal health decisions. Admiral Franken supports a woman’s right to full autonomy when it comes to her health and her body. As a nation, we fail the test of fairness when we hold women to a different standard than men.
- Fairness also means equal pay for equal work. There can be no double standard for women or men. Both need to have paid family leave and sick leave and end sexual discrimination, as well as workplace sexual harassment.
Week after week, we are witness to violent attacks in communities of every size – in our grocery stores, in our preschools, in our places of worship. We are witness to hate crimes, to accidental shootings of children in their own homes, to domestic violence. And after each attack, we perform the same charade, while nothing changes. It won’t stop. It won’t stop until our government leadership and our society make it stop through structural transformation. I refuse to sit by and watch while innocent Americans – a disproportionate number of people of color – are hunted and murdered while white supremacists and hate-filled killers are propped up by Fox News and the GOP. Statements are empty. It’s time to act. It’s time to elect leaders who are urgently committed to doing whatever it takes to pass gun control and to advance policies that create equity. As a U.S. Senator, I pledge to do both.
- Keeping us safe requires a steady hand and swift, shrewd decision-making. Admiral Franken has the right balance of leadership and experience to navigate complex situations to keep us safe at home and abroad. After serving as a top military advisor to the late Senator Ted Kennedy and as a three-star Admiral under President Barack Obama, Admiral Franken knows how to remain cool, calm, and collected in times of crisis. If elected, Franken would be the highest-ranking military officer to ever serve in the U.S. Senate.
- The information wars are a global threat with local consequences. Franken chaired a high technology task force assigned to explore how an adversary could use cyber, media, space-based assets, and other disrupting means on the United States or its allies. Admiral Franken knows how to keep us safe. He’s been doing it for years.
- Climate change is the most clear and direct threat to the survival of our planet and the future of our children and grandchildren. With a highly decorated background in science, Admiral Franken is serious about tackling climate change and will implement the necessary measures to reduce greenhouse gas emission and our overall carbon footprint. This is a global threat that we can no longer ignore. He will work across the aisle because the fate of our planet should not be a partisan issue. Iowa can be a leader in combating climate change.
- Iowans deserve a healthcare system designed to provide quality, single payer healthcare – for everyone. Our current healthcare system is staffed by the world’s best health care providers, the best equipment, the best facilities, but too often, it puts profits over people. It’s inordinately hard to navigate and far too expensive. That’s why Admiral Franken supports universal healthcare for everyone unlike Senator Grassley who repeatedly blocks efforts to correct Medicare drug pricing.
- As a cancer survivor, Mike Franken knows how fortunate he was to receive high quality health care and coverage as a member of the U.S. military. Franken believes that every family should receive the same quality of care he and his family received as a member of the military, including mental and dental health. And as a native of NW Iowa, he understands how much our rural hospitals are hurting and lack the necessary resources for basic patient care. We also need more rural hospitals, so no Iowan has to travel great distances for urgent care.
- Too many Iowans are one accident or one medical malady away from bankruptcy or insurmountable debt. Admiral Franken supports a public healthcare option to lower costs and cover everyone. Healthcare is a fundamental right that every Iowan deserves, as a US Senator, Mike Franken will work to make healthcare accessible for all and fight to lower prescription drug costs for seniors.
With the overturning of Roe, there is a clear and consistent Republican effort to end the right to abortions. We must elect leaders who will unwaveringly commit to codifying Roe and to upholding the fundamental right for women to make their own health care decisions. If elected, I will make codifying Roe a top priority if it remains undone in 2022. With the overturning of Roe, over 26 states are positioned to ban abortion – taking away health care for millions of people. Iowa could be one of those states by 2024. It is more urgent than ever to work to defeat Chuck Grassley, who has consistently, shamefully, and dishonestly voted to take away abortion rights. Not only do I pledge to codify Roe, I believe this is a gloves off, bare-fisted moment in history, necessitating that the filibuster must go, as well. Minority rule has become a barrier to progress and we are in a fight for our lives, our rights, and our Democracy.
- Agriculture policy of recent decades has incentivized farm consolidation; has diminished the resiliency of independent, diversified farms; has greatly reduced opportunities for beginner-farmers and rural youth. Policies and programs in the 2023 farm bill must be designed to address and reverse these trends and gain stability and quality of life for Iowa’s countryside population.
- The supply and processing sectors of the food chain have undergone consolidation and severely limit farm purchasing and marketing choices. Robust action is required to break up monopolies and deconcentrate agribusiness.
- Soil and water stewardship and carbon-reduction goals for the farm sector must be supported and adequately incentivized by provisions of the 2023 farm bill.