On the Issues

FIGHTING FOR RURAL INDIANA

posted Feb 13, 2017, 12:27 PM by Lane Siekman   [ updated Sep 13, 2017, 12:11 PM ]

The 6th District is Indiana's most rural congressional district. Lane pledges to fight to protect and help grow our rural economy. He supports innovative rural economic development initiatives, including investments in farm-to-school and farm-to-table initiatives; agri-tourism programs; school gardens; large scale biomass fired electric plants; shared agricultural processing and storage facilities; and anaerobic digesters to process cow manure into methane gas. He will work for fair trade deals that support and grow our exports in foreign markets and enlist farmers as partners in promoting conservation and stewardship to keep our air and water clean and to combat climate change. Lane believes that we need more family farms, not more factory farms.  He supports increase our investments in renewable energy and addressing the rural infrastructure crisis facing this country.


I grew up in a community that was founded on the family farm. My Great Grandparents came to Indiana from Germany after the civil war to practice their faith, own a piece of land, and raise their families in peace. 
I know that small farms and rural communities are the backbone of Indiana and the U.S. economy. 

Rural Hoosiers and farmers are also the foremost stewards of our lands and water.  From soil and water conservation to protection of important green space, farmers lead the way. Farmers understand food security starts with protecting the environment.

I know that this important part of our economy also supports rural bankers, teachers, doctors, and many others in our communities. We all depend in some way on agriculture in southeast and eastern Indiana. This is why as your Representative in Congress, I stand up to this administration's disastrous budget cuts to rural development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

I will fight for innovative rural economic development initiatives, including investments in farm-to-school and farm-to-table initiatives; agri-tourism programs; school gardens; large scale bio-mass fired electric plants; shared agricultural processing and storage facilities; and anaerobic digesters to process cow manure into methane gas. I will work for fair trade deals that support and grow our exports in foreign markets.

Agriculture programs need to be counter-cyclical to assure market-derived commodity income at levels that advance and sustain family-scale farming. I will support strong farm policies that will foster the entry of a new generation of owner-operators. We cannot back away from land stewardship standards that include the commonwealth of clean water for all.

I pledge to fight for policies that:
  1. Make sure that Indiana's family farmers and rural economy thrives;
  2. Expand support for young and beginning farmers;
  3. Produce an abundant and nutritious food supply;
  4. Establish an on-going regeneration of our soils; and
  5. Enlist farmers as partners in promoting conservation and stewardship to keep our air and water clean and to combat climate change.
We need more family farms, not more factory farms. It is unacceptable that just four corporations control 82% of the nation’s beef cattle market, 85% of soybean processing, and 63% of pork processing. It is unacceptable that there are over 300,000 fewer farmers than there were 20 years ago. It is unacceptable that the top 10% of farms collect 75% of farm subsidies, while the bottom 62% do not receive any subsidies. We have to adopt policies that will turn this around.

In 1966, farmers received 40 cents for every dollar Americans spent on food. Today, they only receive 16 cents on the dollar. We can reverse this trend by:
  1. Fighting for America’s small and mid-sized farms. Abraham Lincoln called the United States Department of Agriculture the “People’s Department” and we need to ensure that the agency lives up to this name by expanding its services for new and under-served farmers.
  2. Encouraging the growth of regional food systems. Farmers throughout the country are boosting their bottom line and reinvigorating their communities by selling directly to local consumers, institutions, and restaurants. We can invest in this movement, helping Americans support local farms.
  3. Reversing trade policies like NAFTA that have flooded the American market with agricultural goods produced in countries with less stringent environmental, labor, and safety regulations. President Trump has said he will renegotiate NAFTA. I will hold him to his promise and ensure that we protect America's farmers.
  4. Enforcing our country’s antitrust laws against large agribusiness and food corporations. A few large companies dominate many agricultural industries, allowing them to force unfair prices on farmers. We must stand up to these corporations and fight to ensure that farmers receive fair prices.
WE CAN PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT WHILE GROWING THE RURAL ECONOMY

This country has made major investments in wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and other sources of renewable energy. These investments are not only important to combat global warming, they are also critically important in improving the farm economy. Farmers and ranchers all over this country are leading the charge toward a more sustainable energy future. More than 57,000 farms are taking advantage of renewable energy production — which has more than doubled since 2007.

Making the Wind Production Tax Credit permanent will substantially increase investments in wind energy. And, it’s not only wind. Biofuels like ethanol have been an economic lifeline to rural and farm communities in Indiana and throughout the Midwest, supporting over 850,000 workers, all while keeping our energy dollars here at home instead of going into the pockets of oil barons in the Middle East and Russia. Adoption of the Renewable Fuels Standard will help us move beyond oil. Moreover, when we talk about harnessing energy from the sun, the good news is that solar panels accounted for more than 60% of renewable energy production systems on farms. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the cost of residential solar has come down 75% since 2009.

Over half of the electric generating capacity added to the grid last year was renewable energy from new wind and solar projects. There is enough solar power in America to power four million homes. And, as we generate new sustainable energy, we also generate new opportunities. Today, the rate of job growth in the solar industry is ten times higher than the national average.

While this is a step in the right direction, much more needs to be done to ensure our planet remains habitable, improve the environment, and help our farmers in Indiana and across the country. Substantially increasing our investments in renewable energy must be a top priority

Addressing the infrastructure crisis facing the country – and creating the millions of jobs our economy desperately needs is key to our future.  We need to make substantial infrastructure investments in Indiana and throughout rural America.

Improving our electric grid. We also desperately need to improve our aging rural electrical grid, which consists of a patchwork system of interconnected power generation, transmission, and distribution facilities, some of which date back to the early 1900s. Today, the World Economic Forum ranks our electric grid at just 24th in the world in terms of reliability, just behind Barbados.

We need to invest in power transmission and distribution modernization projects to improve the reliability and resiliency of our ever more complex electric power grid. This investment will also position our grid to accept new sources of locally generated renewable energy, and it will address critical vulnerabilities to cyber-attacks.

Investing in rural broadband and high-speed Internet services. Another critically important rural infrastructure issue that often goes overlooked is the expansion of broadband. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranks the U.S. 16th in the world in terms of broadband access. Today, people living in Bucharest, Romania have access to much faster Internet than most of the United States. That’s unacceptable and must change.

We need to expand high-speed broadband networks in under-served and un-served areas, and would boost speeds and capacity all across the country, particularly in rural areas. High-speed Internet access is no longer a luxury. It is essential for 21st century commerce, education, telemedicine, and public safety. And, it’s especially important for rural America to stay connected and to do business with the rest of the world.

Improving our dams and levees. We must also address the condition of our dams and levees. Right now, more than 4,000 of the nation’s 84,000 dams are considered deficient. Even worse, one of every eleven levees have been rated as “likely to fail” during a major flood. Most of those facilities are in rural areas. We have to repair and improve the high-hazard dams that provide flood control, drinking water, irrigation, hydropower, and recreation across rural America; and the flood levees that protect our farms and our towns and cities.

The 6th District is Indiana's most rural congressional district. I pledge to fight to protect and help grow our rural economy. 

Lane Siekman 

#CHANGE2018

#LANELISTENS

Getting Big Money Out of Politics

posted Feb 13, 2017, 12:07 PM by Lane Siekman   [ updated Jul 31, 2017, 1:53 PM ]

Running for public office, the first thing that you notice is the expenses involved in a campaign. Even a grassroots campaign needs websites, printing, signs, stickers, gas money, telephones, and much more. The bigger the office; the more it costs to travel and get the word out and that doesn’t include the personal expense of taking time off of work or foregoing other opportunities. 

Today, we often hear that our political campaign finance system that is corrupt and increasingly controlled by billionaires and special interests.  We are seeing the democratic process destroyed by big corporations and secretive groups that vote with their pocketbooks. No one likes to admit it, but big money buys elections. In 2016,  Rep. Luke Messer spend $1,113,729 for re-election in Indiana’s Sixth District and didn’t even bother to engage in a single debate with his opponents. He raised lots of money from the Insurance ($247,250),  Securities & Investment ($140,300), Real Estate ($138,395), and  Commercial Banking ($98,300) industries and that just the reported amounts. The amount of reported money is staggering but there are also dark money sources out there waiting to run separate “independent” campaign operations to get what who they want in office. 

This is because in 2010, the Supreme Court in it’s Citizens United decision, by a 5-to-4 vote, essentially gave the wealthiest people in this country an open invitation to purchase the U.S. Government, the White House, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, Governors’ seats, legislatures, and State judicial branches as well.  This disastrous Citizens United decision was based on the notion that money is speech, corporations are people, and giving huge piles of undisclosed cash to politicians in exchange for access and influence does not constitute corruption. I campaigned against this bad decision in 2014 and during the 2016 campaign cycle, billions of dollars from the wealthiest people in this country flooded the political process.  Super PACs – a direct outgrowth of the Citizens United decision – enabled the wealthiest people and the largest corporations in this country to contribute unlimited amounts of money to campaigns. These super PACs, which are supposed to operate independently of the actual candidates, have more money and more influence over campaigns than the candidates themselves.

There is a movement in this country towards a political system in which a handful of very wealthy people and special interests will determine who gets elected or who does not get elected.  

Former President Jimmy Carter said, unlimited money in politics, “violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now, it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. Senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over.”

Real campaign finance reform is not a progressive issue. It is not a conservative issue. It is an American issue. It is an issue that should concern all Americans, regardless of their political point of view, who wish to preserve the essence of the longest standing democracy in the world, a government that represents all of the people and not a handful of powerful and wealthy special interests.

We must overturn, through a constitutional amendment, the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision as well as the Buckley v. Valeo decision. We need to pass legislation to require wealthy individuals and corporations who make large campaign contributions to disclose where their money is going.  More importantly, it is why we need to move toward the public funding of elections. 

America should be a nation in which all people, regardless of their income, can participate in the political process, can run for office without begging for contributions from the wealthy and the powerful. You should not have to sell your soul to win elective office in America. 

We must as candidates speak up for the majority of our people – working people, the middle class, low-income people, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor – and find solutions as that will improve lives for all of the people, not just those rich enough to hire a lobbyist or buy a congressman.

I will insist on complete transparency regarding the funding of campaigns, including through disclosure of contributions to outside spending groups, via legislation, action by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Election Commission, and Federal Communication Commission, and an executive order requiring government contractors to disclose their political spending.  I will fight to eliminate super PACs and other outside spending abuses and work to aggressively enforce campaign finance rules.

Getting big money out of politics is vital, but much more needs to be done to restore our democracy.  We must ensure that all Americans are guaranteed an effective right to vote.  We must restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, expand early voting and vote-by-mail, implement automatic voter registration, end gerrymandering and make Election Day a national holiday, so that everyone can be involved in the process. We need constructive change to bring more people into the political system. Our democracy cannot be truly representative unless elected officials hear from all of their constituents, not just the wealthy and the powerful.

It is often spoken of the power of the people. It is true that people have power but they are often too scared, or too bothered, or too turned off by the corrupt process to use it. We must reject cynicism and instead work on solutions, action and accountability that will work.

  1. Fight to pass a constitutional amendment making it clear that Congress and the states have the power to regulate money in elections.
  2. Fight for a publicly financed, transparent system of campaign financing that amplifies small donations, along the lines of the Fair Elections Now Act.
  3. Insist on complete transparency regarding the funding of campaigns, including through disclosure of contributions to outside spending groups, via legislation, action by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Election Commission, and Federal Communication Commission, and an executive order requiring government contractors to disclose their political spending.
  4. Fight to eliminate super PACs and other outside spending abuses.
  5. Work to aggressively enforce campaign finance rules.

#CHANGE2018

#LANELISTENS


INCOME AND WEALTH INEQUALITY

posted Feb 13, 2017, 11:56 AM by Lane Siekman   [ updated Jul 31, 2017, 2:18 PM ]

Income inequality refers to the extent to which income is distributed in an uneven manner among a population. In the United States, income inequality, or the gap between the rich and everyone else, has been growing markedly, by every major statistical measure, for some 30 years. Today, we live in the richest country in the history of the world, but that reality means little because much of that wealth is controlled by a tiny handful of individuals.

The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time.
America now has more wealth and income inequality than any major developed country on earth, and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is wider than at any time since the 1920's.
 
 

The reality is that since the mid-1980's there has been an enormous transfer of wealth from the middle class and the poor to the wealthiest people in this country. That is the Robin Hood principle in reverse. That is unacceptable and that has got to change.

There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of one percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.

“Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” – Pope Francis

There is something profoundly wrong when 58 percent of all new income since the Wall Street crash has gone to the top one percent.
 
 

Despite huge advancements in technology and productivity, millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages. The real median income of male workers is $783 less than it was 42 years ago; while the real median income of female workers is over $1,300 less than it was in 2007. That is unacceptable and that has got to change.

There is something profoundly  wrong when we have
a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires at the 
same time millions of Americans work longer hours 
for lower wages and we have the highest childhood 
poverty rate of nearly any developed country  on earth.

 
 

There is something profoundly wrong when one family owns more wealth than the bottom 130 million Americans. The reality is that for the past 40 years, Wall Street and the billionaire class has rigged the rules to redistribute wealth and income to the wealthiest and most powerful people of this country.

We must send a message to the billionaire class: “you can’t have it all.” You can’t get huge tax breaks while children in this country go hungry. You can’t continue sending our jobs to China while millions are looking for work. You can’t hide your profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens, while there are massive unmet needs on every corner of this nation. Your greed has got to end. You cannot take advantage of all the benefits of America, if you refuse to accept your responsibilities as Americans.

WE MUST COME TOGETHER AND REDUCE INCOME AND WEALTH INEQUALITY BY:

  1. Demanding that the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes. Corporations must stop shifting their profits and jobs overseas to avoid paying U.S. income taxes. There must be a progressive estate tax on the top 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million. We must also enact a tax on Wall Street speculators who caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, homes, and life savings.
  2. Increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2020. In the year 2017, no one who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty.
  3. Putting at least 13 million Americans to work by investing $1 trillion over five years towards rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, railways, airports, public transit systems, ports, dams, wastewater plants, and other infrastructure needs.
  4. Reversing trade policies like NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR with China that have driven down wages and caused the loss of millions of jobs. If corporate America wants us to buy their products they need to manufacture those products in this country, not in China or other low-wage countries.
  5. Creating 1 million jobs for disadvantaged young Americans by investing $5.5 billion in a youth jobs program. Today, the youth unemployment rate is off the charts. We have got to end this tragedy by making sure teenagers and young adults have the jobs they need to move up the economic ladder.
  6. Fighting for pay equity by signing the Paycheck Fairness Act into law. It is an outrage that women earn just 78 cents for every dollar a man earns.
  7. Making tuition free at public colleges and universities throughout America. Everyone in this country who studies hard should be able to go to college regardless of income.
  8. Expanding Social Security by lifting the cap on taxable income above $250,000. At a time when the senior poverty rate is going up, we have got to make sure that every American can retire with dignity and respect.
  9. Guaranteeing healthcare as a right of citizenship by enacting a Medicare for all single-payer healthcare system. It’s time for the U.S. to join every major industrialized country on earth and provide universal healthcare to all.
  10. Requiring employers to provide at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave; two weeks of paid vacation; and 7 days of paid sick days. Real family values are about making sure that parents have the time they need to bond with their babies and take care of their children and relatives when they get ill.
  11. Enacting a universal childcare and prekindergarten program. Every psychologist understands that the most formative years for a human being is from the ages 0-3. We have got to make sure every family in America has the opportunity to send their kids to a high quality childcare and pre-K program.
  12. Making it easier for workers to join unions by fighting for the Employee Free Choice Act. One of the most significant reasons for the 40-year decline in the middle class is that the rights of workers to collectively bargain for better wages and benefits have been severely undermined.
  13. Breaking up huge financial institutions so that they are no longer too big to fail. Seven years ago, the taxpayers of this country bailed out Wall Street because they were too big to fail. Yet, 3 out of the 4 largest financial institutions are 80 percent bigger today than before we bailed them out. Congress must finally decide to break these banks up.
#CHANGE2018
#LANELISTENS

HIV

posted Feb 15, 2016, 11:45 AM by Lane Siekman

HIV: After 65 days, Governor Pence signs State of Emergency for Scott County, allows needle exchange program to help fight outbreak. By that time, HIV outbreak went from 10 to 79. -WHAS, 5.21.15

EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL

posted Feb 15, 2016, 11:45 AM by Lane Siekman   [ updated Aug 30, 2017, 8:34 AM ]


Lane Siekman supports equal rights for all. We have made remarkable progress on individual rights in this country in a relatively short amount of time. But there is still much work to be done. We still has a long way to go in addressing the issue of gender inequality. Women’s rights have been under attack for too long. There are those that are denying women control over their own bodies, preventing access to vital medical and social services, and blocking equal pay for equal work. In many states including Indiana, it is still legal to fire someone for being gay. It is legal to deny someone housing for being transgender. Lane believes that this  is unacceptable and must change. Lane strongly opposes any legislation that purports to “protect” religious liberty at the expense of others’ rights. We must end discrimination in all forms and guarantee everyone equal protection under the law.


NEWS ARTICLE: After a $250 million economic panic and putting state’s “Hoosier Hospitality” reputation on the line, Governor Pence signs a “fix” – LGBT Hoosier still could be discriminated in the workplace, housing, public accommodation.  -WISH, 4.1.15

I support equal rights for all. We have made remarkable progress on individual rights in this country in a relatively short amount of time. But there is still much work to be done.

Despite major advances in civil and political rights, our country still has a long way to go in addressing the issue of gender inequality. Many of the achievements that have been made for women’s rights in the 20th century have been under attack by the Republican party — denying women control over their own bodies, preventing access to vital medical and social services, and blocking equal pay for equal work.

When it comes to the rights of women, we cannot go backwards. We have got to go forward.

We are not going back to the days when women had to risk their lives to end an unwanted pregnancy. The decision about abortion must remain a decision for the woman and her doctor to make, not the government.
We are not going back to the days when women did not have full access to birth control. An Employer who provides health insurance, or any insurance company, should not have the ability to deny coverage for contraception or any other kind of procedure if the employer had a “moral” objection to it. 

We will not go back to the days when survivors of domestic violence had no access to services or recourse against their abusers, because domestic violence was swept under the rug, as a shameful, private issue. Worse yet, it was not so long ago that spousal abuse was legal in many states. We must expand services provided through the Violence Against Women Act and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, and fight any attempts to undermine these laws.

We are not going back to the days when it was legal for women to be paid less for doing the same work as men. It is wrong that women working full-time only earn 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. We have got to move forward and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act into law.

In many states, it is still legal to fire someone for being gay. It is legal to deny someone housing for being transgender. That is unacceptable and must change. We must end discrimination in all forms.

We can expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other anti-discrimination laws to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. We must treat LGBT Americans as equal citizens, ensure students can attend school without fear of bullying,  work to reduce suicides, support police departments adopting policies to ensure fairer interactions with transgender people, especially transgender women of color who are often targeted by police unfairly, and instituting training programs to promote compliance with fair policies.

Lane strongly opposes any legislation that purports to “protect” religious liberty at the expense of others’ rights.

We must guarantee everyone equal protection under the law.  

#CHANGE2018
#LANELISTENS

INFRASTRUCTURE

posted Feb 15, 2016, 11:44 AM by Lane Siekman   [ updated Aug 22, 2017, 10:53 AM ]

Lane supports investing $1 trillion in America’s infrastructure.  This rebuilding will give American workers good-paying jobs, stimulates our economy, and boosts our national productivity. According to a research paper by Standard & Poor, infrastructure investment would create about 29,000 construction jobs for a mere $1.3 billion in spending, and many more jobs indirectly. Additionally it estimated a $2 billion growth in real GDP for the same amount, making it a deficit-negative investment. Increasing the safety and reliability of infrastructure prevents extended damage and emergency repairs, avoiding the costs of medical emergencies, related property damage, and human lives.

NEWS ITEM: Only after Indiana saw a month-long interstate bridge closure, $71 million wasted in faulty asphalt, and a public relations crisis – Mike Pence announced his infrastructure plan, leaving out any aid for the state’s local roads and bridges. – Indy Star, 10.13.15

It seems that everyday, we see or hear of problems with America’s infrastructure. Rebuilding our infrastructure is a way to both create jobs and address the rampant infrastructure problems that are accumulating in our country.Our roads, bridges, dams, grids, and more have not kept up with the pace of our country’s growth, or the advances in technology. We have to take action.

We are long overdue to refurbish our country’s infrastructure. Any American who deals with potholes, slow internet service, and the unavailability of public transit – among other numerous and regular inconveniences – knows this first-hand. We can also put Americans to work on addressing our infrastructure problems with well-paying jobs that will contribute to economic growth for families and communities across the country.

What is infrastructure? Infrastructure is the basic physical stuff which makes our civilization work: roads, bridges, dams, electrical grids, railways, airports, waterways, and phone and internet lines. Well-maintained infrastructure increases transportation efficiency, decreases threats posed by natural disasters, and promotes economic growth.

The most identifiable piece of American infrastructure is the Interstate Highway System. This development was signed into law by Republican president Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. Its benefits have been overwhelmingly positive for both business and everyday citizens.

Is our infrastructure really “crumbling”? Yes. In its annual report card on the nation’s infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the United States a cumulative grade of D+. In 2010 alone, it was estimated that deficiencies in surface infrastructure from potholes and outdated rail lines to collapsing bridges cost us $130 billion between property damage and lost time.

Recent examples of bridge collapses in California, Washington, Texas, Missouri, and Minnesota only serve to underline this growing problem. America once led the world in building and maintaining a nationwide network of safe and reliable bridges and roads. Today, nearly a quarter of the nation’s 600,000 bridges have been designated as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. 

How can we afford investing $1 trillion in infrastructure? We can’t afford not to! According to a report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), federal spending on transportation and water infrastructure since 2003 has decreased by 19 percent (23 percent with respect to new infrastructure) while only a 6 percent increase in spending on operations and maintenance has developed in its place. According to the report:
  1. 24.9 percent of bridges are functionally obsolete or structurally deficient, over which more than 200 million trips are taken daily
  2. 42 percent of major urban highways are congested, costing us $101 billion annually and increasing carbon emissions
  3. 32 percent of roads are in poor or mediocre condition, which adds up to a cost of $324 per motorist every year
  4. It’s clear that our infrastructure needs serious help. 
The most important point is that rebuilding our infrastructure is an investment in our economic future. Independent studies show that, in the short-term, non-residential construction generates nearly twice as much economic activity as money spent ($1.92 per $1 spent). This means that for every dollar we put into our infrastructure, we get almost two dollars back in immediate economic impact. The long-term impact is even more significant at well over three times what we spend ($3.21 per $1 spent).

Rebuilding Will Provide Jobs. Fixing our infrastructure would give American workers good-paying jobs, stimulate our economy, and boost our national productivity. According to a research paper by Standard & Poor, infrastructure investment would create about 29,000 construction jobs for a mere $1.3 billion in spending, and many more jobs indirectly. Additionally it estimated a $2 billion growth in real GDP for the same amount, making it a deficit-negative investment.

13 million good paying jobs could be created by the 5-year, $1 trillion investment. Forbes Magazine puts the estimate at closer to 27 million for a similar $1.2 trillion investment over 5 years.

Increased jobs result in increased spending among average Americans, which further stimulates economic growth in other sectors. Increased efficiency results in lower transportation costs, as well as saving companies and individual citizens money on both fuel and time. Last, but not least, increasing the safety and reliability of infrastructure prevents extended damage and emergency repairs, avoiding the costs of medical emergencies, related property damage, and human lives.

#CHANGE2018
#LANELISTENS

GOOD JOBS WITH GOOD WAGES

posted Feb 15, 2016, 11:43 AM by Lane Siekman   [ updated Aug 22, 2017, 10:52 AM ]


NEWS ITEM: As Donald Trump was criticizing Carrier’s decision to slash over 1,400 Hoosier jobs, Mike Pence only called it “disappointing” and couldn’t specify which federal rule was to blame for the decision to cut jobs in the state. – Indianapolis Business Journal, 2.12.16

The biggest issue surrounding American jobs is wages. 140,000 workers have received pink slips during President Trump’s first six months in office, as companies continue to ship jobs offshore. American workers have lost jobs due to outsourcing to Mexico or China or due to improvements in automation. Wages have fallen by 1.4 percent nationwide and too many of the jobs available today in Indiana are low wage, low skill positions which just don’t cut it. Lane Siekman believes that America has to do better at creating decent jobs with good wages especially for working class people. He supports a $15 hour minimum wage. It now requires a job with a wage of over $21 an hour for a single person with one child to live above the poverty level in the 6th District. Companies that outsource American jobs must face consequences for their decisions. 

SUPPORTING VETERANS

posted Jan 22, 2014, 2:15 PM by Lane Siekman   [ updated Aug 22, 2017, 10:51 AM ]


Lane knows that we have an obligation to honor and help our veterans. The men and women who serve in our military make a special sacrifice for the nation and for our freedom and prosperity. Like so many in this district, his family has been touched by service: Lane’s Father-in-law, brothers-in-law, son, nephew, and daughter-in-law have all served or are still serving in uniform. Service is an important part of our families and communities. If elected, Lane will dedicate a staff person in his office to work fulltime on behalf of veterans in the Sixth District, and will recruit a veteran to that position.  

We have an obligation to honor and help our veterans. The men and women who serve in our military make a special sacrifice for the nation and for our freedom and prosperity. I am humbled by their service. Like so many in this district, my family has been touched by service: My Father-in-law, brothers-in-law, son, nephew, and daughter-in-law have all served or are still serving in uniform. Service is an important part of our families and communities. If elected, I will dedicate a staff person in my office to work fulltime on behalf of veterans in the Sixth District, and I will recruit a veteran to that position.  I will commit as much of my time and effort as it takes to get results for our veterans.

I believe that this nation's commitment to these men and women does not end when they return home. The post-9/11 GI Bill gave thousands of service members and their children the opportunity to pursue higher education. Congress passed a comprehensive veterans’ benefits package in 2010 and legislation in 2011 that expands education and training opportunities for veterans, and provides tax credits for employers who hire disabled veterans. 
But we need to do more. With advances in battlefield medicine and body armor, our soldiers are surviving serious injuries during their service, and many face a long and difficult recovery. Others are returning home with post-traumatic stress that requires specialized mental health counseling, too often in short supply.

The VA is over-extended and was unprepared for the huge influx of returning veterans. Nearly 900,000 veterans’ claims are stuck in a VA backlog, with some veterans waiting months or even years to see the benefits they are entitled to receive. These delays take a huge toll on our veterans and their families. I support increasing funding for and access to veterans’ health care and benefits and will demand accountability from the VA. With the growing number of women serving in the Armed Forces, many with dependent children, I will pay close attention to the unique issues faced by this nation's female veterans.



Homelessness among our Veteran population also remains a serious concern. Every year, anywhere from 300,000 to 400,000 veterans experience homelessness—with veterans of the Vietnam era disproportionately represented. I will support initiatives to end homelessness for our veterans. Let's at last truly bring them home. 

While we have made great strides in expanding educational opportunities and employment assistance, one in ten post-9/11-era veterans are unemployed. I support legislation that will provide training and employment services and offer grants for police and fire departments to train and hire veterans as first responders. I also support tax credits for businesses that hire unemployed veterans and wounded warriors.

After more than a decade and a half of war, our military families have proven to be strong and resourceful, and I will continue to support the programs and benefits critical to their well-being: quality, accessible health care; career opportunities; good schools for military children; quality, affordable child care; and steadfast commitment to those widowed or orphaned.

#CHANGE2018
#LANELISTENS


PROTECT AND STRENGTHEN SOCIAL SECURITY

posted Jan 22, 2014, 2:09 PM by Lane Siekman   [ updated Aug 22, 2017, 12:24 PM ]

Lane Siekman is committed to keeping the promises made to and paid for by our seniors.  He believe in protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare and honoring the benefits that seniors earned during a lifetime of hard work and will fight to make sure that everyone in this country can retire with the dignity and respect they deserve.He will support legislation to lift the cap on taxable income that goes into the Social Security system so that everyone who makes over $250,000 a year pays the same percentage of their income into Social Security as the middle class and working families. This would not only extend the solvency of Social Security for the next 50 years, but also brings in enough revenue to expand benefits, increase cost-of-living-adjustments; and lift more seniors out of poverty by increasing the minimum benefits paid to low-income seniors.Lane will also oppose any proposal to privatize Medicare, replace it with a voucher system, or simply shift costs directly onto seniors. 


I’m committed to keeping the promises made to and paid for by our seniors.  I believe in protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare and honoring the benefits that seniors earned during a lifetime of hard work. I will fight to make sure that everyone in this country can retire with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Social Security and Medicare provide a critical lifeline for Hoosiers. 1,191,768 Hoosiers receive monthly Social Security checks, including 186,817 workers with disabilities and 100,871 children and 971,923 Hoosiers get their health care coverage from Medicare. Without these programs, millions of America’s elderly would live in poverty. By one estimate, Social Security alone lifts more than 14 million older Americans out of poverty.

I do not believe that Social Security is a “ponzi scheme,” as some have called it, and I do not support proposals that would privatize it. The Social Security program is safe and has a $2.8 trillion surplus. It can pay every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 19 years (and more than three-quarters after that).

Social Security’s assets aren’t “just paper,” as some pundits put it. Social Security invests in U.S Treasury bonds, the safest interest-bearing securities in the world. These are the same bonds wealthy investors have purchased, along with China and other foreign countries. These bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, which in our long history has never defaulted on its debt obligations.

One issues is that right now a billionaire pays the same amount of money into Social Security as someone who makes $118,500 a year. That’s because there is a cap on taxable income that goes into the Social Security system. We can lift this cap so that everyone who makes over $250,000 a year pays the same percentage of their income into Social Security as the middle class and working families. This would not only extend the solvency of Social Security for the next 50 years, but also bring in enough revenue to expand benefits by an average of $65 a month; increase cost-of-living-adjustments; and lift more seniors out of poverty by increasing the minimum benefits paid to low-income seniors.

This modest change will extend Social Security's life for another generation of Americans. Not only is this the right thing to do from a moral perspective, it is also what the vast majority of the American people want us to do. 61 percent of the American people support expanding Social Security benefits by lifting the cap on taxable income, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll earlier this year.

I will also oppose any proposal to privatize Medicare, replace it with a voucher system, or simply shift costs directly onto seniors. Our first priority should be to maintain benefits and cut costs.

I’m also concerned about elder abuse and consumer fraud. The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that thousands of older Americans suffer physical, emotional and financial abuse at the hands of their family and caretakers. Sadly, many victims are reluctant to report abuse, leaving them vulnerable and alone. The FBI and the National Crime Prevention Council report that seniors are more at risk to be targeted by telemarketing and other consumer scams. The Council estimates that fraudulent telemarketers direct up to 56 to 80 percent of their calls at older Americans. I will work with law enforcement, health care providers and senior groups to find better ways to identify, stop and punish these crimes.


#CHANGE2018
#LANELSITENS

IMPROVING HEALTH CARE

posted Jan 22, 2014, 1:50 PM by Lane Siekman   [ updated Jul 31, 2017, 2:24 PM ]

My wife is a nurse and she is passionate about her work. Because of her and many other committed professionals, we have an excellent health care system in America. Due to decades of research, investment and hard work we have the finest providers and 
hospitals and most advanced technologies and medicines in the world. 
I’m very grateful for committed professionals like my wife, because if someone you love is sick or injured, nothing matters more than making sure that they get the care they need to feel well again.

But our health care system is far from perfect. It’s outrageously costly and frustratingly complex. Hardworking families and businesses are struggling with bigger and bigger bills, and rising costs are consuming federal and state budgets.

The system is frustrating to patients, providers and businesses. Patients face a maze of insurance rules. Doctors face a mountain of paperwork. Businesses face complex regulations. Too much time, money and talent are wasted. On top of that, there’s abuse and fraud. We must rein in the costs to our families, businesses and taxpayers. We can do more to root out waste and fraud, to promote preventative care, and to use electronic records to cut red tape.

The Affordable Care Act was a critically important step towards the goal of universal health care. Thanks to the ACA, more than 17 million Americans have gained health insurance. Millions of low-income Americans have coverage through expanded eligibility for Medicaid that now exists in 31 states. Young adults can stay on their parents’ health plans until they’re 26. All Americans can benefit from increased protections against lifetime coverage limits and exclusion from coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

But as we move forward, we must build upon the success of the ACA to achieve the goal of universal health care. Twenty-nine million Americans today still do not have health insurance and millions more are under-insured and cannot afford the high co-payments and deductibles charged by private health insurance companies that put profits before people.

The U.S. spends more on health care per person, and as a percentage of gross domestic product, than any other advanced nation in the world, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. But all that money has not made Americans healthier than the rest of the world. Quite simply, in our high-priced health care system that leaves millions overlooked, we spend more yet end up with less.

Other industrialized nations are making the morally principled and financially responsible decision to provide universal health care to all of their people—and they do so while saving money by keeping people healthier. 

Americans need a health care system that works for patients and providers. We need to focus our federal investments on training the health care providers. We need to ensure a strong health care workforce in all communities now and in the future. We need to build on the strength of the 50 years of success of the Medicare program. We need a health care system that significantly reduces overhead, administrative costs and complexity. We need a system where all people can get the care they need to maintain and improve their health when they need it regardless of income, age or socioeconomic status. We need a system that works not just for millionaires and billionaires, but for all of us.

With Medicare for all, Americans will benefit from the freedom and security that comes with finally separating health insurance from employment. That freedom would not only help the American people live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives, but it would also promote innovation and entrepreneurship in every sector of the economy. People would be able to start new businesses, stay home with their children or leave jobs they don’t like knowing that they would still have health care coverage for themselves and their families. Employers could be free to focus on running their business rather than spending countless hours figuring out how to provide health insurance to their employees. Working Americans wouldn’t have to choose between bargaining for higher wages or better health insurance. Parents wouldn’t have to worry about how to provide health insurance to their children. Americans would no longer have to fear losing their health insurance if they lose their job, change employment or go part-time. Seniors and people with serious or chronic illnesses could afford the medications necessary to keep them healthy without worry of financial ruin. Millions of people will no longer have to choose between health care and other necessities like food, heat and shelter, and will have access to services that may have been out of reach, like dental care or long-term care.

We need to provide all Americans with the sense of freedom and peace of mind that comes from knowing you always have access to the health care you need.

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