The issues at stake in this election are as real and consequential for me, as they are for the people of California’s 10th District.
I was born and raised right here in our community. I’ve lived the fight for a quality education and an economy that works for all Americans. I lived the uncertainty of being without healthcare for most of my life. I spent nine years in the military, and two of them on the battlefields of Iraq. I know the challenges our veterans are facing when they come home first hand. And I have lived the fight to end discrimination from the world’s greatest democracy once and for all.
And that is both the perspective, and the spirit of urgency and possibility that I will bring to the floor of the United States Congress.
An Experienced Voice On National Security
The greatest responsibility of government and the highest calling of public service is keeping our country safe. However the miscalculations of the Bush era have left us with big challenges, including war on two fronts, isolation from our allies, growing nuclear tensions with North Korea and Iran, and a military strained to its breaking point.
Having served nine years in the army and two combat tours in Iraq, I know the importance of having leaders in Congress who understand our military, the costs and consequences of war, and the vital role that intelligence, diplomatic, and economic development assets must play in confronting the security challenges of the 21st century.
ON IRAQ: I did not support the decision to invade Iraq, but I am proud of the progress my fellow soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen have made to stabilize, rebuild and secure that country—albeit at a staggering cost. It is time for Iraq’s new, democratically-elected government to take responsibility for its own future, and I strongly support President Obama’s commitment to a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops.
ON AFGHANISTAN: I fully supported the decision to go after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and the brutal Taliban regime which harbored them. However to succeed in stabilizing Afghanistan’s young government, it is critical that we heed the lessons of Iraq. This requires a multi-layered and multi-lateral approach, enforceable political, economic and security benchmarks, and above all else, a focus on engaging Afghani civilians in the reconstruction process by providing them with the assistance they need to rebuild communities torn apart by decades of war.
The proudest accomplishment of my life is bringing all 81 of the soldiers who served under my command in Iraq home, but they’ve come home to a Veterans aftercare system is in crisis. Years of chronic underfunding at the VA have been magnified by the growing healthcare needs of Vietnam, Korean, and World War II veterans, and an influx of nearly 2 million new combat veterans---producing a claims backlog nearing one million, months of waiting for healthcare appointments, increased premiums and co-payments, and alarming rates of everything from suicide and homelessness, to divorce and foreclosure.
Generations of veterans have kept their promise to America. I believe it’s time to elect more leaders to Congress who know what it means to keep America’s promise to its veterans.
I’ll fight for the mandatory funding our VA needs to deliver timely benefits and services to our returning warriors, expanded outreach, readjustment, and counseling services to veterans and families most at risk, concurrent receipt of VA pension and disability benefits, elimination of the widow’s tax on survivor’s benefits, and the construction of new VA clinics in the 10th District—so local veterans are able to access the benefits and care they have earned and deserve, right here in our community.
*Note: Anthony Woods has been endorsed by VoteVets.org, the largest progressive veterans organization in America
Energy Independence And Climate Change
Having spent almost two years of my life at war in the oil-rich middle-east, only to come home to record gasoline prices, I have experienced the economic and security consequences of America’s unhealthy dependence on foreign oil first hand. All sixteen US Intelligence Agencies not only concur, but have called man made Climate Change, which is tied to the burning of oil based fuels, a growing security threat facing the entire world.
Achieving energy independence and winning the fight against climate change are the foundation for America’s long term health, prosperity and security. But to accomplish these objectives, we must invest in the energy of tomorrow—including wind, solar, biofuels, and natural gas.
A new energy revolution will not happen overnight, but recent Climate Change and Energy legislation produced by Congress takes important steps towards beginning a transformation that will ultimately repower our nation and create millions of new jobs. In Congress, I will work to ensure that California’s 10th District continues to play a leading role in that transformation
Quality Healthcare For Every American
Our broken healthcare system is not a new challenge, but it is a very personal issue for me. I know what it’s like to be one of 47 million Americans without coverage, and I have seen how constantly rising premiums are crippling small businesses like my mom’s, first hand. That’s why I support Universal Healthcare with a public option, and will fight to ensure that every American has access to quality, affordable coverage as a member of Congress.
All the evidence shows that keeping people healthy costs far less than taking care of them when they are sick, and that competition between public and private options will promote system efficiencies and reduce the overhead costs that are being passed along to consumers in the form of higher premiums, co-payments, and deductibles. Universal Health Care is a moral and economic imperative that will strengthen families, improve the productivity of American workers, and improve the competitiveness of American businesses.
Opening The Doors To A Quality Education
As a proud graduate of public schools here in our community, I know that building a 21st century economy begins in the classroom. That’s why I strongly support universal Pre-K, and will fight to reform “No Child Left Behind” to ensure that our most under-resourced schools are getting the resources they need to hire and retain qualified teachers, modernize facilities, and expand student achievement.
My family couldn’t afford to send me to college, but I earned a quality education through service to our country. And I believe the best way to expand economic opportunity and produce a 21st century workforce, is by opening the doors to education. That’s why I am fighting for a National Service to College program that will offer four years of college education to Americans who agree to four-years of national service in the military, AmeriCorps or another recognized service program.
Rebuilding Our Economy
Having grown up the son of a housekeeper, I’ve lived the economic hardships that far too many Americans are experiencing today. And while stronger schools, universal healthcare, energy independence, and restoring meaningful oversight and accountability to our financial services sector are vital building blocks for economic prosperity, there can be no true recovery until we put Americans back to work.
To do just that, I believe we must see our challenges as opportunities, and align our investments accordingly. That’s why I’ll fight for tax and trade policies that reward domestic job creation, help working families get ahead, and enable small businesses to expand.
America’s 21st century will be fueled by innovative solutions that modernize infrastructure, promote efficiency in manufacturing and service delivery, produce energy in new ways, combat climate change, and fight disease. And from the Wind Farms along Highway 12 to cutting edge research being done at our national laboratories, I know that we have the resources to create those solutions right here in the 10th District.
That’s why in Congress, I’ll fight for the training and investment dollars we need to create thousands of new jobs restoring our environment, rebuilding our infrastructure and creating a clean energy economy right here in our community.
Stemming the Foreclosure Crisis: Across our district, thousands of families have either lost, or are in danger of losing their homes. We need to act boldly – not just for our neighbors in need but for communities across our district facing dramatic layoffs and reductions in vital services because of lost tax revenues tied to skyrocketing foreclosures. At the federal level, I believe we need to consider dramatic action like a moratorium on new foreclosures, additional modification incentives for lenders, and requirements that banks receiving TARP monies use those resources to help keep families in their homes.
Smart Growth and Transportation: The 10th District has grown dramatically since when I was growing up, and our economy and quality of life is more dependent than ever on a modernized infrastructure. Projects like Caldecott Tunnel, Highway 4, the 80-680 Interchange, 580 Corridor, and E-Bart represent billions of dollars in potential economic stimulus – and I will champion the cause of pushing them forward.
Travis Air Force Base: My grandfather was stationed at Travis during his Air Force career. I was proud to grow up there and have seen the importance of the base to America’s security, and our local economy. Former Rep. Tauscher has been a champion for Travis AFB, and most importantly, for keeping C-17s there as part of the military supply chain. I plan to continue this important fight as the next Congressman from California’s 10th District.
Livermore Laboratories: Livermore has long been home to some of our nation’s premier research facilities. In Congress, I will champion efforts to increase funding to Livermore, maintaining it’s important role as a national defense laboratory, and accelerating civilian projects, science and technical research that will be an engine of economic innovation and growth in the years to come.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform
We are a nation of immigrants, but our immigration system has been broken for decades. That’s why we need leaders who will stop playing politics, and work to enact a comprehensive solution that is forward looking, enforceable, preserves our security, grows our economy, and rewards hard work.
No real reform is possible until we first commit to controlling our borders and holding employers who knowingly recruit and exploit undocumented workers accountable to the law. Second, we must reform our visa system to make it easier for talented minds from all over the world to contribute to American industries and research institutions. And finally, we must stop blaming undocumented workers and families who are already in our country for Washington’s failure to secure our borders and fix our broken immigration system. Instead, we must bring them out of the shadows that fuel exploitation by developing a pathway to legal residency for those who are willing to work hard, contribute to our communities and respect our laws.
I strongly support a woman’s right to choose, and will work to preserve access to safe and legal reproductive health services. I also believe that we can forge common ground with Americans on all sides of this difficult issue, by increasing access to contraception, health information, pre-natal care, other preventive services, and adoption programs.
*Note: Anthony Woods has been endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and the Human Rights Campaign, the largest GLBT organizations in America that endorse candidates for political office.