Dana Cottrell for Congress

Social Issues

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Military and Veteran’s Affairs

The support of the members of the United States Armed Forces, both active and retired, is integral to not only my campaign, but also to my family. My husband was in the Army, my father-in-law is retired Navy, my uncle is retired Marines, and both of my grandfathers served in World War II. I have the greatest respect for the military, their families, and their service. I understand firsthand the experiences of military families. I have worked overseas teaching with the Department of Defense Schools for thirteen years serving in Busan, South Korea and Bitburg, Germany. I am extremely familiar with the needs of the military, both active and retired. And, as a DoD employee I am aware, not only of the delay in services and response, but the constant reduction in benefits, salary freezes, and difficulty in obtaining health care. I was in Germany during the government shutdown of 2013, and I watched as the military was still expected to work, without an expectation of pay. I have also witnessed far too often the government unwilling to accept responsibility for providing benefits to the soldiers who have served their nation. I will fight for the rights and continued benefits of our service members, both active and retired.

Health Care and MedicareHealth Care

I believe health care, inclusive of medical, dental, vision, hearing, and pharmaceuticals, is a RIGHT of every citizen. Health care is also inclusive of a woman’s right to make medical decisions as it pertains to her body, as well as infertility covered as a medical condition, not as a choice medical procedure.

I support Medicare for All. Medicare should be fully funded for those qualified, and access given for all Americans. Medicaid should be eliminated, and those in need of medical coverage would be covered under the provisions of Medicare for All.

My grandmother is 98, and my parents are in their 70’s. I understand the medical and housing needs of our aging population. I also understand the crippling financial burden placed on those individuals and families with limited resources to access health care and medication. It is time for a change; no man, woman, or child should be left behind!

Social SecuritySocial Security

Social Security is a pay-as-you-go program.  Current workers pay for current benefits.  Revenues are received from working Americans and benefits are paid out to retired and disabled persons, and the surplus or deficit of these receipts and payments contribute to changes in the Social Security Trust Fund.

To achieve long-term solvency, a first step is to tax earnings above the current wage base ($128,400 in 2018). It is estimated that this action would reduce the gap by two-thirds. A second step is to gradually raise the tax cap to cover 90 percent of aggregate earnings from its current level of 83 percent. A third suggestion would be to implement a living wage at $12.00 an hour to all employees aged 18 or older, increasing over a three-year span to $15.00 an hour.

Florida has one of the nation’s largest retirement populations. Many seniors are dependent upon their Social Security as a primary source of income, so it is in the best interest to Floridians to keep Social Security solvent. The increases in to a living wage, would not only assist Social Security, but improve the finances of those working entry-level positions.

EducationEducation

Education is our key to success. However, success does not mean the same thing to all students, nor does it look the same.

Our schools have become over-burdened with testing, and a model that is one-size-fits-all. Teachers have become easy targets to blame for a system that needs change. As a nation, we should look for outside the box solutions that meet the needs of all students. We should allow children to be children; given time to run and play. Older children should have school choice along with apprenticeships, and on-the-job training, along with a meaningful mentorship program. And, if we truly want to begin to ease the income gap, college and advanced trade schools, while a student is in good academic standing, should be tuition-free.

School should be a safe haven for students. Teacher, librarians, administrators, should never carry a weapon on campus.

We must remain a civilized society.

Charter/Voucher Schools Harlem Children's Zone

I am opposed to public money to private schools, as well as for-profit charter schools.

There are two models of non-profit charter schools that I believe are model schools. They have an open lottery, they follow all regulations, but they also have the freedom to control the school environment to truly fit the diverse needs of the students they serve.

Here are the web sites of each of the schools:

My goal is to show what public education can be easing the restrictions on public schools at the local level to allow for innovate programming such as these two models. In these ways, easing the restrictions, and pouring money into programs at the local level, we can truly meet the diverse needs of students. This takes trust in our local schools and teachers, and providing the money needed for these programs so that charter schools are no longer needed, or they are integrated into the public school system. We have such amazing teachers with creative ideas, we need to allow them the freedom to thrive. We also have students in extreme poverty who need something more then what we currently provide, and this “more” needs to reach out into the community to break the cycle of institutionalized poverty.

We have asked schools and teachers to be more, to do more, and they have risen to accept that challenge. Now we must support their efforts in Innovative Education Program Grants directly to individual schools.

Congressional Reform Courage

Campaign finance reform along with Congressional pay freezes are some of the first items on this agenda. The amount of money spent on political campaigns should be capped, and Congress should fall under the same pay restrictions they impose on other federal employees

Second, the majority party cannot shut out the minority party. A two-for one model of introduction of legislation must be instituted for parity.

Third, all legislation should become single-issue legislation. Congress should pass legislation to eliminate “riders.” Riders used to be a way to compromise to get bills passed. Riders have evolved into monsters that have stymied legislative efforts, and have technically brought Congress to a standstill.  

Fourth, I do support term limits. I have heard from those in favor of and those opposed. 12 years in the House, and 12 years in the Senate should suffice, and if the person is accountable to his or her constituents, those constituents will seek out that person for another position.

Finally,we need to look at the structure of the of the Electoral College. If the Electoral College is to be kept in place, then we should look the Congressional District Method adopted in Maine and Nebraska

Gun Control Gun Control

Amendment One to the Constitution gives us the right to free speech; however that right does not mean we have the right to falsely scream, “fire” in a crowd.

This interpretation was decided in the Supreme Court Case Schenck v. United States, 1919. Writing the opinion of the unanimous court, Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes Jr. stated, “The question in every case is whether the words are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.”

This ruling has created an often used phrase of protecting against “clear and present danger.”

Let us now change one word. Take out “words,” and replace with “guns.”

The question in every case is whether the GUNS are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.

Congress should enact legislation to protect all Americans just as we have done with car safety. No one is taking away the right to own a gun, just like no one has taken away your right to own a car.

Congress should enact legislation to: ban assault rifles and bump stocks, establish background checks with mandatory waiting periods, bar the mentally ill and those convicted of violent crimes from gun ownership, close all gun show loopholes, and establish a national gun registry. It should be mandatory that gun manufacturers include fingerprint identification systems on all guns. The “smart gun,” much like our “smart phones,” would go a long way in preventing circumstances that create a clear and present danger to our citizens.

March 23 addition: There should never be guns in schools. This represents a breakdown in our society, and arming teachers and school personnel is NOT the answer.

Labor UnionsTeddy Roosevelt

Study after study has consistently shown that workers in RTW states earn statistically less than workers in non-RTW states, and this difference has increased over time as corporate CEO’s and shareholders have increased their profit margins.

2015 study shows that between 2010 and 2012, workers in non-RTW states earned a median income 16.6% higher than in RTW states. According to the US Dept of Labor, by 2017, this gap had increased to 20.3%.

Labor unions provide balance to the corporation. Where the corporation seeks the interest of the profit margin to the company, the union seeks the interest of the employee.

Labor unions provide a voice at the local, state, and federal levels to counter proposed legislation brought about by the corporation that an employee, acting as an individual alone, could not do.

Government at all levels has continued to pass legislation to weaken the powers of, and rights to establish unions. Corporations support these laws and proliferate lies about union membership because with no or weakened unions, corporations stand to make more money by paying employees less in wages and benefits.

Strong unions benefit workers; however unions must continue in fair practices for all employees and be transparent to the employee in order to maintain trust. Union members are also held accountable in ensuring their elected union leaders act accordingly otherwise the membership should vote for new leadership.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) DACA

DACA is the perfect example of the promotion of fear dividing America into an us versus them mentality.

The origin of DACA is in legislation proposed in 2001, by Representative Luis Gutiérrez, Democrat from Illinois, with the same purpose of the current DACA proposal; to provide a pathway to citizenship for children brought to the United States by their parents before the age of 16, and who are educated with the minimum of a GED, and are law-abiding residents of the United States.

Seventeen years later, Congress is still unable to put differences aside in the best interest of these children, now adults, to allow for citizenship.

The courts have put an injunction on deportation of those with DACA status, but Congress needs to act.

DACA relates directly to my mission statement, as well as to my ideas of Congressional reform to initiate single issue legislation with no riders.

I support DACA legislation for all DACA recipients.

Marijuana Medical Marijuana

Marijuana is currently illegal under federal law. It is classified as a schedule 1 drug as having no medicinal value, and high potential for abuse. I believe this classification should be removed, and states should be allowed to have the voters determine marijuana law for their state. Marijuana has proven to have medicinal properties, and there are other more addicting substances that are totally legal. It is estimated that in 2013, the nation spent $3.6 billion in marijuana enforcement, and enforcement was skewed based on race. As to whether or not it should be legal for medicinal purposes and approved by FDA, I believe it should. When the Rohrabacher-Farr or CJS amendment expired on December 22, 2017, it allowed the current administration and the Justice Department to once again aggressively enforce federal marijuana regulation, which they have. This enforcement also impacts banking regulation.

Florida has legalized the use of medical marijuana, but has placed so many qualifiers and restrictions on obtaining marijuana, the state has made it virtually impossible to obtain and maintain a medical marijuana recommendation. I do not agree with the implementation of Florida medical marijuana, it is not being implemented within the intent or spirit of legalization.

As to whether or not the state of Florida legalizes recreation marijuana that should be a ballot initiative. There are successful models across the nation and Colorado has a system in place that can serve as a model for success having worked out the pitfalls over the past five years.

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    Dana Cottrell
    Principled. Proven. Progressive.

US House of Representatives, District 11, Florida
Social Issues