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Positions, record and controversies
American families today face unprecedented challenges: rising costs for food, energy and healthcare; increasing unemployment from jobs going overseas; war and occupation due largely to dependence on foreign oil; and unsustainable energy, agricultural, monetary, and fiscal policies. The rhetoric in Washington is soaring, and every idea has become fodder for partisan bickering. I hope as you read through my perspective on core issues, you'll find proposals that go beyond party lines and are substantive and achievable.
On principle, you'll see that I first seek to release the stranglehold that corporate and special interests now have on our government, economy, and people. By eliminating legislation, practices and bureaucracies that allow politically-connected corporations and lobbyists to distort our government, we can empower communities and our people. I will look for options that increase local competition to improve value in products and services, and encourage innovation that is focused on our needs as Americans. I will reject predatory practices and taxpayer-financed "bailouts" that enrich the well-connected at our expense.
American leadership in science, technology, economic growth, and social justice requires organizations that succeed and grow based upon creating value in their communities -- not organizations that win favors through aggressive lobbying and predatory behavior. After all, our Constitution was designed to prevent these conflicts, and prevent excessive consolidation of power.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my perspectives on issues that are important to all of us. I hope that we will get a chance to meet during the campaign season to discuss these and other issues that are important to you and your family.
National security<span style="font-size: large" />
National security is critical, and we need a strong national defense. We also need to stand in support of our troops who answer their country's call to duty, both when they are deployed and when they return as veterans.
As your Congressman, I will insist that we use deadly force in self-defense, and that we only go to war with a Congressional Declaration of War as specified in Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution. I will resist any attempts to declare preemptive war. As any sheriff knows, "If you start a fight, you lose your rights [to self defense]".
I will work to keep our nation secure with an economic offense and strong military defense, instead of an economic defense and military offense. We will accomplish much more through diplomacy, trade, and a strong defense than sanctions, offensive war and occupation. In the post-Cold War era of international instability, we face insurgent enemies who use asymmetric tactics. Our response must be matched to those tactics, and must address the causes of the underlying instability. We cannot fight today's enemy with yesterday's strategy.
With respect to the Middle East, we can, and must, be a force for stability in the region. We cannot rely on unilateral, preemptive military force to bring "democracy" to unstable countries. Furthermore, democracy shouldn't even be the goal. Democracy is simply tyranny of the majority. Instead, countries need to be encouraged to build representative governments that protect individuals with the rule of law.
We need an orderly and immediate military withdrawal from Iraq. That does not mean that we abandon that country, or the Middle East. Instead, we must change our focus from unilateral offensive war and occupation to multilateral coalition-building, and substantially engage other countries in the region with overwhelming diplomatic force to help fill the vacuum we created. Fighting the forces of extremism and instability requires governments that offer alternatives to nihilism, poverty and violence. Those alternatives do not come at gunpoint, although force is required for security and self-defense.
We need to be intellectually honest and recognize that our current foreign policy is bankrupting our nation. The Soviet Union’s economy collapsed trying to build a war machine it couldn’t afford, and it lost the Cold War as a result. Now the same simple math is leading to the self-inflicted collapse of our own economy. Where are we getting the money to pay for our wars and global empire? We're borrowing and printing $1 to $3 billion per day from China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and our Federal Reserve. Do you enjoy working to pay interest to the Chinese government?
immigration<span style="font-size: large" />
As someone once said to me, "Our borders are neither open, closed, nor secure." Our borders are not open to millions around the world desiring to come here as productive participants in our society who are delayed for years, often decades, through the cumbersome and unfair legal process. Our borders are not closed to those who come across with lack of regard for our immigration laws. And our borders are not secure from the trespassing of national security threats.
The vital component of a comprehensive immigration reform bill is physical security of the Northern and Southern borders. Border security is a national security issue, as intelligence reports indicate that al-Qaeda as well as international gangs such as M.S. 13 have infiltrated the country without detection through our borders. Furthermore, this issue is a stark representation of Washington's broken priorities, as we are sending Border Patrol agents to secure borders in occupied Iraq while our borders remain porous. I do not support a border fence, as I believe a physical barrier is impractical. I believe the answer is bolstered Border Patrol.
I would also seek to simplify our immigration laws, which are preventing talented and productive people from coming to our country. I support easing requirements for Student and H1B Visas. I would also work to ease requirements for current legal immigrants to achieve extended and permanent residency status.
Another component is addressing the economic incentives driving illegal immigration, which are driven largely by federal mandates for provision of public services. I will work to end unfunded federal mandates, while respecting the rights of local communities to provide public services to the extent allowed by their local resources.
Economic pressures aside, we should not behave like a police state with raids to round people up at gunpoint. Such publicity stunts are only designed to intimidate and give the impression of enforcement, when the underlying incentives to enter illegally haven’t changed. We must not split up families, deport children, or deport parents and leave children behind. Let's not take a problem created by our governments, and punish innocent children as a result.
Finally, a question of great difficulty is the issue of amnesty. I do not support the idea of federal troops and agents barging into homes and private property with machine guns to forcibly take away people who entered the country illegally. Such police state tactics only incite fear, without changing the underlying economic incentives encouraging illegal immigration. However, I do believe that amnesty for immigrants who entered illegally is disrespectful to those who have come here through legal channels, and in good conscience, I cannot support it. I believe people here illegally should be given the opportunity to obtain temporary status as a guest worker, but that a path to permanent residency or citizenship requires that they leave the country and reapply through a fair, sustainable, and streamlined process that is accessible to all.
It is important to remember that an essential part of addressing the immigration issue is the responsibility of foreign governments to institute good economic policies that provide opportunities for their citizens. While we cannot directly control corruption or economic opportunity in other countries, to the extent that our trade and agricultural policies damage other nations, we worsen the problem of illegal immigration.
Healthcare<span style="font-family: comic sans ms" />
It’s time to return control of healthcare to patients and providers, and empower patients to drive improvements in healthcare quality and price. My plan for healthcare builds on health savings accounts (HSAs), more affordable health insurance, and improved pricing transparency. All of these factors are important in giving patients greater leverage, and improving the cost and quality of care delivered on a day-to-day basis.
I believe that the government can play a role in making healthcare accessible and affordable for all, but I do not support a government-controlled healthcare system. We should strive for a healthcare system that provides universal access, and is controlled by patients and individual providers.
Today’s healthcare is distorted by what I call “corporate care” – it's controlled by special interests, particularly insurers, large provider bureaucracies, and the federal government. The current system artificially inflates usage and prices, and takes control away from the patient working with his or her preferred provider.
Economically sustainable healthcare requires reducing costs and usage while improving quality. The "inconvenient truth" is that we simply cannot afford a system that promises unlimited care for a small co-pay. If we adopt routine healthcare as a managed household expense, similar to your car or home, costs and usage will decline. Patients can then choose affordable insurance policies that meet their needs, including hospital stays, expensive outpatient treatments, and preventive care.
From an insurance perspective, we should treat health insurance the same regardless of if it is purchased by an employer, or an employee. Our current system provides a taxpayer subsidy for those who are already receiving healthcare from their employer, while ignoring those who need the most help. Placing all Americans on equal footing with respect to healthcare insurance will increase the individual's healthcare independence, as opposed to making healthcare a condition of employment.
Another advantage of eliminating the coupling of healthcare and employment is that people will no longer have to worry about pre-existing conditions when they change employers. Finally, I will pursue legislation that will open up a national market for healthcare insurance, instead of the current system that limits consumers to only insurers operating in their state.
Putting the patient in charge of routine healthcare expenditures will encourage convenience centers which offer drop-in services, often on a 24/7 basis for simple ailments that can be easily treated by a nurse practitioner or physician assistant without an appointment. These services would dramatically lower the cost for many common ailments, and routine health care could easily be paid for out of a funded healthcare savings account.
In the long term, I’d like to see Medicare operate under a similar model using savings account and government funding for insurance. Oh yes – and I’d expect members of Congress and others in Washington to enjoy the same healthcare market that we provide for all of our citizens.
As your congressman, I will seek an active and visible role on Congressional task forces and committees dealing with healthcare so that I can aggressively promote these ideas and turn them into law.
Life<span style="font-family: comic sans ms" />
I am consistently pro-life, and believe the purpose of government is to protect life. Therefore, I do not support abortion or capital punishment. However, the abortion debate is too often used as a wedge issue to divide the electorate.
As an American, I am most concerned with bringing our communities together to identify productive solutions to these divisive issues. For example, I do not know any pro-choice people who like abortions, either. They just fear women dying of sepsis after seeking illegal abortions in a desperate situation.
My first priority is encouraging a more constructive local debate on how we can prevent unwanted pregnancies and empower local, accountable organizations to provide alternatives to abortion. I believe that a discussion at the local level has the potential to change hearts, and the best comment on the abortion debate I've heard recently was "Laws will change when hearts have changed."
I do not believe the Supreme Court was constitutionally justified in issuing a blanket decision about this issue, and favor returning the abortion discussion to the state and local level. Constantly battling over the "right" Supreme Court justices has done nothing to advance the abortion debate in my lifetime.
As Einstein said, insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. I'm ready to try a different approach to change hearts and reduce abortions.
Money in politics
Committees and affiliations
Williams will be assigned committees if and when he is elected to Congress.
Todd Williams is a member of:
More background data
Williams2010<span style="font-family: comic sans ms" />
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Articles and resources
- 2008 U.S. congressional elections
- Portal:Massachusetts and the U.S. Congress