My name is Matt Fecteau and I am seeking the Democratic Nomination for Rhode Island’s 1st District. I am the most progressive candidate in this race by far. Despite my progressive leanings, both Republicans and Democrats, including myself, can agree on some key issues. This will require compromise and consensus, not empty rhetoric and demagoguery.
We need leaders from both parties that will reach across the aisle and sincerely work together. Let’s get the job done by identifying key issues we all can agree on such as:
- tax reform. A broader, simplified tax code would benefit low income and middle class families, and also small businesses. We spend far too long on taxes each year and the tax code is too complex. In addition, our statutory tax rate is the highest in the world at 35%. Add in the additional state taxes of around 4% and we are looking at a tax rate of around 39%. We should look for ways to reduce this tax rate, and simplify the tax code. A significant amount of members from both parties agree here.
- reducing Government Waste. While Republicans and Democrats tend to disagree on whether the answer is less government or smarter government, both parties agree that reduction in waste and red tape would benefit the American people. Let’s keep refining our government to make it more efficient thus reducing unwarranted expenditures.
- reforming the Earn Income Tax Credit. Surprisingly, both Democrats and prominent Republicans such as Representative Paul Ryan believe the Earn Income Tax Credit penalizes married couples and individuals with no children living at or below the poverty line. Representative Ryan and the Democratic caucus have touched on this issue several times.
- a Payroll Tax Cut. Both parties have disagreements about whether we should increase the minimum wage, but instituting a payroll tax has attracted bipartisan support in the past and would be a de facto increase in the minimum wage. Tax cuts are popular with the Republican Party and Democrats want to increase the wages for the working class. Reinstituting the payroll tax cut is another area of agreement.
- investment in Our Infrastructure. Republicans and Democrats agree we need to invest and improve our infrastructure, but they have different ideas. The Republicans want to expand the powers and budget of the Department of Transportation while the Democrats and some prominent Republicans support an infrastructure bank. Regardless, both parties agree we need to do something about our infrastructure.
The War on al Qaeda. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that al Qaeda needs to be marginalized and eroded. This issue has the most bipartisan support of all.
- Reforming Minimum Sentencing Laws. Grover Norquist, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) joined forces to introduce Justice Safety Valve Act which would give federal judges more federal leeway when handing down sentences considering our prison system is overcrowded by 40% and half of the federal offenders are nonviolent drug arrests. We need to continue to build momentum for this legislation going forward.
These issues will not solve all our problems nor are they a panacea for the gridlock in Congress, but they are reasonable starting points.
We should put aside partisan parlor tricks and focus on pragmatism over idealism. We won’t agree with everything, but pointing fingers only adds to the partisan gridlock in Congress. We need leaders who will work through this partisan congestion not contribute to the noise in Congress. The time for change is now and yes, this is also where we can agree too.
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