Several issues directly confront the 12th District. The district itself is large, running from the Ohio border in Beaver County, through north Allegheny County out to Johnstown and Somerset. The district has lost jobs, critical social security and medicare benefits are being threatened, and the opioid epidemic continues to grow.
I will go to congress to support efforts that will grow the economy with sustainable jobs. We need to support our unions and work for a livable wage. We can start by raising the minimum wage. I recently met a CEO of a tech company in San Jose California. He was bemoaning how difficult it was to build his company because of the high cost of living there. We can attract these companies to relocate here. We have the expertise, workforce, and amenities that have already brought established companies and start-ups alike to the region.
We can help our municipalities by providing the resources to replace street lights and traffic signals with high efficient LED. This has been done with great success in Monaca. These initiatives will create jobs. Solar is the fastest growing sector in the energy industry. We can also promote waste to energy projects to produce natural gas from agricultural, municipal and food wastes. I have worked with these technologies and know first hand that they work. My own house has leased solar panels providing me with electricity to run my house with the excess energy sent back to the grid. I’m generating green energy and saving money! We will need new appliances that run directly off solar so I intend to attract this type of manufacturing to the region.
We need to address our aging infrastructure. Federal dollars must help to repair our roads and bridges. The power grid is being reinvented to include the mixed grid with power being generated from localized sources of wind, solar, and biogas. This new grid will actually cut power consumption and strengthen our resilience to natural disasters and terrorist attacks. Our municipal water and sewer systems need critical attention. Using waste water to feed biodigester facilities will actually generate energy and revenue (Poop to Profit).
25% of our district depends on social security. It is a travesty that congress has routinely robbed the social security coffers and has put a cap on contributions. One of the simplest solutions is to raise the cap. Everyone benefits from a solvent social security blanket.
Our healthcare system is on the ropes and it has to be fixed now. I believe health coverage is a right of every citizen. When everyone participates, the costs go down for everyone. Simple math. I will support single payer, medicare expansion as proposed in house bill HR 676. We also need to negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies for reasonable prescription drug costs.
We need to address the growing opioid problem. It is effecting every age and economic group. Treatment, rehabilitation, and education programs must be funded.
We can also address health care by fixing the VA hospital system with full funding and staffing. We have more than 22 million veterans, all who have served our country well. They deserve the respect and best quality health care.
Education is the key to any success. It starts with preschool programs and continues on through college and post-graduate studies. I will promote a simple plan to provide student loans at a reasonable interest rate that will be affordable and solvent.
We can do these things without destroying our air and water.
Not by giving tax breaks to the wealthy, large corporations, and Wall Street, but with true fiscal responsibility, a fair tax system, and a reasonable plan to pay down our current debt.
Our district has some amazing natural beauties with forests, farmland, rolling hills, and rivers for agriculture, fishing, boating, hiking, hunting, and tourism. Without environmental protection, these resources will be plundered and lost. Clean air and clean water make for healthy communities. We have to think of our children and their children. I have devoted my career to protecting our resources and now want to help usher in a new future with well-paying jobs and a strong economy that is sustainable. I am willing to work hard for the citizens of the 12th District and hope to count on your support and vote.
Dr. John Stolz