While I was out knocking on doors over the weekend, I heard a great personal story from a couple I met in NE Tacoma. Both worked in the technology field and had been out of work for over a year. The wife took advantage of a federal program that helped her pay for vocational retraining; she took classes and became qualified to work in medical billing. She got a job and is enjoying her new career. And just this week her husband got hired back at his old company. Both said that they never could have made it – they would have lost their house and she never would have been able to have the time to get retrained – if not for the extended unemployment they received.
I am a strong supporter of a more accountable and fiscally responsible federal budget but during tough times, some critical programs can be the difference between hard working people being able to make it and them being cast into a spiral of unemployment and despair. If my opponent and others on the far right had their way, the couple I met in NE Tacoma would be facing a very different reality. There would have been no federal re-training program— my opponent just sees this as government spending—and no extended unemployment. Instead of being back to work, paying their bills and paying taxes this couple would be another grim statistic in our sluggish economy.
We need thoughtful, common sense leadership as we work our way back to a stronger economy. I supported the balanced budget agreement in 1997 which lead our nation to four straight years of budget surpluses. And, as too many in Congress abandoned these principles, I have consistently voted against popular spending programs and tax cuts that weren’t paid for. Going forward, we must prioritize our spending needs and reform our current programs to make sure we are using them effectively and efficiently.
I will never forget that I work for the people of the 9th Congressional District, and their lives are impacted by the decisions our elected leaders make everyday.