Adam Withrow for CD3
Adam Withrow is a Democratic Candidate for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District. He is a working person for a working district. We don't have to abandon our principles to win.
OUR VISION FOR CD3
Adam Withrow envisions a CD3 where the working people are at the forefront of every decision made. He is committed to bringing prosperity to the district for more than just a privileged few. He will work to make sure that the voices of the people are heard in the government. Join Adam in his vision for CD3.
ENERGY FOR THE FUTURE, NOT FROM THE PAST.
To quote Shakespeare, "Drill, baby, drill," by any other name stinks just as bad. I'm not a fan of "all of the above." Just ask the people who can light their well water on fire. In our district of 730,000 people, the mining, quarrying, oil and gas industries combined only employ about 3,300. That includes the gravel pits! More people than that are affected by poisoned water from drilling!
We shouldn't cut it off, but it's 19th century technology, and last I heard, we were in the 21st.
It's time to create better incentives for clean energy.
Most houses have enough roof space to generate 3 or 4 times the electricity they consume. If you use any amount of power, your utility will charge you for all of it. If you generate it, they'll only pay for so much. Let's ban that. Let's turn roofs into power plants and get more people in the energy business. By removing net metering offset caps through utility regulations, we can remove a barrier that stands in the way of democratizing our power grid. Let's start getting checks FROM the utilities for a change. Let's increase the solar tax credit, make it permanent, and bring back the rebates!
So a lot of solar panels come from China, huh? Well, let's create incentives for American companies to make 'em here. If being cozy with oil and gas was gonna win this, it would have last year.
LET'S LET ALL JOBS BE "GOOD" JOBS
We hear a lot about good jobs. What about the people with BAD jobs? We don't need more housing projects, we need more homeowners! Google median income for towns around the district. It's less than 20 grand a year in a lot of them, and half the people make less than that. Face the facts. Those jobs aren't going away, someone's gotta do 'em. You know what would boost the economy? If all people could afford to participate in it.
I've come up with a slate of what I call "tax burden relief incentives." Let's offer tax relief for employers that raise pay above the line of subsidized living. Let's let companies that raise people from tax returns to tax bills take a little credit. Instead of raising taxes, let's raise people up to be able to pay them!
A tax credit for employers tied to their employees' standard of living is a way to prevent them from jacking up prices on everything out of spite for having to pay living wages. If they want to complain about having to pay for public assistance for their own employees, let's give them another option.
I believe a raise in the Federal Minimum Wage is vital. No one can live off of $7.25 an hour anywhere. I believe that it has to be pegged to the consumer price index, though, and not just arbitrarily decreed. I'm not going to toss out a number here because there's room for debate on that issue in the House.
Universal Basic Income is another topic for another day, but it's time to start the conversation.
Veterans are often pandered to and exploited for political gain, and seldom cared about by the people doing the schmoozing.
I'll come straight out and say it: I'm not friends with the people who make money off of wars, I'm friends with the people who fight in them. I don't mean that I have friendly feelings, I mean that they're the people I hang out with. I met quite a few of my vet friends when they were living in tents on the outskirts of town.
I actually enlisted myself in 2003. I made it all the way to MEPS, and I was disqualified for a medical condition that was easily cured with surgery. My Marine Corps dreams were already up in smoke, though. I got drunk for a year or so, and then I went to college instead. Eventually, I did go to work as a detention officer, but in real life, that's like comparing apples and drywall screws.
My grandpa was a vet, a couple of my uncles are, a couple of my cousins are active duty. My twin brother is a veteran of the United States Navy. He's one of the guys who landed square on his feet. He still works for the Navy now, but he's a teacher. From what I hear, he's rewriting their curriculum in a sensitive program, and his work is going to change the way the Navy does business. Good for him.
A lot of my friends are the people who landed on their ass, instead. A certain friend of mine was a radio dispatcher in Afghanistan. Anyone who knows a civilian dispatcher can attest to the fact that that job can be harder on them than the jobs of the people they dispatch. Their hands are tied. All they can do is send what help is available as fast as possible. A wartime dispatcher has it rough. This guy had to tell people it was going to be all right while they were taking their last breaths. A lot of the people he worked with over the radio are people he wouldn't recognize if he looked them in the face. When the Army was done with him, they basically bought him a bus ticket and gave him the boot. It took him years to put his life back together.
Another of my friends was on a SWAT team in Baghdad. He has had to kill over 400 people, most of them in combat situations. He hasn't just been shot at, he's been shot. While he was in Iraq, he made friends with one of the local kids. He bought him a bike, hung out with him, and got him out of all sorts of situations. Other kids would beat him up and steal the bike, and my friend would go and get the bike back for him. One day, the friend was riding in the turret of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and he saw someone step around the corner holding an RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade). As soon as it turned toward his vehicle, my friend let that 22mm cannon loose, neutralizing the threat. His own investigation revealed that it was his little buddy that he shot. The kid was 11 years old. He said he would have rather been hit by the RPG than do that, but he could never take it back.
Another friend of mine is a veteran of both the United States Marine Corps and the United States Army. We met when we were a bit older, so he was already starting to get back on his feet. That was after the divorce, after losing the house, after having the truck reposessed. His life was still rough, though. He was living off of his VA disability and a scabby girlfriend who had a crappy job. He was, and still is, a damn fine human being, but military life leaves some scars on a lot of the people who serve. He's got it all the way together, now. He's working as an R&D chemist, and things are moving up.
He had some issues with his discharge rank and disability status, and I've grown pretty good at navigating red tape from my time as a contractor, so we worked together to get these things ironed out. We made it all the way to the part where you need a Congressional signature.
With a stroke of a pen, Lauren Boebert could have made a serious improvement in this guy's life. Instead, he ended up with an automated response asking for campaign funds. You'll never guess what he got from the Frisch campaign. Ok, I'll spill it: More upper class panhandling.
When I hear these two talk about veterans, I hear different words, but I hear them saying the same thing. They don't care. Can't see it from their house. Boebert says we don't owe them a thing, and Frisch, in his classic form, says we need to send them all for training. As if there is no training in the military.
We've got these people who are more than ready to cut blank checks to defense contractors for stuff that can have a 60% out of the box failure rate, but they don't want to recognize the humanity of the people who actually do the fighting.
First off, let's acknowledge a few things: While all of us civilians were out learning how to live in our society, military people, during those same years of their lives, were in a highly regimented environment. There's a place and time for everything, and in the military, almost ALL of that is scheduled and mandatory. Choice about what to do, questions about how to do it; those are not parts of the military existence.
Second on that list should go without saying: Not everyone is interested in leaving everybody behind economically, and money is not necessarily the only thing in life. Going straight from a combat job to college isn't always easy for everybody. It's impossible or undesirable for a lot. Going straight from a war zone to a 9 to 5 isn't necessarily even possible. People who make it through military service don't need everything to be made easy, but they're not miracle workers, either.
Yes, I support expanded re-entry programs to help adapt to civilian life. Yes, I support educational options and career pathways for people to build on the skills that they learned in the armed forces.
We need to talk about a cool-down period, though. For the people who can seamlessly readjust, that's great. They should if they could. Not everyone can, though, and having a psychiatrist tie them down with pharmaceuticals is not the way through this. It's great for the drug industry, but horrible for the people. We need to develop multi-year reintroduction programs to help those who are traumatized rediscover the joy of life without ending up homeless.
At the same time, no Representative or candidate should respond the the inquiries of a veteran with a fundraising letter. If they wanted to give to your campaign, they would have. When my office in DC recieves a request like the one I helped my friend file, I'll sign it. The affected person will only hear from me saying the job was done, just like I was hired to do.
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
-Second Amendment, US Constitution
The responsibility of a US Representative is to carry the voices of their constituents to Washington, DC, not to come with their own agenda and forget the people who sent them there. Time and time again, the majority of the voters in our district have made their choice clear. The right to keep and bear arms is a top priority, how else do you think Boebert still has a job? As a Democrat who lives and works in the 3rd. I HAVE to recognize this.
Every person who has won CD3 in the last half century recognized it. John Salazar and Ben Campbell, the only two Democrats to hold this seat in my lifetime, both fought to protect the rights of our citizens to bear arms. I will continue to do so as well.
In the event of a national emergency, there is a major benefit to having people who are trained and proficient in the use of firearms. One could argue that the only reason we haven't been invaded after our military adventurism is because we have an armed citizenry. Not only do they not need to be taught, they do not need to be furnished with weapons, either. The "arsenal of Democracy" is already in our cities and towns, for better or for worse.
I do believe in common-sense gun laws, but only where they are unambiguously protecting the people's rights. We can not choose to protect some parts of the Constitution and not others, and a Constitutional Convention in our time would tear the country to pieces.
While I think that many people who have a gun should not, and while I think many people who have a gun do not need one, it is not my place to decide who, what types, or how many.
The States can do what they wish within the bounds of the Constitution, but many of those laws end up overturned in Federal courts. The Federal Government's hands are pretty much tied, however. The backlash from limiting the legal civilian arms industry will be the expansion of the black market, and we will see much more deadly and powerful weapons proliferate in a much more dangerous way.
We hear a whole lot about medical costs, debt and spending. I have an idea for how we can cut WAY into some of those costs. Today I want to talk about choice. Anybody out here think women should have reproductive healthcare choices?
Good. I'm in the right room. I think this might be one of the only things me and the "conservative businessman" agree on.
Well, now that we've got that settled, I want to talk about the next choice in reproductive healthcare. Wait! There's another choice? What could that possibly be?
I mean the one you make AFTER you've decided to keep the baby.
Did you know that for a low-risk pregnancy, a hospital birth costs at least 3 times as much as having a baby at home? Three out of four of my kids were born at home. It's not for everyone, but for us, it's the only way to go. In the hospital, they kept pushing drugs and interventions in a busy, noisy environment. It's a good thing the D.A.R.E. program told us "Just say NO!" At home, we had our team and all the time in the world.
I'll say that's one of the few places nowadays that you can pay less and get better service.
So, what does this have to do with some guy running for the House?
Neither public or private insurance will pay for it, that's what. If midwives were able to collect from Medicaid and private insurance companies, their services could become available for a lot more people. A hospital is a place for sick and injured people, and an uncomplicated pregnancy is not an illness. I think it's time we stop treating it that way! We can free up hospital space for the people who really do need it, and we can cut spending for the private insurance industry as well as our public options in the process.
With Medicaid, it's as simple as a policy change. When it comes to the private industry, we'll have to decide whether that's a matter of regulation or just legislative guidance. One way or the other, though, it's time to start talking about this.
DRUGS AND CRIME
No one disagrees that we have a serious problem with drugs and crime. Even druggies and criminals agree, they just typically point to the person next to them and not themselves. That's what we're all doing, though, and it's time to think a little more critically about all of this.
We've got parallel epidemics of methamphetamine and opiate use, and they appear to be the main driving forces of our escalating crime waves.
Let's look there first. I worked as a detention officer at a county jail for a good while, and one of my duties was to strip search male inmates as they were taken into the facility. That was as degrading for me as it was for them, but it did prevent the introduction of both meth and heroin into the facility. There was one common theme among almost all heroin addicts and dealers: Surgical scars.
Heroin is not the type of drug that people just want to go out and try. Some people do, sure, but for the most part, heroin is something that people turn to when their prescriptions run out. A person can either be injured at work or in a car accident, and depending on their situation, they'll get little more than a patch job and a prescription. Doctors push large amounts of natural and synthetic opiates on people who are suffering from extreme pain. Many times, those drugs are pushed as part of a program even when the patient reports that they are not effective or are producing side-effects worse than the pain. The same thing happens for people with certain forms of cancer.
They don't start with a drug problem, they start with a pain problem. The pharmaceutical industry has too large of an influence on medical education, so even well meaning physicians end up being little more than licensed drug dealers. A person with a lot of money can be just as strung out as a person living under a bridge, but their financial situation means that they can keep that prescription until there is some sort of intervention. In that case, they are not typically referred to as a 'junkie' or someone with a drug problem, but the real life situation is the same.
In my conversations with methamphetamine users, there was another common theme: Childhood prescriptions to Adderall. Look at the generic, and you'll find that it is a blend of amphetamine and deoxyamphetamine. 'Tweekers' generally made their first forays into the world of amphetamines in elementary school. Meth is another drug that people don't typically go out and try. Again, there are some, but even those typically tried an Adderall pill that they got from a friend at school.
In the cases of extreme pain and ADHD, our society's response is the same: Get the person hooked on a drug that will mask the symptoms. Sweep the problems under the rug, and let someone else deal with them later.
As our civilization matures, we ought to be finding more mature responses to problems. I propose that we completely eliminate the prescription of amphetamines to children. There are other ways to deal with hyperactivity. A chemical leash is something that stays on for life. Much like a dog develops a collar divot if they're kept collared all of the time, a human being develops a drug habit. The behavioral tendencies that lead to the prescription find their way through the drug, but the lifestyle pattern remains.
Opiates/opioids need to be more tightly controlled and used only as a last resort. We need another layer of supervision and accountability for MD's. One person's use is legitimate while another's is not? Sometimes, yes, but the presence of a prescription is not the dividing line. It's too easy for some people to get and keep prescriptions strictly because they are addicted, while others are prescribed unnecessarily and then cut off cold after a period long enough to be hopelessly addicted.
Our modern life is driving more and more of us to the brink in what has already become a mental health crisis. People are crumbling under the strain. It's nearly impossible for a lot of people to get by, and they're turning to drugs and violence as outlets.
While I was working as a Detention Officer, we had a guy brought in for some charges I've forgotten during a suicide attempt. While we were holding him, he attempted suicide repeatedly over the course of about ten days. He was kept in solitary confinement the entire time.
At one point, we were shackling people for court, and he came to his cell window with fresh pink marks on his neck. He had hung himself off a bunk that was 16" off the floor. As the days went by, the pink marks turned to bruises, and the bruises broke into scabs. He bashed his face into the wall so hard and so many times that he had double black eyes from hits to his forehead. He sharpened his spoon and attempted to cut his wrists. He tried to drown himself in the toilet.
My shift partner and I attempted to contact our local mental health provider, and they refused to see him until ten days had passed, citing a policy about not talking to a person with drugs in their system. I spent every free minute of my shifts with him talking about whatever he needed to talk about at the moment. We went through that together. When the "professionals" finally sent someone, she spent about ten minutes with him and left a brochure.
THAT'S where our government mental health dollars are going. I believe that more funding is only a small part of the answer. Many of these agencies have no real oversight or quality control. Many of them are no better than slush buckets that pay out large executive salaries while accomplishing nothing.
We need to recognize that the crisis is already upon us. While larger urban areas tend to have decently competent and accessible mental health resources, the majority of the population of our district live in rural areas. The ones that I have lived in have services that are sorely inadequate. Giving a person who is actively, repeatedly attempting suicide a brochure or a pamphlet is not enough. Leaving it to law enforcement is not either.
Throwing more federal dollars at the crisis is not the answer without a strong layer of quality assurance and active evaluation of the care providers' performance. When a lady is suffering from severe post-partum depression and reaches out for help, "What am I supposed to do about it?" is not the answer she's reaching out for.
This is a sticky subject, but it's one we have to address in a number of ways.
Let's start with the basics. We're all aware of the circus that followed the 2020 election. We need to do a few things to prevent that from happening again. First off, it's time to completely abolish the Electoral College. What is the point of it? All it has ever managed to do is allow people who have lost the popular vote to become the President by gaming the system. That's enough, already! Much of the gamesmanship that was allowed to play out surrounding the 2020 election would have been impossible if we were using the popular vote. Period.
Second, we need greater transparency. We need the maximum possible level of transparency while still maintaining the secret ballot. We all have to acknowledge that whatever we believe about the outcome of any election hinges almost entirely on what we choose to believe. I believe that the 2020 election was quite possibly the most secure election in American history. I believe that because Chris Krebs said so. All I really have to go on is my trust and respect for him. There is no real way for us to verify that. The best we can do is take the assurances of those who are entrusted with these matters.
We need real-time auditability of all ballots available to all people. We need a single, central repository of all the data, and we need it publicly available the instant it is entered.
Now it's time to get to the really stinky part. Our winner-take-all system leaves too many people feeling burned after every single cycle. In a competitive district, like here in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, roughly half of the people will feel like their person lost every single time. A popular incumbent may have it better, but even then, a quarter or more of the population feel like they got skunked.
In non-competitive districts, the problem is even worse. Significant portions of the populations of non-competitive districts never really have any representation at all. If you're blue in a red district, or vice versa, your guy never wins. They never will. Add to this the fact that by having only two parties that ever really win, even "winners" end up with a hard pill to swallow.
Very few people actually think solidly along party lines, and the further apart they drift, the more one ends up going along with things they don't agree with to see their priorities represented.
Over 100 countries use systems of proportional representation to allow more nuanced political perspectives to have a voice. It's time to adopt one here. Our two-party, winner-take-all system is failing before our eyes. I
PRESCRIPTION DRUG COSTS
While we're talking about choices, costs and the like, we might as well talk about another set of choices that can really help with the cost of medicine.
The United States Pharmacopoeia only contains drugs. I think it's great that we've reached the point where the federal government is flexing its muscles in negotiation with our cartels - OOH! I mean, our pharmaceutical companies. I also think it's time we get a little more serious about the multitude of natural, herbal medicines that exist in nature.
I'm not talking about weed and mushrooms here.
There are over 400 herbs that are used for medicinal purposes, some of which are purported to be as or more effective than pharmaceuticals. Don't believe in the power of herbs? Head on down to your local dispensary and give that one a try. If you've never tried before, go real easy. You might be surprised.
A lot of our pharmaceuticals are derived from plants, anyway.
What I'd like to do is set the FDA loose on those. I want to let qualified scientists in our own country evaluate these plants and the compounds they contain, and the ones that truly work, I want approved for use in the same way pharmaceuticals are. It will take time to break the grip of the pharmaceutical industry on our medical education system, but physicians who stay on top of the science will have more tools at their disposal to fight what ails us. A garden is something that normal people can have. It doesn't have to be owned by a massive corporation. This is another way to decentralize our economy, stimulate small businesses in agriculture, and lower drug costs.
When it comes time to label these products for sale, our marijuana industry here in Colorado has already developed a standard for chemical analysis to show the levels of active ingredients in individual batches. At the same time, though, many of these plants really can be grown at home. We just need to know which ones actually work.
If we want the big pharmaceutical companies to give us a break, let's give them some competition!
SNIPPETS OF TO-DO'S
I support a ban on stock trading and maybe even ownership by members of Congress. Insider trading in Congress is disgusting, and it should be illegal. They need to work for US, not their portfolios.
I support continued and strengthening regulation of Wall Street. Deregulation will only lead to further financial crisis, and we should at least limit their ability to gamble our lives away.
I do NOT support taking back the money that we've invested in the IRS. Uncle Sam has some debt problems right now, and he needs to make more money. What's wrong with catching wealthy tax cheats?