Charting a Progressive Course for Congress

30 Mar

Click HERE to help shape my national agenda. Comment on, rate and suggest items for my platform. Read on for more on the issues I care about. Thank you!

Economic Reform
It’s become a bit cliche, but it still holds true: the Chinese character for “crisis” is made of the symbols representing “danger” and “opportunity.” I believe we Americans are living in revolutionary times that call us to envision a brighter and drastically different economic future. I will fight to fund and promote credit unions, not big bank bailouts. I will work to cap interest rates, especially on existing balances, and will vigorously investigate the failures of the Treasury and its abdication of responsibility.

Equal Rights
I will fight vigorously to ensure that the rights guaranteed to every citizen under the 14th Amendment are not undermined by arbitrary and capricious state or federal laws. Equal rights inherit to the citizen, not to a particular family structure. We have wrongly developed varied laws based on family units that discriminate against gays and their families, Muslims and their families, single-parent families and others. Returning to the Constitutional roots of citizens’ rights will end the conflict between protected religious rites and the rights of all citizens. I do not support the Defense of Marriage Act or Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Religious Freedom
I will work to protect the right of religious institutions to be free from state interference. This means allowing religions to perform their own marriage ceremonies, to enjoy tax exempt status, and allowing religious exemptions for organizations such as Catholic charities seeking federal funding for medical institutions. I would not force pharmacists to violate their religious faiths to work at state hospitals and would work to create legal accommodation for the many faiths that make up our body politic.

Freedom to Bear Arms
An armed citizenry is the best protection against attack from without and tyranny from within. I will support common-sense controls on assault weapons, but will stand firm in protecting the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear sidearms and rifles. I favor strong sentencing for gun crime, and barring felons from legal access to deadly weapons.

Reform Drug Laws
When elected to Congress, I will immediately move to legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana. Tacit legalization through state-by-state decriminalization and “medical cannabis” (as tested in California since 1996) has proven a disastrous failure. Our prisons are dangerous and overcrowded, non-violent criminals who could easily be rehabilitated languish under harsh minimum sentences, and Mexican cartels and urban gangsters flourish. Prohibition of marijuana, like alcohol before it, has proved foolish and far too costly. Legalization would not only reduce drug-related violence, it would create funds for increased mental health funding and counseling for those who find themselves dependent on the drug.

Universal Health Care
I will join President Obama in his vision of a new health care system for America. Universal and portable health care for all Americans is necessary for resuscitating our economy, as more workers seek independent careers as freelancers and small business owners, and fewer each year see a single career as a viable or attractive life choice. Massive health care reform, while protecting the rights to choice of care, will claw back billions of dollars for care instead of insurance systems.

Communications Reform/Open Government
I will fight to make the legislative process transparent and simple, and to end the practice of lumping together disparate issues in common bills. I will fight to end duplication of services across the federal government, and to ensure that records serve a purpose and are not simply stacked and stored. I support process systems that will end punitive regulation of business and instead ensure that they are fully knowledgeable of and compliant with environmental and safety regulations when they open, not following punitive inspections.

Education Reform
I will fight to fully fund public education and provide parents with a choice of options, including small schools and those with arts and tech focus. Programs like “Teach for America” inspire talented young teachers to work for low wages in inner-city schools. We can do the same across America by inspiring a new generation of teachers, reducing bureaucracy and increasing pay through the savings of technological reform, including one-stop data entry and “smart” enrollment systems.

Israel, Terrorism and Foreign Aid
Terrorism flourishes in the Middle East because violent non-state actors have become the de facto social services providers for a wide swath of the region’s poor. I would fight to dramatically increase social services funding in unstable areas, and continue the U.S. strong support for the progressive Israeli democracy. I will oppose, by any means necessary, Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon.

Energy Reform
I will work with President Obama and Van Jones to usher in a new era of energy, with smart systems, jobs for laborers and craftsmen, and new engineering centers around clean power.

Democratic Reforms at Home
I will support creating and empowering local government councils to advise Congressional leaders on their increasingly large districts. I will be seeking advice on this issue from a number of populist activist groups and minor parties.

Clean Money
I have taken the Change Congress pledge, and will work to reform electoral finance system to allow for public funding of all federal elections and create systems that encourage greater competition for high office.

I talk about these issues and my background for 70 minutes, here.

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6 Responses to “Charting a Progressive Course for Congress”

  1. Linda July 16, 2009 at 10:38 am #

    looking forward to hearing more about you and what you can accomplish locally as well.

  2. William Stewart July 22, 2009 at 6:04 am #

    Dear Mr. Hampton:

    I am busy following and evaluating the Democratic candidates running to fill Ellen Tauscher’s congressional seat. I am not a one-issue voter by any means, but I am an ardent opponent of torture, by whatever name it might be known. I am also a supporter of bringing to justice in a timely fashion any American officials who have been involved in torture or other illegal treatment of detainees since 2000.

    Please let me know your stance on this issue.

    Sincerely,
    Bill Stewart,
    El Cerrito, CA

  3. Omeed August 4, 2009 at 6:37 am #

    I agree with you on almost all of your stances except your idea of universal health care. Congress should pass regulations to increase competition between health care and allow health care companies to create national companies instead of just offering their plans state-by-state. Universal health care does not work in the countries where it is present and though we need t fix the problem of the millions of uninsured Americans in this country we must do it in the way that benefits us most. Please reconsider your stance on this issue.

  4. Eric August 7, 2009 at 7:13 pm #

    To Omeed:

    Universal health care does not work in countries where it is present??? According to the World Health Organization, the United States has the worst health care system in the developed countries (all other countries, which happen to have universal national health care, have better systems), while we pay more per capita in health care fees than any other nation in the world. The fact is that the private insurance industry spends 30% on overhead costs, whereas public payment systems spend less than 3% on such waste. Americans are regularly dumped by the wayside by the insurance companies when they get sick, through denial of claims, massive rate hikes, etc.

    So here’s the deal: the insurance industry is to the health care issue what Al-Qaeda is to the terrorism issue, i.e. it is THE problem. Unless we create an alternative to for-profit private insurance, through either a single-payer system or at minimum a strong public option, little will change with regard to this sick health care system.

  5. 3ndpoint August 15, 2009 at 3:49 am #

    I found your website when you followed me on twitter. I am not a resident of California, and so will not be voting for you one way or the other.

    Thank you for supporting HR1207 and S604. I truly believe that the Federal Reserve is the core of our current economic problems. People can take partisan stances as to where the blame should be placed. There is plenty of blame to go around for both sides. In the end the housing bubble could not have expanded without inflation of the money supply and/through interest rate manipulation. That falls squarely on the Federal Reserve which both parties have been supporting it for nearly 100 years.

    Beyond transparency through auditing the Federal Reserve I can’t honestly say that I support you *wholeheartedly* in any of your stances. I have no doubt that your intentions are good, but I believe your results will be bad. I will not refute your stances line by line in a reply, but I will respond to your first issue.

    Beyond “envisioning” a brighter economic future, do you have any expectations as to what “we” Americans will need to do to bring that about? What would our responsibilities be for your decisions? You would support and fund credit unions. Where would this funding come from? In what way would it be dispersed? Has government generally had a record of getting this kind of thing right (in this country or others.)

    I’m totally on board with you about ending big bank bailouts. I’m also against small bank bailouts. What is your stance on fractional reserve banking? You would cap interest rates? Really? What effect would that have on the economy? Do individuals and businesses have the right or ability to enter into contracts freely? If individuals are not responsible enough to live up to the contracts they sign, are they responsible enough for self rule? Do we have adults or children as citizenry? You cited a part of the Constitution that you would like to uphold. Can you point out where in the Constitution congress is allowed to modify or limit contract?

    Again, I have no doubt that your intent is good. Good intentions filtered through the force of government are destroying this country. As they have destroyed other countries. We have a Constitution. How about starting with a platform that can be accomplished while upholding the oath you would swear to it. If this is too limiting then maybe run on a platform of amending it.

  6. Marie August 16, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

    If our aim is to preserve the constitution, citizen rights, equal rights then we can’t be promoting universal healthcare. Forcing people to pay for others violate “citizen rights.”

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