The U.S. economy is on the right track with GDP over 4% and the stock market hitting new record highs. The economic policies put in place over the last two years has encouraged employers to expand payrolls and consumer confidence is at an 18-year high. We have made great strides in our economy and now it's time to plan for our future and keep our economy stable. Balancing the nation's budget should be the number one goal of Congress. Congress needs to stop the frivolous and unnecessary spending and pandering to lobbyists and get back down to basics, so our children and grandchildren aren't burden with additional debt, which now stands at $21 Trillion and counting. It's time for Congress to stabilize the gains we have made to sustain the growth and protect our elderly and most vulnerable by fixing our Social Security and Medicare programs before they run out of money.
Protecting American workers will be one of my main priorities. With unemployment numbers seeming to be at all time lows, we must first consider those who lost their jobs or businesses during the great recession and are no longer being counted. Many of those got discouraged and stopped looking for jobs and others took positions that pay much less than before the recession. We need to look at the Temporary Guest Worker Program and make sure qualified Americans are getting those jobs before we give them to guest workers. These are white collar, well paid positions that provide living wages to many Americans that need them. While H-1B Visas are good to bring the brightest and most highly skilled people to the U.S. and help American companies innovate and grow, there is much abuse in those programs that needs to be fixed.
Immigration has been ignored by Congress for over 50 years, with a few band aid fixes throughout that time. We need a comprehensive approach to immigration reform which would first include securing our borders and making E-Verify mandatory; we need to stem the tide of illegal immigration into our country. Then, we must compassionately address the issue of illegal immigrants and their children that already make America their home. It's unfair and unjust to start enforcing laws that have been ignored for decades. It is the fault of Congress that has allowed illegal immigration to go unchecked. Next, the immigration laws must be enforced. Many immigration laws go unchecked allowing rampant abuse. And, lastly, we must find a solution for those individuals that overstay visas under the guise that they are waiting for a green card; we need to change the process by which they come in to our country, so this does not become an issue going forward. There are dozens of Temporary Guest Worker Visa types that are all being exploited, allowing nearly 2 million Guest Workers to enter and remain in the US each year.
After seeing the debacle of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and what has happened to me and most of my family and friends, I know that we need to make major changes to the health care system before it collapses in on itself. The phrase, "You can keep your doctor and keep your plan," isn't happening. Allowing insurers to sell across state lines, to be able to carry your policy with you wherever you go, tort reform; these are some of the things that the HEALTH Act of 2016 would have addressed but was never brought up to a vote. We must restore the relationship between doctor and patient, price and service, and improve quality, access, and affordability.
I was born in southern California and grew up on the beaches of Santa Barbara. Soon after my dad died when I was 13, my family moved to Washington and we settled in Mukilteo. I've been a Snohomish County resident ever since. I graduated from Mariner High School in 1987 and I married in 1990 my beautiful bride, Marni, and we celebrated 28 years this August. In 2000 we moved to Sultan where we are raising our three wonderful kids.
In 2007, after hearing things in the community, I decided to get more involved. I was appointed to a Citizen's Advisory Panel to work on budget issues for the city and I was elected as chair to that committee. Through that committee I was able to make recommendations to the city council that helped guide the city through the economic downturn without having to gut programs or lay off staff.
In 2008 Sultan was looking to create a storm water utility to prepare the city for the upcoming NPDES permit requirements. The city had proposed ridiculously high rates and fees and I knew that in the midst of an economic downturn it would be devastating to the few businesses we still had in town. Through that committee I helped establish fair and reasonable rates but still implement a storm water utility that would accomplish the needs of the community.
The following year I was approached by the city administrator to apply for a vacant seat on the city council. I was appointed to the seat in 2009 and have been re-elected three times to that seat. During my time as city council member I have had the privilege to serve on other boards in the community. In 2014 - 2015 I was elected by the cities in Snohomish County to serve on the Puget Sound Regional Council Transportation Policy Board as the representative for cities in Snohomish County. I am currently the alternate for that board. Also, in 2016 I was elected by the cities in Snohomish County to serve on the Snohomish County LEOFF 1 Board to represent small cities in Snohomish County. I have held that board position for three years. It has been an honor to serve in that capacity for our community. I have always had a desire to be active in my community to make where I live a better place. This is where my family lives and I've always felt if you are going to complain you had better be willing to step up and help make the decisions that will make a difference. This is why I am running for Congress. It's time to start making better decisions and make a difference in our community and our nation.
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Jeffrey Beeler for Congress Washington 1st District, Republican P.O. Box 94, Sultan, Washington 98294