James is the right person at the right time to bring about the change we all so desperately want to see in D.C. James exemplifies leadership in every way, every day, with kindness, empathy, and authenticity.
The following is James’ platform. It is based on commonsense progressive principles, equality for all, and a desire to see a nation of the people, for the people.
FIGHTING FOR THE U.S. CONSTITUTION AND OUR RIGHTS
Twice in his life, James swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic -- once in the Army and once when he became a civil rights attorney. He is looking forward to swearing that oath again and fighting for our rights in Congress.
James knows the Constitution is the bedrock on which our country was founded. As a civil rights attorney, James believes the Constitution needs to be the cornerstone of every decision and is a staunch defender of the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment.
James believes demanding equality for all is not the same as asking for special or unbalanced treatment. It’s asking for the law to be applied equally, period. All people deserve justice, dignity, and equality regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, creed, physical and intellectual ability, or nation of origin. James supports and values all members of our community. He is strongly committed to defending the rights and freedoms of not only all Kansans, but all people whomever they are, wherever they are from, and whomever they love. He believes in fighting against all forms of discrimination, and will vigorously oppose those who would attack, bully, or legislate against any member of any group.
FIGHTING FOR WOMEN
Women must be represented as a whole, not through the lens of a single issue. Women shouldn’t have to fight for access to birth control while large corporations systematically employ wage discrimination policies aimed at increasing profits.
Today, women still earn anywhere from 22 to 46 percent less than their male counterparts in 99.6 percent of all occupations, causing forty-two million women to fall into poverty and take their children with them. Women pay $1 billion more in health insurance premiums. Female incarceration rates have skyrocketed. Our foster care system is in need of a major overhaul and is, all too often, used as a pipeline for sex trafficking women and young girls. Reproductive healthcare is under attack. Police departments nationwide are woefully under-trained to handle domestic violence situations and the courts often don’t enforce standards fairly in urban and rural areas.
James believes ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment is the first step in righting the wrongs we have inflicted on the women and girls of this country and guaranteeing them equal protection under the Constitution.
The ERA will not solve all our problems, but it would be a boost of momentum to help guarantee a world where our mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, and friends are treated with equal respect, dignity, and opportunity under the law. In Congress, James will fight to ensure its passage because women’s rights are human rights.
As Congressman, James would take action against any kind of legislation that would prohibit reproductive rights. James trusts women to make the right decisions about their own healthcare and supports a woman's right to choose.
FIGHTING FOR FIRM, FAIR IMMIGRATION POLICY
Since its founding, America has been strengthened by immigrants of all races and faiths. Today, many immigrants power the South Central Kansas economy in agriculture, high tech, and manufacturing. They are our friends, neighbors, and classmates. We worship together, we work together, we grieve and celebrate together. We must seek to end all forms of racism, xenophobia and bigotry.
James will fight for a firm, fair immigration reform policy that protects hardworking families. It is imperative to fight for a pathway to citizenship for those whose families served our nation and are productive members of society. As with every policy, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights must be the guiding influence in decision making.
Ending DACA will leave 800,000 young people in limbo. That number includes over 5,000 who live and work right here in Kansas. We made a promise to DACA recipients that if they came out of the shadows, followed the right procedures and continued to be productive members of society they would be protected. The DACA recipients have fulfilled their end of the bargain, we now have a moral and legal obligation to ensure our government fulfills its end. Now is the time for us to keep our word and protect them.
Study after study shows the cost of leaving people homeless is far greater than the cost of helping to put them on the path to self-sufficiency with dignity. Ending the scourge of homelessness in Kansas isn’t just the right thing to do, it will make the economy stronger.
Having grown up at times in homelessness, James believes we have a fiscal responsibility to address this issue, but, more importantly, we have a moral obligation to do so.
FIGHTING FOR HEALTHCARE
The United State healthcare system ranks 37th in the world. To any reasonable person, this is unacceptable. As the richest nation in the world, there is no reason America’s healthcare system shouldn’t be the best and most dynamic. James believes now is the time to end the price gouging, for-profit corporate greed that currently drives our healthcare system, with special scrutiny paid to our pharmaceutical industry.
In Congress, James will work to create affordable healthcare by increasing market competition and demanding insurance companies spend money on providing care and innovative solutions.
James believes in increasing access and lowering the staggering cost of healthcare, such as would happen with a public option plan to compete with private insurers. James is open to the idea of a Medicare for All plan if such a path could be shown to lower costs and guarantee access to everyone while keeping our country on the path to financial stability.
Additionally, programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid aren’t political bargaining chips -- they represent promises made to our seniors and the most vulnerable in our society. These programs have enabled millions to be lifted out of poverty and James will fight to keep these promises.
FIGHTING FOR EDUCATION
Public education changed James Thompson’s life. It was because of the inspiration of a teacher that James was set on a path to bring himself out of poverty and on the road to prosperity. When he is in Congress, he will fight to ensure the same opportunities that changed his life are available to every child in Kansas and the United States.
State and local government spending on jails and prisons has risen at more than three times the spending on education in the last two and a half decades. Rather than investing in our kids, we prepare far too many of them for failure and incarceration. This school to prison pipeline must be cut and destroyed.
An investment in education is fiscally smart. An educated workforce builds and strengthens the economy and provides job creators with the resources to build businesses. Additionally, an investment in education that provides reduced cost or free higher and technical education options would eliminate crushing student debt. James will make college and technical education affordability a key priority in Congress. As the richest nation in the world, there is no reason America should not have a world-class educational system.
FIGHTING FOR A STRONG KANSAS ECONOMY
The heart of our economy is the working class family. Kansas, and the Fourth District specifically, has a rich history of growing the middle class through its robust manufacturing base.
James knows smalls businesses power our growth and wants to see local business owners thrive so they can employ and support working families. A small business owner himself, James knows the struggles entrepreneurs face. He will fight to make sure they have the best environment possible to start and grow a business.
James believes that to ensure our region is the most attractive to investment and growth, we must also ensure our workers have the opportunity to learn new skills that will enable jobs in our 21st Century economy. Skills training and higher education for middle and working class men and women is crucial to this strategy.
Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of the Kansas economy. James knows that while the scrapped Trans-Pacific Partnership had major flaws, free and fair trade is essential to grow our state and national economy. James will work to establish strong and fair trade policies, with special regard to Kansas farmers and ranchers who need to bring their goods to market on a global scale.
James strongly believes in workers’ rights to organize at the workplace. He will fight to protect and strengthen unions and collective bargaining rights for all workers.
James will fight for immediate infrastructure investments in roads, bridges, highways, and digital and water systems. On top of creating a more favorable climate to draw national and international business to South Central Kansas, such investments would improve our crumbling infrastructure and create immediate jobs in the Fourth District.
James believes in mandatory paid sick leave and family leave. The United States is one of three countries in the world that doesn’t offer paid maternity leave. Without paid leave, an illness or the birth of a child could literally break a family already teetering on the financial edge. This should be rectified immediately.
The way of life for working families is under attack. James will work to bring the minimum wage up to a Kansas living wage. Full time workers should not be forced live in poverty. James believes no one working full time should have to work multiple jobs to put food on the table for their families. It's time to rein in unfair tax schemes for the ultra-rich that leave working people behind.
We need a truly progressive tax environment where risk-takers are rewarded for investing in job creation while working and middle class families can enjoy greater prosperity.
FIGHTING FOR OUR VETERANS
A veteran himself, James knows the struggles faced by our veterans young and old. The scourge of PTSD has affected his family directly and made his mission clear.
James believes if we’re going to send our men and women in uniform to war, we must be prepared to fund the treatment of the physical and mental wounds of our heroes when they come home. The suicide rate of veterans is unacceptably high, and James is committed to addressing this immediately.
James is committed to reforming the VA so our veterans can have seamless transition to civilian life. Further, when a veteran needs medical attention, their care must take immediate priority. This is not a conservative or liberal issue; this is an American issue. The bureaucracy and red tape must be cut, and bipartisan solutions are necessary.
FIGHTING FOR CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
Like millions of Americans, James believes the Citizens United decision made our politics more toxic than ever. By shifting the balance of power away from democracy and toward monied special interests, the decision negatively altered our country.
James believes we need to return to the principle of one person, one vote, rather than one dollar, one vote. In Congress, James will fight for real campaign finance reform that will return power to the people of the United States.
FIGHTING FOR OUR CLIMATE
The science of climate change is clear, and it’s past time our leaders act. This world is the only home we have, and we owe it to our children to get this right.
In a move that further isolates our nation from world leadership, the President announced plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accords. Clean air and water are not wants, but must-haves for humanity. Finding solutions to our climate crises should not be controversial, but seen as a huge economic opportunity for Kansas.
Climate change is real. Kansans can and must encourage conservation and investment in renewable energy like Kansas wind power. This will not only decrease our dependence on foreign oil, but create non-exportable jobs here in Kansas. Wind energy has massive economic potential for our state and region. Kansas can be a global leader in this field, and James will fight to make sure that happens when he is in Congress.
FIGHTING FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
James believes sentencing reform and sentencing disparities must be made a priority. While making up only 37 percent of the population of the United States, people of color make up 67 percent of the prison population -- that is clearly unjust and must be addressed.
Those in charge of handing down sentences must be allowed flexibility during sentencing. Rigid guidelines such as mandatory minimums only tie the hands of local judges and prosecutors and often cause more harm than necessary. Additionally, sentencing reform would reduce the prison population, reduce sentencing disparity, and save money that would be better spent on investing in our community and education.
As a civil rights attorney, James has years of experience protecting our civil rights against unfair law enforcement practices. James believes the police must be held to the highest standards as they are hired to serve and protect all members of a community -- they are our knights! By working within communities, standards and initiatives can be created that empower our officers, while training them to de-escalate difficult situations. The current administration is already issuing unfunded mandates by executive fiat that are increasingly militarizing local law enforcement -- something local law enforcement didn't ask for and doesn't want.
James believes in the legalization, taxation, and regulation of marijuana. Prohibition historically increases crime and fills up the jails and prisons with nonviolent criminals. For example, 61 percent of all drug arrests in the City of Wichita are for small amounts of marijuana.
The taxpayer cost for Kansans to enforce, prosecute, and jail these nonviolent offenders is estimated at $20 million. Additionally, the cost to those convicted is a lifetime prohibition on student loans, scholarships, and job opportunities.