FIGHTING FOR JOBS AND EDUCATION
James knows that he could only escape the difficult circumstances of his childhood through a good education and a job that pays a livable wage. That's why a core focus of his campaign is to provide opportunity to all citizens of the Fourth District, especially struggling working class Kansans. So often the debate centers around growing the middle class or catering to the upper class, while those at the bottom of the income scale are nearly forgotten. No more: James believes in helping to improve the lives of folks up and down the socioeconomic ladder. That includes increasing the minimum wage and removing barriers to economic mobility for the working and middle class. As James' life demonstrates, access to affordable quality education can change a person's life. Education is a pathway to the middle class.
James wants to create better access to higher and technical education, particularly in rural parts of our state. There are employers looking to hire right now, but because of the limits to skilled workers, progress and economic growth stalls. Utilizing high speed internet and expanding Wi-Fi access in outlying counties, we can grow jobs for our district.
The crushing debt burdens imposed on our students are unreasonable and devastate our economic growth. James will make college and technical education affordability a key priority in Congress.
On top of creating a more favorable tax climate to draw national and international business to South Central Kansas, we must invest to improve our crumbling infrastructure. In addition to creating jobs in construction and remediation, building out our infrastructure will help Kansas to compete more effectively in transportation, water resources and Internet access.
Our farmers are the backbone of the Kansas economy. James believes that while the scrapped Trans-Pacific Partnership was a bungled mess that would have hurt American workers, we need to develop a targeted farm trade bill to help Kansas farmers bring their products to market globally. He will lead the charge in developing this plan in Congress.
FIGHTING FOR OUR VETERANS
There's a saying about our veterans: they signed a blank check to the United States of America, with payment up to and including their lives. Our men and women in uniform put it all on the line for our nation, and it's our duty to protect them and honor their sacrifices when they get home.
When James was in law school at Washburn University, he organized his fellow students to develop the Veterans Legal Association of Washburn, serving and empowering veterans of the Topeka community. When he came to Wichita, he organized the Wichita Bar Association's participation in the annual Stand Down event, providing legal services for Wichita's homeless population, including veterans.
If we’re going to send our brave military men and women to war, we must be prepared to fund the treatment of the physical and mental wounds of our heroes and their families. The continuing problems in the Department of Veterans Affairs are unacceptable. James is committed to reforming the VA so our veterans can have an easy, seamless transition to civilian life. Further, when a veteran needs medical attention, their care must take immediate priority. The bureaucracy and red tape must be cut, and bipartisan solutions are necessary. James will be that voice in Washington, using personal experience as his guide.
Veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder need our compassion and vigorous support. This is an issue that has touched James and his family personally: his former brother-in-law, also a veteran, recently passed away after suffering with PTSD. Even since beginning this campaign, James has encountered numerous families who have shared their stories of suffering and loss. James wants to champion support for all veterans who suffer from this disorder. We have the tools to improve our veterans' lives, and we need to bring their well-being to the forefront.
FIGHTING FOR OUR CONSTITUTION
James believes in the Constitution. As a civil rights attorney, James fights every day for the Constitutional rights of his clients, be they infringed from profiling or excessive force, or enforced inequalities. James is a staunch defender of the Bill of Rights, and that includes the right to bear arms as defined in the Second Amendment.
James believes the Constitution needs to be the cornerstone of every decision. James meets with people every day, including dozens of citizens who are afraid about families being torn apart needlessly, women having their rights to privacy rolled back, healthcare being stripped away carelessly, freedom of the press being threatened and politicians who think the law doesn't apply to them.
In Congress, James will fight for our rights. Too many Kansans are worried that their elected leaders will ignore the Constitution as it suits their agenda. Democrat or Republican, unconstitutional actions need to end. Our current administration is already issuing unfunded mandates by executive fiat that are increasingly militarizing our local law enforcement--something local law enforcement didn't ask for and doesn't want. James strongly supports local law enforcement. He believes we need to protect our law enforcement officers, ensuring they are fully staffed and funded.
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 living by it, in Congress.
FIGHTING FOR OUR RURAL WAY OF LIFE
James knows our rural communities are the backbone of the Kansas economy, and our rural way of life is under attack. We need to invest in our rural communities, making sure our family farmers can get products to market. We need targeted trade agreements that benefit Kansas’ agricultural role in the global market. Too many Kansas farmers can't move their product because of bad trade deals and lack of access to quality infrastructure. This is a problem that is hurting rural Kansas, and it can be fixed, but it takes leadership to fix it.
James stands firmly against rural school consolidation and the closing of rural hospitals caused by Sam Brownback’s failed experiments.
FIGHTING FOR FIRM, FAIR IMMIGRATION POLICIES
Immigrants want what we all want: to work hard, play by the rules, and achieve the American Dream. We need to build a firm, fair, inclusive system that encourages the best and brightest to live, work, and raise families in Kansas. We need to discourage illegal activity while protecting the Constitutional rights of those who live among us. We must reward those families who have served our nation through military service with special consideration for citizenship. And we must continue to be a a safe harbor for refugees whose lives are threatened by evil in our world.
Since its founding, our nation has been strengthened by immigrants of all races and faiths. Immigrants fought for America at its birth. Immigrants helped build soaring skyscrapers in our cities. Today, many immigrants power our South Central Kansas economy in agriculture, high tech, and manufacturing. We send our kids to school with immigrants during the week. We worship with immigrants on Sunday. They're our friends and neighbors.
When James is in Congress, he will fight for a firm but fair immigration reform plan that protects hardworking families while beefing up enforcement against criminals. It's imperative we fight for a pathway to citizenship for those whose families served our nation and positively contribute to our society. As with every policy, our Constitution and the Bill of Rights must be the guiding influence in our decisions.
FIGHTING FOR A STRONG KANSAS ECONOMY
James supports raising the minimum wage, closing loopholes that allow large corporations to shelter profits in offshore accounts to avoid taxes. It's time we reign in tax schemes that benefit only the wealthy while leaving the working class behind: the top 1% of our country do much in the way of providing jobs, but they must pay their fair share in taxes. Case in point is Brownback's disastrous tax loopholes for the wealthiest that have devastated Kansas. Brownback’s economic experiment has deeply hurt our state, and it will deeply hurt our country if we take his policies national.
FIGHTING FOR WORKING FAMILIES
James strongly believes in workers’ rights to organize at the workplace. James knows we must improve training for tech sector jobs, particularly in rural areas, and will fight for immediate infrastructure investments in roads, bridges, highways, digital and water. These federal infrastructure investments will have an immediate impact in correcting Brownback's destructive agenda in Kansas. The Brownback economy has killed jobs in Kansas. We must do better than to send a Brownback yes-man to Congress to implement his failed policies there.
FIGHTING FOR EQUALITY
James believes that all Kansans should be treated with equality, respect, and dignity. James supports and values all members of our community, and is strongly committed to defending the rights and freedoms of all Kansans, whomever they are, and whomever they love. We need to fight against all forms of discrimination, and vigorously oppose those who would attack and bully members of the LGBT community. LGBT folks across the Fourth District are our brothers, sisters, neighbors, friends, and family. James stands in strong solidarity with all members of the LGBT community, and with people of all of sexual orientations and identities.
FIGHTING FOR EDUCATION
James is a public education success story. He's fully committed to defending public education at the local, state, and federal level. His daughter Liberty is in the public school system, and he's worried current federal officials will damage her future. James is opposed to vouchers that will further erode our public schools, especially affecting rural and working class kids.
James wants to increase opportunities for service to lower or eliminate the cost of higher education and technical training. A public school success story, he knows we must expand higher and technical educational access, especially in our rural areas. Brownback’s cuts to schools have been devastating, especially in our rural communities. Our K-12 and higher ed students deserve better than another Brownback yes-man in Congress to make devastating cuts there.
FIGHTING FOR OUR ENVIRONMENT
Climate change is real, and we must fight to prevent more damage from being done. James believes climate change is a crisis we need to address immediately. More than 97 percent of scientists believe our activities are harming the environment, and we must do more than talk about it.
James believes in protecting the Paris Climate Agreement and investing in renewable energies. Renewable energies like Kansas wind power will not only help decrease our dependence on foreign oil, but create non-exportable jobs here in Kansas, like Siemens.