AN INDEPENDENT VOICE FOR WISCONSIN
Dan Kohl is not a politician. He believes that Washington is broken because career politicians place their parties’ interests ahead of their constituents. He believes we need to elect new representatives who will make Congress work for the American people, not any one political party. To see this change, we need new leaders in the Democratic party.
If Dan is elected to Congress, fixing our health care system will be his top priority. He will work across the aisle to find solutions to the health care debate so all residents of the 6th District have access to quality, affordable health care.
Dan is refusing to take even a single dime of corporate PAC money during his campaign. By funding his campaign primarily on individual contributions, Dan will be accountable only to the people of Wisconsin, not the special interest groups that think they own Washington.
Congress is full of career politicians who put their professional aspirations ahead of their constituents. Dan has pledged to serve no more than four terms if elected, and he will fight for term limits to end the trend of career politicians running our government.
In Congress Dan will be an independent voice for Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District, fighting for the interests of his constituents, not corporations or party leaders.
Making quality health care affordable for every resident of Wisconsin’s 6th District.
The United States will not reach its full potential until every citizen has quality and affordable health care. No one in this country should have to choose between groceries and medicine, and, particularly as industries and job markets shift, nobody should feel tied to a dead-end job out of fear of losing their health insurance.
Lowering health care costs and expanding coverage must be a top priority for Congress. Sadly, all we get from our current representative is one vote after another to turn our health care system back to the dark ages. No solutions, just partisan maneuvers like voting in favor of legislation that would cause 44,000 of his constituents to lose their health insurance and raise monthly insurance premiums by thousands of dollars.
My opponent’s votes on health care have been reckless and cruel. It is time for the 6th District to have a representative in Congress who pursues practical steps to drive down insurance premiums without jeopardizing coverage. I will fight efforts to strip away protections for people with pre-existing conditions and guarantees that health insurance plans include coverage for pregnancy, newborn care, mental health care, and addiction treatment. These are medical issues and there is no good reason any insurance plan should be allowed to exclude them from coverage.
As an important step toward universal coverage, I am a strong proponent of allowing middle-aged Americans to buy in to Medicare. I also support creating a public option backstop so people can obtain health insurance in areas where private insurers have dropped out.
I am proud to have advocated for the 2014 reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at the same time Glenn Grothman was one of just 37 House members who voted not to fund this critical source of health insurance for more than 9 million children and pregnant women. This past year Grothman allowed long-term funding for CHIP and community health centers to lapse for several months, threatening the availability of health care for those who need it most.
We must take immediate steps to lower skyrocketing prescription drug costs. Medicare should be able to negotiate drug prices for the 60 million seniors and people with disabilities it covers the same way the VA is allowed to buy prescription drugs in bulk for our veterans. Americans should be allowed to import prescription drugs from countries like Canada when domestic pharmaceutical companies take advantage of monopolies and make their drugs unaffordable. And Congress must crack down on Big Pharma’s predatory practices, which jack up the cost of lifesaving drugs and keep lower cost generic alternatives off the market.
It is time to put Americans’ health and well-being ahead of drug companies’ profits and end the political games that prevent the progression of health policy in Washington. It is time for a new representative for the 6th District who will fight for quality and affordable health care for Wisconsin families.
Working across the aisle to get things done for Wisconsin.
Americans are fed up with the inability of our national leaders to work across the aisle to get things done. We are all tired of the finger pointing and endless fighting. We need new leaders in Congress to replace the career politicians who prioritize their own ambitions over their constituents’ interests. In Congress I will be an independent voice for the 6th District, and I pledge to work with Democrats and Republicans to solve our country’s most pressing problems.
I support term limits and will serve no more than eight years if elected. Our current representative has now held elected office for a quarter-century. He was ranked the second-most partisan of more than 400 House members in his first term in Congress, and out of Wisconsin’s eight congressional representatives, he remains far and away the most partisan.
This my-way-or-the-highway approach flies in the face of how Wisconsin families and businesses operate. We live in a state where people band together to get things done. In Wisconsin, we understand that give and take is necessary and compromise leads to better and more sustainable outcomes. I will bring that Wisconsin mindset to a badly divided Washington. It shouldn’t matter whether an idea is a Republican or Democratic one, only whether it is good for Wisconsin.
It is time for a new generation of leaders in Washington. A change in leadership is critical to getting our country on the right track and to healing a badly divided nation. If I am elected to Congress, I will be a strong voice for change in my party’s leadership. I will not vote for Nancy Pelosi to be the Democratic leader.
Restoring the integrity of our political elections.
We live at a time when American democracy is under increasing assault. Our biggest corporations spend billions of dollars in undisclosed “dark money” to elect candidates who are then beholden to their agenda. Partisan politicians draw unfair district maps that guarantee long political careers while discouraging moderation and compromise. The American public’s faith in our government is eroding. I am running for Congress to help rebuild trust, rebalance power, and guarantee fair representation for all Americans.
I believe that reforming our broken campaign finance system is critical to making Washington less dysfunctional and more accountable to the American people. Voters deserve to know who is funding the campaigns of their elected representatives, and in Congress I will fight to require all spending in elections be publicly reported. I will also back proposals to make online advertising subject to the same disclosure standards that are applied to all other political ads.
Corporate PACs spend millions every election cycle to help elect officials who will do their bidding in Congress. I am not accepting a single dime of corporate PAC money. By funding my campaign primarily on individual contributions, I will be accountable only to my constituents, not corporate lobbyists.
I also support immediate reforms to allow more people to exercise their voting rights and restore the belief that their vote makes a difference. This includes longer early voting periods, simplifying absentee voting, and allowing elections to be audited to ensure accuracy. To counteract the problem of rigged partisan districts, where career politicians select their voters, I am also a strong advocate for independent, nonpartisan citizen redistricting commissions. My opponent recently said he is “not sure there should be any restrictions whatsoever” on a party’s ability to draw districts to their electoral advantage. Voters in this district deserve better.
Preparing our children for the future.
Education has always been one of the things that sets Wisconsin apart. It is a bedrock of the American dream and a cornerstone of our democracy.
For decades Wisconsin’s public schools have been ranked among the nation’s finest. Over the last few years, however, our educators have come under relentless attack as their collective bargaining rights have been stripped away and their pay and benefits have plummeted.
Thriving public schools require professional teachers who are respected, supported, and have meaningful bargaining rights. We cannot expect to have good schools if we denigrate and undercut the work of teachers.
While I support parents and communities having choices, our taxpayer dollars should not subsidize private or religious schools at the expense of public schools. Now more than ever we must fully fund public education across all of our communities and put our next generation on the path to success. That starts by expanding access to early childhood education, which is a proven factor of success in later school years and beyond. We must also equip all our K-12 public classrooms with high-speed broadband internet so our students have access to the technology and information they need to be prepared for success in the 21st century global economy.
Here in Wisconsin, our businesses and manufacturers are in constant need of qualified workers with specialized skill sets. There are many motivated young people who are looking to enter the workforce directly from high school. We must foster partnerships between our local businesses and our community high schools and technical colleges, enabling students to get hands-on training through internship and apprenticeship programs, while providing businesses with a reliable pipeline of homegrown talent.
Those who attend two- and four-year college should not be saddled with crushing debt obligations when they enter the workforce. I support measures that provide greater tuition relief for low- and moderate-income students and require colleges and universities to be more transparent so students know exactly what they are paying for. I also support capping student loan interest rates and allowing students to refinance their loan debt at a lower interest rate, like a home mortgage.
If elected to Congress, I will fight to fund our public school system, strengthen career and technical education, and make higher education more affordable for those who pursue it.
JOBS AND THE ECONOMY
Growing economic opportunity in Wisconsin.
I grew up in a family whose home-grown business created thousands of family-sustaining jobs in Wisconsin. In my family, the American dream meant cheering people on to climb ladders of opportunity. Those opportunities are slipping away, and the United States now has wider disparities between rich and poor than any other major developed country.
While we have recently seen a temporary boost to our economy, too many working families are still struggling just to get by — and too many of our communities have been left behind as our global economy automates and changes. We need forward-thinking leadership that will position our part of Wisconsin to preserve the jobs we have now and attract more jobs in the future. We must also ensure that we create the conditions for small businesses to succeed and employ more people from within our communities.
Growing economic opportunity begins with investing in homegrown Wisconsin talent. I have heard from business owners across our district about their struggles finding the local talent they need to compete. Our region also faces a significant skills shortage. We must do everything necessary — from investing more effectively in apprenticeships and job training to strengthening the pipeline between community high schools and technical colleges and the workplace — to spur economic growth and train a steadier stream of homegrown talent.
For three years, Wisconsin has ranked dead last among all 50 states in business startup activity. To encourage entrepreneurship and spur innovation we should:
- Make it easier for anyone in Wisconsin to raise capital and become a small business owner;
- Make sure our homegrown startups are given the first shot and take priority over multinational companies like Foxconn when the state considers taxpayer subsidies;
- Expand high-speed broadband internet throughout our communities with enforceable net neutrality rules in place to protect the internet as an open platform for innovation;
- Reform our national health care system so insurance coverage follows workers to new employment opportunities in order to remove incentives for remaining in dead-end jobs.
As your representative I will create the conditions for Wisconsin businesses to innovate, hire homegrown talent, and create more sustainable jobs.
Putting American jobs first.
International trade is an integral part of our 21st century economy, but years of unfair trade deals have enabled corporations to ship good-paying jobs to foreign countries while American markets are flooded with cheap foreign goods. In Wisconsin’s 6th District, factories have closed and jobs have been lost as a result of China subsidizing the overflow of cheap paper and metal products.
Wisconsin’s workers should not have to take a back seat to anybody. On a level playing field, they can compete with anyone. To ensure good-paying manufacturing jobs are kept here at home, we need to promote the purchase of products that are made in America, close tax loopholes for corporations that ship jobs overseas, and crack down against currency manipulation and unfair trade practices.
Tariffs, if smartly calibrated and properly targeted, are an effective tool our country can use to prevent the system from becoming more rigged against our workers. But we need to abandon tariffs that hurt our local farmers and manufacturers. In Congress, I will fight for (1) fair trade policies so Wisconsin’s industries and workers are guaranteed a level playing field; and (2) tough and smart measures that allow the U.S. to work with our trading partners and allies to curb foreign trade abuses and raise labor and environmental standards worldwide.
Investing in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin drivers are all too familiar with broken asphalt and potholes in a state where our roads are ranked the second worst nationwide. Our water and energy pipelines are rusting, inefficient, and pose grave threats to Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes, which represent one-fifth of our planet’s freshwater supply. Too many residents of our rural communities lack high-speed internet coverage.
Our crumbling infrastructure is the result of a federal government that has kicked the can down the road time and time again — and failed to invest in America’s most basic needs. In Congress I will advocate for a bold federal initiative that would modernize our infrastructure and create jobs here in Wisconsin and across the country. Any federal plan must also ensure that all infrastructure projects buy products that are made in America so the economic benefits of infrastructure investment flow to American workers and American manufacturers.
Wisconsin has the workforce in place to rebuild the roads, bridges, pipelines and other critical infrastructure that our 21st century economy depends upon. We must set the partisanship aside and come up with a comprehensive plan to rebuild and modernize our infrastructure for the future.
Comprehensively addressing addiction in Wisconsin and across the country.
Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, and last year nearly 68 percent of the 72,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States were caused by opioids. In Wisconsin, someone is more likely to die from a drug overdose than in a car accident. The opioid crisis is particularly severe in rural Wisconsin communities, which often lack the resources and treatment facilities to help those struggling with addiction.
This epidemic is devastating families across our district. I have heard too many tragic stories about lost loved ones and family members who have had to step up to fill unexpected roles as caregivers for their grandchildren. Employers across our district talk about the challenge of filling positions because so many applicants are unable to pass drug tests.
It is the responsibility of our elected officials to shine a spotlight on the opioid crisis, take action to alleviate the epidemic, and to help remedy the underlying economic causes of the crisis. In Congress I will push for comprehensive federal legislation that cracks down on the supply of opioids and provides more effective, accessible options for treatment. That begins with holding pharmaceutical companies responsible when they engage in misleading advertising or otherwise prey on consumers. I am also a strong proponent of legalizing medical marijuana immediately, which would offer veterans and many others a less addictive pain treatment alternative.
We must work together to address the opioid crisis comprehensively, from prevention to treatment to tackling the underlying causes of the epidemic.
Connecting our veterans with quality health care and rewarding post-military careers.
The men and women in our armed forces and their families make significant sacrifices to protect our country and our freedom. Our military veterans should always receive the respect and dignity they deserve. Unemployment, homelessness, addiction, and suicide rates among our nation’s veterans are at alarming levels. As a country we must redouble our efforts to provide our veterans with the necessary tools and community support to transition back to civilian life.
We must make sure our veterans receive world-class medical treatment, when and where they need it. While we have made some progress, too many veterans continue to encounter long diagnostic wait times and treatment delays. Through my work for Major League Baseball’s Welcome Back Veterans initiative, which funds research into and treatment of brain injuries and post-traumatic stress, I have seen the important role community providers play in expanding mental health treatment options for veterans, Reserves, and members of the National Guard, particularly those who live hours from the nearest VA facility.
In Congress I will fight to improve veterans’ access to quality health care, both within and outside of the VA. I support the immediate legalization of medical marijuana, which offers a much safer and less addictive pain relief alternative for the thousands of veterans who are addicted to opioids. In Congress I will push for more legislation that creates and supports apprenticeships and skills training programs, connecting more veterans to good-paying jobs and rewarding post-military careers.
Keeping Americans safe through international diplomacy.
We rely on our elected representatives to stand up for United States interests and do what’s necessary to keep Americans safe. That requires investment in a 21st century military force and providing our national security agencies with the tools they need to meet a host of international challenges — from terrorism to sophisticated cyber-attacks — without entangling the United States in reckless interventions. Now more than ever, we must also stand with our closest allies to counteract common aggression and terrorism that threatens the safety of our families.
We cannot ignore the indispensable role American diplomacy plays in avoiding conflict and preventing countries like Iran and North Korea from obtaining nuclear weapons. I was among the early principals at J Street, an advocacy organization that was founded to mobilize support for U.S. policies that help Israel resolve disputes with its Palestinian and Arab neighbors through diplomacy. In Congress I will be a fierce advocate for American diplomatic leadership, which remains essential to resolving long-standing international conflicts and enhancing U.S. and global security.
In recent decades Congress has ceded far too much of its foreign policy and war powers prerogatives to the executive branch. Congress should reassert that authority by requiring the president to seek express congressional approval before launching a preemptive nuclear weapons attack or otherwise committing the United States to war.
Too many officials in Washington are turning a blind eye to Russian efforts to weaken our NATO alliances and pit Americans against one another here at home. The president has made his position on Russian interference in our elections clear, and it is now up to members of Congress to protect our democracy from the next round of attacks.
Protecting Wisconsin’s natural resources.
We are blessed to live in one of America’s most beautiful areas. Wisconsin’s 6th District stretches over 80 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, and we have access to hundreds of miles of scenic walking and bike trails. Our district is home to Lake Winnebago, the largest inland freshwater body in Wisconsin, as well as the Horicon Marsh, one of the world’s most renowned wetlands.
As Wisconsinites we take enormous pride in our natural resources, and we also depend on them to keep our families healthy and our economy strong. These resources are critical to our way of life and to agriculture, tourism, and other staples of Wisconsin’s economy. In Congress I will support legislation and regulations that protect our air, our water, and our soil, and safeguard the businesses that depend on a clean environment.
As demand for freshwater increases, we must increase our protection of the Great Lakes, which represent one-fifth of the world’s freshwater drinking supply. By better insulating Lake Michigan and our inland lakes from invasive species and fertilizer runoff, we are protecting our drinking water as well as the tens of thousands of Wisconsin jobs that are tied to the lakes.
Congress should continue investing in the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which helps protect treasured places like the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge and ensures recreational access for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities. The federal government should also ensure that:
- CAFOs and factory farms comply with environmental guidelines and do not threaten our freshwater drinking supply;
- High capacity wells and agribusiness water drilling operations do not further reduce lake levels or damage shoreline property rights;
- Corporations like Foxconn are not given license to divert millions of gallons of Lake Michigan water a day, violating both the letter and spirit of the bipartisan Great Lakes Compact.
The science is clear: combating global climate change is and will continue to be one of our century’s fundamental challenges. Investing in clean energy will help slow down the impacts of climate change while accelerating the growth of high-wage jobs for our next generation of workers. China is already moving to corner the renewable energy market. We cannot sit idly by. We must begin building a new American workforce that will support the emerging clean energy industry. If elected, I will champion the growth of wind and solar initiatives here in Wisconsin.