As a father of two young girls, Fran understands the importance of a quality education in the 21st century. Our children will need the best education possible to stay competitive in the global economy. That means investing in early education by providing every four-year-old in America with universal preschool so that every child has the opportunity to succeed. Studies have shown time and again how vital early education is for a child’s success in school and beyond. We also need to modernize our schools, attract and retain the best and brightest teachers, and end the practice of “teaching to the test.” Students should not be spending 20 to 25 hours per school year taking mandatory high-stakes standardized tests; that needs to change.
Fran believes our students deserve the best education, one that prepares them for a high-tech economy. We need to invest in STEM programs (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and in subjects such as computer science so that our children learn the skills they need for today’s workforce. With projected job growth of over 9 million between 2012 and 2022, STEM jobs are undoubtedly the future of the economy.
Fran believes that we need to reduce the rise in the cost of higher education because no student should be held back by student debt and unaffordable loans. It is outrageous that the cost of tuition at a public four-year college has nearly doubled in the last decade; nationwide student load debt is now over $1 trillion—more than the nation’s credit card debt. Fran also knows a four-year college degree is not for everyone, and that our students need practical skills to be prepared for 21st-century jobs. That’s why he believes we need to invest in our local community colleges and vocational schools to provide the technical training students need for high-skilled jobs, good-paying jobs.
Jobs and The Economy
This isn’t a Democratic issue or Republican issue; it’s an American issue. Fran knows that Americans of all political stripes want peace, prosperity, and the opportunity for a good-paying job. That’s why bringing jobs back to South Carolina will be Fran’s top priority. Between 2001 and 2013, our state has lost close to 50,000 jobs due to the trade deficit with China alone. We need to reinvest in our county’s crumbling infrastructure by creating a national infrastructure bank. We also must ensure that U.S corporations pay their fair share in corporate taxes; right now, the biggest U.S. corporations are hiding over $2 trillion in offshore tax havens. We should also create local public-private partnerships to start rebuilding our roads and bridges; this will attract and retain business at home, so they have the resources and support they need to flourish.
In order to attract jobs to South Carolina, we need a workforce prepared for 21st-century jobs. That means closing the skills gap and ensuring our children graduate with the abilities they need to be competitive. We can do this by investing in local community colleges and technical schools and encouraging mutually-beneficial partnerships with local businesses.
Right now, special interests set policy in Washington. That’s why we have tax cuts that favor those with the best lobbyist and gives big business huge tax breaks, making it harder for smaller firms to succeed. Fran believes we should have a fair tax code that favors hard work, not good lobbyists. Fran knows that new jobs are created by new businesses, not the entrenched players who outsource to places such as China and Mexico. Fran will also work to increase access to needed capital so our small local businesses can thrive and stay competitive.
National Defense and Veterans
There is no greater obligation our country has than maintaining a strong national defense to ensure the safety of our citizens and the stability of our country. We must end the sequestration cuts that have weakened our national defense. Fran has seen firsthand how these radical cuts impact our national defense – not only from the toll they have taken on Shaw Air Force Base, but also because his four brothers and two sisters-in-law all attended the Naval Academy. With global terrorism on the rise and ISIS an ever-present threat, it is crucial that we provide the resources our troops need to get the job done and remain safe while in harm’s way.
There is no bigger honor than to serve our country. When returning home, our veterans need the respect and support they deserve after making the greatest sacrifice one can make. We must provide the VA with the resources it needs to deliver world-class services to the men and women who have proudly served our country. Fran also believes we need to maintain and strengthen the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill – which has benefited more than one million veterans and family members already – in order to further invest in education and job training so that all our veterans have the opportunity to provide for their families.
As a husband and a father of two daughters, Fran understands that women’s equality is just plain common sense. In Congress, Fran will support the Paycheck Fairness Act – because equal work deserves equal pay. We must increase access to paid family leave to protect our middle class; today, just 12 percent of private sector workers can take advantage of paid family leave through their employer. Fran will also work to protect lifesaving healthcare services and cancer screenings for women so that every woman has the access to the healthcare they need.
Social Security and Medicare
In Congress, Fran will be a staunch defender of Social Security and Medicare. He believes our senior citizens deserve to retire with both dignity and security. Fran will oppose increasing the retirement age; oppose cutting the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security payments, and oppose any efforts to privatize Social Security, which currently benefits almost 60 million Americans. Fran will work to protect Social Security by passing a law to prevent any Social Security funds from being invested in volatile and unpredictable stocks.
Over 55 million Americans rely on Medicare for essential medical services, which is why Fran will work to protect and increase access to Medicare. Fran will fight to lower prescription drug costs for seniors and for all Americans – ensuring that no one has to decide between a lifesaving prescription and putting dinner on the table. Fran will also reject any plans to privatize or phase out Medicare for millions of seniors and disabled Americans.
Protecting our Farmers
Congressman Mick Mulvaney voted against flood relief after the 1,000-year flood destroyed hundreds of farms in South Carolina, leaving many of our farmers with nothing. That’s why Fran will fight for our farmers in Washington – so our rural communities can survive and thrive. That means working to cut government regulations that put unnecessary burdens on our small farms. It also means real immigration reform, so that our farms have the labor they need to produce their crops and supply American families with healthy, homegrown meals. Finally, it’s time for us to reinvest in our local and state agriculture programs so that the next generation of farmers have the knowledge and skills to stay competitive.
 “Why the Student Loan Crisis Is Even Worse Than People Think,” Mark Kantrowitz, Time, 1/11/2016
 “US companies holding $2.1 trillion offshore profits,” John W. Schoen, CNBC, 10/6/2015
 “On its 50th anniversary, more than 55 million Americans covered by Medicare,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
 “President Obama signs spending bill that includes flood relief to SC,” Matt Long, South Carolina Radio Network, 12/18/2015