All of us at the Felicia Stoler for Congress Campaign have been hard at work reaching out to the voters of the 4th Congressional District here in New Jersey, and we have heard you!
I have paid close attention and know that many of you have been asking where I stand on the issues that are important to us throughout Monmouth, Ocean, and Mercer Counties. From everything I have seen throughout three decades of work, civic volunteering, as well as extensive experience in education and healthcare, I believe that our health care system is in desperate need of change. I promise a “Be Present To Represent” mindset first and foremost as a lifelong member and resident of the district. I live here, I work here, I stimulate the local economy by nature of using goods and services – like all of you. I am in touch with the varied and diverse people who reside in the Forgotten Fourth. I have sensible solutions that we need for big issues in DC.
I will bring personal representation to our district that has the added value of some of my professional skills. In politics, we need to use the same great tool many industries use, called a “needs assessment”. What is a “needs assessment”, and how does it apply to our issues? When you take this approach, you ask questions of/to a population or target audience, listen to their wants and needs; assess and evaluate the results from the whole community, and develop options, plans, and strategies to attain the desired outcome. This is a common-sense approach.
My view on governmental issues will always involve evaluation and decisions based on facts and multiple perspectives. Blindly following any one ideology- based upon polarization of the parties or demands of “power” players has not gotten us to solutions that work. Our electorate is stuck in their own echo chamber, and our voters can only hear those who shout the loudest. The majority remains in the middle of the bell curve- not the outliers or each end. We need change now- we can no longer afford to be the silent majority.
In the coming days, I will release more commentary on issues that have been brought up by you and hope to provide ideas for tackling our toughest issues. Today, I wanted to address a few of these issues.
After over 20 years of experience in healthcare, specifically in preventative medicine, research has shown that if more people took better personal responsibility for their health and lifestyle choices (food, physical activity, sleep and stress management), then many expensive and chronic illnesses that are overwhelming our society could be avoided.
However, our current healthcare system is in need of a serious overhaul – we continue to pay for sick care versus preventative care. We all should have access to affordable health care because it just makes financial sense. Clearly, the need and access to mental health care is overwhelming and we see how has impacted so much of our lives. One way or another, we are all paying for it. The structure and implementation of our current “insurance” or payment system for medical care requires a comprehensive solution that is efficient, effective and reduces unnecessary costs.
A sensible solution that is fiscally responsible and does not put the business of healthcare into the hands of the federal or state government is attainable. I trust medical professionals - not government bureaucrats, to make decisions that are best for their patients. The federal government should not be in the business of price-fixing health care or determining the care plans for treatment. This is solely for medical professionals, who have invested many years in their education and training. Our government does not interfere in other industries or businesses in this manner – it is evident that it has caused more harm than good.
Second Amendment Rights
I strongly support our Second Amendment rights to legally bear arms and defend ourselves, our families, and our properties. States are in the best position to write the laws that work best for their citizens and their communities.
Unfortunately, our current gun laws are not doing a good job of preventing gun violence. Most of these tragic acts have been attributed to mental illness, again, a healthcare issue. Make no mistake, there can never be a federal “mental illness registry” because it violates HIPAA. Therefore, we are in desperate need, as a society, to bring common sense solutions to the issue.
While the federally-bestowed right to carry firearms should be preserved and defended, the details of specific policy should be worked out on a state-by-state basis. I would like to see the NRA work more diligently with legislators, at both the state and federal level, that not only protects our Second Amendment rights but also preserves our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – without living in fear of gun violence.
Immigration is one of New Jersey’s most sensitive issues in desperate need of a sensible and fiscally responsible solution. While I support the current presidential administration for tackling a complicated issue, I believe that haphazardly tearing families apart is not the best approach. Mass deportations aren’t only inhumane, but they are ultimately unrealistic when evaluating the issue; and are a massive waste of federal, state, and LOCAL resources. Building an expensive border wall only benefits the southernmost states in this country. For the residents of our district and New Jersey, the majority of illegal immigration has been from countries other than Mexico; therefore, it simply isn’t in the best interest of our district – or all 50 states for that matter – to put so much money into building a physical wall along the Mexican border.
Ronald Reagan was able to usher in sweeping immigration reform in 1986, and I would like to see our immigration legislation extend similar successful policies: tougher penalties for employers who knowingly hire people who are in the country illegally, and a path to citizenship for those already here, working, paying taxes, and proving that they want to be a part of our American society. Let us not forget a few truths about our district and our state, as well as our nation: there are entire industries that have relied on the services of illegal immigrants, including here in NJ. In our district alone, the industries of agriculture, manufacturing, restaurant and hotel service, construction and landscaping, and many more are all reliant on immigrants. Those same immigrants rent apartments here, shop and use similar services that support the local economy. We cannot forget that this country was founded on immigrants, and we need common sense solutions to make it continue to work.