I have spent 25 years working with children in public and private schools – from the Bronx to Hudson to Poughkeepsie to Red Hook to Rhinebeck – and am currently in my fifth term in the Dutchess County Legislature serving Rhinebeck and Clinton.
ON HYDROFRACKING Fracking should be banned statewide — and a national moratorium put in place immediately — as Bill McKibben/350.org, Greenpeace, Citizens Environmental Coalition, and 64 other groups called for in their letter to President Obama last summer. Germany has less sunlight than we do here in New York,yet it has solar panels all over. 22,000 jobs could be created in this state alone with solar renewable energy credits (NYSEIA.org).
ON DEFICITS AND DEBT Deficits and still-widespread unemployment can be solved by taxing millionaires and billionaires (including Wall Street speculation) and by taking away the subsidies from Big Oil and corporations offshoring our jobs. Planned Parenthood, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security should be fully funded (some perspective: under Ike, the top tax rate was 91%; recall my www.PetitionOnline.com/ILikeIke effort).
ON THE ECONOMY Rep. Maurice Hinchey and the massive RebuildtheDream.com coalition are right, we need their Restore the American Dream for the 99% Act: FDR-style public works legislation to create literally five million jobs in just the first two years rebuilding our infrastructure with green jobs, putting teachers back in our schools, cops back on the beat, firefighters back at work, and fully staffing our hospitals and clinics (recall my www.PetitionOnline.com/JobsNow effort).
Hinchey, Elizabeth Warren, and Sen. John McCain are also correct in pushing to bring back FDR’s Glass-Steagall Act to break up the big banks and separate investment banking from small-business commercial banking to restore stability to Wall Street and our economy (recall my www.PetitionOnline.com/FDRagain effort).
Crucial to small towns like Red Hook: we need to prioritize investment in small business entrepreneurs and microenterprise, not large retail chain stores and corporations. As Michael Shuman notes in his new book ( “Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity”): “Americans’ long-term savings in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pension funds, and life insurance funds total about $30 trillion. But not even 1 percent of these savings touch local small business – even though roughly half the jobs and the output in the private economy come from them.”