Like so many of us, I grew up in a middle-class family. My mom’s small business supported our family, but we struggled to pay the bills. I spent my childhood playing in the forests and swimming in the creeks of the Catskill Mountains, and attended the local public schools. I became the first in my family to go to college thanks to help from a Pell grant, student loans, and working year-round. Thanks to receiving that educational opportunity, I was able to spend most of my career in non-partisan public service, including as a prosecutor helping to make our communities safer. I moved home to Ulster County in 2005, where my wife, Shannon, and I are now raising our three young boys.
What experience and/or training has prepared you to serve in the position you seek?
At the CIA, I helped bring terrorists to justice and received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for my work on U.S. vs. Osama Bin Laden, in which four members of al-Qaeda were convicted for bombing U.S. embassies. Then, as a federal prosecutor, I worked hard to dismantle narcotics trafficking rings and to punish white-collar crooks used to getting away with a slap on the wrist. In 2005, I moved home to Ulster County and served as Senior Assistant District Attorney, prosecuting violent crime and child abuse, and dealing with every issue of public safety that affects our communities.
Do you support the continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)? Would you support repeal? Why or why not?
Doctors, nurses, and hospitals supported the ACA, and the big insurance companies opposed it. I trust doctors and nurses to know what’s best when it comes to health care more than insurance industry lobbyists.
I don’t support everything about the ACA, but the alternative that Congressman Chris Gibson supports would allow insurance companies to discriminate against thousands of people in our part of New York who have pre-existing conditions. It would eliminate health care coverage for many of the young people in our region. And, it would increase out-of-pocket expenses for seniors and limit their access to quality care. That is simply not in line with the values of the people of the Hudson Valley/Catskills region.
Numerous plans have been proposed for reforming Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. What changes need to be made/have you made/will you support making to these programs (if any)?
Congressman Gibson would have you believe that he is a moderate, yet he voted for the radical 2011 Paul Ryan budget and fully supports turning Medicare into an underfunded coupon program. In fact, his campaign website continues to celebrate his 2011 vote for the Ryan budget.
If Congressman Gibson and Paul Ryan had their way, there would be steep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid so that Republicans can offer big new tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthy, instead of helping seniors pay for prescription drugs by filling the “donut hole” in Medicare Part D coverage. It also would raise the eligibility age and reinstate out-of-pocket costs for annual wellness visits, some cancer screenings, and other preventative services. This idea is nothing new. Republicans tried to do the same thing when they tried to privatize Social Security. And just like then, the country is rejecting their extreme stances.
Instead, we should implement common-sense solutions that will strengthen these programs, such as allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, ending needless subsidies to health insurance companies, and continuing to explore ways to coordinate care and emphasize the quality of healthcare outcomes.
Why should voters pick you on Election Day?
I am running for Congress because I understand from my own life what families all over our area are going through. I know the struggles we are facing because I’ve faced them too. I understand the conversations families have around the kitchen table each night about how to stretch a buck — because I’ve had the same conversations with my family.
As someone who came up through our public school system and was the first in my family to go to college, I know the work it takes, and the sacrifices we all make, to pursue a better life for ourselves and our families. And I know what it means to have someone on your side. And that’s what I’ll be if you send me to Congress. I’ll fight to defend Medicare and women’s health care, and to protect the middle class from shouldering more of our country’s tax burden. I’ll demand policies that spur the creation of good-wage jobs here in New York, instead of shipping them overseas.
I’ve spent most of my career as a prosecutor standing up against powerful forces that are used to playing by their own set of rules. As your Congressman, I will be relentless in making sure that the middle class has a voice in Washington, and that the big corporations and powerful interests are held accountable.
Schreibman may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, via phone at 845-765-9494 and online at www.julianforny.com.