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As a cancer survivor and the husband of Gabby Giffords, who was nearly killed in a shooting and owes her life to quality medical care, Mark has a deep appreciation for the importance of health care and coverage that you can rely on. Mark knows that he and Gabby were fortunate to have good insurance that covered the lifesaving care they needed, but that many Arizona families lack affordable health coverage.
Mark believes health care is a right. Every Arizonan should have quality health care that covers them if they get sick or need a specialist. 2.8 million Arizonans have a pre-existing condition, and none of them should lose their health insurance or be unable to attain insurance in the first place because of their pre-existing condition.
Even with reforms made to expand health care access, too many Arizonans lack coverage or are paying more out of pocket for doctor visits, deductibles, and especially prescription drugs. Mark will work to fix what is broken with our healthcare system by providing more options and competition to reduce costs. And all of that starts with ending partisan attacks that have driven up costs and threatened to take away coverage from more than 400,000 Arizonans who get their insurance through the expansion of Medicaid, known as AHCCCS, in Arizona.
Ensuring every Arizonan has health insurance, and that those with pre-existing conditions are covered with insurance they can afford.
* A public health care option that would compete with private insurers.
* Taking on the pharmaceutical industry to lower the cost of prescription drug costs.
* More transparency for and oversight of hospital costs.
* Cracking down on bad actors responsible for the opioid epidemic.
* Mark Won’t Rest Until Veterans Get What They Have Earned
Arizona is home to seven military bases, and there are more than a half million Arizonans who have served in the military. As a Navy combat veteran, it’s important to Mark that our country keeps its promises to our veterans and delivers the care and benefits they have earned through their service.
There is an urgent need for improvement. Nearly 900 veterans go to sleep homeless every night in Arizona. And more than 200 veterans commit suicide in Arizona every year, one of the highest rates in the country. Not to mention the continued accountability and wait time issues at the Phoenix and Tucson VAs.
From the G.I. Bill to the VA, Mark understands we need veterans services to work for our changing veteran population. That includes aging and injured veterans who need prompt, quality health care, and young veterans who need mental health care or are looking to translate the skills they learned from their service into a good-paying job.
There needs to be an increased culture of accountability at the VA: a focus on each individual veteran, not the paperwork. Every veteran has taken risks and made sacrifices in service to our country, and Mark won’t rest until they get what they have earned.
Mark Will Be A Champion For Working Arizonans And Arizona’s Middle Class
Economy and Jobs
Mark is the son of two police officers and the product of a working-class family and pschieblic schools. Mark’s parents taught him how to set and reach really hard goals. Those lessons are what gave him the foundation to enter military service and become a combat pilot, engineer, and astronaut.
Mark believes a strong economy is built from the ground up, giving every Arizonan the opportunity to succeed and achieve their American dream. But for many Arizona families today, job opportunities and wages are not keeping up with the rising costs of healthcare, prescription drugs, education, housing, and retirement. Instead of standing up for the middle class, Washington has given a tax break to the wealthiest Americans and large corporations.
Mark understands that increasing opportunity in Arizona means supporting economic drivers like trade, tourism, and the military, while also making investments in research and development that benefit the emerging tech and renewable energy sectors. And that in order to prepare Arizonans to fill these jobs of the future, we need to make workforce development more accessible and affordable.
Mark will be a champion for working Arizonans and Arizona’s middle class. Mark supports:
Ending the tax breaks for the super wealthy and big corporations that are exploding the national debt while not benefiting working and middle class Arizonans.
Investing now in things that will pay off for our country down the road, like infrastructure and research and development.
Mark Will Fight To Ensure That America Keeps Its Promise To Arizona Seniors
Medicare and Social Security
America made a promise to protect the health and wellbeing of its seniors. Mark will fight to ensure that America keeps that promise to Arizonans. Over lifetimes, workers and small businesses have contributed into Social Security and Medicare so workers could have a secure retirement that includes health care.
Many Arizona seniors rely on Social Security as a key source of income. Mark opposes legislation weakening Social Security or efforts to gamble seniors’ retirement security in the stock market.
Medicare is also a solemn promise made to Arizona’s seniors. Recently, Washington politicians proposed cutting over 800 billion dollars from Medicare. Mark opposes these proposed cuts. Mark also opposes efforts to change Medicare as we know it and turn it into a voucher system.
Mark Believes That We Need A Secure Border And To Fix Our Broken Immigration System
Border Security and Immigration
Like most of our neighbors in Arizona, Mark believes that we need a strong, secure border and to fix our broken immigration system. There is no other issue where the state of Arizona has suffered more due to the dysfunction in Washington. While Washington argues the politics, we deal with the consequences.
Mark believes that any system starts with strong border security; this includes more investments in technology, well staffed ports of entry and border patrol agents on the border, and, where effective, physical barriers and fencing.
Improving programs like E-Verify will prevent big corporations from exploiting migrant labor and undercutting American wages. Some of Arizona’s ports of entry are literally crumbling, and desperately need infrastructure improvements.
This will make border crossings more secure from drug and other types of trafficking, while improving the trade that creates jobs in Arizona.
Mark also knows that we can fix our broken immigration system, but in a way that is true to our values, provides for the workforce we need, and doesn’t separate children from their parents. Mark supports protecting DREAMers – including the more than 25,500 individuals who call Arizona home – who were brought here as children, have been educated here, and played by the rules.
Public Education Should Prepare Arizonans To Thrive In A Rapidly-Changing Economy
Mark is the product of public education, from elementary school through the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. And as an engineer and astronaut, Mark knows that every goal we have — fixing our healthcare system, protecting our climate and our Earth, and growing our economy for everyone — starts with a great education for every American, one that prepares them for great jobs today, and in the future.
That means starting young – expanding access to quality early childhood education for everyone. That means a K-12 education system that treats teachers like valued professionals, paying them a decent wage and giving them the tools they need – materials, resources, and support to grow in the profession — to succeed.
In Arizona we have seen teachers across the state stand up and demand change. Mark is proud to stand with teachers as they fight for higher pay and more funding. It also means ensuring all students have access to STEM classes and advanced placement classes.
Because whether you go on to college, to get a trade certificate, or directly to a job that pays a living wage, your education should prepare you to thrive in a rapidly-changing economy. All our kids, regardless of the path they take, need some post-secondary training to compete in a 21st Century economy. Right now, there are 5.9 million job openings in the country, many of which cannot be filled for lack of trained, qualified workers. We need to invest more in career training, apprenticeship programs and work to streamline professional certification.
Arizona has three world class universities and a strong community college system. And as the proud parent of an Arizona State University student, Mark knows what a great public higher education institution can do for its students and our economy — and he’s committed to making sure more students gain that experience without the burden of crushing debt.
That can start with fully funding Pell Grants and other financial aid, and lowering interest rates on federal student loans. The federal government should never use our students and their families to make money. The point isn’t to get a piece of paper and a big bill at the end of your education — it’s to make sure every American can build a comfortable life and contribute to a country that leads the world in innovation and stability.
As A Navy Pilot, Mark Swore An Oath To Defend The United States
As a Navy pilot, Mark swore an oath to defend the United States. Mark became a Naval aviator under President Ronald Reagan, and served under subsequent Presidents both Republican and Democrat. He flew into combat during Operation Desert Storm on orders from President George H.W. Bush.
Mark will work across the aisle to ensure that nothing stands in the way of keeping our military strong and our country safe. From Luke and Davis-Monthan Air Force Bases, to Yuma and Fort Huachuca, Arizona plays a critical role in our national security strategy and the federal investment in our military assets plays a critical role in Arizona’s economy. Mark is committed to protecting these bases and their place in America’s national security strategy.
Mark flew 39 combat missions and understands the importance of a strong military, but he believes first and foremost in the value of diplomacy. He will work with our allies and partners to tackle our shared threats. He will ensure that the United States remains a global leader and that our allies know that they can continue to trust us. Mark is committed to rebuilding our traditional alliances and restoring American leadership in the world.
Mark Supports The Kinds Of Policies That Empower Women
From his mom, one of the first women to become a police officer in West Orange New Jersey, to his wife, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, to his two daughters, Claudia and Claire, Mark Kelly is surrounded by strong women who’ve fought for equality and opportunity. Mark supports the kinds of policies that empower women to achieve great things, plan and support their families while thriving in the workplace, and give women the opportunity to fight for themselves, in the workplace and beyond.
Mark supports every woman’s right to choose how and when to start her family. He’ll reject efforts to make it harder for women to access vital health care services, whether reproductive health care for themselves or critical programs like CHIP and WIC that help women and children stay healthy. And as a spouse who had to balance work and caring for an injured family member after his wife Gabby was shot, Mark knows that everyone in this country deserves a decent paid family leave policy — and that doesn’t mean telling folks to borrow against their own savings and then work longer and longer.
Mark knows that if we remove barriers to women’s success, our economy will benefit. Equal pay is a justice and family issue, and women of color are more likely to be subject to wage discrimination. Most families rely on two-incomes, and Mark committed to eradicating the wage gap between men and women, and doing more to ensure that women are treated fairly – and paid a living wage.
Mark Is A Gun Owner And Advocate For Commonsense Gun Laws
Mark is a gun owner and a combat veteran, the husband of Gabby Giffords who was nearly killed in a shooting, and an advocate for commonsense, effective gun laws. Mark understands that a commitment to our rights and traditions is in no way incompatible with working to keep us safe from gun violence.
Arizona families regularly experience the tragedy of gun violence. Every year, the state sees an average of 244 gun homicides, 669 firearms suicides, 582 nonfatal shootings, and 553 accidental shootings.
Mark and Gabby co-founded Giffords, one of the nation’s leading gun safety organizations that brings together families, gun owners, veterans, law enforcement, and others to advocate for stronger gun safety laws that save lives.
Mark will stand up to the gun lobby and fight to protect Arizona kids and communities from gun violence. He will keep kids and communities safer by working to pass universal background checks, to keep guns out of the hands of stalkers and domestic abusers, and reduce mass shootings and suicides by allowing families and law enforcement to ensure dangerous individuals and people in crisis don’t have access to firearms.
Climate Change Poses A Threat To Arizona’s Economy And Our Way Of Life
Climate Change and Environment
Left unchecked, climate change poses a threat to Arizona’s economy and our way of life. In 2018, Phoenix had 128 days over 100 degrees. A warming climate means twice as many days over 100 degrees in Phoenix, which endangers Arizona’s economy. Longer and more severe droughts will also restrict Arizona’s access to clean water and pose increased public health risks.
As one of the nation’s leading producers of renewable energy, this is also an opportunity for Arizona. The sector already employs 10,500 people in the state. We can triple that number, but only by making massive investments in research and development of technologies that make renewable energy more competitive and accelerate the transition to a renewable economy. The only thing stopping us is irresponsible leadership in Washington.
Mark has seen the planet change from space, and wanting to stop that and protect our state and our planet is part of what inspired him to run. Mark knows that if we harness the power of American ingenuity and determination, we can mitigate the risks of climate change, create thousands of good-paying jobs in Arizona, and continue to lead the world in technology, manufacturing and science.