“America faces an energy crisis perpetuated by Joe Biden. We need real leadership and a plan that will consistently provide enough supply at a lower price point.”
– Amanda Adkins
Energy Security and a Healthy Environment
Under the auspices of limiting America’s climate impact, the Biden Administration has stressed the U.S. economy by forcing an energy transition that is costly to American families and businesses, while actually doing very little to protect the environment. As Americans continue to struggle with the rising costs of goods and services, and record-high energy prices, we must pursue policies that increase U.S. energy supply, encourage innovation – including clean energy options – and contribute to American security.
It is possible to pursue policies that decrease energy prices, increase U.S. energy security and promote a healthy environment, which is why I support:
- Increasing domestic supply of energy. Near-term needs include easing regulatory requirements and encouraging energy businesses to invest.
- Increased focus on the cleanest form of energy – nuclear capacity. All forms of energy should compete in the market. We need a balanced transition approach that is reliable while contributing to a cleaner environment.
- Pursuing strategic partnerships that advance our national interests. The U.S. must engage countries and allies that protect and advance the economic and national security of America. We should export our energy.
Increasing Domestic Supply
Americans – including Kansans – are facing the rising costs of inflation. We are paying more and getting less. One year ago, the average price of gas in Kansas City was $2.86 per gallon. As of June 2022, it was $4.59 per gallon and rising.1 Yet the Biden Administration and Sharice Davids continue to pursue out of touch policies that limit production, decrease supply and increase costs for our families and businesses.
America must be smarter when it comes to energy policy and protecting the environment. We need affordable, reliable, and clean energy solutions. Despite what the Democrats want you to believe, renewable energy is not a base load form of power. Until technology advances to the point that batteries can store power for use when we need it, we will always need a base power to pair with renewables. Democrats don’t want to face this fact which is exactly why Germany, Austria and the Netherlands are in the position they are today of reverting to coal power plants which are counter to their green energy goals.
In pursuit of their unrealistic energy goals, the Biden Administration, like much of Europe, is pursuing climate change policies that don’t work and weaken American security. Just this summer, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands all announced they are reverting to old coal power plants because they have become so dependent on Russia and miscalculated how important nuclear and natural gas are to bringing renewable resources online. Their policies are so bad they are forced to resort to old methods that are even worse for the environment. Yet Biden, Sharice Davids and the Democrats continue to push similar flawed policies for the U.S.
The cleanest solution is to pair renewables with nuclear power which is the most reliable source of energy. Next would be gas-fired power plants. Yet the Democrats have neglected both of these – and worse, their policies and regulations make it intentionally difficult to move these clean options forward.
Their flawed policies discourage future oil, coal, and natural gas exploration, production, distribution, and investment. This Administration has decreased production in Alaska and federal lands and waters and has made federal permitting processes more difficult, despite saying otherwise. In fact, the Bureau of Land Management in January 2022 approved just 95 permits for oil and gas wells versus 643 in April 2021.2
Rather than have a clear plan for energy production, the Biden Administration has only focused on several releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to increase supply on a limited basis. This has not made an impact and puts America’s national security at risk. We need to consistently increase supply in anticipation of projected demand, not limit access and put undue regulations on the energy sector.
While all of us in Kansas City are paying more at the pump, Sharice Davids’ only answer has been a gimmick to temporarily suspend the federal gas tax through the end of 2022. This does little to save us money and it jeopardizes the Highway Trust Fund which pays for federal surface transportation improvements. This flawed approach saves drivers only $2 a week or $104 a year. Compare this to the overall negative impact of inflation.3 This year an average household in KS-03 is projected to pay $5,500 more for goods and services according to Moody’s Analytics. A savings of $104 a year, while stealing from the Highway Trust Fund, is clearly not a viable solution to today’s energy problems.
The American people need a real solution, not Washington style theatrics. Instead of a temporary gas tax suspension, we need to consider a new way of funding transportation that doesn’t include a federal tax at the pump. Congress, working with the private sector and the states, needs to determine the true cost of transportation, separating the federal government’s role (core infrastructure) from projects that should be funded at the state level.
Encourage Business Investment to Increase Domestic Supply
The sustained Russian attack on Ukraine illustrates just how important it is for the U.S. to pursue energy independence. However, overregulation in the energy sector hinders companies from investing in innovation and production, and ultimately creates consistently higher prices. The U.S. can increase our domestic oil and gas supply, but it will require easing requirements and creating a consistent regulatory environment.
Dramatic policy swings result in distrust from business, hindering their willingness to invest in cost saving research and production. Not only is the energy sector subject to swings from one Administration to the next, but Biden himself has been inconsistent on his messaging and policies. He campaigned on ending fossil fuels and eliminating the fossil fuel industry. Now, he is asking this same industry to temporarily increase production.
Despite the international stresses on our energy supply, the Biden Administration continues to pursue an onerous regulatory agenda. The most egregious recent example is a proposed climate disclosure rule by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that would require companies to provide an accounting of their greenhouse gas emissions, the associated risk, and the response they are taking.4 It is projected this would include both tracking the companies and their partners or clients. The financial impact (workforce time, additional hiring of specialists or consultants, and potential penalties) would be devastating to business.
Businesses will seek to invest when they have more opportunities to not only meet U.S. needs, but to also export oil and gas to partners. Energy businesses have indicated that investment will speed up when they are in an environment that makes it easier to get energy to the market.
We need many of the reforms cited by current members of Congress in March 2022 including: speeding up the permit process by getting rid of unnecessary requirements; increasing production on federal lands; reducing uncertainty that prevents needed infrastructure (pipelines and transmission lines); and focusing on a mineral policy that reduces our dependence on China and Russia.5
Senator Tom Cotton has introduced legislation that would create a strategic reserve of rare-earth elements and products. This legislation, which I support, would reduce America’s reliance on Russia and China for elements that are needed in the production of nearly everything from batteries to fighter jets. If we are to achieve true American energy independence, we must support policies like this that put the U.S. in a better strategic position against China and Russia.
Diversifying Energy Production and Increasing Nuclear Capacity
Decarbonizing the environment requires multiple forms of energy, including wind, solar, hydroelectric and nuclear to compete in the market. In recent years, renewables, largely wind, have provided 45% of in-state Kansas electricity net generation. In 2021 Kansas had the third-largest share of electricity generated from wind.7 We must pursue policies that take advantage of this for our State, while strengthening the U.S. position globally.
Furthermore, a secure plan that includes renewables needs some form of “base load” power to run effectively and reliably. Nuclear power can deliver that without carbon emissions and help decarbonize the electric grid. According to the Department of Energy, nuclear energy is by far the most reliable energy source.8 Nuclear plants are 1.5 to 2 times more reliable than natural gas and coal plants and about 2.5 to 3.5 times more reliable than wind and solar plants.9
Nuclear energy is a great answer for those worried about the environment. It is clean, reliable, and cost effective. It is also safer than public perception alludes. Over 60 years of evidence has shown that nuclear power is a safe means of generating electricity.10
Although nuclear reactors are expensive to build – a new reactor can cost $7 billion or more11 – they are relatively inexpensive to operate, safer than eras past, and more reliable. A smarter economic path may include pursuit of smaller modular reactors (SMRs) that offer a different way to organize and run nuclear power, offering lower start-up costs, need for less staff, and faster implementation and scaling.
Nonetheless, expediting smaller scale modules may be hindered still by upfront certification, construction start-up and operation license costs. The U.S. needs to consider how to streamline the process and offer multi-year tax credits to nuclear power plants which are currently offered to other renewable energy producers.
The U.S. should lead the world in nuclear development, manufacturing, and deployment in order to meet our needs for clean, reliable energy.
America’s economic and national security policies are inevitably intertwined, and must be viewed in concert with each other. We must seek trustworthy partners in our work toward energy security who have shared values and seek to complement U.S. endeavors, not compete with or destroy them.
The U.S. may be the world’s largest oil producer, but it still imports about 43% for consumption.12 According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2021 approximately 75% of U.S. imports of petroleum came from 5 countries including Canada (51%), Mexico (8%), Russia (8%), Saudi Arabia (5%), and Columbia (2%).13 Rather than continuing to rely on others, the U.S. needs to increase our domestic supply, and then sell and export to allies.
The future of national and economic security depends on a U.S. energy security policy that puts American energy independence at the forefront, protects businesses from undue regulations, and lowers costs for Americans.
Defending America’s Borders and Advancing Our Workforce
We are a nation of immigrants and we are a nation of laws, which is why I believe Congress must address the current immigration crisis as both a security and a workforce issue. We must protect our borders, enhancing the security of our country, while allowing for the legal entry of immigrants who want to come to America and help address our workforce needs.
As it relates to Immigration and Border Security, I support:
- Building a border wall in targeted areas and empowering U.S. border agents to combat crime and illegal entries through increased investments in surveillance technology;
- Upholding the law and defunding sanctuary cities; and
- Developing a long-term workforce plan that considers the skills and experience our country needs now and in the future.
Border Security and Crime
The first step in ensuring the security of the United States is protecting our borders, yet the Biden Administration continues to roll back border control policies that were shown to limit illegal entries under the Trump Administration. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, approximately 220,000 illegal immigrants1 evaded Border Patrol from October 2021 to February 2022 – and this is only the number of immigrants which the Border Patrol saw and got away. The actual number of evasions is unknown and higher. We must protect our southern border with a physical barrier in targeted areas, while also increasing investments in technology and surveillance that help federal agents along the border.
Currently, U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) uses a system of nearly 200 surveillance towers in high-traffic border areas2 to monitor activity, identify traffic of interest and alert Border Agents to potential threats. This type of border surveillance is effective when paired with the appropriate manpower to ensure agents are readily available to respond to identified threats. We must continue to incentivize the use of this innovative technology and ensure CBP is fully staffed to respond to the threats as they are identified.
According to former Border Patrol Chief, Rodney Scott, this new technology has given “agents in the field a significant leg up against criminal networks” including intercepting drugs and weapons from smugglers3.
However, these surveillance efforts alone are not enough to secure our border, as drugs and weapons continue to easily cross into America at commercial land points of entry. Currently, typically fewer than 5 percent of vehicles at the border are screened by CBP4. The screening process is slow and cumbersome, forcing drivers to leave their cab, slowing the supply chain.
Last year, Congress passed a law requiring the Department of Homeland Security to create a plan that will allow for 100% of scanning of commercial and passenger vehicles, freight and rail entering the United States at land ports of entry. I fully support this requirement but also insist the solution be efficient and not negatively impact U.S. trade.
This is critically important for KS-03 and the Kansas City area given I-35 runs straight through our community. We must deter smugglers from illicit activity at the border as trafficking organizations hide drugs and head straight up I-35 and then further into the country. Law enforcement in our district has told me repeatedly that crime, including property crime, usually has drugs as an underlying reason for nefarious activity.
Enforcing Current Law
In tandem with securing the border, we also need to enforce existing immigration laws. Unfortunately, today we have communities that choose not to enforce certain immigration laws. By choosing not to enforce immigration laws, these “sanctuary cities” undermine the safety and security of the United States. These cities, counties and in some cases, states, must not be incentivized to promote illegal activity and should be held accountable for their actions that ultimately protect criminals.
US leaders should be cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), not blocking them from protecting America. Local law enforcement must share information and work directly with federal immigration authorities to protect American communities. I commend states who help law enforcement by removing criminals to keep their communities safe and protecting those who enter the country lawfully.
I support legislation that bars sanctuary cities from receiving certain federal funding. We must protect American citizens as well as the law enforcement agencies charged with keeping our communities safe. We must enforce the rule of law in our country and hold accountable those who choose not to comply.
Long-Term Workforce Plan and Economic Growth
The U.S. has not seen true immigration reform since the Reagan Administration. Our approach is outdated and needs to consider the potential for economic growth. We know that mass migration is caused by many conditions including political collapse and natural disasters, but it is also encouraged by the desire of many to pursue opportunity in America.
Legal immigrants play an important role in filling gaps in our workforce and the number of people allowed in the United States legally is the highest it has been in decades. According to the George W. Bush Presidential Center, from 2006 to 2016 immigrants were responsible for nearly half of U.S. labor force growth, a key component of economic growth5. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics, in 2022 there are more than 11 million job openings6. Demand for workers has been “highest among employers in business and professional services, retail trade and hospitality – food service and accommodations – businesses.”7
As we consider who is allowed to lawfully enter the United States, we need to ask a few simple questions: What jobs are we trying to fill, and what skills are needed for immigrants to be successful in that work?
We need to complete an analysis of community level programs that:
- Assess current interests and skills immigrants bring with them, matching them to appropriate job opportunities early;
- Support development of basic skills to be successful including training, mentorship (by industry and community) and other needs such as learning English to ensure success; and
- Consider how and where we encourage new members of our workforce to go so that a community is prepared to meet their needs.
When elected, I will be committed to immigration policies that take into consideration the needs of immigrants, the requirements of industries with a growing workforce and/or unmet workforce needs, and the readiness of communities across the United States to support those immigrants. We also need to ensure that the agencies entrusted with enforcing the immigration laws and processing immigration benefits have a clear mission and the support necessary to do the job in a fair, timely and efficient way. I am committed to an improved, legal immigration process and will continue to support a strong immigration and security plan led through strong governance.
We are a nation of immigrants. We are also a nation of laws and one that values the safety, security and health of our people. When implemented properly, immigration can and should be used as a tool for economic growth. The prosperity of America depends on lawful, legal immigrants and the protection of our borders.
The Health of Our Nation
Healthcare costs too much and is not making us healthier. This concern has only been heightened in light of the Coronavirus pandemic – a time when individuals with pre-existing conditions and older Americans have been at elevated risk.
We must decide as a country what kind of healthcare system we want today and for future generations.
I believe we need a better plan than Obamacare for how we deal with crisis in the healthcare system. Healthcare reform must address coverage issues and continue to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions. The American people should expect more than ‘band-aid’ solutions that do not reduce the cost of healthcare. Real change will only come when there is direct alignment between the individual and providers, better coordination of care, and transparency on total cost of care.
When elected to Congress, I will be committed to healthcare that is:
- Smarter – I will support policy solutions that encourage providers, the most trusted resource in healthcare, to coordinate care over a lifetime, resulting in better health outcomes and lower costs.
- More transparent – We need transparency on total cost of care and local decision-making on how money is spent.
- Affordable – Healthcare decisions must center on the individual and the family, not be dictated by the government. These decisions should assume that healthcare dollars are directly managed by the individual, based on their healthcare risks and needs. When that is not possible these decisions should be managed at the state or community level.
Standing for Real Change
Our healthcare system was broken long before COVID-19, but the pandemic created an urgent need for common sense reforms. We need to reduce cost, cut red tape, and make it easier for individuals and families to gain access to the healthcare services they need. My opponent, Sharice Davids, wants to do just the opposite – put bureaucrats in charge of healthcare, eliminate or make more expensive employer-based insurance, and impose massive healthcare taxes on families.
Congress lacks enough leaders with business and healthcare experience, and we owe it to future generations to resolve the issues related to the financing and management of the US healthcare system. As a leader in healthcare for more than a decade, my mission is to make the system better.
Making Healthcare Smarter
Healthcare providers are the most important relationship in helping identify and manage risk – particularly in the current crisis – as well as coordinate care. Federal leaders need to support providers in this work.
The pandemic created an opportunity for providers to rethink how they engage people, including through the more rapid expansion of telehealth services. Telehealth services allow for electronic communication between a person and their provider to get advice, gain care, receive reminders and address some healthcare needs. While telehealth was never intended to replace in-person care, it can provide an easy and efficient avenue for people to access medical advice quickly and safely, particularly in today’s environment.
We must support telehealth access regardless of patient and provider location, allow for a broader range of providers who can provide the service, and ensure providers are reimbursed appropriately for time spent on telehealth visits.
Furthermore, we need to pay attention to rising concerns regarding mental health and wellbeing in the United States. Care coordination techniques, including telehealth, can provide routine care for basic needs, but it cannot solve for more ingrained problems in a community including behavioral and mental health issues.
We know mental wellbeing is impacted by conditions in daily life where people live, learn, and work – these conditions are also called social determinants of health. Healthcare providers are important, but we must also consider the role that schools, churches, and other community organizations can play in identifying risk and helping people find resources to live a high quality and healthy life.
We must consider new ways to incentivize healthcare providers and community service organizations to meet and manage mental health risks. A spiraling cycle of unknown and/or unmanaged health conditions won’t help flatten the overall cost of healthcare over time. We should all expect more value in the programs and services we purchase.
The best way to demand excellence includes creation of health plans sponsored by providers in partnership with community organizations that offer high quality programs, transparent fees and care that is coordinated and designed to improve the health of the individual and the family. The federal government should encourage this step at the state and local levels.
I support incentivizing improved quality, at reasonable, market-driven prices with services delivered at the local community level. This regional approach stands in stark contrast to Obamacare and federal government control in the healthcare system.
Improve Transparency and Affordability in Our Healthcare System
The ACA “Obamacare” mandate dictating what healthcare coverage individuals must purchase, without taking into consideration their needs, only served to increase cost. As a result, Kansans were on average, paying monthly fees that were 106% higher in 2017 than in 2013. This is an unacceptable increase in the cost of care when families could be using that money for needs that would otherwise be stimulating the economy.
We need to determine the best path for individuals and families to keep health insurance that best meets their needs. As I have long said, healthcare is local and states are best positioned to design coverage, taking into consideration the risks and needs of their populations – not the federal government. I support using funds, previously committed for Obamacare, to support grants that assist states with low-income individuals and supplement medical costs of eligible high-risk individuals. The goal is to bring decision-making closer to the people while also providing for the needs of vulnerable populations as best determined by state governments. It is imperative that healthcare funding is tied to decision-making.
Most important – I hope state governments will view healthcare reform as an opportunity to put individuals and families in charge. Obamacare focused on low-cost provider services to limit utilization as opposed to market-driven, high performance services. An insurance card does not equate to access to high-quality care. True healthcare reform will enable healthcare at a reasonable cost; respects the decision-making authority of the individual and the family; aligns families with their chosen physicians; and focuses on actual health improvement.
Making Healthcare More Affordable
The best way for Americans to control their own healthcare starts with financing costs through Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Health Savings Accounts are pre-tax dollars set aside by an individual or family to help cover healthcare costs not covered by insurance. Current law limits the amount an individual and family can contribute to an HSA and prohibits HSAs from being the primary source of healthcare funds.
In contrast, I support Americans using funds as they see fit. If a person does not want to purchase traditional healthcare insurance, he or she should be able to utilize an HSA account for any medical or health needs. If someone does choose to purchase health insurance, it should be portable and he or she should be able to use HSA funds to pay premiums. Furthermore, HSA contribution limits should be increased to match the annual healthcare expense needs of an average individual ($9,000) and family ($18,000).
While Democrats continue to pursue expanded federal control of healthcare, I am committed to moving healthcare dollars and decisions closer to the people affected. We must move away from the Obamacare “Washington-centric” approach and give states the decision-making authority for public programs and insurance design.
It’s Personal … Your Future Health and Generations to Come
Change requires that we, the American people: 1.) Are thoughtful about the health conditions unique to our communities; 2.) Seek to generate results in health improvement; and 3.) Flatten the cost of our healthcare system.
All three are key to prosperity in any region. The economy will grow when healthcare is affordable and people are healthy enough to work.
Sharice Davids believes more decisions should be made by the government. I believe decisions should be made by YOU and your family using the money you have earned through your hard work.
About Amanda. As a mother, Amanda has lived through the complexity of the healthcare system while making decisions for her own children. She has advised providers and employers across the entire United States on the steps that should be taken to achieve optimal outcomes in cutting cost and health improvement for individuals and families. In the course of this work, she has been a champion for consideration of social determinants of health in communities (SDOH). A belief in the importance of SDOH was a major consideration when she founded Systems of Care Initiative (SOCI), a philanthropic organization dedicated to helping young children be healthy and ready for kindergarten and later success in life.
Protecting Our Children and Seniors from Debt
In February 2021, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected the federal deficit (the shortfall between what the federal government collects and what it spends in a particular year) would reach $2.3 trillion in 2021. This figure – the second largest since 1945 – was derived before the latest round of COVID relief was signed into law, costing the country another $1.9 trillion.
As of March 1, 2021, the U.S. Treasury calculated the federal government debt at over $28.0 trillion. This means as a country we have spent close to $30 trillion dollars that we simply do not have. Debt now currently exceeds the entire size of the economy ($21.5 trillion) and we are on an unsustainable path on which the national debt is project to be 202% of Gross Domestic Product by 2051.
Debt by Household– What does it mean to you?
In order to pay off the national debt, every household in the U.S. would owe $216,933 – that’s $84,834 for every person living in America. Can you imagine coming up with an extra $200,000 in your household’s budget to pay for government’s misuse?
In recent years, the government has been operating without a budget. How can we control spending when there is not a budget in place? Whether we are managing for ourselves or our families, if we ran our families or our businesses in this same manner, we would be in grave trouble.
The Impact to Seniors – Cuts to Medicare and Social Security
The deficit and debt amounts are huge. Perhaps so daunting that many Americans – including elected officials – are choosing to ignore other commitments including those made to our seniors. The pandemic has accelerated the rate at which major trust fund programs, including Medicare and Social Security, will run out of reserves. We risk not being about to meet our Social Security and Medicare commitment with so much federal debt.
I am committed to America’s seniors and will fight to protect Social Security and the commitments made to retiring Americans.
Federal Spending by Category
Let’s look at Federal spending by category. Two of the highest areas of mandatory spending are important to our seniors – Social Security and Medicare.
Today, both are funded by Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) tax rates paid by and employers and you the employee. Historically, Social Security has run a surplus allowing the federal government to reinvest funds. However, with an aging population and increasing healthcare costs, it is projected that by the early-2030’s there will not be enough money to pay full Social Security benefits.
Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office predicts the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, which finances Medicare Part A, to become insolvent by 2024, meaning benefits to seniors would be cut by up to $1,000. Stated again, we will not have money in the trust fund to meet current Social Security commitments. In addition, rising spending on Medicare and Medicaid will contribute to an already large deficit, as both largely depend on federal revenue.
Where will this money come from? Left unchecked Sharice Davids and Joe Biden will choose to increase taxes on current and future generations, cut federal priorities including defense and national security spending, and they will not be accountable in reviewing other federal programs not achieving outcomes. Individuals and families in KS-03 deserve better.
The Risk to Future Generations
As we have seen in other countries like Greece, unrestrained debt results in inflation, high interest rates, low capital investments and the inability to invest in other priorities such as national defense, and infrastructure. This means future generations will experience lower incomes and a higher cost of living.
We cannot afford the policies of the Biden Administration that will further put the country into debt and increase dependency on the federal government. The Biden Administration used the pandemic recovery bill – The American Recovery Act – to pursue even greater expansion of Obamacare, which has little, if anything, to do with actual pandemic relief.
These provisions are projected to add an additional $34.2 billion to the deficit over the next two years. Included in this spending is a bailout of state governments in the midst of waste and fraud. The State of Kansas requested a bailout all while mismanaging unemployment insurance fund payouts to the tune of more than $600 million.
We owe it to the unborn generations and American seniors to get government spending in the right, responsible direction.
Elected officials should be accountable for every dollar the government spends. A thorough analysis of all government programs is needed. We must analyze what is working and what is not. What can be done by the private sector should be privatized. What is better handled at local levels should become a state and local responsibility. Programs that are no longer serving needed and intended purposes should be cut altogether.
We must course correct now, slowly bringing much needed change to the spending policies that contributed to this national debt crisis.
About Amanda. As a business leader, Amanda has worked for a global innovation company headquartered in Kansas City. She knows what it takes to do business in the U.S. and abroad. Professionally, she advises providers and employers across the United States on how to cut healthcare costs and improve health outcomes for individuals and families. Amanda served on the Executive Committee of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce for 14 years. She also previously served on the Boards of The Salvation Army and The Entrepreneur Coalition.
A Commitment to American Workers & Improving Household Income
When elected to Congress I will be committed to:
- Creating economic growth for Kansas City. I am committed breaking government barriers to opportunity and supporting economic advancement in the region.
- Building Successful Paths for our Citizens and Future Generations. I am fully committed to creating opportunities for Kansas Citians, including children, to succeed.
- Accountability to Results. We must ensure investments made at the federal level are in direct response to clearly identified problems and insist on prudent use of taxpayer dollars.
The United States is suffering an economic crisis deeply impacting workers, families and businesses. Kansas is no exception when it comes to feeling the impacts of a closed economy and restrictions on business. We need federal policies that provide opportunity and reward work.
A word on opportunity. Liberal Democrats and Sharice Davids believe in a contract with workers that involves government – reminiscent of Socialist countries like China and Russia where the government dictates the economy. This is not freedom. I believe a contract should be forged between workers and their employer, not forced by the government.
They, the political left, comment on the unprecedented collapse of small business – yet they caused it by shutting down our economy. A study by WalletHub.com found that states with the most COVID restrictions in place also tended to have the highest unemployment rates. These states are not coincidentally overwhelmingly run by Democrats.
Democrats assert that work should be sufficiently rewarded. I agree with this comment. However, work is rewarded when consumers value goods and services. Work is about results, and the American people and other countries are willing to pay for quality. The job of policy-makers is to create opportunity for ALL Americans, not dictate how businesses should be run which would only result in job loss as we have recently seen.
In January 2021, Kansas had 52,000 fewer private sector jobs than the year prior. This past year has been abysmal in terms of getting Kansans back to work. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in August 2020 there were 60,000 fewer jobs in Kansas than the year before. Between August and the end of 2020 only 4,000 jobs were added across the entire state.
This is a crisis. We should be creating incentives for people to work, save, invest and engage in entrepreneurial endeavors. We can best improve household income by providing quality employment while also recognizing that education and health in the region are important contributors to workforce readiness.
In 2019, the median household income in Johnson County was $89,087 and the average household paid over $26,000 in Federal taxes. Unfortunately, Kansas City is lagging behind other mid-sized cities in quality of jobs and income.
I am fully committed to creating opportunities for all Kansas Citians, including children, to succeed. We must empower individuals to make decisions on their own personal situations and get Americans back to their jobs. We must focus on regional opportunity, center on what business tells us is required to grow including concerns regarding taxation, liability and addressing how workers are compensated. We also need to ensure every student has the skills needed to succeed in the workforce.
Risk Management: Taxation and Liability Concerns
Higher corporate tax rates, particularly as companies are looking to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, limit companies’ ability to invest in employees and innovation.
The Biden Administration is pursuing increases in government spending, further increasing the burden on businesses, taxpayers and wage earners. President Biden has stated his intention to pursue tax increases and a reversal of the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which lowered taxes for many Americans and businesses.
In 2017, America had the world’s fourth highest corporate income tax rate at 35%. After the 2017 tax cuts, America is now in a much more competitive situation at 21%. Unfortunately, Biden has proposed a reversal of the 2017 tax cuts, increasing corporate tax rates back up to 28%, putting additional burden on American companies that are already suffering due to the pandemic.
Despite President Biden’s stated rejection of a “wealth tax” on millionaires and billionaires, his tax plan includes proposals that would increase taxes at the time of death for all Americans. He has proposed taxing unrealized capital gains at death for certain taxpayers in multiple tax brackets. Some analysts predict his proposal could result in a 67% tax rate. This is nearly twice the rate these assets would be subject to today. Studies show that estate taxes hinder entrepreneurship and result in costly tax compliance fees.
Regardless of industry, nearly all sectors are facing similar challenges such as: absenteeism (due to a variety of causes, including health concerns and childcare shortages); virtual work environments; risk management and liability concerns; payroll; and workers’ compensation.
We need to ensure that unfair lawsuits will not hamper businesses, healthcare organizations, and philanthropic entities working to re-build our country. We need to be removing government barriers to progress and fostering economic opportunity.
Healthy Work Environment: Childcare and Workforce Readiness
Success in life starts with a quality education that prepares children for the workforce. It is a continuum starting with children being ready for kindergarten (numeracy, literacy, and social development), reading at grade level in fourth grade, and then demonstrating they have important life skills in high school meaning they are agile, authentic, self-aware, and resilient.
This is why I created the Systems of Care Initiative (SOCI) a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support working families and their children by providing scholarships to young children to help them acquire early skills important to kindergarten readiness. I am committed to a community where business, education, health and social services leaders make investment decisions together, helping children and families achieve success in school, work, and life.
Liberal Democrats and Sharice Davids will tell you that we should have universal childcare. I believe we should invest in young children, but that it should be targeted where risk is identified in communities. In addition, I seek to take steps to help childcare facilities thrive. Just like any other business, they are impacted by federal decisions and would be destroyed by policies such as increasing the federal minimum wage.
Democrats, including my opponent Sharice Davids, are pursuing a $15 federal minimum wage. While they argue this will lift the American worker, in reality this will eliminate jobs, put additional burdens on families, and increase dependency on government intervention. CBO estimates that 1.4 million jobs would be eliminated in 2025 with a $15 minimum wage. Furthermore, companies that don’t outright eliminate jobs often pass the cost of wage increases on to their customers in the form of higher prices. Where this impacts families most is in the cost of childcare. Many families already struggle to find quality, affordable childcare, spending anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of their household income on the expense. Increasing the minimum wage and passing the increased costs on to parents, may eliminate some parents from the workforce altogether. In Kansas, families could expect an increase of 28 percent in childcare costs if a $15 federal minimum wage was passed.
Worker’s Compensation: Reforms to Unemployment Insurance Programs
Workers unemployment fraud in Kansas is at an all-time high and Democrats want the federal government to bail them out.
Workers unemployment fraud in Kansas is at an all-time high and Democrats want the federal government to bail them out. The Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) paid $290 million in fraudulent unemployment benefits in 2020 – $140M from the state’s unemployment program and $150M from federal programs. Democrats Governor Kelly and Sharice Davids cite this mess as one of the reasons for the additional trillions of dollars in federal spending included in the latest COVID relief bill.
The business community is rightfully concerned that they will be called upon to financially bail out the State’s unemployment fund. We cannot ask businesses to pay higher taxes, or use federal tax dollars, to pay for mismanagement by Democrats like Governor Laura Kelly.
My vision for the country is centered on a belief that government’s role should be that of providing economic lift to a region. I am committed to breaking government barriers to opportunity and supporting economic advancement.
I am running for Congress because I believe America needs more conservative, reform minded, results-oriented leaders. The economy will best recover and American families will succeed, when free market, fiscally conservative solutions are at the forefront. It is clear Congress needs members who believe in empowering individuals, not creating dependency on government.
About Amanda. Amanda Adkins is a businesswoman, mother and public leader. With her children and the future in mind, growth and systemic change are the themes of Amanda’s work. Amanda spent 15 years building business at one of the largest employers in Kansas City – Cerner. She knows what it takes to create and grow jobs. Her experiences made her passionate about workforce development. She has mentored young people and worked with education leaders to ensure children can acquire the skills necessary to be successful. This work has included her gubernatorial appointment (2011-2018) to chair the State of Kansas Children’s Cabinet, which is focused on risk-reduction investments in early childhood, and the philanthropy she founded to provide scholarships to young children.
Advancing Strategic Partnerships and Addressing the Threat of China
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on to them to do the same.”– President Ronald Reagan
This statement from one of our nation’s greatest leaders is as true today as it was when he said it more than 30 years ago. As the United States engages in global partnerships, it is imperative we pursue strategic relationships with other countries and allies that protect and advance the economic and national security of America.
When elected to Congress, I will be committed to building strategic partnerships that:
- Advance the national economic interests of the U.S. – International business, trade, and the free market are all important. However, the U.S. must develop a national strategy to assess gaps and vulnerabilities related to our supply chain.
- Promote Democracy and protect national sovereignty through military coordination – The U.S. must continue to pursue cooperative agreements that address our shared security needs.
- Share U.S. values – Americansbelieve in freedom, democracy and the dignity and value of all people. We must prioritize working with partners who share these principles and shine a light on human rights abuses.
Ideology matters when it comes to how we think about strategic partnerships with other countries. We must seek trustworthy partners who have shared values and seek to complement U.S. endeavors, not compete with or destroy them. Our trade policy and national security are inevitably intertwined and we must view these in concert with each other.
Addressing the Threat of Communist China
The United States has been in a multi-decade power struggle with the People’s Republic of China and Congress has not done enough to hold them accountable. The pandemic made clear that we are too reliant on China. The U.S. must rethink how we build our plan for economic and national security and the types of partners we will prioritize to advance our shared interests.
In 2015, China launched Made in China 2025, a ten year campaign by which China seeks to control science, innovation, technology and the data necessary to lead the global economy. It is difficult to define an entity as a trustworthy partner when they seek to control every aspect of government, business and everyday experience of their citizens.
China has made enormous investments to spur their own economic growth, increase military capabilities, and influence their position globally. As we most recently experienced in the COVID-19 crisis, and healthcare more broadly, America’s dependence on China is a threat Congress must address. There are a range of things the United States can do to secure our position as a global power and decrease dependency on China, but we must recognize this will be a long-term endeavor that will require strategic moves and domestic investments.
America’s interdependence on China for medical supplies and other essential items gave China leverage during the pandemic and is a national security risk. Beyond the need for medical supplies, there are also dependencies on many components important to America’s defense industrial base. According to the U.S. House of Representatives China Task Force Report, “90 percent of the world’s semiconductors (chips) are produced outside of the U.S.” and China has a goal to produce 70 percent by 2025.
Congress has taken steps to decrease over reliance on China by advancing medical research and development (R&D) and manufacturing more medical supplies in the U.S. Congress now needs to turn and require that the Department of Defense develop a national strategy to assess gaps and vulnerabilities related to technological and other needs in our defense industrial base.
The U.S. must take seriously the threat posed by Made in China 2025. We need more targeted tax incentives to accelerate our own R&D and track percentage of product made in the U.S., and we need to ensure U.S. tax dollars are not used to support Chinese enterprises.
Made in China 2025, having prioritized state support for the biotech industry (1), also includes a central focus on the collection of genetic DNA or other healthcare data from around the globe
inclusive of the U.S. China is collecting healthcare information from United States citizens, and you should be worried. This means over time that China could know more about us than we know about ourselves.
National policy needs to take into consideration the protection of future generations as well as American national security. There is an answer here, and it is that YOU should own your healthcare data. Individuals should provide clear, express permission when their healthcare information is to be used for research, and it should legally be made clear where that data will be housed and who has access to it. Permissions are important, and when data is stolen America should pursue criminal prosecution.
Growing military presence
China’s goal to be the world’s superpower assumes regional dominance in the Indo-Pacific and relies upon advancements of the People’s Liberation Army. This has included unlawful military presence in disputed spaces including aggressive operations near Taiwan.
Since the mid 1940s and Chiang Kai-Shek’s move to Taiwan following the Chinese Communist Revolution, Taiwan has been in the middle of an unresolved power conflict. Taiwan has been an important partner to the U.S. since the late 1970s. Their transition to a stable democratic society based on the rule of law represents American values. In addition, the U.S. maintains significant economic interests as Taiwan is our ninth largest trading partner. Defending our relationship with Taiwan says to other partners in the Indo-Pacific region that we stand by our commitments.
National defense is the top priority of the Federal government. Congress should consider commitments to defense spending to counter China (5% growth YOY). As a budget hawk, we are going to have to identify where in the world American interests are prioritized – it must include the Indo-Pacific if the U.S. is going to compete with China. Part of this commitment includes helping Taiwan maintain their democracy and independence.
Defending America’s National Interests
There are a range of things the United States can do to secure our position as a global power and combat the threat from Communist China. It will take strong leaders who recognize this is a long-term endeavor that will require strategic moves and domestic investments. I am fully committed to advancing U.S. economic interests with partners who share our American values and protecting Democracy and national sovereignty through military coordination.
About Amanda. As a business leader, Amanda has worked for a global innovation company headquartered in Kansas City. She knows what it takes to do business in the U.S. and abroad. Her career in healthcare also includes work in precision medicine (population health) during which she has been a champion for consumer control of healthcare data. Early in Amanda’s career she helped author the Independent Health Record Bank Act policy designed to give consumers ownership of their data and include a framework for how information can be used for research and other purposes.
The Middle East and Israel as a Key Partner
When elected to Congress I will be committed to:
- Protecting and strengthening the U.S. – Israeli relationship;
- Working against terrorism in the region; and
- Promoting lasting peace with the Palestinian people.
The strategic partnership between the United States and Israel is one I respect and intend to uphold when elected to office. The Holy Land of Israel holds significance, not only as a revered location for many faiths, but also as the only Democracy in the Middle East and the strongest ally of the United States in the region.
I was fortunate to grow up with a strong Catholic faith and am instilling those same beliefs in my own children. Because of its importance to many faiths, including my own, it is important the Holy Land of Israel remain a safe and welcoming environment for people of all faiths. Given the respect I have for Israel as a Holy Land, and as a strategic partner of the United States, I intend to be a strong voice for Israel when elected to Congress.
Protecting and Strengthening Our Relationship
As the main ally of the United States in the Middle East, the importance and relevancy of Israel cannot be overstated. Protecting and strengthening the relationship between our two countries is something I am committed to on multiple levels.
First, I applaud President Trump’s decision to relocate the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. After many years of leaders advocating for such a move, I was pleased to see the action finalized, cementing the integrity of Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel.
Secondly, Israel is a key component of America’s Middle East security framework. The U.S. and Israel must pursue cooperative agreements that address the security needs of both countries. As a part of that, the United States must remain committed to giving Israel a fair military advantage to defend itself, including fulfilling military aide commitments the U.S. made to Israel. It is imperative Israel remain the most state-of-the-art entity in the region and the U.S. continue to support such efforts.
And finally, I am committed to and encouraged by non-military cooperation between the U.S. and Israel. As a former healthcare executive, I am particularly interested in scientific and healthcare advancements that result from the partnership between our countries.
The recent events and reactions to the global COVID-19 pandemic show just how important it is for nations to come together to fight the world’s problems. Israeli innovation is making a unique contribution to improve the health and welfare of citizens around the world, including Americans. From pharmaceutical advancements, to biotech and therapeutic innovation, to digitizing healthcare, Israel is a leader in medical research and development.
As an elected official, I will be committed to cooperative programs in healthcare that utilize the U.S. – Israel relationship to improve the health and wellbeing of both countries. I am committed to reducing barriers to innovation and to promoting open trade agreements that allow for the exchange of intellectual capital, including scientific, agricultural and industrial advancements of all kinds.
Working Against Terrorism in the Region
The shared threat the U.S. and Israel face by Iran, and its pursuit of nuclear weapons, further elevates the importance of defending the U.S. relationship with Israel. Iran fuels regional instability in an effort to promote radical Islamic terrorism. Iran looks to threaten and destabilize the region by backing insurgents in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Iran’s funding of Hezbollah in Lebanon, as well as Hamas in Gaza is proving to be the most existential threat to Israel.
Terrorist organizations such as, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, pose a direct threat to American interests and Israeli security. Congress must make clear that Israel is in position to defend itself against all terrorist organizations. Furthermore, the U.S. must ensure tough enforcement of necessary sanctions to counter known terrorist threats and their inhuman practices.
When elected to Congress, I will support measures that exert necessary economic pressure on Iran, pressuring them to be a neighbor, not a threat in the region. I do not support President Biden’s stated plan of rejoining the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Sanctions imposed against Iran in recent years have been effective in reducing threat. According to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, sanctions resulted in slashing “Iran’s revenue by hundreds of billions of dollars since the U.S. pullout in 2018.” I will also encourage normalized relations between other countries in the region – such as Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon – encouraging the Palestinians to come to the negotiating table, rather than turn towards terrorism.
Promoting Lasting Peace
From terrorist organizations to global movements like Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), Israel is under constant attack. Despite these attacks, Israel consistently demonstrates its desire to find resolution and lasting peace with the Palestinian people.
The United States can play a role in this by encouraging direct talks between the Israeli and Palestinian people. Cooperative, productive talks that lead to a two-state solution can only be achieved through nonviolent actions and direct bilateral talks – without the pressure of outside intervention.
America has an obligation to stand strong with our partner, Israel. Congress should promote policies that protect and strengthen the U.S. relationship with Israel. We must support Israel’s ability to defend itself and encourage peace and stability in the region. I am committed to policies that will help stabilize the Western Hemisphere and protect the relationship between the United States and Israel. When elected, I intend to be a voice for Israel and further the friendship between our two nations.