America is a Republic where a small group of people is democratically elected to represent the populous. These representatives generally come from the two major parties which theoretically means they represent a majority of the population. Constituents who align themselves with third parties or consider themselves independents lack representation. There are those aligned with a major party who also find themselves in a minority within 85% of congressional districts that have a clear majority from the other major party. Representatives of those districts have little motivation to attempt to represent constituents not aligned with their party.
Fair representation, or proportional representation, is a system whereby voters have better opportunities for accurate representation. Under the plan, congressional districts are expanded to become multi-member districts with 3 to 5 representatives per district. Ranked choice voting allows for most voters to choose at least one of the district’s elected representative during the election process. District representation will then better reflect the range of voters within both major parties and potentially within third parties.
Representative Donald Beyer, Jr. sponsored the Fair Representation Act (HR 3057) which is now in committee. I will fully support this bill if it passes the House and makes its way to the Senate. If the House Committee stalls the bill, I will sponsor a similar bill in the Senate chamber.
Both spending and the national debt are out of control. There is a way to balance the budget within five years. I will sponsor a bill to mandate an across-the-board 10% cut in spending for the first year. This equals to an overall 10% reduction in spending from the previous year. We then maintain the level of spending with no increases for the next four years. During that period of time, the economy will continue to grow and after the fifth year is able to support the current government. Moving forward, spending is only allowed to increase at a rate equal to the increase in the GDP.
In the short term, these measures should prevent the debt from becoming worse and allow for adequate annual servicing of the debt. In the long term, the economy will continue to grow and we can fully eliminate the debt within the next century.
The debate over marijuana has unfortunately led to confusion and lack of progress over the similar hemp plant. Both are related plants within the Cannabis Sativa L species but have many different characteristics. Unlike marijuana with its large amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which gives the user a “high,” hemp contains trace amounts, less than 0.3%, of THC and is not enough to affect the user. It is basically impossible to get high using hemp.
Bills in Congress such as S.134 and H.R.525 are important for removing the incorrect classification that equates industrialized hemp to marijuana. Doing so would create agricultural opportunities for Missouri farmers and for an increase in the Missouri economy. Hemp has had uses in products for years but has found new uses with recent technological advances.
A new industry has evolved for hemp-based plastics that are used to create a plethora of everyday items. Retired Dell executive Bruce Dietzen appeared with Jay Leno to demonstrate a car built from hemp. The woven-hemp body of the vehicle is lighter than fiberglass but ten times stronger than steel. Hemp is further used to create biodiesel and ethanol/methanol fuels.
Much scientific research has taken place over the past decade for cannabidiol (CBD) which is found in rich amounts in hemp. Evidence indicates that non-psychoactive, non-addictive CBD has great clinical potential. CBD positively supports the body’s endocannabinoid system and is a natural medicinal alternate to assist with many ailments.
Hemp oil or CBD oil is legal in all fifty states but only produced in a few states. An increasing number of health product retailers in Missouri carry CBD oil. Unfortunately, a large portion of the revenue from these products end up in other states. Allowing for industrial hemp to be locally grown and the CBD products locally sourced would allow for Missouri’s money to stay in Missouri. I will fully support S.134 or a similar bill.