Looking Back at the 2008 Campaign
In 2008 Republican Rep. Ralph Regula who represented Ohio's 16th congressional district for 18 terms from 1973 to 2009 decided to retire. John Boccieri was the Democratic candidate to replace Rep. Ralph Regula.
This was the official website for John Boccieri campaign run for Ohio's 16th congressional district in 2008 and his re-election campaign in 2010
Content is from the site's 2008 archived pages and from other outside sources.
John Boccieri served as the U.S. Representative for Ohio's 16th congressional district from 2009 to 2011. In 2010 He lost his 2010 bid for reelection to Republican Jim Renacci.
John Boccieri now represents the 59th district in the Ohio House of Representatives since being appointed on September 29, 2015, to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of Ron Gerberry.
MEET JOHN BOCCIERI
John Boccieri was born and raised in Northeast Ohio. The grandson of coal miners, steelworkers, and carpenters, he went to college on a baseball scholarship, then joined the U.S. Air Force. He has served in the military for 14 years, including four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has represented eastern Stark County for eight years in the Ohio legislature as a State Representative and State Senator. John lives in Alliance with his wife and four children.
When John Boccieri launched his campaign for Congress in June 2007, he made a vow to Ohioans.
He promised to be a voice for change in Washington – a fighting force for working families, veterans, living wage jobs, and free and fair trade. And John vowed to always bring honesty and integrity to his work.
It’s time, John said, to renew the American spirit. It’s time to bring back hope in the promise of America, and reverse the poor decisions in Washington which are jeopardizing this promise for Ohioans today.
“To Whom Much is Given, Much is Expected”
The promise of America brought John’s grandparents from Europe more than a century ago. Through hard work and perseverance they put their children through college and opened opportunities they never would have thought possible. As a boy, John was told “to whom much is given, much is expected” and he has devoted his life to service and defense of our American way of life.
As an experienced state legislator, John has been a strong advocate for Northeast Ohio in the state House and Senate. Still a Major in the Air Force Reserve, John has served our nation in more than 40 countries and has 14 years of service in the U.S. Military. An aircraft commander aboard the C-130 Hercules, he recently deployed in four rotations in Iraq and Afghanistan in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
An All American Ohioan
John grew up in Northeast Ohio and helped his Ursuline High School baseball team win the state championship. His dedication in the classroom and on the field earned him scholarships at St. Bonaventure University in New York where he led the NCAA Division 1 in stolen bases and graduated with honors in economics. John tried out for several Major League baseball teams and played a season in the newly formed independent professional Frontier League, before going to work as an aide to state Rep. Rich Cordray, now Ohio’s state treasurer.
John then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. While on active duty stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base, he earned master’s degrees in public administration and business from Webster University in St. Louis.
A Distinguished Record Fighting for Ohio’s Families
First elected to public office in 2000, John served three terms as a state representative, where his peers elected him assistant minority whip. In 2006, John was elected to the state Senate. In the legislature, John has been a strong advocate for Ohio’s veterans, working families and the jobs and industries that have built the state.
He worked to lower property taxes for working families and sponsored a bill to help grandparents raising their grandchildren with housing grants. John has fought for Ohio’s steel industry jobs, helped give seniors access to donated prescription drugs, co-sponsored legislation to safeguard pension funds from corporate greed, and has been an avid supporter of conservation efforts in Ohio.
John has also championed and passed numerous bills to support Ohio’s veterans and military families. Most recently, John sponsored the "Military Injury Relief Fund" bill, a tax check-off program that gives Ohioans an opportunity to help our injured soldiers transition back into civilian life and assist with their medical expenses.
John’s record of standing up for Ohioans has earned accolades from groups throughout Ohio. He received the Merle Shoemaker award for integrity in office by Ohio Democrats and was recognized as the Legislator of the Year by the AMVETS and East Central Ohio Education Association in 2004. In addition, he received the 2006 Legislator of the Year award from the Ohio League of Sportsman for state conservation efforts.
John is married to Stacey Kennedy Boccieri. They have four children.
I met John Boccieri and his aid at the mall where a number of students were protesting the closing of a small restaurant that was going out of business due to an unaffordable rent increase. The students were pretty angry at the landlord (mall) and were chanting when John arrived for a meeting with the principals. He went inside and the crowd started chanting and getting rowdier. At one point they started chanting "Batman" as if the dark knight was going to save the day. Just as this happened, the aid stepped out and the students turned their chant toward him. What happened next was stunning. As the crowd is chanting "Batman save us" the aid unzipped his coat revealing a Batman Begins t shirt! This must have been planned in advance! The students applauded and the atmosphere suddenly changed to a much more friendly tone. And then John steps out and the students cheered him. It was surreal. The aid then used his iPad to show us this online store for Batman t shirts of all kinds. I took notes, and Batman saved the day!
QUALITY, AFFORDABLE, PORTABLE COVERAGE FOR EVERY AMERICAN
America’s health care system is broken. While it offers the best health care in the world for those who can afford it, the inefficiency of our current system is making low-cost, high-quality care harder and harder to get. Those who have health insurance have seen their premiums double in the last eight years, and more than 47 million Americans have no coverage at all.
We have the most expensive health care system in the world, but Americans’ life expectancy is still lower than Cuba’s. Families are paying more for less, and rising costs are straining American businesses that provide employee health coverage.
To reform American health care, we must both lower costs and increase access. We must create a health care system that will give all Americans the choice we want and the care we need.
These are the steps we should take:
Find a Combination of Private and Public Solutions
Leaving Americans totally at the mercy of insurance and drug companies won’t solve our health care crisis, but neither will putting the entire system under government control. Instead, we have to seek the best combination of public and private solutions that will put decisions about health care in the hands of doctors and patients.
Cover Every American
It is morally wrong that anyone should have to risk their health or even life because they can’t afford health insurance – but it also makes health care more expensive for the rest of us. People with no insurance or limited coverage wind up waiting until a health problem becomes an emergency, then seek costly last-minute care that drives up expenses for everyone. By covering all Americans, we will both improve our health care system and lower health care costs.
Emphasize Preventive Care and Public Health
Another way to enhance care and dramatically cut costs is by focusing on prevention. Today, only four cents of every health care dollar in the U.S. is spent on prevention or public health, even though helping people catch health problems early and reduce unhealthy habits can yield huge savings down the line. We can shift the focus to prevention by offering incentives to seek preventive care and live healthier lifestyles.
Make Health Care Portable
Losing your job should never mean losing your health insurance. Gaps in coverage can spell disaster for families, especially when someone has a chronic condition or a sudden illness strikes. At the same time, America’s workforce is becoming more fluid, and workers should not be forced to pass up new job opportunities simply to hold on to their current health care coverage. We need to enable workers to maintain their coverage between jobs or smoothly transition into a new insurance plan.
Crack Down on Insurance Company Discrimination and Red Tape
Today, the people least likely to receive quality, affordable health coverage are those who need it the most. Insurers deny coverage or raise rates to unaffordable levels in order to avoid covering patients who are already struggling with a pre-existing condition or illness. What’s more, studies have found that insurance companies actually spend as much to screen out sick applicants and deny claims to doctors and patients as it would cost to simply give every American health care.
Reduce Prescription Drug Prices
The price of brand-name prescription drugs has doubled since 2001, while Washington has enacted laws to help pharmaceutical companies keep prices high at the expense of patients. We need to eliminate restrictions on government negotiation of prescription drug prices and other measures that will help bring down the cost of medicines.
Improve Care for Chronic Conditions
Ongoing health conditions like asthma or diabetes account for roughly 75% of all health care spending, so improving the efficiency of chronic care is vital to lowering overall health care costs. We need to promote care management programs that help ensure proper and continuous care for chronic conditions.
Increase Efficiency through Innovation
The use of electronic medical records would dramatically reduce health care paperwork and decrease the accidents and errors that arise when a health care provider doesn’t know a patient’s medical history. We should invest in developing and implementing innovations like this that can both improve care and reduce costs.
Train More Doctors and Nurses
In the last quarter-century, America’s population has grown by nearly 75 million, but the number of students admitted to U.S. medical schools has barely increased at all. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that America will need more than one million new nurses by 2016. We should support expanded educational opportunities for future doctors and nurses to meet our nation’s growing health care needs.
Invest in Research
America is a world leader in medical research, but public funding for cancer research and countless other vital programs has actually been cut under the Bush administration. It’s time to reestablish our nation’s commitment to pursuing breakthrough treatments and cures that can improve or save millions of lives here and around the globe.
Help Businesses Cover Workers
The cost of providing health care can be staggering for small businesses. Implementing reforms to reduce health care costs will help, but we should also provide tax breaks and incentives to help small businesses provide quality health care for their employees.
Ensure Health Care Access for Every Community in America
Rural communities often face unique health care challenges because the doctors and facilities they need can be hours away. We have to ensure that high quality health care opportunities are accessible to these communities, and build the flexibility and choice into our health care system that they need to get good local care.
GAS PRICES AND ENERGY
CONTROLLING COSTS, CREATING JOBS, ENDING OUR DEPENDENCE ON OIL
Since 2001, the price of gas in Ohio has doubled while progress toward energy independence has stalled in Washington. Oil companies have received billions in tax giveaways and quadrupled their profits under George W. Bush, but they haven't even begun to drill for oil on 68 million acres of U.S. land and coastal waters that are approved for drilling today. Americans are left just as dependent on foreign dictators and rogue regimes for our energy as we were seven years ago.
John believes that America's energy should come from Midwest innovation, not Middle East oil. To start relieving pain at the pump today, we should open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, crack down on oil speculators, make oil companies drill on the U.S. lands and coastal waters they already have, and transition to alternative energy sources as soon as possible.
In the same 10-20 years it would take to develop new sources of oil, we could invest in cutting-edge technologies like wind, solar, biomass, biofuels, geothermal, clean coal and nuclear that will lead to home-grown, affordable, renewable energy while creating jobs and turning around the economy right here in the 16th District.
John's short-term and long-term energy solutions include:
- Release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The Reserve was created in the 1970s to respond to a gas crisis just like this one. Today, it is 98% full. Releasing just 7% of the Reserve’s current oil supply would begin to lower our fuel costs immediately. When President Bush announced he was releasing oil from the Reserve after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, prices began dropping that same day.
- Crack down on Wall Street speculators who are artificially inflating oil prices. Experts say that closing a loophole in federal law that exempts electronic energy futures trading from government regulation could immediately lower the price of oil by 25 to 50%. Today, these futures markets are not regulated like other commodities futures markets, because in 2000 the collapsed energy company Enron pushed through a law exempting them from regulation.(This exemption is often called the “Enron Loophole.”)
- Require oil companies to drill on the 68 million U.S. acres they already have. The number of U.S. drilling permits held by oil companies has doubled in the past 5 years, yet oil companies are only drilling on one quarter of the leases they currently hold. That leaves 68 million leased acres undeveloped – including 33.5 million acres off U.S. coasts. In the western Gulf of Mexico alone, oil companies hold more than 4,000 undeveloped leases. They should drill on these areas – where they can start today – rather than stockpiling even more leases that will not yield oil for decades.
- Increase energy efficiency and conservation in the United States. Reducing our consumption of fuels is as important as developing alternative energy sources. We need to make serious investments in cutting-edge research like the fuel cell program at Stark State to develop vehicles, appliances, and buildings that run on less and cleaner energy.
- Invest in next-generation biofuels that can be grown in the 16th District. Our region includes some of the most agriculturally productive areas in all of Ohio. We should develop diversified, next-generation biofuels that we can grow right here, boosting our whole economy.
- Build new local refineries to process biofuels and other next-generation fuel sources. Once we’ve grown biofuels locally, we can also refine them at brand new local facilities employing hundreds of people. John sponsored a bill in the Ohio state legislature (SB 32) to build new alternative fuel refineries on “brownfields,” or abandoned industrial sites.
- Create an Apollo program to revolutionize our energy sources. A large-scale transition to 21st-Century American energy sources like wind, solar, clean coal and biomass power would free us from oil dependence forever. At the same time, a report by the Apollo Alliance estimates that nearly 23,000 manufacturing jobs could be created in Ohio through production of alternative energy, and the Political Economy Research Institute finds that more than half a million workers in Ohio could see job growth and wage increases as a result of new green energy investments.
VETERANS AND MILITARY FAMILIES
SUPPORTING THEIR SERVICE, HONORING THEIR SACRIFICE
After 14 years in the military and four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, John understands the needs of America’s troops and veterans.
The brave young men and women serving this country overseas are there only because our country asked them to go. From the moment their boots hit the ground, they deserve every protection, and when they come home, we need to stand up for them like they stood up for us. Our wounded soldiers should never return to mold-infested hospital rooms where they have to pay for their own meals and phone calls to tell their families they’re home.
In the Ohio Legislature, John has been a strong supporter of Ohio veterans and military families. He has fought to protect the jobs of returning National Guard and Reserve members and sponsored the "Military Injury Relief Fund,” a tax check-off program that gives Ohioans an opportunity to help injured soldiers transition back into civilian life and assist with their medical expenses.
In Congress, John will fight to ensure that our troops are fully equipped, protected, and supported, and that every veteran can get needed health care, afford college education, find quality civilian work, and hold on to a home.
We must provide every protection for our troops and support for their families:
- Fully equip units entering combat with body armor, up-armored vehicles, and other life-saving necessities.
- Mandate healthy ratios between tours of duty and time spent at home to ease the strain on soldiers and their families.
- Re-build our overstretched military, making equipment, protection, and benefits for our troops the top priority.
We should guarantee veterans consistent benefits and care throughout their entire lives:
- Permanently fund the VA so that veterans aren’t faced with uneven care, cash-strapped facilities, or sudden changes in the benefits they receive due to year-to-year budget cuts.
- Increase VA funding and staff and cut bureaucratic red tape to reduce growing backlogs of disability claims and waits for access to VA health care services.
- Ensure that returning troops receive proper disability evaluations and ratings as quickly as possible and have full access to necessary treatments.
- Improve mental health care and benefits for veterans, investing in treatment for PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.
- Reform both the military and VA health care/disability systems to ensure a seamless transition from active duty status, protecting veterans from incurring unmanageable expenses or gaps in care.
We should provide the best educational opportunities for our veterans:
- Implement and support the new G.I. Bill, which increases outdated benefit payments to put a college education within reach of every veteran, including National Guard members and Reservists.
- Provide educational incentives to veterans, such as Governor Strickland’s executive order making Ohio the first state to offer in-state tuition rates at public colleges for all U.S. Armed Forces members and their families.
We must ensure that every veteran has the support he or she needs to transition back to civilian life and work:
- Protect the jobs of Guard and Reserve members by closing loopholes in the law requiring employers to keep their positions available when they return.
- Provide education and retraining opportunities and job-seeking support for veterans of all ages.
- Consolidate and coordinate reintegration programs across federal, state, and local governments and private support organizations.
- Provide the same high level of transition and reintegration support to Guard and Reserve members.
We need to protect veterans from homelessness:
- The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 154,000 veterans go homeless on any given night, and that 1 in 4 homeless adults in the United States is a veteran.
- We need to provide accessible treatment for PTSD and traumatic brain injury, which can put Iraq/Afghanistan veterans at elevated risk of becoming homeless.
- We need to promote cooperation between federal, state, and local governments and veteran service organizations with a demonstrated track record of helping homeless veterans.
- We need to ensure that veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless have easy access to the support they deserve in the form of health care, housing, clothing, education, and transition and work training programs.
RESTORING THE PROMISE OF AMERICAN SUCCESS
For years, America has been a global economic leader and the most prosperous nation in the world—but now that success is threatened by poor leadership in Washington, irresponsible behavior on Wall Street, and growing competition around the world.
While strong economic growth used to translate into better wages, salaries and benefits for America’s middle-class workers, today the middle class is receiving a smaller and smaller share of our nation’s economic success.
Since 2000, even as the stock market boomed and CEO salaries rose, incomes for middle class workers actually declined. Locally, we have seen too many companies lay off workers, close down factories, and ship our jobs away.
We need new leadership to put America’s economy back on track and put American workers first again. To turn around our economy, we must:
Fight for trade policies that put American workers first
For too long in Washington, our trade policies have allowed or even encouraged the loss of good-paying American jobs. We need to renegotiate our existing deals and only approve new deals that bring new and better job opportunities into America, not open the door for companies to ship jobs overseas.
Reward investment in America
We should reward businesses that find innovative ways to create jobs and compete right here in the United States. Instead of cutting taxes for corporations even when they send our jobs away, we need to focus our tax relief on companies that will invest in communities like Ohio’s 16th District and give them incentives and support to succeed.
Support industries that can’t be outsourced
It’s a matter of national security that we produce our own energy here in the United States, and industries like this are the key to renewed U.S. prosperity. The development of domestic renewable energy sources like wind, solar, biofuels, geothermal, nuclear, and clean coal would create more than 23,000 new “green collar” jobs in Ohio alone.
Give workers the pay and benefits they deserve
Not only do we need to create new jobs, but we need to ensure that every job pays enough to live and fairly rewards the worker. We have to end the disconnect between booming corporate profits and declining middle class incomes that has emerged in the last seven years. When corporate profits and CEO salaries rise, workers’ paychecks should grow, too.
Cut taxes on the middle class
When politicians talk about cutting taxes, it’s time they mean your taxes. After seven years of tax giveaways titled toward the wealthy elite, John will fight to reduce the tax burden for middle class families who want to purchase a home, send their kids to college, save for retirement or simply pay for everyday needs.
Stand up for workers’ rights
America used to have strong collective bargaining rights and safety nets that put workers first and protected their jobs, pay, pensions, and benefits. Corporate lobbyists in Washington have spent decades dismantling those protections and tilting the laws in their favor. We have to restore respect and support for workers and stand up for their rights again.
Provide a first-class education for every American
An excellent education today is the key to a competitive U.S. workforce tomorrow. With emerging economies like China and India making huge investments in education, we can’t afford declining high school graduation rates or 400,000 young Americans skipping college every year because they can’t afford it. We must ensure quality K-12 education and affordable college for every young American to regain our competitive edge.
Help working families control costs
While today’s families are pinched on one side by jobs that earn less with fewer benefits, we are simultaneously facing higher costs for fuel, food, health care, education, and other basic necessities. We can help control these costs by cutting taxes, pursuing new energy alternatives, fixing our broken health care system, and making college affordable.
Crack down on irresponsible and predatory business behavior
Reckless behavior on Wall Street has had devastating consequences for middle class families and the entire U.S. economy—and Washington did little to stop it. Out-of-control lenders created the current housing and credit crisis, and credit card companies, payday lenders and other unscrupulous industries are now taking advantage of the families who have been hit the hardest. We need to crack down on speculators and risky business practices, and protect hard working families from economic exploitation.
REFORMING TRADE AND RESTORING AMERICA'S COMPETITIVENESS
Unfair trade practices have had a devastating impact on our local communities. Since 2001, the state of Ohio has lost more than 102,000 jobs to China alone – the 5th highest amount of all 50 U.S. states.
Two thirds of U.S. jobs lost to China have come from our manufacturing sector, which won’t surprise local community members who have seen factories closed and jobs shipped away.
John Boccieri believes that America can become a strong competitor again, but we need a major change in our approach to the global economy.
Put America first when it comes to trade:
The fast-growing economies of countries like China would collapse if U.S. consumers weren’t buying their goods. Instead of rubberstamping bad trade deals written by international corporate lobbyists, leaders in Washington should use that leverage to negotiate fair trade deals that benefit America’s workforce.
Enhance and enforce fair international trade standards:
We should use our global economic leverage to increase labor, human-rights and environmental standards around the world, not weaken our own protections in a race to the bottom. We should push counties like China to stop manipulating currency values, open their markets to U.S. exports, and honor and enforce standards that will level the playing field for American workers.
Protect the health and safety of American consumers:
Higher international trade standards won’t just help U.S. workers – they will protect American consumers from lead-tainted toys, poisonous pet food, or other dangers of cheap but poorly-regulated overseas production.
Restore fiscal responsibility in Washington:
President Bush will leave us with the largest deficit in American history, and his reckless spending has driven us deeply into debt. Other nations have bought huge amounts of our debt to manipulate international currency values to their advantage. Restoring spending sanity in Washington is an important step to improving our balance of trade.
Reward investment in America:
We should reward companies that find innovative ways to create jobs and compete right here in the United States. These businesses should receive tax breaks, first priority for state and federal contracts, and other benefits to help them grow and succeed.
Turn around our education system:
America has fewer students graduating from high school today than we did a generation ago. We need to put a diploma and college or skills training within reach of every single young American by making smart investments in education, expanding much-needed grants and loans, and offering scholarships in exchange for public service.
Support and invest in displaced workers:
Workers whose jobs have been outsourced often lose their health insurance and pensions, too, and even if they find new jobs they rarely pay as well. We need effective workforce retraining programs, stronger protections for pensions, and a health care system that gives every American coverage that is portable, affordable, and not subject to preexisting conditions.
Make our economy work for all Americans again:
We have to end the disconnect between booming corporate profits and stagnating middle class incomes. When CEO salaries rise, workers’ paychecks and benefits should grow, too.
Invest in industries that can’t be outsourced:
Producing our own energy here in America is a matter of national security. The Apollo Alliance estimates that the development of renewable domestic energy sources like wind farms, solar arrays, biofuel crops, and geothermal, nuclear, and clean coal plants would create more than 23,000 new “green collar” jobs in Ohio. Half a million more jobs could see wage and benefit growth from those investments.
Industries like this are the key to new jobs and prosperity for generations of Americans to come.
TAX CUTS FOR OHIO'S MIDDLE CLASS
When politicians talk about cutting taxes, it’s time they meant your taxes.
In today’s economy, working families need all the relief they can get—but Washington has spent the last eight years giving tax breaks to large corporations and Wall Street millionaires instead of helping out the middle class.
Middle class workers are the backbone of America’s economy, and John will fight to ease the tax burden on working families with these reforms:
>Give a $1000-per-year Income Tax Credit to Working Families
While middle-class workers may not pay the top income tax rate, a large chunk of their paycheck goes to Social and Security and Medicare taxes (FICA or “payroll” taxes). We should help workers afford these taxes by cutting the income taxes they have to pay at the same time. John supports an income tax credit of up to $500 per individual or $1000 per family to offset working Americans’ FICA taxes.
Provide Permanent Property Tax Relief
People who itemize deductions on their tax forms can deduct property tax payments, but millions of Americans just take the standard deduction. That’s why Congress passed a law this year creating an additional standard deduction specifically for property taxes—but it’s only valid for 2008. We need to make this deduction permanent to give millions of taxpayers with high property tax payments the relief they deserve.
Give Tax Refunds on Care for Children and Aging Parents
The average cost of child care in the U.S. today is actually higher than the average cost of state college tuition. Meanwhile, many families are struggling to care for both children and aging parents at the same time. We need to expand tax credits for money spent on child and elder care to help middle class families afford these high costs.
Provide a Tax Cut for College Tuition
The skyrocketing cost of college makes tuition a challenge even for families who are otherwise financially secure. We should simplify the current tangle of college tax incentives into a single tax credit large enough to cover most of the first year of tuition at a public university for every middle-class student.
Expand Tax Breaks for Homeowners
All homeowners should get relief from paying taxes on their mortgage interest, not just those who itemize deductions. Also, in today’s housing market, people who want to buy their first home should get tax incentives to help them make the purchase.
John will support a tax credit for families with mortgage payments that will cut taxes on their mortgage interest even if they don't itemize deductions. He will also push to extend and improve the $7,500 First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit that Congress passed this year.
Expand and Improve the Child Tax Credit
Middle class families can get a tax credit of up to $1,000 per year for each child they have, but this tax credit is poorly structured. The amount of the tax credit, and the maximum income level at which families can still receive it, do not increase with inflation, even though the minimum income families must earn to claim the credit does.
John will work to reform the Child Tax Credit to ensure that all working families can benefit from it for years to come.
Expand and Extend Marriage Penalty Relief
Many people see an increase in taxes when they get married and start combining their incomes on tax returns. Congress passed laws to reduce this marriage penalty for some, but the current tax cuts don’t go far enough and are set to expire in 2010. We should work to eliminate the marriage penalty for all couples and make this tax relief permanent.
Permanently Fix the Alternative Minimum Tax
The Alternative Minimum Tax was created to ensure that super-rich taxpayers who were using loopholes to avoid paying their fair share in taxes were still required to pay a minimum amount. Unfortunately, the income level at which the Alternative Minimum Tax kicks in was not tied to inflation, which means middle class families who are actually paying everything they owe are now in danger of being hit with this additional tax, as well.
We need to raise the threshold at which the Alternative Minimum Tax kicks in and then permanently tie it to inflation so it doesn’t threaten the success of working families.
RETIREMENT AND SOCIAL SECURITY
SUPPORTING AMERICA'S SENIORS
Citizens who have spent their entire lives contributing to the strength of America deserve the best support and care we can provide. The keys to a secure, comfortable retirement include a strong Social Security system, robust pensions and retirement savings, and high-quality, affordable health care services.
John has consistently supported seniors in the Ohio state legislature, working to protect pensions, control prescription drug costs and improve in-home health care and nursing home care. In Congress, he will fight to secure the promise of a comfortable retirement for this generation and many more to come.
John will fight for these priorities in Washington:
Protect and Strengthen Social Security
Social Security is a vital program that helps millions of Americans in their senior years. It must be protected and preserved.
John opposes any effort to privatize Social Security. Contrary to the claims of alarmists, Social Security will remain solvent and pay full benefits for decades to come. The program faces a long-term challenge, and we should take careful steps that will secure the benefits of this successful program for future generations with minimal impact on taxpayers or beneficiaries today.
Help Workers Save for Retirement
While Social Security provides an essential safety net, a comfortable retirement requires additional long-term savings. Today, the amount Americans save for retirement depends largely on the type of savings programs their employer chooses to provide. Roughly half of the U.S. workforce has no retirement plan at work, dramatically reducing the chances that workers will save enough to supplement Social Security in retirement.
We can address this problem by providing easy retirement savings options for workers who do not receive a retirement plan through their employer. Giving these workers incentives to enroll in their own retirement savings accounts would make saving simple and let them continue saving even when they leave or change jobs. This system would also ease burdens on employers, who should be encouraged to make matching contributions to employees’ retirement savings.
Enhance Pension Protections
Workers who have paid into an employer-provided retirement plan must have every guarantee that they will actually receive their benefits when they retire. Employers cannot be allowed to fold a company and leave employees who have been working there for decades with dramatically reduced pension payments or no pension at all.
We need to strengthen the laws that protect pensions to ensure that companies are responsibly managing their pension liabilities and that workers receive the benefits they were promised even if a company declares bankruptcy. We should also give employers and employees incentives to choose retirement savings options that maximize security and minimize risk.
Strengthen and Improve Medicare
42 million Americans currently receive health care support from Medicare. This vital program can be made more effective and cost-efficient by:
- Allowing Medicare to Negotiate Lower Prescription Drug Prices. Medicare Part D currently bans the government from negotiating with drug companies to get seniors lower prices on prescription drugs – even though the VA, Department of Defense, and other government agencies are allowed to negotiate drug prices. This ban was added to the Medicare law by a Congressman who now works as the top lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry. With the cost of brand name prescription drugs rising 50% since 2002, it’s time to end this ban and allow Medicare to negotiate cheaper drug prices for seniors.
- Closing the Medicare Part D Coverage Gap. Medicare D currently provides no help with prescription drug expenses over $2,500 and under $5,700 per year – a large gap in coverage often called the “donut hole.” We should act to shrink this gap and help seniors avoid unmanageable drug costs.
- Emphasizing Preventive Care. Providing easy, affordable access to health services to prevent illness or catch medical problems early is one of the most effective ways to reduce costs across our health care system. Medicare should provide incentives to beneficiaries to seek preventive care.
Fix Our Broken Health Care System
High-quality health care is especially important for older Americans. Those between the ages of 55 and 64 spend almost twice as much on health care as people between 35 and 44, and costs only rise from there. Health care premiums have doubled since 2001.
We need to overhaul our healthcare system to ensure that every American can receive quality, affordable care. Encouraging preventive care, making health coverage portable from one job to the next, and ending discrimination based on pre-existing conditions will go a long way toward fixing our health care system. Through a combination of public and private solutions, we can put patients and doctors first, control costs, and give all Americans the choice they want and the care they need.
Improve the Quality and Affordability of Long-Term Care
As America’s population ages, access to a range of choices for long-term care is more important than ever. We need to ensure the quality of in-home professional caregivers and nursing home facilities, and give families the resources and knowledge they need to provide their own care and make informed long-term care decisions. This will require strong standards, increased access to information about care options for seniors and their families, and investments in training for caregivers.
Help with High Heating Costs
The rising price of oil not only impacts prices at the gas pump but the cost to heat many homes during the winter months. The Low-Income Heating Assistance Program helps many seniors afford the cost of heating oil, and we must ensure that this program is prepared to meet rising need as fuel costs increase.
PROTECTING THE SECOND AMENDMENT
John is a strong supporter of our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Whether for personal security or hunting and recreation, John will stand up for the Second amendment.
Ohio offers some of the best hunting opportunities in this country, and hunting is a significant component of our tourism industry. Ohio's sportsmen appreciate our open spaces and pass on the values of conservation to their children.
John's strong support of sportsmen in Ohio earned him the Ohio Sportsman's Association Legislator of the year award in 2006 along with an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association. He will continue his support in Congress.
BRINGING OUR TROOPS HOME SAFELY, HONORABLY, AND SOON
Last year proved to be the deadliest thus far for U.S. troops in Iraq. And still, there is no end in sight.
For five years, the war in Iraq has taken its toll. It's a cost America has paid not only in lives lost and injured, but in an ever-growing war debt now approaching $600 billion.
As a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, John doesn't just talk about defending our country -- he has risked his own life to do it. But after five long years, John believes that, as Americans, we owe it to our soldiers and their families, to find a way to bring them home safely, honorably, and soon
NEWS / PRESS
BOCCIERI LEADS IN NEW INDEPENDENT POLL
September 23, 2008
Canton, OH - An independent poll released today finds John Boccieri leading Kirk Schuring 49% to 41% in the race for Ohio’s 16th Congressional District.
The poll was commissioned by the newspaper Roll Call and conducted by the independent polling firm Survey USA, which earned a reputation for accuracy during this year's extended presidential primary contests.
Boccieri responded to the poll results today. “Every day, I’m focused on fighting for the middle class, fighting for jobs, and fighting to get our economy back on track. That’s clearly the kind of change the people of our district want.”
The poll found that more than half of the district's voters rank the economy as their top priority, and Boccieri is winning those voters by almost 20 points. This week, Boccieri maintained his focus on putting working families first by addressing the crisis on Wall Street and the Bush Administration’s proposed bailout.
“It’s totally unacceptable that Wall Street would get a $700 billion blank-check bailout and all taxpayers get is the bill,” Boccieri said. “I know people who have been fighting to hold on to their homes for months and years. I can’t support this sudden rush to rescue Wall Street until millions of American homeowners get the help they need to stay in their homes and protect their housing values.
“We shouldn’t be giving corporate CEOs the ultimate golden parachute, we should be holding them accountable for gambling away America’s wealth. And we shouldn’t be giving George Bush’s Treasury Secretary sweeping new powers with near-total immunity from oversight. We should stand up for the homeowners at the heart of this crisis.”
Freshman Democrat John Boccieri is Northeast Ohio's top target for Republicans seeking control of the U.S. House
Posted Jun 01, 2010 By Sabrina Eaton | cleveland.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Rep. John Boccieri likes to compare his current gig in Congress to his old job piloting C-130 cargo planes.
"I find it a challenge, like flying," the freshman Democrat from Alliance tells a constituent who stopped by his office. "No flight is ever the same, no issue is ever the same. You have to, as they say in the military, maintain a rigid state of flexibility."
Boccieri, a U.S. Air Force Reserves major who has logged flight time in Iraq and Afghanistan, is Northeast Ohio's top target for Republicans who want to take back the House of Representatives. He dodges plenty of hostile fire, even at the U.S. Capitol. Votes he viewed through the prism of national security may end up threatening his job security come November.
He is dogged by unflattering press releases, robocalls and attack ads that insist his health care, energy and economic stimulus stances are out of step with constituents. Boccieri, his family and staff were even threatened with physical harm after he backed a controversial health care reform package in March.
"You get sworn in, then you get sworn at," he shrugs as a bell summons him from his cramped congressional office suite to cast another House vote. "You take it all in stride."
Boccieri's office on the fifth floor of the Longworth House Office Building is festooned with mementos from his aviation career and his days as a catcher and outfielder for the baseball team at St. Bonaventure University in New York.
Copies of political tomes like Virginia Democratic Sen. Jim Webb's "A Time to Fight" are arranged on a side table beside framed photos of his daughters in ballet costumes. Boccieri, 40, and his wife, Stacey, have four children under age 10. Their fifth child is due on Election Day.
"Being away from my family is absolutely the hardest part of this job," says Boccieri, who spends most weekdays in Washington, where he keeps an apartment in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. "You feel like you are missing out on some things."
Boccieri also misses out on flying. The Air Force transferred him to Pentagon desk duty after his 2008 election. When Boccieri caught a ride to Washington on Air Force One with President Barack Obama after a May 18 trip to Youngstown, Boccieri says he told Obama he would "like to fly the airplane and take the controls for one leg." He did not get his wish.
At least Boccieri can still play baseball. He wakes up at dawn to work out with the Democratic Party's congressional baseball team, and traces several current habits to the sport: chewing gum (he likes Trident watermelon flavor) and diligently corresponding with constituents.
A longtime fan of Red Sox hall-of-famer Carl Yastrzemski, he recalls his childhood chagrin at being denied an autograph by his idol at the beginning and end of a double-header. It has made Boccieri aware of the importance of sending personal notes to constituents. He squeezes signing time into his packed schedule of meetings, committee hearings and votes.
"When people see me in the mall, they say, 'Thank you for sending that letter,' " he explains. "It means something."
Before his election to Congress, Boccieri spent eight years as an Ohio state legislator. He says Washington has a frustrating level of partisanship he didn't see in Columbus, where people with differing political views were better able to collaborate and accomplish things.
"That's why the American people are sort of angry at Washington," says Boccieri. "It seems like in this echo chamber here, people are always fighting instead of trying to work together and set our differences aside."
Boccieri feels he has still managed to get things done in Washington. The day after his Youngstown appearance with Obama, the House passed a bill he authored that would ban condominium associations from restricting the display of "service flags" that honor a family member's wartime military service. Boccieri also drafted a law that named a new federal building in Canton after his GOP predecessor, Ralph Regula.
He regards his biggest congressional achievement as taking time to understand complex issues so he can grasp how they would affect "the families back home" and vote in their interest.
Republicans have a different view of Boccieri's service. Foes like his GOP opponent this November, former Wadsworth Mayor Jim Renacci, say he has repeatedly voted against his constituents' interests on health care, tax, spending and jobs issues.
"It didn't take very long for the voters in this district to see that John Boccieri the candidate and John Boccieri the congressman are two very different people," says Renacci, a wealthy businessman who maintains Boccieri shows his true loyalty by voting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 94 percent of the time.
"Personally, I think John is a nice guy and I have a lot of respect for his service, but he is going to have to answer to the people of his district for voting against them time and time again," agrees House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio, who aims to replace Pelosi as speaker with help from candidates like Renacci.
Republicans view Boccieri's seat as ripe for recapture. They represented the district for 60 years before Boccieri handily won a 2008 election to replace Regula. They say its turf, encompassing Stark, Wayne and parts of Medina and Ashland counties, favors Republicans and note that GOP presidential candidate John McCain got more votes there than Obama. A recent poll released by a conservative group showed Renacci with a 12-point lead.
Boccieri and his allies discount GOP ambitions for the seat and note the partisan nature of the group that released the poll. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen is among those who say Boccieri will win.
"Whether people agree or disagree with John Boccieri on a particular issue, they know his priority is to serve the interests of the people in his district, and that is what drives him," says Van Hollen, a Maryland congressman.
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report classifies Boccieri's race as "competitive," but says he's likely to be re-elected. It views him as less imperiled than freshman Democrats Steve Driehaus of Cincinnati and Mary Jo Kilroy of Columbus, who were elected by slimmer margins than Boccieri and are facing rematches with their 2008 opponents.
So far, Boccieri's fundraising has outstripped Renacci's. Federal Election Commission reports show the incumbent has raised $1,099,507 during the election cycle, had $882,391 in the bank as of April 14, and no debts. He did not face a primary opponent.
Renacci won a four-way primary after raising $658,543 in the election cycle and spending $507,330. His campaign finished up with $151,212 in the bank, as well as a $120,000 debt to Renacci.
Outside campaign spending has already started. Democratic and Republican congressional campaign committees assisted both candidates, and FEC records show Boccieri benefited from $137,162 in March television ads from the Service Employees International Union that thanked him for his health care vote.
Freshman congressman stands by his votes
Boccieri dismisses claims that he frequently votes with Pelosi as "dishonest" because House speakers seldom vote. Records show that Pelosi has cast fewer than 100 votes in the current Congress, while Boccieri has voted more than 1,200 times. Boccieri prefers to cite a
by National Journal that classifies him as a centrist with the 204th-most conservative voting record out of 430 House members the magazine examined. By way of comparison, the magazine says Boehner is 14th-most conservative, Bainbridge Township GOP Rep.
is 169th, and Warrensville Heights Democrat
is 418th. Pelosi isn't rated because she didn't cast enough votes.
Boccieri says his health care vote complied with constituent wishes and didn't get him any perks from President Barack Obama or Democratic leaders, as his critics claim. Although a Tarrance Group poll conducted in Boccieri's district on behalf of a business coalition showed a 51 to 38 percent margin of opposition, Boccieri says most of the residents he met backed reform. He says many knew people who couldn't find medical insurance or pay health care bills.
"We have hundreds of thousands of people that don't have insurance," says Boccieri, who notes that the bill approved in March costs less than an earlier draft he opposed. "Even the folks who were voicing objections believe the system needs to be reformed. I just think that a lot of misinformation was put out, trying to confuse voters and get them scared."
Boccieri also takes heat for backing an energy bill that would establish a "cap and trade" emissions reduction program designed to reduce global warming. Opponents say the bill would drive up electricity costs in a region that relies on coal. Boccieri says he saw the vote as a way to achieve energy independence, create clean-energy jobs that can't be shipped to other countries, and to assure national security by avoiding future wars over oil. Before his vote, he used a conference call with constituents to gauge their sentiments on the issue.
He tells Ohio Farm Bureau representatives that the bill contains a provision that could reduce local electricity costs by 24 percent by creating a federal power marketing authority to serve the Great Lakes region.
"You can't run a dairy farm with electric bills going through the roof," said Boccieri, a member of the House Agriculture and Transportation committees.
"It is just a concern that there will be additional regulation and additional costs," the farm group's Adam Sharp responded.
After the farm bureau contingent is ushered out of Boccieri's office, the congressman meets with John Wirtz of Canton to discuss runoff problems in Meyers Lake. Wirtz asks how Boccieri likes his job.
"It is an honor to serve," says Boccieri, the grandson of Italian and Slovak immigrants. "I never dreamed I'd be doing this when I was a kid. Every bad or hard day I have in Washington, I walk by the Capitol lit up at night and think of my grandparents, who arrived in this country with nothing but a suitcase and some food in their pockets. It is the American dream."