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Friedenberg – Focus is on jobs, healthcare

LOCK HAVEN — Marc Friedenberg, the Democrat candidate for congressman of Pennsylvania’s 12th District, was at Avenue 209 in Lock Haven to give supporters a chance to have “coffee with the candidate,” last weekend.

Marc’s day job is as an instructor of cyber security and cyber law at Penn State, but he said that “he’s ready to fight for us in Washington and bring high-paying jobs, modern infrastructure, and honest representation back to Pennsylvania’s 12th District.”

Volunteers showed up to meet with Marc and planned to canvas the area with campaign signs after the event was over.

As far as his platform, Friedenberg said his focus is on jobs, healthcare, and cyber security.

He said he hopes to work toward “preventing brain drain and bringing jobs back to central Pennsylvania,” along with making middle class tax cuts permanent.

“For healthcare, I support Medicare buy-in options and making sure Medicare can negotiate prescription drug prices, that is one of the biggest issues. Also, we need to protect social security and make sure that program stays solvent, along with looking at an extended cost of living adjustment that takes into account prescription drug prices,” he said. “We are called upon to leave behind a better world than the one that we have inherited. We are in grave danger of falling short of that goal in key ways. There are way too many people still going without healthcare. A lot of people are choosing between their prescriptions and eating in a particular week.”

He also spoke on how we are “already suffering the effects of global climate change.”

“We are not tackling climate change head on. Scientists tell us that we are about 12 years away from a tipping point and runaway effects unless we take action now. I support us moving to renewable energy sources to reduce carbon emissions,” he said. “Things are in danger of going backwards because we’re unwilling to help each other or even agree upon whether there is a problem to be solved. Even if we disagree on the particulars on how to solve it, it’s time to call upon ordinary people, not career politicians, to step forward and say ‘I can help.’ Whether it’s running for office or volunteering or just staying informed and voting. There are not issues we can stick our heads in the sand about.”

Friedenberg said he is the right person for the job because “people are tired of career politicians, whether that is from Harrisburg or Washington. People are looking for someone willing to represent their interests. They don’t want politicians bought and paid for by corporations, corporate pacts and special interests. I am very proud that my campaign is grass roots, and I didn’t take a dime of corporate pact money. People in this county are willing to come out and help knock on doors because they know I am willing to listen to them and provide a fresh perspective to the race and that the expertise I have in cyber security is going to be critical.”

While he did say that he is happy to see the House of Representatives using its power under the constitution to make sure the system of checks and balances is working, he said that “almost everything else” in Congress is not working.

“We are not getting basic legislation passed, things that ought to be really simple. Like the Help America Vote Act, for example,” he continued. “It’s intended to make it easier for people to vote and to keep dark money out of politics. These things have broad non-partisan support when you talk to voters, but they end up dying in the Senate because of corporate interests that really warp the process.”

Friedenberg said that the most important issues in his mind are jobs and the economy.

“We have had this brain drain and hollowing out in Pennsylvania in particular. A lot of the money and jobs are going to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and a couple of the other bigger cities that are well off. Some students from local schools leave the area and don’t come back for a long time. That is holding down our economy and making it harder for us to start small businesses. We have an aging population across Pennsylvania. We don’t have that next generation of work force coming up to fill the needs that we have. We need to make it so it is an attractive area to stay in,” he said.

Part of that, according to Friedenberg, is being able to deliver high speed internet.

“The generation that is graduating now, they’re like if you don’t have high speed internet, it is just not an area that we can live in,” he explained. “Not just for convenience, but for modern business life, along with health care and education reasons. If you don’t have access to internet, you basically aren’t a part of modern American life anymore. We need to invest in getting internet rolled out to areas that don’t have it yet. We also need to use anti-trust laws that ensure competition in those areas and not just one provider. You may have Comcast, but you should have lots of choices, not just one, to get higher speeds and lower prices.”

Then, Friedenberg shifted gears back to middle class tax cuts.

“We added 1.5 trillion dollars to the deficit about a year and a half ago, tax cuts where 83 percent of the benefit went to the wealthiest Americans and corporations who basically just sat on the money,” he said. “It is not in this district, it is not helping create jobs and it is not putting more money in the workers’ pockets. When we put more money in people’s pockets, they spend it, and that actually helps to stimulate the economy and create jobs here.”

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