Issues

JERRY KNIRK–WORKING TOGETHER WITH OTHERS TO SOLVE PROBLEMS

My political philosophy can be summed up in the phrase “working together with others to solve problems.” This is quite similar to what I did for many years as a physician, both as a surgeon and as a non-operative physician. Many of the steps are the same–gathering the facts, considering possible solutions, then discussing the options and unintended consequences of each option and then reaching an agreement for a plan of action. The difference is that in medicine the patient has the final say. In politics we need to strive for compromise to reach the best possible solution and make progress. The system breaks down, both in medicine and politics, when one party or the other comes to the table with ideological pre-conceived notions without a desire to hear all options and carry out reasonable discussions before making a decision. I make decisions after careful consideration of all points of view. As a result, it may be difficult to pigeonhole my stands on specific issues.

My views on issues can be best understood by knowing my core values–fairness, social justice, protection of civil rights, respect for others, stewardship of the environment, fiscal responsibility, and personal responsibility. In general, these core beliefs are more closely aligned with policies advanced by the Democratic Party. I could probably be best described as a moderate Democrat. My stands on certain issues are fairly straightforward and I will express them below.

I feel that access to health care is a fundamental human right and need. Our current healthcare system is very broken. By choosing to treat healthcare as a commodity, our system serves the system of insurers, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and providers much better than if serves the consumer. We spend about twice as much on healthcare as other advanced democracies but our health outcomes are much worse. We really need a fundamental overhaul of our system but I am realistic enough to realize that changes will need to be incremental (until we are able to get big money out of the political process so that decisions can be made for the people rather than for the vested interests.)

I feel that women must be considered as equals in all respects, including the woman’s right to make her own choices in her life without interference from the government and without discrimination. This includes a woman’s right to equal educational choices, equal opportunity for employment and equal pay for equal work. Fundamental to this is a woman’s right to control her body and her fertility through access to contraception and safe abortion. Without the ability to control her own fertility, she loses the right to control the trajectory of her life.

The right of an individual to express his or her own sexual preference and gender identity needs to be protected with full civil rights guaranteed to prevent discrimination.

I feel that education and training are critical for developing an educated and functioning workforce and a well-informed electorate. We must guarantee the right to a quality education for all, regardless of gender, race or socioeconomic status. We need to respect the teaching profession with proper support but at the same time demand performance.

We can only excel as a state and country with modern infrastructure including roads, housing, and communications technology. Our continual neglect of infrastructure will hamper our ability to progress to a vibrant and growing community and economy.

Our growing income inequality needs to be reversed by ridding ourselves of policies and economic structures which serve to increase income inequality by wealth re-distribution from the poor to the wealthy.

Respect for and careful stewardship of the environment is critical. Development needs to follow best management practices to ensure the preservation of our environment. Many of us live here because of our love for the beautiful mountains and lakes and the clean water and air. We must be careful to live in harmony with our surroundings and not spoil the environment. We need a rapid transition to renewable energy sources and energy conservation.

Addressing each of the above issues should help us with another important problem in New Hampshire–attracting and retaining young and educated workers to grow our economy.

Thank you for voting for electing me for state representative in District 3 (Freedom, Tamworth, Madison, and Albany) so that I may serve you in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. I want to work together with others to solve problems.