Issues

Strengthening Job Creation & The Economy

  • As a small business owner, I understand what American job creators need: less interference and lower taxes. That is why my number one priority in Congress is to promote an atmosphere for job creation, economic growth, and higher wages for families across West Michigan.
  • By passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we took a major step forward in boosting our economy, strengthening job creation, and increasing  economic opportunity. That is why I was a proud support this historic tax reform. Some of the key changes in The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act involve lower tax rates, a nearly doubled standard deduction, an increased Child Tax Credit, a new Family Tax Credit, and the continuation of the Adoption Tax Credit. As we are beginning to see, this is benefiting hardworking West Michigan taxpayers.
  • Economic growth in our nation failed to reach its potential while special interests and the well-connected have created loopholes for themselves at the expense of low and moderate income families under the old tax code. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is reversing this trend by simplifying our tax code, eliminating loopholes, and delivering tax relief for hardworking middle class families and small businesses.
  • Regulatory burdens from Washington fall heaviest on small businesses. Businesses with fewer than 20 employees spend more than $2,000 per employee than big businesses to comply with federal mandates. I have no problem with commonsense regulation but will use every available tool to combat bureaucratic overreach and eliminate unnecessary regulations that slow economic growth and threaten West Michigan jobs.

Enacting A Balanced Budget Amendment

  • We must enact a Balanced Budget Amendment. A Balanced Budget Amendment would prevent the federal government from spending outside its means. Families across West Michigan have to sit down and balance their budget. The State of Michigan has to pass a balanced budget every year; it’s commonsense that Washington should have to do the same.
  • We don’t have a revenue problem, Washington has a spending problem. I will vote against measures that increase spending and raise taxes on middle class families. A Balanced Budget Amendment is the best way to cure Washington’s addiction to spending your hard-earned tax dollars and force the federal government to prioritize.

Protecting the Sanctity of Life

  • The sanctity of life is close to my heart and dear to my family. Protecting life beginning with conception is a value that cannot be compromised and something that I will continue to fight for.  I stressed this for 10 years as the Right to Life representative for my church in Zeeland and continue to fight for the unborn as a member of Congress.
  • West Michigan is also blessed to have one of the highest adoption rates in the nation.  Adoption doesn’t just change lives of the children, it changes the lives of everyone involved including the parents, the grandparents, the aunts and uncles, and the sisters and brothers. I am proud to promote a culture of life and advocate on behalf of families who seek to adopt a child into their home.
  • For these reasons, I led the successful efforts to restore the important “Adoption Tax Credit” in the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. I believe Congress should not only encourage but embrace this pro-life, pro-adoption, and pro-family position.

Supporting West Michigan Agriculture

  • Agriculture is one of the strongest economic drivers in West Michigan. In fact, the impact of food and agriculture on Michigan’s economy is estimated at $101.2 billion, and accounts for nearly 1 in 4 jobs. The Second District is one of the most agriculturally diverse in Michigan and is a leader in livestock, poultry, pork, fruit, nursery, greenhouse, and floriculture production. I have consistently fought for the hard working farmers in the Second District, and will continue to support West Michigan farmers and growers.

Standing Up For Our Veterans

  • As the son of a disabled World War II veteran, ensuring that our veterans are treated with the dignity and respect they have earned is very personal to me. It’s clear the federal government has failed our veterans. I will hold the VA accountable and fight for drastic reforms so the men and women who have served our nation are put first.

Preserving & Protecting The Great Lakes

  • West Michigan residents have long understood the importance of the Great Lakes, but if you get outside of the region, some folks don’t quite grasp how these picturesque settings, beautiful beaches, and pristine sunsets, play a vital role in our economy.
  • As Co-Chair of the Great Lakes Task Force I have lead multiple efforts to protect the Great Lakes and support effective programs, such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, that improve the health of the ecosystem while also strengthening the economy. It is also imperative that we continue our efforts to protect the Great Lakes from invasive species, such as Asian carp. If Asian carp are able to enter the Great Lakes it will be nearly impossible to repair the damage done to the ecosystem, Michigan’s economy, and our way of life in West Michigan.
  • Thousands of Michigan jobs depend on the “Blue Economy.” I have led the charge to make sure money set aside for harbor maintenance is actually used for its intended purpose – harbor maintenance. Ports and harbors in Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon, White Lake, Pentwater, Ludington, and throughout the Great Lakes are vital to Michigan’s economy. I will always fight to keep them properly dredged and fully navigable.

Improving Education By Putting Students First

  • As the father of five children, I know that their education is best left in the hands of their teachers and school leaders. For too long, bureaucrats at the Department of Education have directed how our education dollars are spent and what our children learn through top-down mandates. I believe that decisions about our children’s education should be made by those who truly know them best.
  • States should also be afforded the flexibility to develop violence prevention programs and coordinate with local law enforcement to keep our schools and our children safe.
  • Children from underperforming schools should be able to carry federal funding with them to the school that best meets their needs. Our children deserve more public and private education opportunities. This will boost accountability in schools around our country.

Defending The Constitution

  • Defending our Constitution is the foremost responsibility of any Member of Congress. As the size of government grows, the American people are rightly concerned about its interference in our lives. Congress must act as a check and balance to protect the freedoms and liberties that we hold dear.

Empowering People, Combating Poverty

  • From a young age, my parents taught me to be kind, generous, and to value service. West Michigan shares these values and is blessed with numerous churches and charitable organizations who serve the most vulnerable in our communities. The federal government can do better a job of helping people escape the poverty trap and it must. It is time to stop measuring the success of anti-poverty programs by how much money is spent but instead by how many people are helped.
  • I believe that we should equip people with a skill-set that will help them find and maintain a good paying job. Additionally, work should be incentivized so that no one loses money after getting a raise. Let’s test the system and promote the ideas that actually work. More opportunities can be created for millions of Americans by attacking poverty at its roots, rewarding work, and tailoring benefits to people’s needs.

Enacting Real Healthcare Reform

  • When Obamacare was signed into law, Americans were promised that their costs would go down, that care would improve, and that more choices would be available. Today, we know these claims to be fiction and that ObamaCare has failed. In reality, costs have skyrocketed, the quality of care has been driven down, and hardworking Michiganders have had to change doctors because ObamaCare did not cover the doctor their family had seen for years.
  • I will continue my fight to replace Obamacare with better solutions that puts patients, families, and doctors in charge of care instead of Washington, D.C. I believe that every American can have access to quality, affordable care by making health insurance portable from job to job so that we no longer have to rely on our employer for insurance.
  • In addition, I support having a fact-based conversation about how to preserve Medicare for current seniors and for future generations.  Without reform, the Medicare Trust Fund will be bankrupt in 2026. I support reforms that will strengthen Medicare for the future, while ensuring that no one over the age of 55 will be impacted. These reforms will give seniors access to Medicare-approved guaranteed coverage options offered on a regulated exchange, allowing seniors to select a plan that best meets his/her needs, much like the health insurance Members of Congress have.

Increasing Responsible Domestic Energy Production 

  • Our nation is in the midst of an energy boom. Affordable, reliable energy has never been more accessible. This keeps costs down, creates jobs, and protects us from relying on foreign nations to meet our energy needs. At the same time, we must strike a balance between economic growth and protecting our environment. That is why I support a responsible all of the above approach to increasing American energy supplies that ensure West Michigan’s energy demands are met.

Keeping America Safe 

  • It is my most solemn duty to support and supply our military and intelligence officials with all the tools that they need to achieve success in keeping the United States secure. As new threats emerge, our armed forces must have the tools they need to respond. A strong Military and Homeland is needed due to the re-emergence of competitors like Russia and China, the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran, the imperative to keep the pressure on terrorist organizations like ISIS and al Qaeda, and more. 
  • We must make sure our military has all the tools needed for success. That is why I Supported the 2019 NDAA that made necessary increases in funding to support our troops and readiness recovery consistent with President Trump’s commitment to rebuilding our military. Also it authorized a 2.6 percent pay raise for our troops — the highest increase in nine years.