Suzanne Scholte: Her Approach to Serving You and Her Platform on Major Issues
Most people feel that Members of Congress have become completely out of touch with the people they serve. As Suzanne has often said, “People not only feel that their elected officials are not hearing them, they feel that they are not even bothering to listen to them.” Folks feel a great frustration with government and the inability to work together to address problems we face together. Many feel our country is heading in the wrong direction.
Suzanne has pledged to be a servant to the people of Northern Virginia. In direct contrast to the incumbent Congressmen she is running against, Suzanne has promised to:
1) vote for what is in the best interest of Northern Virginians, not what party leaders demand;
2) have regular town hall meetings open to all;
3) be willing to listen to all points of view.
Suzanne will put people before politics.
Restoring Bipartisanship: Remembering We are Americans First
Most voters in Northern Virginia remember a time when both parties actually worked together to address critical issues facing our country. Americans have always had vigorous debates and differences, but every generation’s leaders have come together to address our nation’s toughest challenges. We need to restore that commitment to bipartisanship and Suzanne has the perfect background for the job. She has spent over 25 years leading a bi-partisan Foundation that brings Republicans, Democrats and Independents together to address critical issues facing our nation. Her life’s work has been about reaching across party lines and bringing people together accomplish great things, advance noble causes and literally save people’s lives. It is why she has support from Republicans, Democrats and Independents.
Suzanne will put people before politics.
Suzanne’s Record of Bipartisanship
For over 25 years, Suzanne has chaired the bi-partisan, non profit foundation, the Defense Forum Foundation that brings expert speakers to Capitol Hill to address national security, defense and foreign policy issues. The forums are widely attended by both Democrat and Republican staff members working for the U.S. Congress. In her work promoting freedom, democracy, and human rights abroad she has formed coalitions of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to advance human rights issues for some of the world’s most persecuted people, including North Koreans and Sahrawis. She is widely credited with helping to get the North Korea Human Rights Act passed in Congress in 2004 and her Coalition was credited with gaining the recent passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act in 2014.
Suffering knows no party, and Suzanne has worked with all concerned to rescue and help the persecuted. In Congress, Suzanne will follow the same principles to serve Northern Virginia, one of the most diverse Congressional districts in the nation.
Unlike the incumbent, Suzanne would support legislation that would require Congress to follow the same regulations that Congress imposes on the American people and not vote for exemptions for those serving in and for Congress.
Unlike the incumbent who has stated that he votes for how the President and party leaders instruct, Suzanne would vote for what is best for Northern Virginians.
Unlike our current Congressman, Suzanne has a reputation of working with people of diverse views and backgrounds to accomplish great things together. Thankfully, Suzanne could not be a more opposite personality than our current Congressman.
As a result, Republicans, Independents, and even Democrats are coming together to support Suzanne because they know Suzanne’s servant’s heart—they know Suzanne will do all she can for them and to make us proud.
Major Platform Planks: Issues of Concern to Northern Virginia Voters
The following are Suzanne’s priorities when elected and are based on what Northern Virginians have expressed to her to be their first and foremost concerns. For each major concern, Suzanne has listed how she would address those concerns.
Affordable and Accessible Health Care
FACT: The Affordable Care Act has led to skyrocketing health care costs estimated to reach $2 trillion over a decade while disrupting health care coverage for over 175 million Americans and leaving 31 million uninsured (Congressional Budget Office.) It was not what the American people wanted and is a classic example of what happens when the major parties do not work together to address problems.
- Suzanne would pass health care reforms that put patients and doctors first
-support the bipartisan Employee Health Care Protection Act allowing Americans in the group insurance market to keep or choose their health care plans;
-support legislation to extend tax credits, now only available to employers, to individuals that can be used to purchase insurance
-allow small businesses, associations, groups to be able to form their own insurance pools
-promote interstate commerce in health care so that plans can be purchased across state lines
-restore the cuts to Medicare Advantage that unfairly hurt senior citizens (benefits to seniors were cut $1,429 on average per senior— a 14.5 percent benefit reduction)
-encourage health care savings accounts as the long-term solution for making health care affordable and available to all Americans
National Defense: Protecting America and Saving Virginia Businesses and Jobs
- Restore the devastating sequestration budget cuts that have cost jobs and threatened our national security
Suzanne’s opponent voted for the sequester which had disproportionate cuts to our military (50%) and have been devastating to Virginia’s economy and to our military preparedness at the same time our world is in chaos with rising threats across the globe. We must reverse the sequester and its effects, rebuild our missile defense program, and continue investing in modern warfare technologies through enhanced research and development. Suzanne believes in the long held nonpartisan defense policy of Peace Through Strength. She would:
-support repeal of the provisions of the sequester which was a disproportionate cut to Virginia, especially Northern Virginia, a 50% cut to our national defense which is 20% of the budget, while doing nothing to address waste and fraud or entitlement reform
-restore funding as recommended by the bipartisan National Defense Panel which would ensure our ability to meet our defense needs while allowing greater flexibility for the Department of Defense to cut wasteful spending it has identified
Both reform of the health care law and restoring the sequester cuts will have an immediate effect on job creation. Many businesses are not expanding, not hiring new employees and keeping workers part-time to avoid requirements of the new health care law, while many Northern Virginians, especially contractors, lost their jobs because of sequestor. So, the first two priorities above will have an immediate effect on job creation. We have to get more people back to work. Other ways to create more jobs and spur economic growth are tax reform, regulatory reform and reducing business tax rates.
Helping our Economy and Reducing Our Deficit
Our current federal debt is now at $17.5 trillion -- a looming crisis which saddles our children and grandchildren. Suzanne would support a full course of options to bring down our deficit starting with
-support for a balanced budget amendment
-cut wasteful spending -- $30 billion already identified in wasteful programs
-reduce business taxes – we are losing $60 billion from inversions and have the highest tax rate in the industrial world which is driving businesses out of America. Every time a company leaves the United States, we lose both jobs and tax revenue. Instead of chasing businesses away and watching our jobs go with them, we need to lower our corporate tax rate to 25 percent or lower.
--clamp down on cybertheft which is ripping an estimated $7 trillion from our national economy as overseas countries target American software, entertainment industry
-reward federal employees for identifying waste in government
-reform the tax code (see below)
-enact regulatory reform (see below)
-require active congressional oversight for all agencies and departments, including revitalized Inspectors General and the GAO, aimed at ferreting out wasteful spending, fraud and abuse.
Make the Tax Code Simpler and Fairer
Suzanne would support a tax code that closes loopholes and lowers rates to two tiers: 10 percent and 25 percent, increases the child tax credit to $1500 and raises for the standard deduction for individuals and families.
Tax code reform should also give relief to seniors by preventing double-taxation of retirement and investment income and eliminating taxes on health insurance.
Under Suzanne’s plan, 95 percent of filers would get the lowest rate possible using the standard deduction, simplifying the code dramatically. The plan would also help business create up to 1.8 million new jobs, and increase our GDP by $3.4 trillion over ten years.
This plan works for families and those who need help. It gives relief to those who need it, and helps us create more jobs for the future.
The Obama administration has created more than 150 major regulations that have had an impact larger than $100 million on our economy or have majorly disrupted our prices and competitiveness—for a total of more than $70 billion cost to our economy.
Among the most egregious has been new rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency that even President Obama’s Small Business Administration opposes. These regulations were not voted on by Congress or voters; they were carried out by executive fiat by unaccountable administrators.
Suzanne supports the bipartisan Regulation from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act which currently is supported by a wide coalition requiring direct congressional approval of any proposed regulation with a financial impact in excess of $100 million. Her opponent opposed this bipartisan bill
Stand up for Federal Workers and Retirees: Preserve Promised Benefits
Too often, Members of Congress look for cuts in federal spending by reducing promised benefits to our federal workers and retirees without regard to the promises made. Suzanne has pledged to work to ensure that benefits promised to our federal workers and retirees remain untouched for those currently in the system and supports the implied social contract with federal employees, federal retirees, federal contractors and our military – active, retired and past service. Married to a federal worker and having worked in the federal work force, she knows firsthand that federal workers often take reduced salaries compared to the private sector because of the benefits they will earn. She will be a strong voice for federal workers and retirees in the tradition of former Congressman Tom Davis and current Congressmen Frank Wolf and Rob Wittman.
Help our Veterans!
The wife of a veteran and mother of a soldier, Suzanne has already held town hall meetings to address the crisis facing our veterans which she describes as a “national disgrace.” She has also met with the Chair of the House Veterans Committee to appeal for help in getting Veterans access to care as a result of deaths resulting from being turned away from Veterans Hospital. In addition, Suzanne has decried the statistic that between 25 and 30 veterans are committing suicide every day. The promises we made are simply not being kept.
To address the immediate crisis in care she has called for on base hospitals to allow care of Veterans; Veterans be allowed to receive care at any hospital, immediate appointments for any veterans suffering from PSTD, alcohol or drug abuse (currently they are told to wait six months for an appointment!) In addition, homeless veterans are being told to wait for a year before they qualify for assistance.
Longterm solutions include educational programs for Veterans to help them be aware of programs available to them; overhaul of the bureaucracy at Veterans Hospitals that has resulted in recent horror stories; hiring Veterans to serve in these hospitals and at the VA, holding accountable those who waitlisted Veterans seeking medical care, and better coordination and simplification of medical records between Department of Defense and Veterans Administration when military leave the service.
It is estimated somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. This is a national embarrassment. The VA says their goal is to end veterans’ homelessness by 2015, and they have been making progress. In Congress, Suzanne would support their efforts, as well as seeking private sector options and partnerships to end this epidemic.
Support Virginia’s Technology Sector
Northern Virginia’s jobs of the future are in the tech industry. Our federal government’s regulations are holding many innovations back—from self-driving cars to 3-D printing healthcare technology. The FDA, EPA, and many other organizations are arbitrarily holding up approval processes for innovative products, and it is costing up jobs and lowering our quality of life.
Suzanne would propose and support bills to fast-track approval processes for key innovations in healthcare, science, transportation, and other technologies. Congress has not used its authority to control these processes, trusting it only to the executive branch. It is time Congress reclaim that power.
Fix Youth Unemployment and Student Debt
Youth unemployment is a growing problem for Northern Virginians. When Suzanne goes door-to-door talking to families, many recent college and high school graduates are struggling to find work. While Suzanne’s proposals to help the overall economy would help young workers too, we need to address the problem head-on.
Youth joblessness is a result of a poor economy, and an education system that is not preparing our students for the 21st century. And particularly for high school students, we need an entry level wage. For the first time in our history we actually have a majority of college graduates who have never had a job, have never developed a “work ethic”, have never had a boss. This leaves them unqualified for all but the most basic positions.
The take over by the federal government of the student loan program has helped an already out of control and skytrocketing cost to attend college accelerate the problem. We need to reverse this trend by to incentivize colleges to lower tuition and push more students to major in STEM fields, which result in higher pay and less joblessness. To help the youth economy, we need to lower regulations on small businesses and start-ups—these businesses hire more young people than anyone else.
Create Economic Freedom Zones in Depressed Areas
Areas of our country that were once successful are now crumbling—entering a spiral of economic depression, cyclical poverty, and increased violence. We see this in our own congressional district in areas of eastern Prince William County.
Suzanne’s proposal is simple: We should create Economic Freedom Zones to encourage businesses to move into these areas and revive these communities. The government would offer businesses a 0 percent tax rate for 10 years for moving into a depressed area of the country.
This policy would give life back to eastern Prince Williams County and other parts of Northern Virginia by giving opportunity to those who have been trapped in poverty.
Traffic and Transportation: Change a Failed Approach
Under largely one-party government, Northern Virginia’s road system has been an embarrassing failure—producing some of the worst congestion in the nation. We fix roads that do not need repair and refuse to build roads we have needed for decades.
Many Northern Virginia politicians, including Suzanne’s opponent, have taken an anti-car, pro-mass transit approach. While public transit is desirable, we need to support our tax-paying businesspeople who have time constraints and need to travel by car.
Suzanne supports common sense projects to relieve congestion across the region—from constructing an outer beltway; expanding Routes 1, 7, 50, 123; adding hot lanes to I-66; additional bridges both up and down the Potomac; and more.
Welfare Reform: Reenact Clinton-era welfare reform
With Suzanne opponent’s support, this administration has rolled back many of the successful welfare reforms secured by President Clinton and Speaker Gingrich in the 1990s—which encouraged hundreds of thousands of workers to leave welfare to find gainful employment.
The left-leaning Brookings Institution reports, “More than 40 studies conducted by states since 1996 show that about 60 percent of the adults leaving welfare are employed at any given moment and that, over a period of several months, about 80 percent hold at least one job. Even more impressive, national data from the Census Bureau show that between 1993 and 2000, the percentage of low-income, single mothers with a job grew from 58 percent to nearly 75 percent, an increase of almost 30 percent.”
Suzanne supports reinstituting these wildly successful reforms, as well as adding new elements to help those who cannot find work to get the training they need to become productive citizens again.
Create better job training programs
Job-training courses at online education universities and affordable community colleges should be incentivized for those on welfare. We need to encourage those on welfare to find work, but we also need to invest in the tools to help them acquire skills for the 21st century economy.
Our economy is rapidly changing, and we need a workforce ready for it. American taxpayers will save billions over time if we can get capable workers off of welfare and into good-paying, tax-paying jobs.
Energy: Expand all American energy capabilities to Gain Energy Independence
Energy costs—both electricity and gasoline—can be one of the biggest expenses for Northern Virginia’s working poor. We need to lower these costs so these families can invest this money in more productive ways.
Suzanne supports an all-of-the-above approach to American energy. The advancements in solar, nuclear, natural gas, and alternative technologies are exciting, and the federal government needs to allow these new advancements to flourish.
This includes more directional drilling off of Virginia’s shore. We need to expedite the safest sites and get our Virginia economy growing. We also need to expedite the permit processes for potential wells on non-protected federal land.
These reforms would create jobs, lower energy prices, help us get off of Middle Eastern oil, and make us more competitive globally.
With the increased violence and uncertainty in the Middle East, we need energy independence now more than ever—and America has the technology to make it happen.
New drilling technologies could allow America to become a net-exporter of energy, but we need to get the federal government out of the way. These innovations would lower energy costs and create hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs.
With the Islamic State, Iran, and Hamas causing more war in the Middle East, we can no longer afford to rely on OPEC for oil. We can ensure our own financial security and create a new wave of job growth if we allow Americans to access our energy.
Education: Oppose common core incentives; Give local schools more money and control
While Common Core is not technically a federal initiative, the Department of Education is using incentives to encourage states to use it. Local school boards, not Washington, should be deciding what they teach. Following successful standards is good for many school districts, but it should be up to those leaders and parents in these areas.
National education standards being enforced from Washington is exactly the opposite of what has worked. The more of a role the federal government has played in education, the worse our children have scored compared to the rest of the world.
Parents and local school districts need more choice. Suzanne favors giving more money to these school districts, as opposed to growing Washington’s control. More investment in education should never mean that Washington has more control over what our children learn.
Suzanne also favors school choice programs, including the successful pilot programs defunded by the President in Washington, D.C. These programs were working for struggling families, and we should encourage states and counties to adopt similar programs nationwide. In nearby Loudoun County, their school choice program has been working and is an example to the nation.
There could not be a better time to elect someone like Suzanne whose lifelong work has been to keep America strong and to promote freedom, democracy and human rights abroad.
Suzanne believes that America must continue to be the leader of the Free World by being a voice for democracy, freedom and human rights. She believes that military action should always be a last resort and more must be done to empower and strengthen potential allies.
Fighting War on Terror - ISIS and Other Radical Elements
Through her work with the Defense Forum Foundation, Suzanne has held numerous programs to address the war on terror. She has long called for greater efforts to empower Muslim leaders who share our values.
The collapse of the Iraqi Government and the concomitant growth of the radical Islamic terrorist ISIS, accompanied by a massive anti-Christian genocide, demands U.S. action to crush ISIS and protect its victims. If we don’t act, no one will. At the very least we must offer these persecuted Christians refugee status.
The loss of Western influence in the region due to the inaction by the current administration and support by Connolly of the wrong groups in the region (Connolly is on record in support of the Muslim brotherhood and dictators in the region) has allowed a dangerous movement to continue to rise. After a decade of spending blood and treasure to bring about stability in the region, this administration has betrayed those who served, especially those who paid the ultimate price. Suzanne will work in support of actions to defeat ISIS and end this threat.
Pressure countries in the region to step up their own efforts to defeat ISIS including Jordan, UAE, and; arm allies in the region especially the Kurds; Step up bombing attacks to cut off supply chains currently helping ISIS.
Border Security & Immigration Reform
Despite the shockingly false claims from this administration, our border is not secure. In addition to thousands and thousands of children, drug smugglers, and human traffickers crossing the border on a weekly basis, it has now been documented terrorists from the Islamic State are arriving.
The administration needs to work with the Governors of our border states, not criticize and undermine them, for the sake of our national security. We need to use more border guards, technology, and physical barriers to secure our border.
Suzanne will be an active voice calling for these changes. These gaping holes in our borders are giving power to some of the world’s worst criminals. If we are serious about stopping sex trafficking and drug violence, we need to control our border.
To deal with the millions of undocumented people in the USA today, we must establish a vigorous guest worker program bringing them out of the shadows and into the economy.
For those who wish to pursue citizenship (according to surveys most do not and simply want the chance to work) they need to get in the back of the line behind those who have followed our laws. In other words, they should not be rewarded for violating U.S. law. Obviously, those who have committed crimes need to be deported.
In addition, we also need to consider long term solutions to the problems which drive people to come here illegally. First, our immigration system is a cumbersome, outdated system that needs to be modernized to reflect the growing demand for people who want to work in the United States. You couple that with the fact that we have open borders – you have a recipe that has caused the current and ongoing chaos. No nation can survive open borders and a generous welfare state and survive economically, so we must secure our borders. The President should be working with the Governors of our border states to come up with ways to do just that. It is not only causing a continual influx of undocumented workers, but it is a national security risk not to secure our borders. It is also allowing human trafficking and drug trafficking and an influx of gang related activities to our major cities which is devastating especially to our African American communities, already severely harmed by high unemployment and poor schools.
A long term solution must also involve helping Central and South American countries to destroy the drug cartels and the circumstances that have led to so many of their citizens giving up hope and sending their children here. We should be helping U.S. businesses to export more technologies that would assist these countries in cracking down on these cartels that are choking the life out of these nations. We need to work with the countries of origin of these immigrants to encourage the adoption of free market reforms so there will be more prosperity for their citizens. Encouraging American business investment and our faith based organizations to help the poor in these countries is a critical foreign policy initiative.
America needs to lead, and part of this leadership is working with these countries to create more free trade. If we can help improve these economies, we will gain good trade partners and help bring back hope to those living in poverty and despair.
Suzanne’s Awards in the Field of Foreign Policy and Human Rights
As president of the non-profit Defense Forum Foundation since 1988, Suzanne has been recognized with the following awards:
- President’s Volunteer Service Award (Gold) 2014, awarded by President Barack Obama, honoring volunteers that set a standard for service, encourage a sustained commitment to civic participatioin and inspire others to make service a central part of their lives.
- Sanders Peace and Social Justice Award 2014, the highest award given in the field of social work to individuals in the area of peace and social justice.
- Order of Diplomatic Service Sungnye Medal 2013, highest award given to non-Koreans by the Government of South Korea.
- Champion of the Faith 2013, selected by Christian Solidarity Worldwide-USA for those who exemplify Hebrews 13:3 battling persecution and oppression.
- Walter Judd Freedom Award 2010, presented by the Fund for American Studies to recognize individuals who have advanced the cause of freedom in the United States and abroad, recipients include Donald Rumsfeld, Congressman Frank Wolf, Ambassador John Bolton and Dr. Lee Edwards.
- Seoul Peace Prize 2008, one of the most recognized international awards after the Nobel Peace Prize; recipients include Ban Ki Moon, Vaclav Havel, George Schulz, Oxfam and Doctors without Borders
Suzanne has worked with both parties on foreign policy and human rights, and will continue her work—following in Congressman Frank Wolf’s steps—in Congress.