5 Ways We Can Improve America’s Environment

As someone who is honored to live in the great state of North Carolina, I have experienced her serene beaches, picturesque mountain ranges, and variety of parks and natural beauty.  I believe that it is my duty to fight against dangerous practices that are irresponsibly harming our great state and nation. In doing so we can preserve this state for our children and can achieve more economic progress through implementing progressive, forward-thinking policies and projects that will help both the environment and North Carolina’s economy.NC Environment

These are 5 keys to bettering the environment of North Carolina and the U.S.:

  • No more fracking: It is pumping toxic chemicals into the water table and creating instability leading to seismic activity.
  • No offshore drilling: This is an environmentally dangerous and unnecessary effort to undertake.  Right now there is over-saturation in the oil market, and there is no need to drive more into the supply pipeline.
  • Create increased federal usage of renewable energy: Mandate 50% of all power usage from all new federal buildings be from renewable and non-fossil fuel sources. This could be started by placing solar panels on the roofs of all new federal buildings.
  • Reduce our carbon emissions: Done through legislative action that encourages the reduction in the use of coal, and the placement of solar manufacturing in former coal producing areas to provide for continued well paid employment for the former coal industry workers.
  • Invest in the research and design of energy storage platforms: This would allow for continuous power provision even when renewable energies are not available, such as solar power at night and wind power on calm days.

There are a number of other ways to move forward on this program, and the US must be the world leader in this effort.  It is also important for us to lead the energy development efforts in under-developed countries so that they do not have to use fossil fuels to power their growth the way we did in the industrial revolution.

 

Not Pulling the Trigger on Gun Control

My beliefs on this issue are simple and straightforward.  Everyone has the right to own a gun, unless they have done something to lose that right.Gun Rights

Reasons that an individual would lose their right to own a gun:

  • They have been convicted of a violent crime or domestic abuse.
  • They have been involuntarily committed for psychiatric care.
  • They are on any government ‘watch list’ related to terrorism.

I believe that there must also be a comprehensive, fair and open mechanism in place to allow for the reinstatement of the right to bear arms, when it is appropriate.

I propose that one way to protect the people of the United States, without infringing on their rights, is to have a universal background check system that must be used for all gun sales.  While it may be inconvenient to have a short wait while a background check is being processed, I would happily give that time up in order to know that the weapon will not be used for criminal purposes.

Let me be clear; I DO NOT WANT TO TAKE YOUR GUN.  I do think it’s time to have a constructive conversation about guns that preserves our rights to own them, while doing our best to keep them out of the hands of people who would use them for criminal activity. Furthermore, I don’t see a need for high capacity magazines for firearms, and would support capping magazine capacities at a reasonable level for hunting, sporting and self-defense purposes.

 

Is Medical Marijuana the Right Move?

An issue that has been recently gaining traction both in North Carolina and more so nationwide is legalizing the use of Marijuana both for medicinal and recreational purposes. Every day, more evidence is brought forward showing the efficacy of medical marijuana in the treatment of a wide range of issues.  I don’t understand the reason for refusing to allow our medical professionals to fully explore the medicinal uses of this plant.  I believe it’s time to allow for the comprehensive research and development of drugs and treatment programs that are derived from Medical Marijuanamarijuana.

Because the federal government has not acted in a forward thinking manner, several states have taken on this project.  While I understand and agree with the desire to make this treatment available, I believe that the fact that there is no program in place to regulate the drug properly, allows for the potential danger of improperly formulated drugs. 

Instead I recommend the following steps:

  • We must immediately remove all the barriers that prevent the research of this plant.
    • Through proper research, we can standardize programs for processing medical marijuana into usable forms and dosages.
  • Rigorously test its treatment success rates.  
    • Only through a thorough exploration, can we fully confirm the usefulness of this drug compound.
  • Once that process is complete, it can quickly be brought to market
    • This will allow everyone who is prescribed the drug to be confident in its safety and effectiveness. 

The Federal Government continues to drag its heels in regards to marijuana, and it’s been far too long. Because of this trepidation, the lives of patients are being affected, whether or not they have access to safe forms of marijuana. Instead the Federal Government has chosen to focus on incarcerating individuals on marijuana related charges, filling our prisons with non-violent offenders, and costing tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars.  I believe that it is in the best interests of North Carolina, both socially and economically to pursue the steps mentioned above.

 

 

What Are the Impacts of the Trans Pacific Partnership?

There are quite a few issues that many US citizens are passionate about occurring in Pacific countries such as human trafficking, child laborers, extreme low cost of production, and dangerous work environments. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an organization of country leaders that are working to increase labor, environmental, and economic regulations in Pacific countries to help correct these social issues.

These are great goals for all Pacific countries, but what is the cost of implementing the TPP bill? The TPP bill will manipulate the global economy in order to implement their goals. Therefore, if a country is not complying with new workplace or environmental standards, the countries in the organization will not do trade with the specific Pacific country.

Improving labor in the Pacific countries is a great goal, but there are few key problems with implementing a Trans Pacific Partnership bill which includes:

  1. Competition in the US Marketplace. If the United States is not heavily involved in the agreements and organization of global trade, the odds can easily become stacked against our country’s economy. A lot of the goods we buy are based on the prices of suppliers from Pacific Rim countries. This causes a potentially severe problem if a trading partner has violations under the TPP. Because we would be required to cease trade with that country, our economy would face potentially severe product shortages and price increases.
  2. Potential Degradation of Industries. I grew up as NAFTA was being implemented, and I watched as North Carolina’s textile and furniture industries were decimated by the wave of low cost competitors across the border. I believe that offering incentives to Pacific Rim countries according to the TPP guidelines will once again allow unfair competition and will degrade other NC industries at a time where we need to be focusing on creating employment growth in our own country.
  3. Manipulations in the Value of a Country’s Currency. The opportunity for a country to artificially manipulate its currency to slant the playing field is too great under the TPP. This practice can easily lead to the destabilization of industries and economies, and the TPP does not contain adequate protections against this potentially devastating practice.

I believe we must continually act to strengthen the free and open marketplace in the world, and the TPP was originally intended to move us all in that direction. Unfortunately, I believe that because the structure of the agreement is flawed, the TPP fails to reach its goal.  I am AGAINST the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) due to the issues and potential for abuse.

Deciding to Make a Difference for NC

Let me begin by saying that I am not just another career politician who sees running for office as the family business. Instead the knowledge, skills, and passions that lead me to my race have been cultivated through my lifetime of growing up, living, and working in the great state of North Carolina. Kevin Griffin for US Senate

Many people have asked what issues made me decide to run for office, and how my approach to these political issues would be any different. To begin, there are a myriad of important issues facing North Carolina and the United States.

The following three issues relate to the vast majority of individuals and communities in North Carolina:

  • Equality of individuals, education, opportunity.
  • Economic uncertainty exacerbated by non-functioning government.
  • Stratification/grouping of people focused on the individual instead of the whole.

It is quite easy to identify the problems, it is a whole other thing to be able to structure a plan that addresses them and begins to create a solution.

A plan to address these key North Carolina issues should include:

  • Quality education that is readily available to all. Meaning it is no longer based on social strata, geographic location, or economic level. Education must also empower the individual with tools to be successful in the community and marketplace. This creates a fertile ground for confidence, respect, hope, and a society that can move forward together.
  • Addressing the governmental failings.Key failings include a lack of transparency and individuals focused on grandstanding, politicking and getting reelected. Above all the politicians who have been making the government work for them instead of making it work for all of the people they represent.
  • Reestablishing the belief in America and her government that all people are valuable. We are still the great melting pot of the world, made more flavorful by the variety of cultures and people that become a part of our world. So the government must understand that all people are valued and the rights we hold dear are true for everyone. I believe that North Carolina can be a leader for many other states in this regard.

It is time to take action and take back the government for the people of this great land. We must work together to rebuild America’s rich tradition of accepting and growing all ideas, people, and dreams.