Friedenberg: Health care, taxes, farmers, jobs among priorities

Marc Friedenberg feels everyone deserves a chance to succeed and it’s a big reason he decided to run for the open 12th Congressional seat.

He sees the need for expanding health care for more people, bringing broadband service to rural residents and reducing carbon emissions to fight climate change.

“Someone has to step up,” he said. “We can’t stick our head in the sand on any issues.”

Friedenberg, who teaches cybersecurity and cyberlaw at Penn State University, is opposed by Republican Fred Keller for the House seat vacated earlier this year by Tom Marino, who resigned in January.

Tuesday’s race for the 12th District is a winner-take-all Special Congressional Election. The top voter-getter will serve until January 2021, when the seat will again be up for election.

Out on the campaign trail of the sprawling Congressional district stretching across 15 counties in northcentral and central Pennsylvania, Friedenberg said people are concerned mostly about health care and jobs.

Family-sustaining jobs simply are not plentiful across the district, he said, with many people forced to work multiple jobs.

The Affordable Care Act has helped extend health care coverage to more people, but more needs to be done.

“We are still falling short of bringing health care for everyone,” he said.

Friedenberg criticized the Trump tax plan for bringing tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.

“We need large, permanent tax cuts for the middle class,” he said. “We need to put more money into the pockets of the working class. That’s how to stimulate the economy.”

Friedenberg said one of his big concerns is the lack of broadband service to many homes.

“We need the federal government to step in and get involved,” he said.

Broadband service not only is an asset for businesses, but also for health care, education, and safety.

Internet providers, which monopolize many markets, simply cannot be relied on to provide broadband, he noted.

The broadband issue, he noted, is one that should have bipartisan support.

Friedenberg said he’s a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. However, he supports measures that would temporary take firearms out of the hands of people such as assailants in domestic abuse cases and those with mental health issues.

Friedenberg said he will fight on behalf of dairy farmers who struggle to stay in business.

“They are just getting crushed,” he said.

Many regulations targeting agriculture, he said, are designed for large farming operations, which the smaller sized farms can’t afford to meet.

Farm Women United, an advocacy group fighting on behalf of dairy farmers, has endorsed Friedenberg’s candidacy.

Friedenberg said government can help level an unfair playing field and set the rules of the road, keeping a check on polluters and providing a safety net.

“Social Security is solvent through 2032,” he said. “We have to make sure it stays solvent.”

He said he favors lifting the cap on Social Security tax to ensure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share into the program.

“Retiring with dignity is important,” he said.

Friedenberg said he does not support free college for all.

Those who attend college, he explained, should have some skin in the game.

At the same time, given the mounting school debt many former students face, he favors some type of loan forgiveness programs.