From David Holden, Candidate for Congress
I see a better state for our union than the one unveiled last night by President Trump. I see an American union that upholds family bonds, protects our seniors, and maintains the social safety net. That’s the union I wish the President would talk about.
Instead, what I heard last night was the continued disparagement of immigrants and an assault against families. Immigration has always been America’s secret weapon, its source of strength and renewal. But there was not a word in the President’s speech that mentioned the contributions of immigrants, their hard work, their creativity, or their contributions to our economy and society. Instead, there was fear and denigration. That’s not the America I know and love.
American values hold family in high regard. Family reunification has always been a goal of our nation’s immigration policy. That’s not just good policy — it’s humane and decent. Rebranding family unity as ‘chain migration’ and suggesting that “immigrant” is the same as “MS-13” are cynical tactics aimed at spreading fear and hatred. Politicians cannot advocate ‘family values’ and then turn around and separate parents from children, grandparents from grandchildren, and siblings from each other. We can’t have one standard for American-born families and a different standard for immigrant American families. Those are not America’s values.
I was appalled by President Trump’s assault on the rule of law by calling for Cabinet secretaries to be able to fire — indeed, to purge — civil servants based on subjective views and with no oversight. The reason we have civil service laws is to protect the independence of our government professionals and prevent ideological and politically-driven hiring and firing. Trump is proposing to do away with all of that. It’s not just an assault on the world’s finest civil service; it’s an assault on the rule of law itself.
That cannot be allowed to stand. This is a nation of laws in which public servants swear an oath to uphold the Constitution! No one should be above the law: not our cabinet members, not our Congresspeople, and not our President.
Speaking of the rule of law, President Trump had much praise for our law enforcement officers — which they richly deserve — yet he spent the past year insulting, disparaging, and denigrating our law enforcement institutions, particularly the FBI and the Department of Justice. We need to keep our law enforcement institutions independent of political pressure and loyal only to the constitution and rule of law. That is something I will always fight for as a member of Congress.
I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a word in the President’s speech last night about protecting the environment or mitigating climate threats — dangers that threaten Southwest Florida more than almost anywhere else in the United States. He wants to end a non-existent war on coal, which has long been bypassed by technology and other forms of energy. He says he wants to repair our infrastructure but won’t acknowledge the impact on that infrastructure of worsening storms and natural disasters. There is no Planet B — we must protect the one we’ve got!
And there was no mention in the President’s speech of protecting our social safety net or supporting our seniors by preserving their healthcare, their well-being, and their Social Security and Medicare benefits. These protections are critical to ensuring the economic security of our retirees and afford them the dignity they deserve in their golden years. As a member of Congress, I will always defend the earned rights of our seniors for whose decades of service we are deeply grateful.
Where there is good, I will always support it; where there’s a willingness to compromise, I will always reach out; but when there’s a war on families, our seniors, our environment, the rule of law, and our American values in general, we must fight back!
This is why I’m running for Congress and why I’m looking for the assistance of every well-meaning Southwest Floridian. Together we can stand up for our shared values, recommit to our Constitution and rule of law, and strengthen the state of our American union.