First, you might agree that it appears both parties have completely lost their bearings, but the reality is still that you must be one or the other to be in the game. More and more people I talk to "feel" independent.
I like my state and county elected officials. They are friends and clients. I could care less if they are Republican or Democrat. They do the hard work of navigating change and in my eyes work relentlessly to represent our community. On the other hand, in my eyes and many others, our Rep in Congress, Andy Harris, has little legislative impact to show for 8 years of office. Except for a dwindling pile of campaign cash, he hasn't raised any real money since $3 Million was given to him by the right wing machine for the 2010 election so "Dr. Harris" could be an echo of extremism against healthcare reform.
We need energy, vision, leadership, responsibility, transparency and compassion. I bridge issues that divide Democrats and Republicans as you can read more about below. We want new ideas? I have some and I'll go out of my way to hear yours. If you can appreciate reasonable compromise and working in good faith for preserving and improving the American culture we value, I believe I bring that to the table and seek your vote in the coming primary.
On my dad's side, my family goes back to colonial American roots; my mom is an immigrant from Germany post WWII. Dad is a retired cop and military veteran, mom a hairdresser. I was a hyper-energetic kid raised with love, discipline and respect. I learned to listen in my mom's shop and developed an aggressive work ethic from my dad. I started working on a nearby farm when I was 12 years old. At 13, I decided I wanted to own that farm someday.
I started my professional career in the tech field in 1989 at 17 years old doing computer modeling of tank armor at Aberdeen Proving Ground. I graduated from Univ. of MD College Park with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and German.
In 1996, after 2 years traveling the country as a technology consultant, I moved to Silicon Valley. A few companies into it and a home, a wonderful wife, 2 kids and 8 years later, I get a phone call from my mom in the beauty shop, "Rip (his name) is selling the farm!". At 32, I got to buy that farm I dreamed of owning as a kid.
Since I've returned, I've received Masters Degrees from UC Berkeley and Columbia University and started 5 new businesses. The most popular is our furniture and home decor store in Jarrettsville and Columbia, Belle Patri. It was founded by my wife Jen 11 years ago and I've supported her every step of the way. Our kids are now 15 & 16; driving, planning for college and becoming capable and respectful young adults.
For the last several years, I've engaged my energy as a track coach at North Harford High School qualifying several unexpected athletes for state championship competitions and for the last 12 years served as Chairmain of a well respected rec and travel soccer program with close ties to the county, local rec councils and regional leagues that has been enjoyed and appreciated by thousands of families.
It's a sensible person with a fiscal stance that says enough is enough with deficit spending. Some of you may remember back in the 90's there was a fairly well publicized group of congressmen called the "Blue Dog Democrats". They were primarily from rural districts in the South but they've served as an important voting block on issues relating to fiscal spending. Well they still exist as a group of 18 members and I look to quickly join their ranks.Hot
We start with an understanding that the 2nd Amendment is what we are born into and it will take a 2/3 majority of our Representatives and Senators and then States ratificationto agree to change that. Further, the right for an "individual" to bear arms was affirmed by the Supreme Court in the 2008 District of Columbia vs. Heller decision...but is there more we can do?
For those not aware, Maryland already has the strictest gun rights in America and the Firearm Safety Act of 2013 was passed after the Newtown, CT tragedy. After years of constitutional challenges, the law was validated by the highest Federal courts in the nation. What makes me satisfied with this decision is that the Federal government supports a state's right to legislate on the issue and with that makes the need for a Federal legislative action that might impede on 2nd Amendment rights unnecessary.
It is my position that the existing gun advocacy groups have utterly failed to take a leadership position in promoting solutions and are left villified in the court of public opinion. Perhaps our only way to drive solutions is to create an equally well-funded organization to promote responsible gun ownership candidates who don't want to restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners but rather bring focus and statutes that might streamline the process to identify and restrict the "mentally defective" described in U.S.C 18 922(g)(4), This organization would also promote legislative initiatives and mainstream 2nd Amendment education. If it's illegal to yell "Bomb" in crowded public area, it seems a reasonable person could agree that consistent, explicit threats or innuendo on social media or in person with witnesses should be sufficient probable cause to initiate protected intervention and possible legal action.
On day #1, I want to sponsor a bill to extend the indemnity provided by the Volunteer Protection Act to teachers and administrators who report at-risk youth. Let's teach students to identify the signs and speak up. I encourage positive interventions and say we engage law enforcement quickly if things don't change.
The bottom line is there are almost 350 Million guns in the hands of Americans today and no foreign entity will ever think to occupy these United States but we must adapt to live with this reality.
We are parents who see our teachers are handcuffed in a system that suffocates their passion to teach.
We are observers who see a lack of respect by students, coddled by administrations who are handicapped by risk-averse lawyers.
We are in need of legal reform to allow corrective action that works.
I am a business owner that sees tremendous lost productivity while many young adults remain out of the workforce. Too many young adults are going to college to finally learn what high school offered. The net result is a massive pile of student debt and these young adults are still no better off because they treat college like they did in high school. This results in years of potential productivity lost while they figure out their lives. This is kicking the can down the road to assuming personal responsibility. This is figuring out what they want to do only to get a job having nothing to do with what they just studied to become. Raise your hand if you're aggravated!
We need to deemphasize the degree and focus on the education. We need to change the system to be able to provide the economy with more capable entrants to the workforce when times are good and allow continued education to be a productive path when times are tough.
While I'm 100% for every freedom we have as Americans, I'm not for the freedom to squander away the education paid for by our tax dollars to babysit kids until they are 25. Trade school education should be promoted, certifications should be attained while in secondary schools. Bottom line, the standards should be dependent on your path, the offerings should be more robust and our kids can do it if we just ask it of them.
Maybe by this point you see I'm a bit of a 'tough love' candidate and perhaps this is an area where a 'conservative Democrat' differs significantly from my liberal counterparts.
Our society has lost sight of the personal responsibility of taking care of oneself. Our schools teach the importance of proper diet and exercise. Once we leave, marketing for convenience and excess swallows our attention and molds our unhealthy behaviors. Any government program we support should have expectations of the recipient. Annual checkups, evidence of corrective behaviors or preventative actions seem like reasonable expectations. Our healthcare decline is the result of years of passive neglect to oneself. America must change its behavior and we can't legistate that. I do believe we can reduce the benefits provided for those with a documented pattern of self neglect.
Heathcare is provided as an insurance, not as a service. An insurance is run in a way to mitigate risk and ensure profitability. The risk of lawsuits combined with the risk of providing ever more complex and expensive services and medicines makes absurdly high prices necessary for the math to work out. I get it. What I can't accept is the complacency of those insurance providers and their service providers to say no to exhorbitant price changes from their providers. Like speed limits on the roads, most common services and drugs should have "may not exceed" price tags. Why is it I see a headline of a urine test costing over $17,000, really!
Finally, I just watched a video of another candidate who talked about the Army spending millions of dollars on training to prepare him for active duty. Another bill I would like to sponsor in my first term is a Medical Service Bill that offers any well qualified student who wants to be a doctor or other needed healthcare professional a full ride to become one in exchange for a similar commitment of service. We can work with the healthcare industry to pay for this program since they ultimately profit from our taxpayer investment. I can only imagine the number of talented, compassionate students that would take America up on that deal. More doctors = More services available = Lower costs = Better care.
Finally, a Conservative Democrat is a son who protects the legacy of his parents generation, a father who can honestly say to his children that hard work, perseverance and integrity are still valued in American society and a man who wants to see his future great-grandchildren still enjoy the beauty of this great Earth.
I call it the American Reformation. We can return to some traditional values while embracing the race ahead.
I've spent my life building solutions and bridging gaps of understanding in business and our community.
God blessed me with uncommon drive and ability and I want to use it for you.
I've architected systems used at the White House, Pentagon and Capital used for getting information to the American people.
From technically complex to emotionally charged, I've spent my life listening first, learning next and driving needed solutions.
Perhaps most import. I will care until I die about everyone on this planet. Let's realize our potential as a country.
Feel free to leave a message to me.
Erik Lane for Congress
PO Box 373
Jarrettsville, MD 21084