Frustration with the way Washington politicians were not getting anything done propelled Joyce Healy-Abrams into running for Congress.
“Congress is broken and we need a change,” said Healy-Abrams. “We need to stand up and fight for the middle class and not cater to the special interests and big companies which are controlling the dialog in Washington.
“(U.S. Rep. Bob) Gibbs votes the party line 97 percent of the time; against middle class and working folks, which is not in the best interest of the district.
“Gibbs voted against Medicare as we know it, to turn it into a voucher program that shifts costs onto seniors; as much as $6,400 a year.”
One of the ways Healy-Abrams says she would save money in Medicare is by allowing the government to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices for Medicare.
“We’re wasting millions of tax dollars by paying more for the same medicines that the Veterans Administration gets for less.”
“Medicare works and we need to keep it,” she insists.
As a small-business owner, Healy-Abrams has dealt with the difficulties of providing health insurance for employees. She said Congress has failed on the issue of providing help for families and the Affordable Health Care Act didn’t do enough to cut costs. She said the small business tax credits in the health care law don’t work, but she knows how to do it right.
She will vote against allowing insurance companies to deny coverage for families and children with pre-existing conditions or from kicking you off coverage you paid for.
She supports allowing children to stay on their parents’ health plan until age 26.
She will vote to make sure companies can’t charge women up to 50 percent more for the same policy they sell to men.
Healy-Abrams also opposes cuts in Social Security benefits and supports legislation that would lower drug costs, ensure senior access to quality hospitals and doctors and keeps big insurance and drug companies in line.
“We need to balance the budget in the right way, not by sacrificing Medicare and Social Security. We need to audit the tax code to identify loopholes and deductions and decide if they make any sense. We could also make the code less complex.”
Healy-Abrams says she will end tax breaks for millionaires and big corporations that don’t need them.
“In these tough times, there is absolutely no reason that someone who earns $40,000 a year should pay a greater percentage of income in taxes than millionaires and billionaires,” she said.
She also points to votes by Gibbs to slash funding for cancer research, veterans’ housing programs and early education as further illustrating the differences between them. She says she’ll support programs like these and instead shut down loopholes that benefit oil companies making billions of dollars and corporations that ship jobs overseas.
Healy-Abrams points out that the New York Times has described Gibbs as “waging war on the EPA,” but she sees the EPA as playing a critical role in protecting air and water.
Of the big environmental issue of the day, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, she said it “has been around a long time,” and that we must do it responsibly. “The Ohio legislature needs to make sure adequate safeguards are in place,” she said, “But if the state doesn’t do it, the U.S. EPA needs to step in.”
In the Middle East, she said, “The U.S. needs to continue to take a leadership role. We’ve been working for decades to reduce tensions there.
Healy-Abrams was the first in her family to graduate from college and she supports educational opportunities for Ohio children. In Congress, she will work to expand access to tuition tax credits. She also wants to reform student loans so graduates face less of a financial burden.
Healy-Abrams said she would work to heal the bitter divides in Congress by reaching out to find common ground on issues.
“You don’’t just draw a line in the sand and make no effort” to compromise, she said.
Joyce Healy-Abrams received her bachelor’s degree from Capital University in Columbus and a master’s in business administration from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She is part of Ohio State University’s Women & Philanthropy. She has served with a number of Ohio non-profit organizations committed to arts and education, men and women’s health care and children with special needs.
She and her husband, Jeff, have built their records and file management business, which started in Columbus with just one employee, into a 20-person company that provides services to dozens of local businesses.
A native of Canton, her father, William J. Healy, served 25 years in the Ohio General Assembly, and her brother, William J. Healy II, has been Canton’s mayor since 2008.
Joyce lives in Canton with her husband and their youngest daughter, Helena. They also have four grown children.
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