Sheldon Whitehouse for United States Senate United States Senate in RI www.whitehouseforsenate.com
Primary Election Date: 2006-09-12 General Election Date: 2006-11-08
Who am I?
As a former Attorney General, U.S. Attorney appointed by President Clinton at the recommendation of Senator Claiborne Pell, and Governor's Policy Director, I've spent twenty years in public service, working for the people of Rhode Island. I attended Yale University and the University of Virginia School of Law. My wife Sandra, a marine biologist and environmental advocate, and I live in Providence with our two children, Molly and Alexander.
Why am I running?
I am running for the United States Senate from Rhode Island because I'm fed up with what's happening in Washington - and I'm angry about what's not happening to make things better for people here in Rhode Island. If I'm elected, I pledge to restore a steady, reliable Democratic voice for our working families in the Senate.
For too long, George Bush and Washington Republicans have advanced an agenda that is at odds with our values and interests, and that's taking the country I love down the road to disaster. From the seemingly endless war in Iraq, to a prescription drug program that leaves our most vulnerable seniors frightened and confused, to the lack of real solutions to our dependence on Middle East oil, to an American dream that's slipping farther and farther out of the grasp of the majority of Americans, the Bush administration and its Republican allies have shown over and over again that we simply can't trust them to lead.
With only a handful of seats keeping the Republicans in control of the Senate, we can take a stand right here in Rhode Island and start to take our Senate back for the working families of this country. Together, we can take a stand to protect Social Security, fight for increased access to affordable health care and protect a woman's right to choose.
I'm already working my heart out with an aggressive grassroots campaign meeting voters from one end of our state to the other, in a series of town hall-style community dinners and forums at senior centers, and I'm proud that thousands of Rhode Islanders are supporting my campaign for change. As a U.S. Senator, I would measure my success by the steps we take to find solutions that help working families, not just the corporate special interests who win time and again at the expense of hard-working Americans.
There are a number of issues that our campaign will focus upon over the next six months. I believe the three most important issues facing Rhode Island families are as follows:
WAR IN IRAQ
I support a rapid and responsible withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. In my mind, that means that we can and should have most, if not all, of our troops redeployed out of Iraq by the end of 2006. To do that, we need to make it clear to the Iraqis that we are in withdrawal mode, and that the security, governance and administration of their country must become their responsibility. As Jack Reed has said:
"We cannot rely on glib slogans like 'As the Iraqis stand up, we'll stand down.' We must make it clear that our policy is to redeploy our forces as quickly as possible. American troop levels will be determined by conditions on the ground, but the Iraqis must join us to shape these conditions. We cannot indefinitely remain hostage to their feuds and factions."
George Bush took this country to war without a plan to win the peace - without even assuring military families, like several mothers I've met, that their sons and daughters would have the body armor they needed to protect them. The decision to go to war was reckless, premature, and arrogant. And worst of all, it was motivated not by the military situation on the ground in Iraq, but by the political situation in the United States - the worst possible rationale for any decision to send American men and women into battle.
Every day, we see the bravery of our servicemen and women - so many from right here in Rhode Island, including our National Guard. The headlines remind us daily of the incredible sacrifices of our neighbors and their families. They deserve nothing less from us than our full and unstinting support - and nothing less from our government than a whole-hearted commitment to bring them home as soon as we possibly can.
I strongly believe that we need comprehensive health care reform to lower costs, provide everyone with insurance, and improve our health and medical treatment. More than 45 million Americans still lack access to affordable health care, and those who have it all too often have to wade through piles of paperwork or waste hours on the phone trying to navigate the system before they can get the care they need.
To start finding solutions to some of those problems, I helped create Rhode Island's Quality Institute, which people as different as Newt Gingrich and Patrick Kennedy have called a model for America. We've made great progress, finding solutions that use technology to improve efficiency and quality and cut costs.
I also have a plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs for our seniors, by scrapping the disastrous Republican drug bill and immediately replacing it with a simpler plan that empowers Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. Seniors have come up to me and taken my hand, and begged me not to let the government take away the prescription drugs they need to live. That's simply wrong We need to put the interests of our seniors above the interests of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.
I've also called on Congress to mount a formal investigation into price-gouging and influence-peddling by the pharmaceutical industry in America. I believe drug company CEOs owe Americans an explanation for the staggeringly high cost of prescription drugs, and the Republicans in Congress owe us an explanation for how the no-negotiation provision got in the law - and what the $116 million spent by the pharmaceutical industry on lobbying in 2003 had to do with it.
My opponent, Senator Chafee, has endorsed President Bush's plan to cut Social Security benefits for the middle class. I think that's the wrong approach to the Social Security debate. We need responsible solutions - not misguided attempts to "fix" a system that is a vital part of our retirement security by making it even harder for seniors to get by. I believe we should start by repealing the tax breaks for the wealthiest one percent of Americans. If we were to redirect those funds to the Social Security, imagine the strength we could provide to this important program.
You said three, but I also believe we are on a dangerous environmental courser, and we need to act urgently to protect our children by developing alternative sources of energy and freeing ourselves from our dependence on Middle Eastern oil.
My DFA Values
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My Campaign is People Powered!
A strong grassroots organization here in Rhode Island will be critical to the success of this campaign. Knowing the importance of such an effort, we have already been hard at work building that organization. Over the past few months, I've been traveling all over Rhode Island, talking with voters one-on-one at a series of community dinners and meetings at senior centers. These open, unscripted events are a unique opportunity for me to listen to Rhode Islanders' concerns, answer questions, and build a base of supporters that will help carry us to victory this fall.
The campaign is building a network across Rhode Island that seeks to welcome like-minded people who share our values. These people are Rhode Islanders who want to stand up to George Bush and the special interests and send to Washington a steady reliable voice for our issues and families. The town by town, city by city grassroots organization will include and welcome all and we will continue to build a strong grassroots organization.
We also have a strong presence on the Internet, with a large and growing list of supporters who receive news from the campaign by email and a busy web site. As often as I can, I post on my campaign blog about people I've met or the issues of the day.
Both of Rhode Island's sitting U.S. Representatives, Patrick Kennedy and Jim Langevin, are supporting me and serve as my national campaign co-chairs. I'm proud that Democratic city and town committees in Cranston, Hopkinton, Barrington, Glocester, North Kingstown, West Greenwich, Coventry, Woonsocket, Scituate, North Smithfield, East Providence, Pawtucket, and Warwick have endorsed my candidacy, as well as the UFCW and Carpenters locals. Additionally, our Latino Grassroots organization is led by two well-respected individuals from the community, Rhode Island Sen. Juan Pichardo and Rep. Grace Diaz.