Our economy and our communities are changing, but Washington hasn’t. It’s mired in partisan gridlock and controlled by corrupt special interests. Career politicians have been more focused on getting us to fight against each other than fighting for us.
Brynne Kennedy knows that progress is not about Republican or Democratic solutions. It’s about putting partisanship aside to find the right solution.
And that’s how she will serve as our voice in Washington.
Our annual deficit has ballooned to $1 trillion and our debt to $23 trillion. We spend $1.5 trillion every year through our tax code, much of it on special interest loopholes that advantage well connected donors and subsidize outdated technologies and business practices.
This only increases tax burdens on working families and small businesses while choking off our ability to make the investments in infrastructure, education, energy and healthcare that America needs to compete in the 21st century. Having worked to improve the competitiveness of the world’s largest businesses, Brynne knows this isn’t a choice of bigger vs. smaller government. It’s about making government smarter and more efficient to pay down our debt and invest in the solutions we need right now.
Performance Audits: Brynne will ensure regular financial and performance audits of every federal agency to eliminate waste, integrate new technologies and increase efficiency so our tax dollars go further. She opposes any pay raises for Members of Congress absent quantifiable improvement in both financial efficiency and service delivery.
Closing Tax Loopholes: Brynne supports an annual cost/benefit analysis of the $1.5 trillion we spend every year through our tax code. She’ll fight to eliminate loopholes and subsidies that do not benefit working and middle class families, help businesses compete in today’s economy, or create real solutions for today’s problems.
More Transparency: Brynne will put her technology background to work to increase transparency and efficiency in government and make it easier for constituents to access their elected Representatives. She’ll work to modernize antiquated bureaucracies and systems so every citizen can easily access the services they pay for, and have the tools to understand how elected officials are spending our money.
Better Coordination across Government: Since 2011, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified hundreds of billions of dollars in savings from duplicative, overlapping, or fragmented federal programs. But there are many more areas where federal, state and local government services overlap as well. Brynne will work with state and local elected officials to develop a model of best practices in the 4th District and use them to promote national reforms that can improve service delivery and save taxpayer dollars.
As a business owner Brynne knows how skyrocketing healthcare costs are a drag on job and wage growth. She’s also seen how they impact families, first hand.
Both of her parents fought tough battles against cancer. Her dad was a teacher who got great care through his union contract. Her mom faced the uncertainty, high costs and other barriers to care that confront far too many families in our district. Brynne believes the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was an important step forward because it expanded coverage, slowed cost growth and protected people with prior conditions like her Mom.
That’s why she’ll work to make the ACA better – and focus on cutting costs, promoting choice and expanding coverage.
Strengthen the ACA: Brynne favors adding an affordable public option to the existing insurance exchanges to expand coverage to individuals who are struggling to access a plan they can afford—particularly in rural communities with limited private insurance options. A stronger ACA protects hard won benefits for people who like their existing private plan but adds the market competition we need to reduce premiums and other out of pocket costs.
Lower Prescription Drug Costs: Brynne believes we must allow Medicare to use its market power to negotiate lower costs on prescription drugs, and to allow for the importation of reliably safe, lower cost alternatives from other countries. The failure of politicians to enact these common sense reforms has invited price gouging. That’s why Brynne also believes we need a fair review process for initial drug pricing in such cases where there is no market competition, with a strong enforcement mechanism.
Modernize our Health Delivery System: Having worked inside of our innovation economy, Brynne knows we can do much more to reduce healthcare costs by fully integrating technology in our healthcare system. Rural communities in particular face long commutes for doctor visits and inequities in healthcare quality. She’ll support reforms that create more rural health clinics, incentivize doctor rotations where they are needed most, and expand digital health monitoring and telehealth.
The 4th District is important to California and our nation. Our highways connect the world’s fifth largest economy to the rest of America. Our natural jewels attract 15 million visitors a year and billions of dollars into our local economy. We have 40% of our state’s watershed, a thriving agricultural sector, nearly 100 outdoor recreation employers and are becoming growing hub for healthcare services, technology and many other types of businesses.
But we have been ill-served by an incumbent Representative who has never held a job outside of politics, has voted to shortchange our families and small businesses on tax policy, and refused to fight for the infrastructure investments and targeted tax incentives our community needs to grow and thrive.
Here’s what Brynne will do:
Invest in Infrastructure and Rural Broadband: Brynne believes the best investment we can make in our economy is in our infrastructure, to include transportation and electrical grid modernization, an expansion of rural broadband that ensures full connectivity in all corners of our district, and increased support for federal forest management. These issues already have bi-partisan support.
A Tax Policy that’s Fair to the 4th District: The 2018 tax bill preserved most of the special interest loopholes already in our tax code, while effectively raising taxes on middle class families in the 4th district by capping individual deductions on state and local taxes for Californians, as well as small business deductions. Brynne will fight to restore these deductions, while maintaining internationally competitive business tax rates.
Creating Jobs: Most new jobs are created by small businesses, and Brynne knows what it’s like to start and grow one successfully. She’ll bring both local elected officials and business leaders together to attract the private sector investment our community needs, instead of letting it fall to coastal communities. She’ll also fight for increased community lending, and for targeted tax incentives towards the solutions we need right now – on affordable housing, renewable energy, farming efficiency, water storage, and high risk insurance.
Brynne strongly believes that we must strive to be a hub for these innovations, because the alternative is ceding these opportunities to someone else and buying them back later at a higher price.
Supporting our Workforce: Working in the human resources industry, Brynne has seen how both business and workforce needs are rapidly changing. Many industries face labor shortages and too much opportunity is being concentrated outside of rural communities and small towns. She believes our training institutions and labor standards must be modernized to meet these challenges. She supports improving college access by forgiving a portion of student loan debt in exchange for national or community service, and a federal Vital Skills Scholarship program to help expand pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship or other technical training programs that prepare more workers for the jobs of tomorrow.
She’ll work across the aisle on immigration reforms that secure our borders, align with our values and meet our domestic workforce needs. And as workplaces continue transitioning towards more mobile and flexible employment, Brynne supports expanding collective bargaining rights to ensure more workers in the new economy have access to basic protections, benefits and a voice on the job.
The Fourth District has one of the highest concentrations of seniors and retirees anywhere in California. Yet for the past twelve years, it has been represented by an incumbent politician who has openly attacked seniors, called Social Security “theft,” voted to raise the retirement age, opposed bi-partisan legislation to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, repeatedly voted for budgets that would “end Medicare” as we know it and cut food assistance for vulnerable seniors. He was the only Representative in California to oppose legislation to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic—claiming his constituents were out to “game the system.”
Brynne Kennedy will not play politics with our seniors’ lives. She will demand that any President—Republican or Democrat—take action to protect our nation from future pandemics while making sure our local seniors have access to the testing, PPE, and other resources they and their caregivers need to stay safe.
Brynne opposes efforts to raise the retirement age and will fight to protect the Social Security benefits we’ve earned. She supports bi-partisan legislation that would enable Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, and will oppose any effort to cut benefits or weaken the healthcare that the most medically vulnerable Americans rely on during retirement.
A wildfire doesn’t ask if you are a Republican or Democrat. Nor does an employer. And people in both parties are hurt when special interests control our democracy.
That’s why Brynne is determined to forge common sense solutions to the threats facing our communities and our democracy, and to ensure that all who work get a fair shot to realize the American Dream.
Combat the Wildfire Threat: Wildfire threats are growing more severe and our communities need solutions, not partisanship. Brynne will reach across the aisle to expand investment in firefighting and to modernize federal forest land management. She supports targeted tax incentives and regulatory reforms to promote smart growth practices, help homeowners harden their homes, increase defensible spaces, modernize our power grid, and expand fuel reduction and renewable energy technologies.
As our Representative, she’ll bring together local, state and federal leaders to prevent cancellation of homeowner policies and hold insurance companies accountable.
Unrig the System: Brynne is already leading by example to take back our democracy from the special interests by rejecting all corporate PAC contributions. She will continue to fight for a constitutional amendment if that’s what it takes to get big money out of politics.
Fairness at home and at work: Women earn a fraction of the pay as men who perform similar jobs, and one in three face sexual assault. Having lived many of these issues first hand, Brynne will work to ensure equal pay for equal work, to reauthorize and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act, and to protect access to cancer screenings and reproductive health services.
As a CEO, she offered paid family leave to all employees, and will work to extend these benefits – along with access to early childcare – so that more moms and dads can participate in our workforce and access ladders into the middle class.
From the Arctic to the Amazon, it’s clear that climate change is here. That is not only the consensus of top scientists, it is the conclusion of our country’s national security experts. It means longer wildfire seasons and more severe floods, droughts, hurricanes and more. It’s already imposing higher costs on taxpayers in the form of disaster response, and on infrastructure that was developed for yesterday’s climate realities. Locally, we are not only seeing it in the homeowner’s insurance crisis, but also in our utility bills. Denying the threat and failing to address these issues is irresponsible for our economy, security and way of life.
Brynne grew up enjoying the outdoors, and one of the things she loves most about our community is that it encompasses some of the greatest natural treasures in our country – Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. They also function as key economic engines for our district. Brynne believes we need an agricultural and water policy that both preserves our natural resources and allows our agricultural sector and recreational business economy to flourish.
Investing in a Clean Energy Economy: Climate Change is a global challenge. That also means there is a global market for new technologies in forest management, bio-fuels, carbon capture, renewable energy, water storage, farming efficiency and more resilient infrastructure. What’s more troubling than our current representative’s denial of the threat to taxpayers, is his willingness to cede the economic opportunity to other nations, and buy it back later at a higher price.
We need to lead the world—not just in protecting communities—but in ensuring that our transition to a clean energy economy doesn’t come at the cost of millions of jobs. Brynne supports tax breaks and incentives targeted at the new solutions and technology our communities need right now, and that can create good, sustainable jobs. We should pay for them by ending subsidies to yesterday’s energy technology. We’re already seeing how market-based approaches to reducing carbon emissions can create jobs in many states.
Protecting our Communities: Brynne believes we need to make it easier for residents to harden their homes, while using our tax code to incentivize investments in resiliency, green building and vegetation management (including bio-mass and related technologies). Our forests can play a critical role in carbon sequestration and the fight against climate change. Brynne supports more active forest management – including sustainable harvesting in partnership between the Forest Service and private sector, prescribed burns and building fuel breaks – to restore our forests to a natural and healthy condition, and maintain fire safety for our communities. This is also essential for our region’s outdoor recreation economy, which relies on partnerships between government, forest managers, timber professionals and environmental advocates to produce healthy and well managed natural resources for our community and tourists to enjoy.
We also need to bring local, state and federal leaders and other stakeholders together to review environmental regulations. However well-intentioned, we need to make sure they are not having the unintended consequence of making it harder for our agricultural sector and to protect our most vulnerable communities—particularly from wildfire threats.
Updating our Water Infrastructure: Our district is home to 60% of California’s watershed, a thriving agricultural sector and a $15 billion outdoor recreation economy. It is important to strike the right balance between conservation, reuse, and upgrading our storage and distribution infrastructure.
Our first priority must be updating our water infrastructure, which in many cases, has far outlived its initial design life. We are especially at risk from corroded pipes and old mining toxins, and our systems need to be made more resilient in an era of increased fire danger and community growth. We must also invest in more modern and cost-effective methods of storage than only dams and tunnels. Restoring wetlands, managing forests for water conservation, and replenishing underground aquifers are essential complements to investments in efficiency, water recycling, and storm water capture, and more effective than surface storage.
Brynne will fight to maintain our water rights and local control that balances the needs of local farmers, fisheries and our communities. Unlike our current representative, Brynne will not advocate one-size fits all Washington solutions that sell out our water supply and quality to out-of-district interests that do not have our community’s needs at heart.
While we are not the world’s policeman, our starting point must be to restore a foreign policy that puts the goals and security interests of our nation before domestic partisan politics.
Stand Strong with America’s Allies: The source of American power is not just our military might, but our democratic values, intelligence capabilities and our economic strength. We must renew our commitment to longstanding alliances like NATO, which are needed not only to address military threats like counter-terrorism, but also threats ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change, nuclear non-proliferation, cyber-security, and the rise of authoritarianism. Brynne has worked around the world, and she knows how important strong American leadership and US led alliances are for solving problems that transcend our borders.
Restore America’s Leadership in the Global Community: We must stand guard and invest in preventive measures to protect our nation against emerging security threats. However, in an increasingly interconnected world, we cannot afford a “go it alone” or “military only” approach to foreign policy. Brynne recognizes that the diverse array of threats we face today demand the full range of American diplomatic, economic, and intelligence capabilities alongside a robust military deterrent. That’s why she would work to restore multi-lateral engagement to combat the growing threat posed by rogue states like Iran and North Korea; and invest in the special operations and cyber-security capabilities we need to protect Americans from terrorism and asymmetrical warfare. From pandemic prevention to climate change, Brynne will work across the aisle to ensure that America has the credibility and capabilities needed to unite the world and strengthen global cooperation.
A Military Strategy for Today’s Threats: Nearly two decades removed from 9/11, the United States has achieved its primary objectives —defending our nation from Al-Qaeda and degrading its capacity to wage war on Americans. Sadly, we have seen the rise of other non-state threats, such as ISIS, Boko Haram and others. Our strategy going forward must reflect these changing dynamics. While we should bring our frontline combat troops home and support efforts to reach political settlements in places like Afghanistan, we should maintain a strong regional diplomatic, intelligence gathering, and special operations capability. Going forward, we should repeal and replace the 2001 AUMF with an authorization that defines and limits America’s mission in both Afghanistan and the broader middle east to counter-terrorism, intelligence gathering and promoting the security of our allies. Only such a limitation, which should include a sunset provision, can ensure that our forward-looking policy reflects changing realities on the ground, restores balance on security affairs between the President and Congress, and prevents our military from again being committed to open-ended missions without clear success criteria.
As the daughter, granddaughter and great grand-daughter of proud American veterans, Brynne Kennedy understands the importance of standing up for our military, and providing our returning warriors with the support and benefits they’ve earned when they come home.
The fourth district is home to thousands of patriots who are currently serving our nation, as well as nearly 60,000 veterans.
As our voice in Congress, Brynne will work to:
Modernize the VA: While the VA delivers good care and has made important improvements in recent years, it continues to struggle with claims backlogs and delays. Brynne will put her technology background to work to streamline antiquated processes, and assure effective and transparent implementation of the new systems the VA to more seamlessly deliver care to a new generation of veterans – including improving the transition of care between DOD and the VA, collaboration with state agencies/VSOs and community based providers and strengthening VA tele-health services.
Protect Benefits: Brynne strongly supports bi-partisan efforts to ensure student debt forgiveness for disabled veterans, the elimination of retirement/disability offsets, and the Protect Veterans’ Education and Taxpayer Spending Act to eliminate the 90/10 loophole that enables poor performing for-profit institutions to exploit the GI Bill benefits our veterans have earned. And she will work to expand access to benefits for veterans exposed to Agent Orange, burn pits and other toxic chemicals.
Expand Support for Women Veterans: With more women than ever before serving in our military and more likely than male peers to face homelessness, unemployment, and inadequate healthcare when they come home, Brynne believes we need to do more to modernize both VA and DOD health services to meet these unique challenges. As a survivor of assault herself, Brynne will work to expand military sexual assault prevention and survivor service programs with strong accountability measures. She strongly supports the Deborah Sampson Act and will work to honor the service of women veterans and scale transitional and healthcare programs that can eliminate barriers to care.
Strengthen Mental Health Services: Veterans suicide is a national crisis with too many continuing to fall through the cracks. Brynne supports the bi-partisan Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act to dramatically upgrade veterans mental health services—including expansion of VA’s mental health staff capabilities particularly in rural and under-served communities. She will work to expand outreach and support services for affected families focused on early intervention and to increase collaborations with community based providers. Brynne also supports further research into alternate therapies—such as medical cannabis—that have shown promise in the treatment of PTSD and traumatic brain injury.
Immigration should not be used to divide Americans and score partisan points. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle know the most cost-effective way to secure our border is by fixing a broken immigration system that only invites more chaos.
Strong Border Security: Brynne knows that we start fixing our broken immigration system by securing our border. This should include investing in more border agents, technology, immigration judges and physical barriers where they make sense.
Put Workers, Children and Communities First: We are a nation of immigrants, and nearly four decades of inaction by Congress have created an unsustainable situation for families and communities.
Like most Americans, Brynne supports a legal pathway for children brought to our country through no fault of their own (DACA), as well as military veterans. She believes we must reform our visa and asylum system and to bring those who are paying taxes and contributing to our communities out of the shadows–while deporting unlawful immigrants who have committed other crimes.
In Congress Brynne will work to modernize our labor laws to meet the needs of our economy without inviting more unlawful immigration or shortchanging American workers. This includes stronger enforcement against misclassification and other workplace abuses, as well as implementation of a national E-verify system to stop employers from subverting the legal immigration system. She supported the bi-partisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act to meet the needs of our farms and agricultural sector.
California’s housing crisis is a function of many factors, including a lack of affordable supply (particularly in high demand communities), rising regulatory costs, economic and environmental disruptions, and insufficient support for those most at risk to become homeless.
At the federal level, Brynne will work to:
Break the Cycle of Homelessness: The federal government plays a key role in directly funding grant programs and other initiatives. Brynne believes that these investments must support evidence-based models that have proven to break the cycle of homelessness and lead people to self-sufficiency – including mental health care treatment, drug and alcohol abuse prevention and treatment, rapid rehousing initiatives, paths to employment and especially addressing the national shame of homeless veterans.
Invest in New Housing: In the past, there was a significant federal investment in the creation of new housing. Part of the growing population of homelessness can be traced back to ending that investment. The federal government can play a role by working with the state government to streamline red tape and regulation, where 36% of building costs in California goes to permitting. Brynne will also work to promote construction of more affordable housing units by modernizing and expanding the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). This Reagan Administration initiative has helped privately finance millions of new units but was undermined by the 2017 tax bill.
As someone who grew up in a rural area, Brynne understands and supports the rights of gun owners, hunters, sportsmen, and others who have practiced safe firearm use for generations. She believes we can protect these individual rights and take common sense steps to reduce public safety risks.
Gun Safety: Brynne supports universal background checks, red flag laws, and the Trump Administration’s ban on certain accessories like bump stocks. She also supports enabling the CDC to study and make reasoned policy recommendations on gun violence as a public health matter.
Mental Health: With the largest number of gun deaths attributed to suicides, Brynne believes we have a national imperative to destigmatize mental health and make care more accessible for more people. An important part of this – especially for our rural areas who often lack enough mental health professionals locally – is investments in tele-health initiatives and the rural broadband that supports them.