ICYMI: Aguilar Pens Op-ed in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin on his Middle Class Initiative

August 22, 2014

San Bernardino, CA – Today, Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, Democratic candidate for Congress in California’s 31st district, published an op-ed in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin discussing his campaign’s Middle Class Initiative, a set of priorities to expand our nation’s middle class, focusing on the issues that affect the daily lives of Inland Empire residents. Aguilar has pledged his commitment to these issues and the middle class families he hopes to represent in Congress.

The op-ed can be seen here or read below:

Middle Class Needs More Support

By Pete Aguilar

If you travel around the Inland Empire and get to know members of our community, they will mostly say the same thing about politics today.

“Washington is broken,” they’ll say. “Nothing gets done for the families who are working hard and just trying to get by.”

I share these frustrations and know that for too long, politicians have failed America’s middle class. They are failing all of us. What folks want isn’t complicated — a quality education that leads to a good paying job so that they can raise a family and hopefully one day buy a home. And after years of hard work, they hope to retire with dignity.

People are frustrated because they don’t see members of Congress putting these issues first. Instead, they see corporations that send jobs overseas getting big tax breaks. They see Wall Street bankers getting bonuses while minimum wage workers struggle to put food on the table. Adding insult to injury, we see politicians bickering and pointing fingers while our middle class shrinks and the American Dream slips further and further away.

As mayor of Redlands, I have worked with Republicans and Democrats to balance the last five city budgets, create jobs, reduce crime and improve our infrastructure. It’s time Washington politicians do the same and start working together for our middle class.

A strong middle class has to start with our children and making sure that every child has an equal opportunity at success. As the father of two young boys, I know that there is nothing more important than ensuring that our kids get the best education to prepare them for the future. That means access to early childhood education for every child, regardless of their socioeconomic background. It also means robust funding for schools, quality teachers and a 21st-century curriculum. Colleges and vocational training programs need to be accessible and affordable, and we must reform our student loan system. No young adult should enter the workforce with debt that keeps them from buying a home or starting a family.

A strong middle class also depends on a fair economy. We need to start by raising the minimum wage so that hard-working people who are aspiring to join the middle class have a shot at getting ahead. We also need to pass equal pay legislation because women deserve equal pay for equal work. It’s that simple. A fair economy also means that corporations pay their fair share and are encouraged to keep jobs here in America instead of outsourcing good paying, middle-class jobs overseas. Let’s make smart investments in domestic manufacturing, infrastructure and renewable energy, all industries that create middle-class jobs and strengthen our nation.

Lastly, we need to support our seniors by preserving Medicare and Social Security for current and future generations of retirees. When you spend your whole life working hard and paying into these programs, you deserve your hard-earned benefits and to retire with dignity and respect. No politician should ever get in the way of that promise to our seniors. We can’t cut Social Security or Medicare while giving tax breaks to corporations making record profits. We can cut federal spending without jeopardizing retirement security.

Pete Aguilar is mayor of Redlands and a candidate for California’s 31st Congressional District.

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