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Ashwin Madia is a Democratic candidate in the 2008 congressional elections for the 3rd Congressional District of Minnesota. He is seeking the Democratic nomination to replace retiring Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.).
Jigar Ashwin Madia's parents came to America from India with $19 in cash and a dream that America would provide opportunities for their children. Ashwin's family settled in Plymouth, Minnesota. He graduated from Osseo Senior High School.
As student body president at the University of Minnesota, Ashwin worked to keep higher education accessible to all by controlling increases in tuition and fees. After graduating from the U, Ash graduated from New York University Law School.
After law school, Ashwin joined the U.S. Marine Corps and moved to Quantico, Virginia for eight months of basic training. His first duty station was Okinawa, Japan, where he served as a prosecutor, defense counsel, and legal advisor to a Marine Corps commander.
Ashwin served in Iraq from September 2005 to March 2006. While stationed in Baghdad, he worked with Iraqi judicial officers, U.S. military and civilian officials, and representatives of the European Union and United Nations to strengthen the Iraqi criminal justice system. He also briefed top U.S. generals on the status of the rule of law in the country. Ashwin finished active duty with the Marine Corps on July 4, 2006. He returned to Minnesota and began practicing law at a local firm.
America has provided Ashwin with many opportunities. He says he now hopes to draw on his record of leadership, service, and advocacy to represent the 3rd District in the U.S. Congress. Ashwin is running to end the war in Iraq responsibly, balance the budget, address global warming, expand access to health care, renew the federal commitment to education, and safeguard our constitutional liberties.
Ashwin will abide by the endorsement of Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. He looks forward to speaking with you about the important issues facing our nation today. Please see his website, www.madiaforcongress.com, for more information.
End the Iraq War Responsibly
"The time has come to change course in Iraq. We must have the courage to change, and we must have leaders in Congress that understand this conflict and our military."
I had boots on the ground in Iraq from September 2005 to March 2006 as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. While there, I coordinated efforts with Iraqi officials, military officers, and officials from the State Department, Justice Department, United Nations, and the European Union to strengthen Iraq's criminal justice system. Through my time there, I learned firsthand that Iraq's problems can only be solved politically, not militarily.
Our armed forces, which have performed so bravely and admirably through the duration of this conflict, simply cannot sustain the current deployment pace. We must change our mission, change our strategy, and most importantly, dramatically reduce our presence.
Our best hope for a resolution to the Iraq war is for the U.S. to reduce its forces on a responsible timeline and to build a political solution to the country's problems. I propose withdrawing our forces over a period of 18-24 months, with a force of about 10,000-20,000 left in Iraq for three missions:
- protecting U.S. State Department and USAID workers;
- targeting high ranking members of Al Queda; and
- in conjunction with other nations, preventing ethnic cleansing.
Through these measures, I hope to bring about the best possible resolution to a complex and difficult situation.
Balance the National Budget
Federal government spending is spiraling out of control and few in Congress are willing to make the hard choices to bring our budget back into balance. With a national debt that is now over $9 trillion and hundreds of billions in annual budget deficits, we are endangering the fiscal security of our future generations and jeopardizing our place in the world economy.
I am a strong supporter of "pay-as-you-go" budget rules that require both new spending and tax cuts to be offset with cuts to existing programs or waste. I support full transparency for all funds that members of Congress earmark for their districts. Controlling wasteful spending is important, but we also need to return sanity to our tax code. Thousands of pages of loopholes and exemptions mean that middle class Americans are left footing the bill, while big corporations and people with clever accountants avoid hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes.
Create and Implement Solutions to Address Global Warming
We see the effects of global warming all around us. Here in Minnesota, the starting date for ice fishing is getting later and later each year. Global climate change has the potential to cause enormous economic damage and social unrest worldwide. Further, our reliance on foreign oil makes the United States dependent on unpredictable nations in unstable regions such as the Middle East. Expanding the use of homegrown energy offers incredible economic opportunity for states like Minnesota, and for our nation as a whole. The United States has a unique opportunity to lead the world as it moves towards a "green" economy, thereby creating an economic boom in renewable energy technology. I support the use of a mandatory cap and trade system for carbon dioxide emissions. I also support expanded federal incentives for sustainable energy like wind, biomass, and biofuels.
We are losing ground on health insurance coverage and those with insurance are seeing its costs skyrocket at rates that outpace their paychecks. Going forward, we can achieve universal coverage only if we take steps to make health insurance affordable and accessible for everyone. Minnesotans know the tremendous power of innovation at research hospitals like the Mayo Clinic. Doctors at Mayo have found that alternative billing practices and the expansion of preventative and primary care can lower health care costs by as much as 10 percent. Such policies would save as much as $200 billion dollars nationwide across all payers - easily enough money to afford extending universal coverage to the uninsured.
My parents knew the value of a good education; that's one of the reasons they left India to raise their family here. As a product of the public school system, from Kindergarten through college, I know the importance and the value of investing in teachers, high-quality facilities, and our children. We all know that the federal government has failed in its responsibilities to our public schools, whether through the chronic under-funding of No Child Left Behind or its negligent attitude when it comes to kids with special education needs. The federal government also has a role to play in improving incentives for children to follow careers in science and math, including college scholarships.
Keeping college tuition affordable is essential for helping young people get a good start in life. We can make college more affordable by doubling Pell Grants, increasing funding for Stafford Loans, and helping out those graduates who choose public service jobs through loan forgiveness.
Phone: (763) 544-3813
PO Box 2459
Maple Grove, MN 55311
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