F. Michael Higginbotham for Congress 2020 | Official Site

A realistic platform with a common-sense approach to the nation’s needs.

 

CRIME

Baltimore

Baltimore

Crime in Baltimore is not just a city or state issue. Americans are murdered at a rate of one per day in our city. This country spends billions of dollars protecting Americans overseas who face far less risk than the citizens of Baltimore face. I will ensure that significant resources are deployed to the 7th district for our protection. Our police and prosecutors need more funding and must start to implement the City of Baltimore’s Consent Decree established with the Department of Justice. We should prosecute gun violence and illegal gun sales federally. The United States Attorney’s Office and FBI have both the funding and resources to crack down on gun trafficking and violent crimes, but Congress must make the decision to prioritize those cases here in Baltimore. As a constitutional law professor who taught over 6,000 Maryland lawyers over the last 30 years, I understand this issue because my students are on the front lines as prosecutors and defense attorneys. If you take the time to listen to them as I do you learn the false narrative being spread throughout our city by the media and politicians. “That we must elect a Republican to be tough on crime”.  Our Governor wants to “take over” the city and “lock them all up” because the “liberals” are too focused on the rights of those arrested. Nothing could be further from the truth, as a strong Democrat I understand that the issue is caused lack of funding and the last people in the world that want to properly fund our state prosecutors and police are republicans! We have a plan in place that will work with the right leadership. Let’s do these five things now.

  1. Federal Prosecution for repeat gun offenders
  2. Fill the vacancies in the police department
  3. Increase the technological resources for law enforcement
  4. Hire additional prosecutors and investigators
  5. Review police conduct via body-worn cameras

GUN CONTROL

For years Democrats have fought hard for sensible gun regulation and continually come up short. Even in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, Democrats in Congress were unable to reach a compromise with the NRA-controlled Republican Party. As your Congressperson, I will continue to fight side-by-side with fellow Democrats to try and eliminate assault weapons, institute background checks and secure a waiting period for purchase. However, the sad reality in this country suggests that those battles are a long shot. For that reason, I plan to lead with a different approach. I will join forces with the only industry in this country that may be more powerful than the NRA, that which is the insurance industry. I believe we can achieve bipartisan support to require gun owners to carry insurance. If we require all vehicle owners to maintain insurance, we can surely require gun owners and the private sector may actually become more effective than the federal government in preventing dangerous people from owning a gun through this change. 

IMPEACHMENT

I have spent the last 30 years teaching and studying the Constitution. I have read and researched every word from the Nixon and Clinton impeachments. In Congress, I will go toe-to-toe with Mitch McConnell to ensure that the American people receive a fair trial. Without a knowledgeable battle on the rules, you can be assured Mitch McConnell will prevent witnesses from testifying and there will be no meaningful resemblance of justice. The President broke the law by negotiating our democracy for his own political gain. Not only must he stand trial for his actions, he must be compelled to produce documents including his tax returns. When Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, she was forced to produce thousands of documents and this same standard must apply to the President. 

EDUCATION

Ellicott City

Ellicott City

No one issue can have a greater impact on the inequity in this society than reforming our education system. We live in a district that has some of the top-ranked schools in the nation and, within five miles, has some of the lowest-ranked schools in the nation. In no other developed country could such a statement be made. This is simply unacceptable. I do not support redistricting because I believe the federal government should provide far more funding for education to the states than it currently does. The underperforming schools need better funding and more resources to handle the issues they face. I wholeheartedly support the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission (Link here). I recognize that the amount of federal investment in education we need has a steep price that must come from somewhere. I do not believe in raising taxes and would fight to see that funding comes from the defense and foreign aid budgets. Additionally, I support the full legalization of marijuana with a tax directed toward education.  

HIGHER EDUCATION

The federal government has backed student loans for years, insuring the lenders from risk, yet the banks continue to raise interest rates on student loans. This is simply outrageous and must stop. I support a 3% cap on student loan interest rates. I believe with the amount of taxes American pay, they deserve more return on their investment and along with healthcare, public college tuition can and should be provided to all Americans. In Congress, I will fight to prioritize the people and not corporate interests when it comes to allocation of funding.  

HEALTHCARE

I believe the candidates running for President on the Democratic side have all proposed sensible healthcare plans and would support any one of them that we can pass. I believe that we as a party spend too much time and capital debating one healthcare plan over the other when the real issue is messaging. The Republican Party, with the help of the insurance industry, has scared Americans into believing that any type of healthcare reform would result in socialized third-world medicine. As Democrats, we know this rhetoric is nonsense but must face the reality that in order to fix this problem, we have to develop simple messaging that Americans who are skeptical of the government will appreciate. For me that messaging centers around providing Americans with a choice. They can choose to opt into a Medicare/Medicaid program funded by tax dollars and fees, or they can elect to maintain the private insurance they have. 

MENTAL HEALTH CARE

We are experiencing a mental health crisis in this country. The affordability and accessibility of mental health care is far too daunting for most Americans. I believe that the opioid crisis should not be treated criminally but must be recognized as a mental health issue. We would never prosecute someone who has cancer, or the flu so why do we prosecute people with the disease of addiction? The second leading cause of death for black men under 30 in our district last year was suicide. The number of incarcerated people suffering from undiagnosed mental illnesses continues to skyrocket. For these reasons, we must make medication affordable and treatment available for those in need. 

DISTRICT FUNDING

As the representative of Maryland’s 7th Congressional District, I intend to battle every day to secure federal funding for this district. I will not stand for the continued abuse by elected officials such as Mitch McConnell who sneakily divert millions in disproportionate fashion to their home states. Marylanders pay their fair share in taxes and deserve to receive their fair share in return. I will prioritize funding for regional rail transportation, the maintenance of the Chesapeake Bay and public Wi-Fi. I will continue to support the federal funding provided to Johns Hopkins for the invaluable work they do, as well as support funding for other local businesses, schools, and hospitals. 

Gunpowder River

Gunpowder River

ENVIRONMENT

Climate change is the existential crisis facing our nation. I believe we have reached a point where a state of emergency should be declared. There simply is no reason why we should not have federal regulations requiring companies to produce their products and services in environmentally sustainable ways. I believe in environmental justice. I will not allow oil companies to run the EPA or food manufactures to run the FDA, and will ensure that we fund and prioritize the prosecution of people and companies that pollute our land, water, and air. The water coming out of the faucets in our district is not safe to drink. How can we call ourselves the greatest country in the world when we do not even have drinkable water? I have supported the Green New Deal since day one not only because of the environmental protection it provides for but also because of the economic opportunities it will create. Green jobs cannot be outsourced to China, they cannot be done by robots and most providers are local small businesses in our district. 

LGBTQ+

I will oppose each and every piece of legislation that discriminates against the LGBTQ+ community. I am proud that our city is standing up to the outrageous legislation proposed by the Trump administration.

MINIMUM WAGE

The time has long passed for a $15 minimum wage. I support assistance in the form of tax relief for small businesses to help them transition. 

IRAN and MIDDLE EAST

I did not support the President’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. I do, however, agree with some of the critique that has been offered of the deal and would have preferred our government to improve the deal rather than backing out of it. While it is quite obvious that President Trump has never in his life cared about credibility or trust, I believe we must honor the deals we make in order to create progress with foreign nations. 

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian debate, I support a two-state solution and I would not endorse any platform that does not recognize Israel as a nation. However, I also believe that Israel should be held to the same standard as Palestine and the U.S. should reduce its involvement in the dispute. I do not think the United States should be the mediator of the dispute. In fact, to be completely honest, I think the only way a resolution between the two nations can ever occur is if you put the leaders from both sides in a room together and they are told they cannot leave until a deal is reached. 

Overall my major concern with the United States’ foreign policy in the Middle East centers around the amount of resources spent on a problem we probably cannot solve, meanwhile my city and home face a war right here on its streets each day.