Another View — Michael F. Cannon: On health care, Walker and Rubio offer Obamacare lite

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL candidates Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Marco Rubio have put forward plans to repeal and replace Obamacare. Unfortunately, their “replace” proposals are best described as “Obamacare lite.”

The centerpiece of both “replace” plans is a refundable tax credit for health insurance. Yet such tax credits already exist, in Obamacare. Also like Obamacare, the Walker/Rubio tax credits would allow Washington to decide how much coverage you purchase, penalize you if you don’t buy that government-defined plan, and conceal massive redistribution of income under the rubric of tax cuts.

Why bother repealing Obamacare, only to recreate its worst features?

Conservatives who lean toward tax credits cry slander when critics label them Obamacare lite — just as conservatives who supported an individual mandate in the 1990s cried slander when critics argued it amounted to a government takeover of health care. But let’s look at the facts.

A health-insurance tax credit functions exactly like an individual mandate. Under both proposals, if you choose not to buy a government-designed health plan — even if you want to buy coverage, just less than the government requires — the IRS takes more of your money. Under Walker’s plan, the effective penalty can reach $7,800 for a family of four.

Under a tax credit, Washington would exercise as much control over your health plan as it does under Obamacare’s individual mandate. Just as Congress must define what level of coverage lets you avoid that explicit penalty, it would define what level of coverage lets you avoid a tax credit’s implicit penalty. Special interests would have the same incentive and ability to force you to buy coverage you don’t want, as with Obamacare.

Again like Obamacare, the Walker/Rubio tax credits are “refundable.” So if you have no income-tax liability, or if it’s just less than the amount of the credit, you get a check from the government. We don’t have numbers on Walker’s or Rubio’s plans, but Obamacare’s “tax credits” are roughly 80 percent government spending. With a Republican imprimatur on such spending, Obamacare supporters could probably increase spending more than they could under Obamacare itself.

How would Walker and Rubio pay for their new spending? Would they keep Obamacare’s tax increases? Raise taxes elsewhere? Would they finance new health care spending by cutting existing health care programs? If so, chalk up yet another way their plans would resemble Obamacare.

Conservatives can offer a better “replace” plan that is politically feasible by expanding a bedrock conservative initiative: health savings accounts, or HSAs, which have already enabled 14.5 million Americans to save more than $28.4 billion for their medical expenses tax-free.

Expanding HSAs would give workers a $9 trillion effective tax cut, without cutting spending or increasing the deficit, and would drastically reduce government control over Americans’ health decisions. Most important, “large” HSAs would spur innovations that make health care better, cheaper, and more secure — particularly for the most vulnerable.

Because Congress does not tax employer-paid health insurance premiums, the vast majority of Americans with private coverage get it through an employer. Yet employers finance such coverage with money they would otherwise pay workers — an average of $12,000 per worker with family coverage, for a total of $735 billion this year, and $9.1 trillion over 10 years.

Large HSAs would let workers take that money as a tax-free HSA contribution, and thereby let taxpayers own and control $9 trillion of their earnings that someone else currently controls. That’s an effective tax cut equal to all of the Reagan and Bush tax cuts combined, and nine times more than taxes would fall by repealing Obamacare. Workers could use those funds to remain in their employer plan, purchase better coverage elsewhere, buy medical care directly, or save for future medical needs. All tax-free.

Moreover, Large HSAs involve no income redistribution and create no dependence on government. They would bring health care within reach of those with low-incomes by turning hundreds of millions of other Americans into cost-conscious consumers who force prices downward.

As with tax credits, government would define which health plans consumers could purchase with tax-free Large HSA funds. But those rules would be far less restrictive because consumers wouldn’t have to buy coverage to get the tax benefits. Few special interests would demand mandated coverage of their services if they know consumers have the freedom not to buy it. Large HSAs would thus allow innovations that Obamacare and tax credits inhibit, including higher deductibles, health plans with a total-satisfaction guarantee, and pre-existing-conditions insurance.

For decades, prominent conservatives advocated an individual mandate. The left then picked up the idea and gave us Obamacare. Before they once again fall into the same trap, conservatives should drop any support for the implicit mandate of health-insurance tax credits. Expanding HSAs is more compassionate and provides a direct route toward freedom and better health care.

Michael F. Cannon is director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute.

– See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150828/OPINION02/150829238#sthash.Uuf0vxC1.dpuf

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Posted in 9th/14th District News, Budget/Finances, Economy, Fiscal responsibility, Medicine/Medicare, ObamaCare, Politics | Leave a comment

Jack Kingston Announces He will Take on GOP Fundraising Efforts

Friend,

Last week, I announced that I’m joining the GAGOP team in an official capacity as Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party Foundation. I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity to further the conservative cause across our state, helping ensure the Party is well-organized and well-funded for the hugely important 2016 elections.

It’s going to take commitment from conservatives statewide to secure victories for Johnny Isakson, the 2016 presidential nominee, and good Republicans across Georgia, and I’m so proud to be joining the cause in this role. We’ve got lots of work to do, but we’re already picking up momentum. Here are just some of headlines, in case you missed them:

GOP POWER PLAYER JACK KINGSTON TAKES ON PARTY FUNDRAISING EFFORTS
“Taking the reigns of the Foundation will mean that Kingston has the opportunity to continue furthering conservative causes as an ambassador of the Party, while also bringing with him a wealth of donor contacts and fundraising experience.”

zpolitics

“SMART MOVE” TO TAP KINGSTON FOR GAGOP FUNDRAISING
“…Georgia Republican Party makes a smart move by tapping former U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah to head the party’s foundation.”

InsiderAdvantage

KINGSTON TO HEAD GA GOP FUNDRAISING
“A news release from the state party noted Kingston’s ‘wealth of fund-raising experience, a Rolodex like few others and a well-known penchant for frugality.’

‘We are thrilled to have Jack Kingston on board,’ Georgia Republican Chairman John Padgett said.”

Atlanta Business Chronicle

I’m also happy to release my new website at www.JackKingston.org where you can find the latest GOP news, upcoming events, and more from all over Georgia. Also, be sure to keep up on Facebook and Twitter. And, of course, as always, let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Thanks a million; I look forward to fighting alongside you to elect conservative candidates across the state and Keep Georgia Red!

Let’s get to work.

Yours,

/JackKingston
@JackKingston
JackKingston.org

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Posted in Campaigns & Elections, Community Meetings/Fundraisers, Election Info, Politics, Republican Party, State & Local Issues | Leave a comment

Today Was Hard. Tomorrow Is Up To Us.

  • Soap Box

If you will please allow me a “moment of personal privilege”…

I guess I’ll start by first explaining that’s what we call the non-political posts internally.  And while this deals with today’s tragic events in Virginia that played out live first on local TV and then through an evil person’s Twitter and Facebook feeds, I beg of you who wish to read this to put down your political lens and pick up a lens of humanity.  Everything can be made to be a political event. Not everything need be.  There is nothing partisan/political about the point I will now likely inelegantly try to make.

I live in a world inhabited by political operatives and media types. Most of you know their profile or you wouldn’t likely be reading this. Many of you probably resemble the type. We are sometimes a cold and desensitized bunch. It takes a lot to break through to the inner person that is usually well guarded by scars and calluses developed by years of experience. We too often believe that you can’t go wrong underestimating the civility of man, and even more too often are proven right.

Anyone in a newsroom this morning, or those who know where to look, quickly found the Facebook feed and/or Twitter feed of a sick and evil man. It was bad enough that evil went viral this morning when respectable news outlets were pimping the on air execution of two reporters to get their share of clickbait. It was another level of evil on display entirely when the murderer unleashed his first person account of the deed. I’ve made a conscious decision to look for nor watch either. Many of my friends were not so lucky.  Auto play can add evil to evil.

That’s perhaps a too long setup to say this. Those people that are my friends – the tough, seen it all before, steady hand emotional types – had a real hard time with what they saw today. It struck a deep nerve on many who believed themselves professionally desensitized.

Grown men cried today.  There’s no shame in that. Today proved that this country – hell, the world – could use a good cry.

I’ve seen a few tweets saying that this is merely the media doing a bit of navel-gazing, and that because this ridiculously inexplainable action hit home that this is why it matters more. Respectfully, I don’t think that’s it at all.

Social media has largely been looked at as a bit of a double edged sword.  There are many benefits, there have been many problems or limitations that we’re still figuring out how to deal with. It’s been unquestionably proven that the power of one individual can reach millions with the right message.  Today, one evil man reached millions with a public execution. In as much gory horror as one might imagine.  For those that did see the footage, it’s well into the category of things you can’t unsee.

Beyond the initial trauma of this morning, those that frame both news and political agendas seem to be battling around a similar theme:  Where the hell are we, and where do we go from here?

It seems to be a right of passage to get to a point where you wish for simpler times. Social media isn’t a genie that will willingly go back into a bottle. That said, I reject the notion that social media is the problem.  Instead, it is a courier.

Our country is seeing rising anger among our citizens for many reasons.  Again, we could dissect them here in a political manner but I suggest we not do that.  Hopefully we can stipulate that the surprising popularity of Bernie Sanders on the left and Donald Trump on the right shows that an amazing number across our political spectrum are mad enough that they’re willing to take the system down.  Anger these days is a bi-partisan activity.

The problem soon becomes that it only takes a few to channel that anger in the way it was in Virginia this morning before we have problems that are much more than what we currently would describe as “political”.

I believe our country is truly at a pivotal point.  We have to address the anger before it addresses us.  And I’m not talking about by picking the candidate(s) that can best appeal to the angry set.  Frankly, I think that’s the worst thing we can do.

We need to ask ourselves some tough questions about what it will take to diffuse the anger.  We cannot exist as the shining city on the hill and see people that disagree with us on relatively trivial things as evil.  To be blunt, evil is someone that will shoot a reporter, her cameraman, and the interview subject at point blank range.  Evil is not someone who believes that a 27% marginal tax rate is pure, but a 29% marginal tax rate is an abomination, or vice-versa.

There is true evil among us, and even more in other countries who would love nothing more to see us continue escalating these fights among ourselves.  We have a problem, and it is growing. We cannot travel further down this road and allow ourselves to desensitize evil further, and continue to explain it away. Eventually we’ll pass a point of no return.

If our country is to survive as we know it, we’re going to have to find common ground in American soil. Every day we further allow division to grow brings us one day closer to whatever is next. And when that thought makes the usual chorus of stoics show fear and emotion, I begin to fear that day is closer than we would like.

Today tested both the emotionless and the eternal optimists.  We need to decide now what each of us is willing to do to make tomorrow a better day.

Peach Pundit/GA Politics

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Posted in 1st Admendment, 2nd Amendment/Gun Control, Class Warfare, Editorials/ Opinions, Home Grown Terrorism, Liberals vs. Conservatives, Politics | Leave a comment

Congressman Tom Graves Reminds Us Of Some Victories We’ve Had


I attended a townhall, sponsored by the Walker County Republican Party, in LaFayette on Monday evening.  It was a well-attended event organized by Walker GOP Chairman Matt Williamson.  The topics covered federal, state, and local concerns.  I had to leave early, but I was able to catch the update from our own Congressman Tom Graves (R-GA-14).

One of the topics that the Congressman discussed were the victories that conservatives have actually made since taking the House in 2010.  Here are a few that he discussed:

  • The UN Arms Trade Treaty cannot be funded or implemented.
  • Obamacare’s Risk Corridor program is prohibited from receiving a taxpayer bailout.
  • There is no funding for the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
  • Race To The Top, a main driver of Common Core, was eliminated.
  • ACORN and its subsidiaries are prohibited from receiving federal funds.
  • The Export-Import Bank expired on June 30, 2015 and has not been renewed.
  • The House and Senate both passed legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline (ultimately vetoed by President Barack Obama)
  • Actually passing a budget since President Obama took office in 2009.

With the exception of the Keystone pipeline, the list above is a sampling of the legislation signed into law by President Obama.  In addition to that, discretionary spending is lower today ($1.013 trillion) than what was proposed ($1.019 trillion) in the “Path To Prosperity” budget proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan and received overwhelming support from conservatives back in 2012.

We are on the right track and heading towards a good direction towards reducing federal spending.  I know there are some who want to use the fun words of “slash”, “gut”, “cripple”, “destroy”, “decimate”, etc. to describe how they would budget federal spending.  It’s not ideal, but in spite of the noise the “silent base of the Republican Party” is making about how awful everything our Party does, at least we can hang our hat on a few victories.  It doesn’t mean we should stop and say our mission is complete.  It’s not, but I believe it’s good to be encouraged by being reminded of what has been done.

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Posted in 9th/14th District News, Budget/Finances, Campaigns & Elections, Election Info, Fiscal responsibility, Politics, Republican Party, State & Local Issues, Voting/Registration | Leave a comment

On this date in history…..

Paris was liberated by the Allies on this day in 1944 (above). Springsteen’s “Born to Run” was released in 1975, in 1950 President Harry Truman took over the railroads to prevent a strike, and in 2009 Ted Kennedy died. On the the reads…

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GA School Superintendent Richard Woods Will Speak at GOP Meeting on September 17th

johnbarge.jpg
http://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/PressReleaseDetails.aspx?PressView=default&pid=362
MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358, mcardoza@gadoe.org

Superintendent Woods on Opportunity School District: “It’s our job to make sure schools aren’t failing in the first place”

In 2016, Georgia voters will have the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment creating an Opportunity School District (OSD), which would step in and place chronically underperforming public schools under state control.

In my view, the Georgia Department of Education’s role in this proposal is simple: it’s our job to make sure schools aren’t failing in the first place. I’ve charged my staff with making sure no school ends up on this list because they didn’t have the resources and support they needed from us. I’m not talking about twisting numbers or gaming the system – I’m talking about real support and real improvement, on behalf of the students who are our foremost responsibility.

Through efforts across all GaDOE divisions, there are a few ways we’re offering support to struggling schools:
Structured Support

The GaDOE has an excellent School and District Effectiveness division, which until now has served schools under two designations: Focus and Priority. Some of these schools fall under the OSD legislation, which defines “persistently failing” schools as those scoring below 60, for three consecutive years, on the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI). Some, however, do not.
We’ve had success with this model – for example, in December, 38 schools made the measurable improvements necessary to be removed from the Priority and Focus lists. So we’re expanding the work of the School and District Effectiveness division and offering targeted assistance for all OSD-eligible schools.
Training for School and District Leaders

In June, the GaDOE hosted a training opportunity specifically for OSD-eligible schools, giving school and district leaders a chance to identify specific areas for improvement and strategies to address them. According to the feedback we received, this proved valuable for the leaders in attendance – many of them requested sessions for other schools in their districts. We’ll continue to offer training opportunities that allow leaders to develop targeted solutions for their schools.

Mentor Schools

Schools and principals can learn a lot from each other. With that in mind, we’ve given principals the option to partner with the principal of a demographically similar school that has seen success in improved, sustained achievement. These partnerships will allow principals to work together and share ideas, and share what works – our mission is to educate all students, so no good idea should be kept silent. At the training addressed above, 40 principals selected the option to be part of the mentor schools partnership.
Improving Climate and Culture in Schools

We’re also working to improve school climate and culture, because the research is clear: students simply can’t learn in an environment that isn’t safe and welcoming. That work includes the expansion of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). PBIS holds that continual teaching, combined with acknowledgement or feedback of positive student behavior, will reduce unnecessary discipline and promote a climate of greater productivity, safety, and learning. It’s an evidence-based framework proven to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase a school’s sense of safety and support improved academic outcomes.
Whether or not a constitutional amendment passes establishing an Opportunity School District, our mission will not change. We will offer every possible resource and support to schools, all in service of what’s most important: the classroom and the students served there.
Richard Woods, a 22-year public school educator and former small business owner, is Georgia’s School Superintendent.

——————————————–
Matt Cardoza
Director of Communications

Georgia Department of Education

2062 Twin Towers East

205 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive SE

Atlanta, GA 30334

(404) 651-7358

mcardoza@doe.k12.ga.us

http://www.gadoe.org

“Educating Georgia’s Future”

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The Debate Over Birthright Citizenship

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A VA Committee Hearing Illustrates Challenges and Opportunities in Providing Healthcare to Veterans

  • 9th District Congressman Doug Collins was clearly frustrated. Collins and Senator Johnny Isakson were conducting an official hearing of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Friday afternoon at North Georgia College in Gainesville. One of the witnesses, Carlos Chacha–a veteran who lives in his district–had been unable to schedule an appointment under the Veterans Administration’s Choice program because of questions about his eligibility.

The Choice Program was developed following revelations in the spring of 2014 that veterans were unable to obtain care at traditional VA hospitals. Veterans are eligible to use the program to obtain care outside the traditional VA system if they live more than 40 miles away from a VA facility, or they have waited more then 30 days for treatment. Collins was frustrated because he couldn’t understand why it was necessary to reverify eligibility if Chacha had been referred to the Choice program by the VA in the first place.

The witness he was questioning, VP of VA Services of Healthnet Federal Services Donna Hoffmeier, was sympathetic. “You know, I absolutely agree with you, and I feel your frustration,” she replied. “So why don’t we just stop there?,” asked the congressman. “Because the contract requires us to wait for that eligibility file. We are not allowed by contract to act based on a VA medical center telling us that a patient is eligible.”

Chacha still hasn’t seen a doctor, despite trying since May to get an appointment.

All in all, the two hour long hearing was an effort to identify problems like this, along with other issues found during the first nine months of the program’s existence. Isakson, who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs committee, and Collins spent almost an hour questioning Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald who, after retiring from a career at Procter & Gamble, including a term as its CEO, was appointed to lead the organization in 2014.

During the hearing, a number of issues were identified, including seven separate options with seven different reimbursement rates to obtain care under the Choice Program. Many VA employees aren’t sure how the program works, and many, if not most, veterans are unaware that the program exists. McDonald and Isakson both acknowledged that customer service needed to be improved and emphasized.

In a sense, it sounded to an observer like the Veterans Choice program was as unwieldy as the standard VA hospital system it was trying to provide relief for. Yet, despite the issues brought up at the hearing and seen by Collins’s staff, who spend two thirds of their time working to resolve issues with the VA, the news isn’t all bad.

In the last year, the VA has increased the number of appointments seen by 7.5 million, double what was originally thought to be necessary to meet the need. The wait list for an appointment is down by 47%, and 97% of appointments are completed on time. 22% are same day appointments. And, Secretary McDonald indicated that the department will work to remove years of bureaucratic procedures in an effort to modernize and streamline the services it provides.

“Some of these difficulties are a compliment to the success of Choice,” Senator Isakson said. “It is less expensive for us to use the private sector to provide services than it is to build more hospitals and clinics.” Secretary McDonald agreed, saying, “As we improved the care, more veterans have decided to use the VA. 81% of veterans already have a choice. 81% Tricare, Medicare, VA, private insurance. And of those veterans getting care at the VA, they are only using the VA for 34% of their care. If that increases one percentage point, that’s $1.4 billion incremental cost. We think over time we’re going to see more people come in to the VA, and we’ve got to be ready for it.”

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Posted in 9th/14th District News, Congress, Federal Spending, Government Jobs/Waste, Government Scandal, Medicine/Medicare, Politics, State & Local Issues, U.S. Military, Veterans Affairs | Leave a comment

Former Sen. Saxby Chambliss to teach at UGA

Dave Williams Staff Writer Atlanta Business Chronicle
Former U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss

Former U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss

The University of Georgia is calling upon the political and public policy expertise of former U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss in a new program.

The Senator Saxby Chambliss Leadership Forum initiative will bring the retired two-term Republican senator to the Athens campus to teach undergraduate and law students and give selected undergraduates a chance to participate in UGA’s Washington Semester Program.

Chambliss will co-teach a law and political leadership course at UGA’s School of Law with Camila Knowles, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. He also will hold a lecture series for undergraduate students on critical areas of public policy facing the nation.
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The final component of the initiative, the Chambliss Fellows Program, will select five students each semester through a competitive application process to take part in the Washington Semester Program. Winners will serve internships in Washington, D.C., with various government agencies and private-sector organizations and will receive a stipend to help cover the costs.

“This partnership … gives me the opportunity to dialogue with the next generation of leaders on issues that I have been involved in for the last 20 years,” Chambliss said. “We Georgians are fortunate to have a world-class university as our flagship, and I an indeed privileged to have the opportunity to work with such an outstanding faculty and the very bright students at UGA.”

Chambliss left elective office last year after serving 12 years in the Senate and eight before that as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. During two decades in Congress, he focused mainly on agriculture, defense, budget and national security issues.

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Did You Know?

Much is being written, spoken and photographed of the Republican Presidential ​contenders, but little is known about the spouses that support them​. ​

We have a passionate group of men seeking the Republican nomination for President but equally interesting are the woman that are often in the background​ – supportive, talented, intelligent influential, & fascinating in their own right. This is an alphabetical biographical snapshot of the​ 14 women behind the Republican candidates.
Did you Know:
Columba Bush

Columba was born in León <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le%C3%B3n%2c_Guanajuato>, Guanajuato <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guanajuato>, Mexico <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico> to a migrant worker <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Migrant_worker> and waiter from Arperos, Guanajuato <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guanajuato>. Her father abandoned the family in 1956 when Columba was 3 years old. Her parents were divorced in 1963 when Columba was 10 years old. She remained in León with her mother while her father emigrated to the United States. She attended Instituto Antonia Mayllen, a private Catholic school in the historic center of León.

She met Jeb Bush <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeb_Bush> in 1970 in León when she was 16 years old and he was 17. He was teaching English as a second language <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_as_a_second_or_foreign_language> and assisting in the building of a school in a small village outside of León, Guanajuato <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le%C3%B3n%2c_Guanajuato>, Mexico <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico> as part of a class at Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass.

Columba moved to the United States. She and Jeb were married three years later before she had even learned English.

She loves jewelry and Mexican soaps She does not like the trappings of the political life; i . e . galas & fundraising.

Her cause is domestic violence prevention. This is because of her very personal experience with domestic violence. Her father battered her mother and made life “hell” for her mother. He often beat her mother once breaking her fingers with a belt buckle. She says, “my father caused the most painful memories of my life.”

Did you know:

Candy Carson

Candy was born Lacena “Candy” Rustin. She met her future husband while both were students at Yale where she took a triple major: Music-psychology and pre-med. Following graduation she became a concert violinist. As her husband Ben, she is a devout Seventh-day Adventist and mother of three sons: Murray, Benjamin, Jr., Rhoeyce

In 1994 Candy and Ben Carson established the Carson Scholars Fund. Carson noticed that schools honored athletes with trophies and pep rallies, but that academic achievement often went unnoticed. He also wanted to encourage students to explore the fields of science and technology. The goal of the nonprofit organization is to “to help our children stay competitive in science, math, and technology, as well as balance academic achievement with the high esteem our society gives to sports and entertainment.

Did you know:
Mary Pat Christie

Mary Pat Foster was born in Paoli, Pennsylvania as the ninth of 10 kids. She attended the University of Delaware, where she was year behind her husband. Chris Christie was the student body president in his senior year, and Mary Pat succeeded him becoming the school’s first female student body president in 14 years.

She continued her education at Seton Hall getting a Master’s in Business Administration while Chris was also pursuing his post graduate degree.

She went onto work at Cantor Fitzgerald the financial firm that was housed in the twin towers lost so many employees in the attack of 9/11. She recently left her job as managing director at the hedge fund Angelo, Gordon and Co where her annual salary was $475,000.

Mary Pat says “One of the reasons I work is to be an example for my children – not that’s it’s the only path to take – but it’s really been instructional for my children, not just my daughters, but my sons too.” I’ve always been motivated to be happy and successful in my career regardless of what my husband may be focused on.” Her brother has described her as a career woman and mother. She is very much her own woman. She is a real BALABUSTA-Yiddish for powerhouse homemaker.

Her cause: She launched the New Jersey Heroes organization in 2010 to “recognize, celebrate, and promote the Heroes of New Jersey who inspire fellow New Jersians to give back to their community.” She also founded the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief fund which has given over 37 million in grants and hurricane victims.
Did you know:
Heidi Cruz

Heidi Nelson Cruz was born in San Luis Obispo, Calif., to parents who were Seventh-day Adventist missionaries. She and her brother spent brief parts of their childhood in places like Nigeria and Kenya.She fell in love with politics on a family trip to Washington during the Reagan administration.

She graduated from Claremont McKenna College in California where she double majored in economics and international relations and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She received her M.B.A. from Harvard.

Mrs. Cruz met her husband in Austin, Tex., in 2000. He had his own elite academic credentials — Princeton and Harvard Law School — and both were young policy aides (she on the economic side, he on the domestic side) on George W. Bush’s presidential campaign. During the Bush administration, where she worked first in the United States trade representative’s office and later in the Treasury Department and on the National Security Council. She was known as more of an analytical thinker than a partisan zealot.

She recently left her job Managing Director at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in Houston be a mother to their 2 daughters Catherine and Caroline and help with her husband’s presidential campaign.

P.S. Heidi is a vegetarian

Did you know:
Janet Huckabee

Janet McCain Huckabee was born July 16, 1955 and raised in Hope, Arkansas. She was the star basketball player at Hope High School. She had her first date with Mike in 1973 and they were married in 1974. A year later she was diagnosed with spinal cancer facing the possibility that she would never walk again and be infertile. But after surgery and chemotherapy she recovered and later had three children: John, Mark and David.

Janet attended college at Ouachita Baptist University. Later in life, she would finish her degree at John Brown University, graduating with honors in organizational management. She was involved with the Texarkana, Arkansas <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texarkana%2c_Arkansas> Parent Teacher Association, even serving two terms as its president. She was also active in the Beech Street First Baptist Church and with the ACTS-TV station. She has worked for the Texarkana Public Schools as a substitute teacher, for the St. Michael Hospital, and as a pharmacist’s assistant.

During her husband’s time as governor of Arkansas, Janet was nicknamed the “FIRST TOMBOY.” She enjoys skiing, jet skiing, swimming, basketball, and piloting an airplane and completed 2 marathons. She has also gone bungee jumping and parachuted out of an airplane.She likes to hunt and once shot a grenade launcher at a National Guard training camp in Arkansas (“hitting the target two out of three times”).

In 2002, Mike ran for re-election as Arkansas’s governor. Janet also ran for a statewide office: secretary of state. Mike won his election, Janet lost hers.

Did you know:

Supriya Jolly Jindal

Supriya was born in India when her parents were visiting friends in India but was raised in Louisiana. She attended Tulane and studied Chemical Engineering and graduated Magna Cum Laude. She then went to work for Monsanto and continued her education by receiving a Masters in Business Administration. She then moved to Baton Rouge and began work for Albemarle Corporation. She has also finished the coursework for a PhD in marketing with only her dissertation remaining.

She and Bobby both converted from Hinduism to Catholicism. They have three children, a daughter, Selia,13, and two sons, Shaan,11, and Slade, 8. She was rumored to be on the “short list” for VP for John McCain

Her cause:

An advocate for education through technology. She founded the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana’s Children to harness the power of technology in Louisiana classrooms, to emphasize the importance of science and math, and to help develop the Louisiana workforce of tomorrow. She says in a message on the foundation’s website, “I hope you or your organization will consider joining me in this important effort by committing to one of our partnership levels. Louisiana has a large manufacturing base that relies on technology and skilled workers – and your partnership in this effort will serve as an investment in developing young talent across the state.”

Did you know:
Karen Kasich

Karen Waldbillig Kasich was born and raised in Upper Arlington in Ohio and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Ohio State University.

Her career spanned nearly two decades in healthcare, public relations and marketing. She last served as a vice president with GSW Worldwide, a health care advertising agency.

She met John when she was 25 years old and John was 12 years her senior. She had a fun idea while working for a PR firm during her first job at a public-relations firm. Karen decided to spice up the referees’ page in the Ohio State University football guide with photos of “official” people, such as the Columbus Zoo’s Jack Hanna, then-Gov. Richard F. Celeste – and first-term U.S. Rep. John Kasich. Kasich later called her to praise the project, having told his chief of staff during the photo shoot, “I’ve just seen the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.” but John had been previously married and was not ready for a new relationship. Thus began an 8 year courtship while John continued to serve in Congress. They married in 1977 when Karen was 33 years old and John was 45 years old . They then were joined by twin daughters Emma & Reese.

Her cause: Children’s wellness and Women’s Heart Health. She raises awareness about Ohio’s youth drug prevention program, Start Talking! <http://www.starttalking.ohio.gov/>, which encourages parents, teachers, and other adult authority figures to have open conversations with adolescents about choosing a substance-free life.

A family history of heart disease drives the First Lady’s commitment to raise awareness about the importance of heart health. An avid runner, Mrs. Kasich notes that heart disease is largely preventable through diet and exercise. She has supported efforts of the American Heart Association and is currently working with Ohio State University’s College of Nursing and the Million Hearts Campaign <https://millionhearts.osu.edu/> to promote health screenings that aid in the prevention of heart attacks and strokes.

Mrs. Kasich is a tireless advocate for teaching children at an early age about having healthy eating habits and regular exercise. She is proud of her partnership with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to create Time for 10! <http://www.nationwidechildrens.org/time-for-10-videos>, an exercise video that encourage physical activity in Ohio’s elementary-age students.

As a life-long lover of the arts, Mrs. Kasich was inspired to create Spotlight: Featured Artists at the Ohio Governor’s Residence <http://www.oac.state.oh.us/events/spotlight/default.asp>, which promotes the wealth of artistic talent in Ohio. The program, developed in partnership with the Ohio Arts Council and launched in September 2013, features the works of one selected Ohio artist each quarter in the foyer of the Ohio Governor’s Residence.

Did you know:
Libby Rowland Pataki

Libby Pataki was born Elizabeth Rowland November 17, 1950 in Dallas, Texas. Her father was a career military officer. She and her two brothers and three sisters spent their childhood on Army Bases throughout the US-Europe and the far east. Her father later became a diplomat to the US Embassy in Paris when Libby was 12 years old. She attended High School in Beaufort, South Carolina and graduated from Clark University in Worchester, Massachusetts with a major in political science and French. George met Libby when they were both body surfing during a hurricane in the Westhampton’s They were married in 1973 and have 4 children. She served as first Lady during the three terms of her husband’s administration. Governor Pataki did not seek re-election to a 4th term in 2006.

Libby has managing the 10 seasonal employees of the Pataki family farm & produce stand in Peekskill, New York and had served as a marketing consultant with various corporations such as Revlon. She has authored 4 children’s books. In her spare time, Libby plays softball and basketball, rides, runs, hikes and plays tennis, “About the only sport that doesn’t do it for me is golf,” she said. She also conducts a weekly nondenominational women’s prayer group.
Her causes: She co-founder of the pro- Israel <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel> institution One Jerusalem <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Jerusalem> which supports the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Jerusalem>, a territory recognized as being under Israeli occupation by the international community. She promotes the states agricultural industries, the prevention of breast cancer, tourism for New York and issues facing small business.

Did you know:

Kelly Ashby Paul

Kelly Ashby Paul was born in Kentucky to a military family. Much of her early life was spent moving. Her family even spent a few years in Turkey. Kelley attended Rhodes College <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhodes_College>, where she focused on the fields of English and Communication.

In 1988 she met Rand Paul in Atlanta while he was on a surgical rotation at Georgie Baptist hospital while working on his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine. Kelly moved back to North Carolina to be with Rand while he finished medical school.They married in 1990 and then moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky where Rand accepted a position for an ophthalmologist.

Kelley would go on to help her husband with producing newsletters and mailings for his practice, running the payroll, keeping the books, and managing a remodel of the building where he saw patients. Later Kelly began freelance writing. She also worked for a political consulting firm. In addition she worked for the political consulting firm The Strategy Group for Media, with one of her clients being then-U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Cruz> of Texas.

Her cause: She maintains a board position at Helping a Hero, a charity that builds houses for wounded war veterans.

Did you know:
Anita Thigpen Perry

Mary Anita Thigpen Perry was the longest-serving First Lady of Texas.

Anita Perry was born May 5, 1952 in Haskell Texas. She is the daughter of family physician Joseph Eltidge Thigpen. Her paternal grandfather was also a physician. She received her BS in Nursing from West Texas State and then obtained her MS in Nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. She worked in the nursing profession for more than seventeen years, including surgery, pediatrics, intensive care, administration, and teaching and as a consultant until 1990 when her husband was elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner.

Anita Perry met her husband Rick when they were both children at an elementary school piano recital. They married in 1982 and have 2 children: Griffin and Sydney.

Texas Tech University renamed its nursing school in Mrs. Perry’s honor in 2008 and two nursing endowments are also set up in her name: the Anita Thigpen Perry Nursing Excellence Scholarship at West Texas A&M University and the Anita Thigpen Perry Endowment at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Her cause: The Anita Thigpen Perry Endowment at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, involved with nutrition, cardiovascular disease, health education, and early childhood development.

She and her husband also hosted the first annual (and now annual) Texas Conference for Women which focuses on such issues as professional development, health care, and personal growth of women.

Did you know:
Jeanette Dousdebes Rubio

Jeanette Rubio born in 1975 to immigrants from Colombia. Jeanette and Marco went to the same high school but did not meet until a neighborhood party when Marco was 19 and Jeanette was 17. They married in 1998. Jeanette was a cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins in the mid-1990s while she was also a part-time bank teller and a student. Rubio, a high school football player who spent one year playing college football at Tarkio College in Missouri. Jeanette was featured in the cheerleading squad’s first swimsuit calendar before she left the team in 1996.

Friends describe her as calm and easy going. She is a stay at home mom and considers being an involved mom to her four children ( sons Dominic and Anthony and daughters Amanda And Daniella) as her most important job. Her faith is also very important to her. She leads a weekly bible study.

Her cause: Human trafficking. Jeanette is involved with KRISTI’S house an organization for kids who are abused and then get involved human trafficking.

Did you know:
Karen Garver Santorum

Karen Garver Santorum was born the daughter of Dr. Kenneth Garver, pediatrician in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. As a college student Karen pursued nursing and later became a neonatal intensive care nurse.

Dr. Tom Allen was an obstetrician and co-founded Pittsburgh’s first abortion clinic in the 1970’s. He was a very close friend of the Dr. Garver, Karen’s father. In fact he delivered Karen when she was born and would often refer patients to Karen’s father. Karen Garver was a 22 year old nursing student when she started what would be a 6 year affair with Dr. Allen who was 60 years old (40 years her senior with 6 children) much to the chagrin of her parents who were devout Catholics and pro-life advocates.

Karen was the same age as Dr. Allen’s youngest daughter Candy. Karen was living with Dr. Allen when she left nursing and started to pursue law school. She was a young law student and became an intern at the law firm of Kilkpatrick & Lockhartin which was the same law firm for which Rick Santorum was working. Karen fell in love with Rick and Karen wanted children so she moved away from Dr. Tom Allen and Rick and Karen married in 1990.

Together they have seven children all who have been home schooled. One son died shortly after birth and five years ago their daughter Bella was born with Trisomy 18, a rare but more lethal cousin of Down’s Syndrome. Fewer than 1 in 10 born with Trisomy 18 make it to their first birthday. Bella is now 7 years old but will never be able to speak intelligibly, walk on her own or dress or bathe herself.

Today Karen and Rick Santorum are practicing, devout Catholics opposing same sex marriage and artificial birth control.

Did You Know:
Melania Knauss Trump

Melania Knauss Trump was born April 26, 1970 in Slovenia the country which borders Italy on the west and Austria to the north and formerly a part of Yugoslavia. At the age of eighteen, she signed with a modeling agency in Milan. After obtaining a degree in design and architecture at University in Slovenia, Melania was jetting between photo shoots in Paris and Milan, finally settling in New York. Melanie has worked with the top photographers in the fashion industry. At 5’11” photographers have called her “true beauty with a captivating presence in front of a camera.” She has graced the covers of In Style, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and major layouts in Sports Illustrated, Allure, Vogue, Glamor, Vanity Fair, and Elle. She married Donald Trump in January 2005 and in 2006 they had their first child Baron William Trump.

In 2010, Melanie debut her jewelry collection with QVC and in 2013 she launched her Skin Care Collection.

Her cause: Chairwoman for The Boy’s Club of New York for five consecutive years, and in 2005 The American Red Cross awarded her with Goodwill Ambassador which she has proudly served for four years. In April of 2008, she was asked by Love Our Children USA and NASDAQ to participate in the Fifth Annual National Love Our Children Day and the beginning of National Child Abuse Prevention month by ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ. She was an active member of the police Athletic League which honored her as the woman of the year in 2006.

Did you know:

Tonette Tarantino Walker

Tonette Tarantino Walker was born on October 19, 1955 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She grew up in a working class family who were Democrat and Union and Catholic. Her political and church views were vastly different than that of her future husband Scott Walker. Scott Walker’s father was the pastor of the First Baptist Church, Plainville, Iowa and when Scott was 10 years old his father took a pastorate at First Baptist Church in Delavan, Wisconsin. Today the Walkers attend a nondenominational church in Wauwatosa .

Tonette married her first husband when she was 23, but he died of kidney disease by the time she was 30 years old.

Five years after her first husband’s death, she was at a karaoke night at a barbecue restaurant when she first met Scott Walker, 12 years her junior. She and Walker wed in 1993 when Scott was 26 years old and Tonette was 38 years old. They are parents to two sons, Matt and Alex. Tonette was raised Catholic but left the Catholic church when she married Scott whose father was a pastor. Tonette is prepared her for the onslaught of negative personal attacks and political threats that come with the tension of a national campaign.

She has been toughened by the experiences in her life and is an integral member of her husband’s political circle. First she lost the grandmother who helped raise her, like a second mother. Weeks later her brother, her only sibling, died of bone cancer. Then her husband died of kidney failure. More recently she cared for her mother who died of a brain tumor and her father who died of lung cancer. Additionally she has been through political and personal travails. Severe personal threats were made to her and her family when protests erupted over his move to strip public-sector unions of their bargaining rights in 2011. One threat made to Tonette was the protestors were going to “gut her like a deer.” Scott often refers to her as “My Rock.’–she gives me “the perspective of the smart, average voter . . . she is the ‘FIRST LISTENER.” Tonette is Scott’s “partner in power.”

Her cause: Teen Challenge which uses “Christ-centered, faith-based solutions to youth, adults, and families struggling with life-controlling problems, such as substance abuse.” Her work with teen addiction Is inspired by her mother’s struggles with drug and alcohol abuse.

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