Detroit has the potential to become a Midwestern hub and a gateway to the United States and, with the building of the new bridge to Canada, all of North America. But first, we must attract people to the area by restructuring neighborhoods, creating jobs and educational opportunities, and by working with public safety officials to make Detroit safe for families.
The Detroit area has experienced severe population losses to the south and west. In order to survive, we need to repopulate Detroit. Being an immigrant, I appreciate the sacrifices my parents made for me. I believe the first generation of immigrants in America is the sacrificial generation. I commend them for the sacrifices they made so that we may enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today. Therefore, I would like to make Detroit a gateway into the United States and the entire North American marketplace. I would make Detroit a prototype model for amnesty on a case-by-case basis for illegal immigrants. I think we have two choices as a nation -- either round-up and deport illegal immigrants or give them a pathway to citizenship. For immigrants that are otherwise law-abiding citizens, I believe we should choose to offer citizenship.
I would like to make Detroit a cultural oasis by developing several heritage-based communities. Along the lines of Greektown and Mexicantown, I envision other ethnic areas such as Little Ireland or Little Albania, for example, that would be settled by new immigrants as well as those that have been U.S. citizens for a generation or more.
In order to truly represent the people of Detroit and its suburbs and satisfy their interests, Detroit needs a progressive attitude, which I would bring to Congress. Detroit needs to be rebuilt in order to bring people back to work and to live.
Detroit has enriched the world with our art. From Motown to techno to film, the area has the potential to offer employment to people from all over the country and the world. I would support any initiative that would attract more artists, musicians, or restaurateurs to the area as well as the builders, wait staff, and behind-the-scenes personnel that would be needed for their success.
I would like to foster entrepreneurialism. I am an entrepreneur myself and I would support the government backing low-interest loans and grants to start-up companies. As a matter of fact, I am working with a company that has a patented a waste-to-energy process that produces .02 emissions instead of burning the trash. This company holds a patent on pyrolysis -- a thermo chemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures, without the participation of oxygen. In order to survive, Detroit needs the new ideas that I, and other residents, can offer.
In order to effectively train people to work at these new and rebuilt businesses in Detroit, we need to focus on employment. However, employment is tied to education so we need to educate our workers to fill the job openings that are and will become available. Looking at student reading levels alone, we can see that we need to focus on education if we are going to thrive. We can do this by getting the employer and the unemployment department into a partnership with local community colleges and/or Voc-Tech programs to develop job-specific training programs to help train the unemployed workers to do a job. This would pay off greatly.
Regarding public education, I think it should be Kindergarten through a degree or skilled trade, and it should all be provided by the public education system. I also strongly believe that every state should fund every student in the public education system the same dollar amount. For example, the state of Michigan currently funds kids in my district at the lowest level, which is around $7,000 per student, while in other areas it funds up to $14,000 per student. I think this is a violation of the 14th amendment's Equal Protection under the Law clause. I would leverage everything I could to right this wrong.
In order for Detroit to rebuild, people also need to feel safe and sadly, they don't. I am well aware of the dire situation and will make sure that public safety is not cut to dangerously low levels. I would also implement better customer service training for police officers. I know that sometimes the stresses of the job cause some officers to lose sight of who they work for and this needs to be changed.
I also support funding community-based non-profit organizations in order to help citizens get what they need from our community.
As we improve the job outlook in Detroit, we will add focus on transportation in order to ensure that every citizen has a way to get to and from work and other obligations, regardless of whether or not they choose to drive a private vehicle.
Rebuilding Detroit is not only a security issue for residents but a national security issue. We need to make big changes in order to improve both the city and the lives of its citizens. It is my hope that you will entrust me to work for you on these issues.