“I’m running for Congress because the future of our country is at stake and we need new leadership to get it moving in the right direction. This isn’t about political party – it’s about doing the right thing for the many – not just the privileged few. No more special interests driving the agenda. Time to do the right thing for the people of the 6th District. I’m a problem solver who will work to find solutions, not create more division, while we work to move our country forward again. Together, we will push for an agenda that creates a healthier, safer, more prosperous future – for all. It’s time for action. It’s time for leaders that practice what they preach.”
– Ryan Watts
Ryan Watts was born and raised in North Carolina. He was educated in the North Carolina public school system from kindergarten through college. Since graduating, he has lived in North Carolina except for a two year stint in Washington D.C. He knows that when you read his positions, you will see that his desire to go to Washington D.C. is based on wanting to truly represent the best interests of North Carolinians – specifically the sixth district which includes Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Guilford (part), Lee, Person, Randolph & Rockingham Counties. Learn more >
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ON THE ISSUES
Building the Economy of Tomorrow
Millions of American jobs are being shipped overseas and changes in technology and automation are making it more difficult for hardworking Americans to find and secure employment. In the 6th District alone, the self-driving cars revolution will mean that 50 to 75 thousand workers need to find new jobs in the next few years. To prepare for the economy of tomorrow, Ryan believes we need a bipartisan jobs agenda — one that protects working families by incentivizing companies to invest their dollars here. That means we need to make it tougher for companies to ship jobs overseas and easier for the government to tax the profits of companies that do. And we need to fully invest in job retraining programs that help experienced employees transition into new roles. To remain competitive in the global economy, Ryan believes we need to make smart, strategic investments in healthcare infrastructure, green energy, biotechnology and other emerging sectors. The Sixth District is uniquely positioned between two fast growing areas. With the surrounding growth comes vast opportunity to develop the economy and increase the number of good-paying jobs in our area. In Congress, Ryan will leverage his business background to negotiate with companies currently operating in North Carolina and elsewhere to bring jobs to the Sixth District, in order to create new jobs and increase wages for working families. Ryan will also collaborate with local officials, state legislators and other members of Congress representing North Carolina to create a Sixth District Strategic Economic Plan.
Investing in a Green Economy
Green jobs are expected to be among the largest growth area in our economy in the next 15 to 20 years. To help transition to the green economy of tomorrow, Ryan believes we must continue to incentivize clean energy companies to grow their operations and enable our economy to modernize.
North Carolina has demonstrated leadership in green energy, particularly in solar, where we rank #2 in the country in installed solar panels, and #8 in solar jobs. The recently imposed solar cell tariff will eliminate thousands of jobs and increase our dependence on fossil fuels.
As a management consultant, Ryan has worked with several energy companies on sustainability initiatives. He believes in all-of-the-above approach to renewable energy that includes wind, solar and biofuels. Creating the green economy of tomorrow also means renewing our commitment to environmental protections. That means protecting the Clean Air & Water acts and working with scientists and conservationists to push policies that protect our resources for the long-term. It also means coming up with reasonable climate change policies that protect our environment and our economy.
Protecting Women in the Workforce
Ryan has been fortunate to have many women in his life who helped him learn the value of hard work. That’s why he believes equal work should mean equal pay and why he strongly supports legislation to make it illegal to pay women doing the same work less than their male counterparts. In Congress, he’ll take an active role and work directly with business leaders to help reduce this pay gap. But he also knows that supporting working women means creating policy that helps support their careers. In Congress, Ryan will work to pass legislation that requires employers to offer extended paternity leave programs to their employees, so that working mothers get the support they need from their spouses. Ryan believes we need to do more to increase wages for working families. He fully supports efforts to raise the minimum wage on annual basis and believes that increase should be tied to Cost-of-Living Adjustments. That minimum wage, however, can’t be a one size fits all policy – because living in the 6th District doesn’t cost the same as it does to live in New York City. In the long-term, Ryan is committed to creating an economy where every hard working American has the opportunity to make a living wage.
Modernizing Public Education
To keep up with our competitors, we need to rethink the way we teach our kids. That means strengthening our commitment to a public education system that gives every student an equal opportunity to succeed. That starts with looking at disparities in school funding that create inequality along racial and socioeconomic lines. Every student deserves a shot. Ryan believes we must also treat our educators like the professionals that they are by incentivizing states to increase teacher pay so we can retain great teachers and encourage college graduates to enter the field. We must also work to improve the experience of educators by ensuring they have opportunities for professional development and advanced training. Our students need early exposure to computer and STEM education from K-12. We must recognize that our students have different skills and interests and offer unique tracks for students with potential in specialized skills like design, analytics, supply chain, and computer programming. Ryan believes we must do away with the ‘one size fits all’ policy that has caused countless students to lose interest in education and instead give students the ability to customize their education. Every student in America needs access to high speed internet and an internet ready device. Recent studies have shown that the greatest contributor to the achievement gap is a lack of internet and devices in student hands. We can fix that. We can also make sure that we take an evidence based approach to how we teach our children. In Congress, Ryan will work across the aisle on bipartisan legislation to help students struggling with crippling student loan debt. He will also push for legislation that can send students to community college for little or no cost.
Fixing Our Crumbling Infrastructure
Professional politicians talk a lot about infrastructure and rarely get anything done. In Congress, Ryan will work to pass legislation to immediately fix our most vulnerable roads, bridges, rail lines and mass transit systems. After we’ve addressed our most pressing problems, Ryan will work to create a cross-functional council, made up of the Department of Transportation employees, business leaders in every state, and members of Congress and task them with proposing a 5-year plan to address a prioritized list of infrastructure needs that sets America up for success over the coming decades. Ryan also believes we should invest in our technology infrastructure, ensuring all Americans have access to high quality, high speed internet.
Expanding Healthcare Access
Ryan believes we need to promote healthcare policies that decrease premiums, increase quality care and expand access to millions of uninsured Americans. The Affordable Care Act is a good start because it has protected those with pre-existing conditions and expanded coverage to millions of Americans. Now we’ve got to work to improve it. Ryan believes we should also explore offering Medicare as a public option to create increased competition with for-profit insurance companies and challenge them to offer better plans at lower costs.
Reforming Our Criminal Justice System
Congress is in a unique position to profoundly change the direction of criminal justice policy in America in its next sessions. Ryan intends to collaborate with professionals in the field so that our system can better resemble the nation’s ideals of being a place of freedom, tolerance, and opportunity.
For too long, policy has shifted away from those cherished ideals. Congress has waged a war against poor people and not against poverty. We have created a modern equivalent to debtors’ prisons by allowing courts to hold people in custody if they cannot afford to pay unreasonably high administrative fees. Justice should not come with a price tag. We must also reduce our shamefully high incarceration rates. For too long, Congress has unleashed the dogs of war against drugs and not against addiction, requiring us to allocate resources to divert people suffering from illness away from custody and towards treatment is vital to curb the lethal and harrowing impact of the Opioid Crisis. Our current Congress has ignored the calls of the weakest among us – the poor, lonely, and ill – and has instead placed obstacles in the way of an individual’s second chance to make a better life.
We must do what we can to limit the effect of collateral consequences to a criminal conviction is essential so that an individual can reintegrate into society effectively, after serving time.
Ryan hopes to hone discourse in a manner that fulfills the unachieved ideals we strive for in this country: inalienable rights – that we should all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Protecting Social Security
It is time for a generation of politicians that are ready to address tough issues head on, and that starts with Social Security. 82 years in, Social Security remains one of the most important public programs ever in the United States, yet recent studies estimate that it has only has about 12-15 years of solvency. To preserve this program for future generations, we must pro-actively address the issue. Ryan believes in working in a bipartisan way to make Social Security solvent in the long run, without privatizing the program. That starts by raising the cap on FICA contributions so that people making more than $118,000 pay their fair share. As JFK once said, “from those to whom much is given, much is required.”
Honoring Our Pledge To Veterans
Too many politicians in Washington don’t walk the walk when it comes to supporting our veterans. Ryan wants to ensure that every veteran receives the same benefits and treatment that his grandparents received after they came home. That’s why he believes we should allow our vets to get physical or mental care at any medical facility in the country and reimburse their care, especially for veterans who have difficulty getting to VA facilities.
Defending Women’s Rights
Ryan believes the government’s role in our personal lives should be minimized – and that means that government should not have a say in what women do with their bodies. Government should not be involved in your womb, or your bedroom and he will keep government from enacting policies that would interfere with your right to make your own decisions.
Promoting Human Rights and Equal Rights
Ryan believes that Congress has a moral obligation to protect those that are persecuted and ensure all Americans have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There are systemic barriers to social mobility and we have an obligation to create an equal playing field, for all. In Congress, Ryan will support legislation that promotes human rights around the world and equality at home.
Reasonable Immigration Policy
Ryan believes that if you are a law abiding individual who pays taxes and works hard, you should have no fear of deportation. Rather than spending millions of dollars with ineffective deportation programs, we should allow immigrants to remain here and pay taxes, which allows them to use our infrastructure, schools, and hospitals while making sure everyone pays their fair share. Lastly, Ryan believes that DACA recipients are Americans and should have a reasonable and expedient path to citizenship. He insists that we must return to being a country that cares for one another. In other words, love thy neighbor.
Fixing What’s Broken With Washington
When our founders wrote the Constitution, they never envisioned that Congress would be full of professional politicians. Ryan believes change is healthy and that elected officials should not be allowed to sit in office for decades. Congressional Term Limits would help control the role money plays in our political system. In order to truly make progress, we must pursue federal legislation that requires non-partisan drawing of Congressional districts to end gerrymandering.
Making Americans Safer Through Gun Reform
Democrats are often unfairly branded as wanting to take away weapons from lawful gun owners, and that’s rarely, if ever the case. But we have a public health crisis on our hands.
When the rate of automobile accident fatalities rose, we stepped up to the plate and implemented regulations, requiring seat-belts by law. Not all regulations are bad. Many of them have made Americans healthier, gave them cleaner water, safer food – and saved lives.
An overwhelming majority of Americans support mandatory background checks, closing of the gun show loophole, and empowering law enforcement to remove weapons (at least temporarily) for individuals and families going through a crisis.
We must do what we can to make this country safer – to keep guns out of the wrong hands. Will it prevent every shooting? Probably not. But if it saves just one life, it will be worth it.
Finally, Ryan will never accept money from the NRA – and calls on all members of Congress to reject this funding.
CONTACT THE CAMPAIGN
Watts for Congress PO Box 1339 Graham, NC 27253