On The Issues

Women’s Issues

Addressing Women’s Issues Helps Every American.

We must comprehensively and effectively address issues of importance to women because these are issues important to each of us.  Almost a quarter millennium after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we find to our dismay that women are still not treated equally in healthcare, in the workplace, and in the home.  Progressive Democrats consistently promote the causes of equality and fairness for all Americans while the Republicans fight us at every turn.

The GOP claims to want to keep the government out of healthcare and yet uses every opportunity to deny women birth control and to defund women’s health programs. The highest maternal death rate in the developed world is in Texas, where clinics are being closed as the result of GOP efforts. The GOP refuses to take action to effectively deny domestic abusers access to firearms.  They work against family values by defunding education and destroying our healthcare system.  They fight against a higher minimum wage that would lift the lives of women.  At every income level women are consistently paid less for the same work.

I will be a strong advocate for programs and policies that support women, their health, and their livelihoods, specifically:

1.    Equal pay for equal work

2.    Reproductive freedom

3.    Equal and comprehensive preventative healthcare and pregnancy services as envisioned in the Affordable Care Act, to include
a.    Contraception
b.    Prenatal care with additional government support to ensure clinics in rural areas
c.    Breast and cervical cancer screening
d.    Osteoporosis screening
e.    Preventive care visits

4.    Proactive steps to eliminate violence and harassment in the workplace and at home, to include a national abuser gun ban
5.  Protection of Planned Parenthood, one of the nation’s leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, and in some areas the only health clinic,  from right-wing vilification, harassment and defunding.
As a progressive Democrat, I believe that by confronting violence against women, fighting for workplace equality, pushing for pro-family policies like paid family leave, and defending a woman’s right to control her own body, we ensure women thrive in our country. We know that when women succeed, America succeeds.


Access to Affordable Healthcare is a Right. Our dysfunctional system is holding American workers and American companies back. Single-Payer is the least expensive and most effective solution.

Our healthcare is too expensive and instead of fixing it, our politicians are protecting health insurers and pharmaceutical companies at the expense of providers and patients.   Over the decades, the cost of our healthcare has soared.   We pay twice as much as citizens of other advanced industrial democracies but we do not live any longer and are not any healthier. Often we wait longer to see a specialist and we pay the highest price in the world for our prescriptions.

Our expensive healthcare system and difficulty in getting insurance ruin families and small businesses financially, create terrible anxiety, and foster unhealthy situations, such as not taking expensive medication to save money.  This is bad for us as individuals and it’s bad for our economy.  It’s not fair and it must be fixed.

I believe single payer healthcare insurance—Medicare for all—is the best and most efficient solution but I will work on alternative solutions with anyone sincerely seeking to improve access to quality healthcare and lower costs for all Americans.

Over time we can sharply reduce our healthcare costs by 50% to levels common in other industrial democracies.  If France and Canada can do it, so can we.  True reform will result in a more vibrant economy, more competitive American companies, better jobs with better wages, and a happier, less anxious, and healthier population.

Let’s Fix It.

While we have been arguing for decades about who takes the risk of accidents and illness and who pays the bills, the cost of our healthcare per citizen has soared to twice what it costs in other advanced industrial democracies. While we incur higher costs, our outcomes are not as good and we do not cover every citizen.  We pay twice as much as citizens in other countries but we do not live any longer and are not any healthier. Often we wait longer to see a specialist and we pay twice as much for our prescriptions.  This is not right, this is not fair and this must be changed.

Republicans who tell you that before ObamaCare we had the best healthcare system in the world are delusional. Our healthcare is too expensive and instead of fixing it, our politicians are protecting health insurers and pharmaceutical companies at the expense of providers and patients.

I believe that over time we can reduce our healthcare costs by 50%, to levels common in other industrial countries.  If France and Canada can do it, so can we.  Our expensive healthcare system and the difficulty in getting insurance ruin families and small businesses financially, create incredible anxiety, and foster unhealthy situations, such as not taking expensive medication to save money.

Only in the US is the employer primarily responsible for an employee’s healthcare. Elsewhere the government fulfills this role.  This means that an American worker has to be far more productive than a German, Japanese, or other nationality just to cover his or her family’s healthcare cost.  For example, a typical US-made car includes about $3,000 for healthcare expense in its sticker price.  Our expensive healthcare system serves as a major disincentive to hiring Americans and needs to be reformed in order to make America truly competitive.
Reforming healthcare will give our workers the opportunity to have secure, good-paying jobs and result in significant economic growth.

Today, if a company has two factories, one in America and one overseas, and the company wants to consolidate into one unit, most likely it will choose to close the American factory.  This is because only here in the US must the employer pay for healthcare, which costs twice as much as it should.  The American worker is also cheaper to fire, because here, unlike in other countries, companies have no obligation to pay a fair severance.

This is not fair, and it must be addressed to retain good-paying jobs, and to bring back more jobs to the US.

Although the GOP will dust off their tired and empty old slogans and call this ‘socialized medicine’-it is not.  It’s another, more efficient way to pay private providers:

I propose the following:

·      Single payer healthcare insurance—Medicare for all– for every American for basic healthcare needs. This would immediately lower healthcare costs by 20%. Those who want special “concierge” healthcare can still supplement their Medicare with enhanced private insurance at their own expense, as is done in other countries with single payer, giving Americans the best of both worlds

·      Regulations to prevent pharmaceutical companies from charging any more in the US than they do on average in every other advanced industrial democracy.  This will reduce prescription costs by 50% and reduce total healthcare costs by 10%

·      Graduated medical school debt forgiveness for doctors who accept Medicare patients.  Doctors want to heal, not run businesses.  Unfortunately they have huge administrative burdens to comply with health insurance demands and high student debt to pay. Let’s enable them to do what they set out to do when they were young:  help their patients stay healthy and heal them when they are sick or injured.

Over time we can sharply reduce our healthcare costs to the OECD average while producing better outcomes.  This will result in a more vibrant economy, more competitive American companies, better wages, and a happier, less anxious, and healthier population.


Richmond Times Dispatch Commentary Mirrors John’s Position on Basic, Single-payer, Universal Healthcare:

I read with great interest the “common-sense plan for better health-care delivery” by doctors McGuire, Scott, Thomas and Davis and Hullinen W. Moore in the Sunday Times Dispatch on November 26th.  Basic single-payer universal healthcare with supplemental, nice-to-have coverage from private insurers that they promote mirrors my campaign position as a candidate for Virginia’s first congressional district.  This plan would sharply lower our total healthcare costs, and improve our general health and healthcare outcomes.

The authors correctly describe the American healthcare system as enormous, complex, redundant, inefficient and twice as expensive as that of other industrialized democracies.  But they did not detail the incredible damage our healthcare system does to our global economic competitiveness and ability to create well-paying American jobs.  We won’t fix our economic competitiveness until we fix our healthcare system.

Only in the US is the employer primarily responsible for an employee’s healthcare. Elsewhere the government fulfills this role.  An American worker has to be far more productive than a German, Japanese, or other nationality to cover his family’s healthcare costs.   Today, if a company has two factories, one in America and one overseas, and wants to close one, most likely it will choose to close the American factory.  This is because here the employer must pay for healthcare, which costs twice as much as it should. Likewise new factories are built overseas because there the company does not have to shoulder the healthcare burden.

Over time we can reduce our healthcare costs by 50%, to levels common in other industrial countries.  If France and Canada can do it, so can we.  Our expensive healthcare system hurts American economic competitiveness. The difficulty and expense in getting insurance financially ruins families and small businesses, creates incredible anxiety, and fosters unhealthy situations–like not taking needed meds that cost too much.

Guaranteed basic healthcare with single payer will create secure, well-paying jobs and free Americans to start their own businesses or care for an aging parent. Such a healthcare system would also make our economy and our workers competitive again.


Gun Violence

Let’s reduce gun violence; we are all at risk:  Guns don’t die.  People do.

We lose more than 33 thousand citizens each year to gun violence—many, many times those we lose to terrorism—and yet our politicians look the other way.  It’s high time to take sensible action to address gun violence. We can uphold the Second Amendment, respecting the rights of responsible gun owners while keeping our communities safe. This is actually what an overwhelming majority of Americans want congress to do, so why don’t they?  I support:

  • Improved universal background checks, to include those on the No-Fly list, those with domestic violence convictions, and those with demonstrated emotional issues
  • Ban on assault weapons
  • Ban on bump stocks
  • The ability to enforce temporary Gun Violence Restraining or Protective Orders
  • Closing the gun-show and private transaction loop holes

The gun lobby has incited its base with unfounded fears that the state will take their weapons away. They vote in lockstep on only one issue:  unfettered access to guns and ammunition for everyone, including the mentally ill and would be terrorists. They and the NRA have frightened politicians into inaction.  Our congressmen keep the victims of gun violence in their thoughts and prayers while refusing to actually do something about it.

I will not ignore this problem and I will stand up to the NRA.

Congressman Wittman Buries Head in Sand, Votes Against Bill for Bipartisan Cooperation on Gun Violence Reduction

Once again Wittman has refused to stand up to the Gun Lobby and do the right thing to address America’s serious gun violence crisis.  How can you fix a problem you refuse to even discuss? We need a congressional representative who is not afraid to stand up to the NRA.


Climate Change

The fossil fuel industry uses the same merchants of doubt and techniques to get voters to ignore the perils of climate change that the tobacco companies did a generation ago to keep smokers smoking and denying it causes lung cancer.   I will not argue the science here; it’s already decided:

Man-made climate change is real. My argument is that there is no downside-even for deniers-to accepting climate change as a fact and taking steps to prepare for it.


Accepting climate change and taking action to mitigate it essentially means reducing carbon emissions and preparing the infrastructure for more intense storms and a more severe climate. This creates good, high tech jobs here at home, produces products we can export, and lowers the operating costs for our homes, our industries, our schools, and our government. We will live in a cleaner, safer environment.  We will be more energy independent and less reliant on Middle East oil.

While pipelines in general are the safest way to transport fuel, I do not support the Mountain-Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines because:

a.  The fuel being transported is produced in a way very unfriendly to the environment and
b.  The regulatory process appears to have been short-circuited.  I joined Senator Kaine in asking for a rehearing, which has been granted.

I am also against hydraulic-fracturing in Virginia and any drilling in the Chesapeake or offshore.

Richmond County Board of Supervisors Vote To Ban Fracking

Richmond County has become the first locality in the Taylorsville basin to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process of injecting water and chemicals deep into the ground to loosen trapped gas and oil.

Board of Supervisors Chairman F. Lee Sanders said that, after studying the issue for several years, the board voted unanimously Thursday to not allow any type of oil and gas drilling in the county.

“The major concern was our water supply,” Sanders said about the county 60 miles southeast of Fredericksburg and bordered by the Rappahannock River. “The river is so important to us, and we’re just trying to set an example for other people.”



Time to invest in infrastructure, not give the well-off a $1.5 trillion tax break.

America has a second-class infrastructure.  Go to Japan, Europe, or even China and you will find better roads, faster trains, more efficient airports, and modern electrical grids.  This is because Republican tax policy over the last 40 years has resulted in capital-starved public investment with the idea that lower taxes would result in billionaires and the private sector doing these things.  Well they didn’t; they just kept the money.   Republican economic policies ensure a slowly dying economy and Congressman Wittman rubber-stamps every bad economic idea that comes down the pike.

Rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure will put millions of Americans back to work and result in significant economic growth. It is time to update and expand our roads, bridges, public transit, airports, and passenger rail lines. We can sharply reduce our need for energy, modernize our schools and public buildings, and create an efficient electrical grid.  We can improve our health and protect our environment all the while creating secure, good-paying middle-class jobs, boosting economic growth, and strengthening our long-term competitiveness.  This will also reduce our dependence on Middle East oil and increase our national security.


Money in Politics

Campaign finance reform:  Congress should be responsive to citizens, not beholden to special interests!

I will work diligently with both Democratic and Republican colleagues in Congress who will work in good faith want to reduce the overwhelming influence of money in politics.  Political campaigns are expensive. Each week incumbents spend many hours raising money.  They become beholden to their largest donors, such as the gun lobby, pharmaceutical companies, political action committees funded by billionaires, and the fossil fuel industry.  Incumbents are reluctant to take action on the real issues facing our country, like gun violence and climate change, because they are terrified of upsetting their donors.

By acting in good faith and by reaching out to like-minded Republicans as well as Democrats, I will do what I can to reform campaign finance and make all politicians more responsive to our citizens than they are to special interests.

Living Wage

An indexed $15 minimum wage will improve our economy!

I and other progressive Democrats want to raise the minimum wage over time to $15 per hour. Someone working 40 hours per week should be able to earn a living.  A higher minimum wage drives investment, creates demand, and results in all workers at all wage levels being better off.

There is no evidence that a higher minimum wage results in job losses but there is a lot of evidence that a gradual increase in the minimum wage drives investment in labor-saving capital and training workers to be more productive while giving business time to adjust.  This increases our GDP and competitiveness.

Until those who believe that a higher minimum wage suppresses job growth put away their ideological myths, and observe the way the world really works, they will be holding back upward mobility, productivity and economic growth.  I will stand up against this self-defeating misconception and I will stand strongly for a higher minimum wage.

Rural Broadband

Positions on Community Connectivity and Net Neutrality
By John Suddarth
Democratic Candidate for Congress
April 22, 2018

Wittman has suddenly called for rural broadband but has done nothing in Congress over the last 11 years to actually make it happen.  He must sense there is an election coming up!

Access to High Speed Broadband Internet

High speed, broadband internet is a modern day necessity. Our Founding Fathers understood the importance of communication in connecting communities and put the basis of the modern day postal service in the US Constitution.  Today, access to high speed internet is important for education, healthcare, commerce, communication, and entertainment. Those communities without it are at a distinct disadvantage in each of these areas.

While republicans may believe the free market takes care of all of our needs, the truth is, as any trained economist knows, that capital formation and private action requires a commensurate potential for profit that is not always present within a rural community.  When the free market does not provide a modern day necessity, the government must step in to help.  Help may be with capital formation to fund a project, the creation of a public-private partnership, a public utility, or other means.

It was with this understanding the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 was passed to bring electricity across our country, even when and where private enterprise would not do it.  We all know what a positive impact electricity has had on our economy and quality of life but it would not have happened had the federal government not intervened. Lack of broadband internet in rural areas is a modern example of where the government must step in to ensure the well-being of our citizens.

To make matters worse, internet providers have actively and successfully urged legislatures to prevent local governments from stepping and providing high speed internet when private enterprise did not and governors have signed the resulting legislation.  This happened, unfortunately, here in Virginia.

There are two federal bills I would support to bring high speed broadband internet across our District. The Republicans have not let these come to the floor.

The first is The Community Broadband Act of 2018.   The Community Broadband Act would prevent states or municipalities from creating laws to prevent their jurisdictions from creating their own broadband internet networks.

The bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA18) as H.R. 4814 <https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr4814> , and in the Senate by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) as S. 742 <https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s742> .

The second is the New Deal Rural Broadband act of 2017.  This bill amends the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 to establish a rural broadband office within the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and authorize new grants and loans for developing broadband in rural, underserved, and tribal areas. Just as the original act brought electricity to homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses across our nation, the amendment would do with broadband.

My position is that affordable to high speed broadband internet is a modern day necessity and the government must step in to ensure that every citizen in our District has access to it.

Net Neutrality

From Wikipedia, Net neutrality is the principle that governments should mandate Internet service providers <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_service_provider>  to treat all data on the Internet <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet>  the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.[4] <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality#cite_note-4>  For instance, under these principles, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.

Net neutrality was assured by the Obama Administration but the FCC under President Trump has repealed it, under encouragement from moneyed interests, particularly service providers who want to differentiate internet service to charge more for higher speed access to non-affiliated sites.  This is wrong and against the best interest of citizens. Were I in Congress, I would have voted against the repeal had it been allowed to come to the floor under the Congressional Review Act.


Illegal immigration allows unethical employers to suppress wages and exploit legal and undocumented workers alike.  I am very concerned that President Trump has created a hostile climate for all immigrants.  I want to:

  • Secure our borders
  • Renew DACA so Dreamers, for intents and purposes upstanding American, have a path to US citizenship
  • Provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who have otherwise conducted themselves within the law and become outstanding and productive members of our communities
  • Require employers to use e-Verify to ensure all workers hired can legally work here
  • Streamline the temporary work visa system for migrant farm workers and others who fulfill real needs within our industries; changes to this system under President Trump are causing labor shortages hurting our farmers and watermen.
  • Pass the “Gang of Eight” Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013

East Coast Strategic Transportation Initiative

The traffic congestion of Northern Virginia has been a problem my entire life.  It is a problem I’ve studied with the same diligence and attention to detail that I’ve devoted to studying healthcare so as to find real solutions to very complex problems.

We live along the worst interstate corridor in America.  Commuters here waste an average of one hour a day idling in traffic.  Lost time in Northern Virginia alone is worth $2 billion a year and the congestion limits employment opportunities. The emotional cost is even greater, the missed business meetings, soccer games and family dinners, as well as the unpredictability of transit times and the related stress.  This is not a problem that can be solved by state and local officials alone because much of the traffic originates north of Baltimore and is destined for south of Richmond, or vice versa.  If we continue on as we are, with the continued failure of the federal government to act comprehensively and strategically, it will only get worse:  more carbon, more traffic, more congestion, and more delays.

The many studies done on the Maine to Florida I95 Region have fallen on deaf ears because the GOP refuses to invest in America.  For much of the corridor, there is no alternative to I95.   A single accident will shut it down.  The I95 region is 10% of America’s landmass, 40% of our population and the 3rd largest economy in the world, and it’s stuck in traffic. It has the same population density of Western Europe, but only a fraction of Europe’s mass transit, and high-speed freight and passenger rail.  We have neither their canals nor intermodal marine routes.  And we don’t even have a plan.  In fact, there’s been no comprehensive approach to transportation since Eisenhower initiated the interstate system sixty years ago. Like healthcare, this is not a problem that will be solved by private enterprise, even for those who can afford a $40 toll to go six miles.

And it’s not unique to Virginia, or even the East Coast, so I will form a strategic transportation caucus in Congress. We will bring together experts, professionals, citizens, and stakeholders and study the issue in detail.  We will propose a multi-modal approach including all options and alternatives.  For example, we must look for ways to move long-distance traffic such as vacationers and cargo trucks away from commuter routes.  We will no longer abdicate this federal responsibility nor relegate it to lonely county traffic engineers or the state Departments of Transportation alone but will work with them and all stakeholders to agree upon and implement a vision that puts all alternatives to work to get America moving again.

The initial estimate to actually solve this problem is about $38 billion a year, or about 3 weeks of what we spend for defense.  But this investment would create thousands of jobs, lower carbon emissions, improve the lives of commuters, help vacationers get to destinations more quickly, and make cargo transport more efficient.  And it would improve the lives of 150 million Americans. Today I am announcing a national effort, the East Cost Strategic Transportation Initiative, to address our traffic problems strategically and comprehensively. It’ll be neither quick nor easy but the longer we delay in taking action, the worse it will get.  I’m John Suddarth, I am the best candidate to actually beat Rob Wittman in November and actually go to Washington and get this done.  I ask for your vote so I can get to work for you.

Tax Reform

Wittman Marches in Lockstep With House GOP to Rubber Stamp Trump Tax Bill;  All Democrats Oppose.  Vast Majority of Benefits to the Richest 1% and to Corporations. Most Virginians to Face Future Tax Increases.  We Need a Voice in Congress, Not a Shill For Corporate Interests:
See John’s opinion on the GOP’s fraudulent tax reform:


WASHINGTON — The House passed a sweeping rewrite of the tax code on Thursday by 227-205, taking a significant leap forward as Republicans seek to enact $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for businesses and individuals and deliver the first major legislative achievement of President Trump’s tenure.

Attention now turns to the Senate, which was grappling on Thursday with another setback after a congressional analysis found that their revised tax bill would actually raise taxes on lower-income Americans within a few years.

The Joint Committee on Taxation projected that Americans earning $30,000 or less would see their taxes increase beginning in 2021, if the Senate bill becomes law. The committee also projected that Americans earning $75,000 or less would face large tax increases in 2027, after the individual tax cuts expire. The updated analysis stems from the Senate’s last-minute inclusion of a provision that would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most people buy health insurance. The repeal would lead many lower-income Americans to choose not to buy insurance, and thus not claim tax subsidies that currently help them defray the costs of health coverage.

From the NY Times:



Democratic House of Delegates Candidates Out-poll Republicans by 10 Percentage Points Yet Do Not Secure a Majority in Richmond

As evidence mounts that partisan gerrymandering is thwarting the will of the Virginian voter, the republicans retain a slight majority in the House of Delegates even though they lost the popular vote by 10 points, 54 to 44 percent: