Bob Hollister

BOB HOLLISTER ON THE ISSUES

"I am wholly devoted to American democracy. Ordinarily, that shouldn't need to be said by someone running for Congress, but these are not ordinary times."

Voting Rights and Election Integrity

At the core of our democracy is this fundamental principle: one person equals one vote. 

 

Rather than trying to strip away this sacred right, our leaders should work to ensure that everyone's voice is heard. Elections should be about who has the better ideas and vision, not about who has received the most donations from corporate special interests.

 

I support the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 and in Congress, I will fight to ensure that: 

 

  • Every vote counts and every citizen gets a vote. 

  • Our voting process is secure and transparent with strong safeguards to prevent abuse and penalties to punish fraud. 

  • Our polling places are easily accessible, safe, and efficient.

  • Mail-in voting and ballot dropboxes are readily available so our election process is accessible to all. 

Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform

Maintaining law and order is crucial to our society and criminals should be held accountable for their actions, but our legal system must also be fair, equitable, and efficient. 

 

I believe that we can provide our police officers with the resources they need to do their jobs effectively while simultaneously refocusing their role so they’re not expected to solve all of society’s problems. To that end, I support:
 

  • Ending racial and religious profiling that results in the over-policing of black and brown people and other minority communities. 

  • Providing de-escalation training to our first responders so they are better able to observe, orient, evaluate and respond appropriately to a given situation, rather than defaulting to force.

  • Reevaluating and redesigning our justice system, especially for non-violent offenders and those who would be better served by mental health services or addiction counseling. 

  • Expanding access to essential programs and mental health resources that have been shown to reduce crime and recidivism.

Education and School Funding

I’m a lifelong public school educator and I believe that education is the bedrock of our democracy. The quality of a child’s education should never be determined by their zip code or their family’s income. 

 

As a child, my family chose to enroll me in private Catholic schools and they paid those tuition fees from their own pockets—not with tax dollars. I feel strongly that private schools should be paid for by private citizens and public funding should go only to public schools. We must:

 

  • Eliminate high-pressure standardized tests as a one-size-fits-all method for measuring student success and potential.

  • Increase public school funding and ensure that resources are distributed in an equitable way for all students, regardless of zip code. 

  • Support teachers and incentivize them to stay in communities where we need their vital talents the most as they face increased pressures at school.

  • Support a strategic national effort to recruit and retain high-quality public school teachers.

  • Broaden the definition of post-secondary education to again include vocational training, union apprenticeships, and credentialing options. These traditional “blue collar” career paths are essential to our country’s prosperity and to reestablishing the middle class.

Energy Independence and Environmental Stewardship

The debate over the causes of climate change rages on, but I would argue that—regardless of the cause—the climate is changing, and now it’s on us to decide what we will do about it. 

 

We’re experiencing more extreme weather, longer-lasting droughts, and warmer seas. Some parts of the world are already experiencing food insecurity resulting in conflict and population migration. This should concern us all. 

 

While I don’t believe that we can eliminate fossil fuels completely, we can begin a strategic shift toward cleaner domestic energy production and away from foreign energy imports. In Congress, I will work to:

 

  • Diversify our energy sources by exploring ways to make alternatives to fossil fuels such as wind, hydro, solar, and nuclear power more practical and more affordable. 

  • Explore new technologies to make fossil fuel options cleaner.

  • Engage and support other nations in their efforts toward cleaner energy.

  • Create programs to train workers in the fossil fuel industry in new technologies and new fields so their livelihoods are protected as we transition to other options. 

Gun Safety and Reform

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of walking in the woods with my dad and brother during hunting season. I’m a former member of the NRA and I still own firearms. But the NRA has not spoken for me for decades, nor does it speak for other firearm owners I know—those of us who make gun safety a priority at home and in our communities.

 

While I’m a supporter of the Second Amendment, I do not believe that our Founders ever conceived that it would be misused to put military-style weapons into our communities en masse.

 

As a superintendent, a school shooting was my number one fear. Every morning I woke up and said a silent prayer that today would not be the day. We have a gun violence problem in this country. We cannot ignore it. We must:

 

  • Implement universal background checks and increase wait times to purchase firearms.

  • Close the gun show loophole that allows gun buyers to avoid federal background checks.

  • Address ghost guns (homemade, untraceable firearms) by placing restrictions on their production and requiring that they be issued serial numbers like any other gun. 

  • Enforce and strengthen domestic violence laws to prevent people with a history of intimate partner violence from accessing firearms.

  • Enact red flag laws to prevent individuals who are a risk to themselves or others from gaining access to firearms.

  • Strictly enforce the current gun laws that are already in place.

Foreign Policy

As a member of the bipartisan U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, I understand our unique leadership position on the global stage. When America leads with integrity and wisdom, all the world is better for it. We must:

 

  • Address and counteract China’s economic belt and road initiative which, if successful, will cut North America out of the majority of global trade. 

  • Be global leaders in epidemiology, providing life-saving vaccines and disease suppression assistance to countries that do not have the means, so that future pandemics never reach our shores.

  • Be global leaders in addressing climate change and managing finite natural resources.

  • Continue to maintain a strong military in the world and our commitment to NATO while using all of our substantial diplomatic resources to ensure that we only flex our military might when absolutely necessary.

Healthcare and Mental Health

Everyone should have access to quality and affordable healthcare. The Coronavirus pandemic highlighted the deep inequalities in our current system and these inequalities are a threat to our collective health and safety, our national security, and our economy.

 

We can't wait until the next national health crisis to address the faults in our current healthcare system. Congress must act to decrease the cost of healthcare and life-saving prescriptions and expand access to mental health services. This includes solidifying programs like Medicare and Medicaid that help the most vulnerable in our society. I believe that:

 

  • Health insurance costs have skyrocketed and to level the playing field and make insurance affordable, we need a public option. 

  • Healthcare workers need to be better supported with abundant access to PPE, mental health resources, and competitive pay. 

  • Lack of access to healthcare, including mental healthcare, is linked to poverty, crime, the ongoing addiction crisis, and a host of other societal problems. 

  • Lack of mental health support means that many people are less able to seek preventative care or early treatment for medical conditions, placing strain on our healthcare system when they become serious.

  • Skyrocketing drug costs must be addressed and we must empower Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate drug prices.

LGBTQ+ Rights

I believe that LGBTQ+ individuals and families should enjoy all the same rights and freedoms that I and my family enjoy, including the freedom to marry who you love, the right to privacy, and the right to equal protection under the law.

 

As the superintendent of ELANCO school district, I chose to defy a bathroom policy that I understood to be illegal and discriminatory to our transgender students. With open dialogue, perspective, and some compromise, we were able to find a solution that benefited all of our students and was met with approval from both the conservative Independent Law Center and the ACLU.

 

As your Congressman, I will continue to stand up for the LGBTQ+ community and:

 

  • Oppose any legislation that would strip the LGBTQ+ community of their rights, freedoms, and privacy.

  • Ensure equal access to housing, education, healthcare, and employment.

  • Engage and respect the experience of the LGBTQ+ community in determining how we can best ensure equitable access to healthcare services and mental health resources.

  • Support the codification of Obergefell and other court decisions that have long protected the LGBTQ+ community but are now under threat by the judiciary.

Immigration Reform

While securing our borders is important and we can all agree that the current immigration system is broken, we must also recognize that immigration is vital to our country’s growth and prosperity, especially in the agriculture and hospitality industries that are so crucial to the economies of Lancaster and York Counties. We must:

 

  • Create a quicker, more efficient path to citizenship so our immigrant population can participate in our workforce legally and contribute to our tax system.  

  • Increase access to H-1B and O-1 visas that allow those with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields to bring their expertise to the U.S.

  • Immigrants are essential to the business community across the country and here in the 11th District. Immigration reform means a stronger economy for everyone.

  • Expanding and improving oversight to enforce labor standards and ensure that employers cannot hire and exploit undocumented workers to the detriment of the American economy.

Jobs, Wages, and Organized Labor

Regardless of political party, we all agree that America should be a land of opportunity. Taking action to support workers and build a strong middle class is essential to a thriving economy. 

 

My journey with organized labor has been a long and evolving one, from being a member of the teacher’s union to the challenges of negotiating with union leadership as a superintendent, and finally, to witnessing the tremendous results when union officials, teachers, and administration all worked together for the benefit of our learners, our community, and our teachers.

 

The pandemic highlighted the importance of our essential workers and why they deserve safe conditions, good training, and fair compensation. I’ve come to wholeheartedly embrace the message and vision that organized labor promotes and celebrates.  Congress must act to:

 

  • Support the right of workers to unionize and bargain collectively for better wages, fair treatment, and safe working conditions.  

  • Increase the federal minimum wage to a living wage capable of sustaining a family. No one working full time should be living in poverty and struggling to make ends meet. 

  • Expand vocational training opportunities, including supporting the top-notch training programs already offered by many unions.

Religious Freedom

Our founding fathers recognized the importance of both the individual freedom to practice one’s religion and the freedom of all Americans not to have religion imposed upon them by others. They felt so strongly about it that they settled it in the First Amendment of the Constitution.

 

Sadly, some would like to see us become a country where people of one religion call the shots and impose their preferred doctrine and religiously-based laws on the rest of us. We must:

 

  • Oppose legislation that would strip away reproductive freedom, privacy rights, marriage equality, and even contraception based on a religious worldview rather than science. 

  • Protect the freedom of all Americans to practice their religion openly in the way their faith dictates, so long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. 

  • Protect people of all faiths from religious-based discrimination and violence. 

Women’s Rights and Reproductive Freedom

It wasn’t very long ago in America’s history that my wife could not have made her own medical decisions or even opened a bank account without my signature. I’m glad that, in our current world and in the state of Pennsylvania, my daughters will have the freedom to make those decisions for themselves. 

 

But women are still placed at a disadvantage in many ways and face a constant onslaught of attempts to roll back the hard-fought freedoms that American women have already won. In Congress, I will:

 

  • Fight any attempt by federal or state governments to interfere with or restrict private healthcare decisions, including reproductive decisions and access to contraception. 

  • Work to reduce the gender pay gap.

  • Expand employment protections for women and parents so those who choose to have children and expand their families are not punished for it in the workplace. 

  • Pursue options to make childcare more affordable and support federally mandated paid parental leave—something nearly every other country in the world has already done. 

  • Expand and strengthen laws and programs that both prevent and punish gender-based violence and sexual harassment.