Category Archives: Financial Literacy

Clearing Up Misconceptions of the Coronavirus Stimulus Payments

Someone on Twitter asked: “So the stimulus checks they are sending are technically an advance refund of 2020 taxes?!?!”

My response:

Not true (in the way people are thinking). The law creates a refundable tax credit (economic impact payment) for the 2020 tax year.

What you get now is an advance on that credit you would otherwise get as your tax refund in 2021 (for your 2020 tax filing), like Obamacare’s Advance Premium Tax Credit.

You might be getting more money back in 2021 for your 2020 tax refund. For instance, if you had a child during 2020, or during 2019 but didn’t file yet, you won’t get $500 for that child now, but you will be able to get that $500 on next year’s tax refund.

To clarify, a “refundable” tax credit is IRS lingo for free money.

For instance, the Earned Income Tax Credit is fully refundable.

The Child Tax Credit is $2,000, but only $1,400 is refundable.

The new coronavirus tax credit is $1,200 per adult and $500 per child, and is fully refundable.

The additional money on your 2020 tax refund IS the coronavirus economic impact payment. They are sending advance payments of this tax credit now.

If you make less than $75,000 per person in 2020 but more on your past tax return, you should get more money on your 2020 tax refund.

Here is an authoritative source confirming what I have stated.

“The rebate is actually an advance on a tax credit that you may claim on your 2020 tax return. If your income is lower in 2020 than in 2019, any additional credit you are eligible for will be refunded or reduce your tax liability when you file your 2020 tax return next year.”

New Book: A Survey of Investing and Retirement Knowledge and Preferences of Preservice Teachers

Thripp dissertation e-book cover

In addition to being a co-editor of the academic anthology, Handbook of Research on Emerging Practices and Methods for K–12 Online and Blended Learning published by IGI Global, I am now officially a published author! Thanks to The International Society for Technology, Education and Science (ISTES) for publishing my dissertation on Florida preservice teacher retirement knowledge as a FREE e-book, titled A Survey of Investing and Retirement Knowledge and Preferences of Preservice Teachers. The e-book has an ISBN, 978-1-952092-04-6, and is offered for free under a Creative Commons Attribution–NonCommercial–ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

ISTES released this on March 2, 2020, with a back-dated publication date of December 2019. The goal is to find a wider audience for my work on financial education and retirement issues affecting our next generation of teachers.

My original dissertation is also available for free from the University of Central Florida STARS database. This version repackages my dissertation as a book, with different line spacing and page numbering. Thanks to Drs. Ismail Sahin and Wenxia Wu for their hard work formatting this as an e-book.


Reference in APA 7th edition style:

Thripp, R. (2019). A survey of investing and retirement knowledge and preferences of preservice teachers. The International Society for Technology, Education and Science.

Book description:

New teachers are facing lower pay and less generous retirement benefits than the prior generation, yet their financial and retirement knowledge, concerns, and preferences have received little attention. To investigate these areas, the author developed a 39-item survey instrument and administered it to 314 preservice teachers in undergraduate teacher education courses at the University of Central Florida, who were primarily female elementary and early childhood education juniors and seniors ages 18–25. Florida public employees are offered an unusual choice between a traditional pension plan and a defined-contribution plan similar to a 401(k) in which they can select their own investments, and 54% of surveyed preservice teachers preferred the 401(k)-like plan structure. However, their preferences may be ill-advised, given that in a mock portfolio allocation exercise intended to assess retirement investing sophistication, preservice teachers directed more than half their retirement money to low-risk money market and bond funds, which will likely underperform stocks over several decades. Furthermore, they anticipated that low salaries will impede their ability to save for retirement. For comparison, the survey was also administered to 205 U.S. college students or graduates ages 18–25 on the Amazon Mechanical Turk platform for $1.00 each. Worrisomely, preservice teachers had significantly lower financial knowledge and retirement investing sophistication. These findings suggest a need for financial education targeting Florida preservice teachers, particularly given that the Florida Retirement System substantially cut its benefits in 2011.

Thripp dissertation e-book, virtual 3-D book image


ISTES has also been publishing other dissertations as e-books lately, such as Dr. Tiffany G. Edwards’s important work on homeless school children in Los Angeles, CA: Closing the Gap of the Educational Needs of Homeless Youth.

How TIAA Locks Down Teachers’ Retirement Money

This is my Facebook comment to someone on a Democratic group about retirement accounts for teachers that do not act in their best interest.

January 31, 2020

I’m not a fan of TIAA. They do have some good products but it’s hard when there are so many bad options on there and of course annuities are like negotiating a field of landmines for most Americans including educators as only the single premium immediate or deferred annuities are good, but bad options are heavily marketed due to high profit potential for the agent and company. Try taking your money out of TIAA and you’ll see the ridiculous hoops. As an adjunct at University of Central Florida I don’t get to participate in Social Security. Instead the university compels me to contribute at least 7.5% to a FICA replacement account with TIAA (the only option), and when I leave this position, to roll it over to Vanguard, TIAA requires signed forms to be sent by postal mail by me, UCF’s HR department, and the receiving institution (Vanguard). It’s ridiculous. They want to lock your money down so they can keep bombarding you with fees. There could be an index mutual fund in there that’s only a 0.04% annual fee at Vanguard or even 0% at Fidelity that they’ll charge upwards of 0.5% per year.

7 Obamacare Secrets for Residents of Florida’s 6th Congressional District and 2 Campaign Promises

Here are 7 facts about The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it is colloquially known, that you may not have heard of. As your Congressman, I will support education, outreach, and expansion of Obamacare as well as state expansion of Medicaid in Florida and 13 other states who have still refused to accept a federally funded expansion allowing households with income of up to 138% of the federal poverty line to receive Medicaid.

DISCLAIMER: This article does not, and is not intended to, provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and readers should consult their tax advisors concerning the application of tax laws to their particular situations.

1. Obamacare is still functioning, despite rumors to the contrary.

Even without the individual mandate that previously would penalize you on your federal income tax return for not having insurance, Obamacare hasn’t gone away, as codified in United States Code, Title 42: The Public Health and Welfare, Chapter 157: Quality, Affordable Health Care for All Americans. You can still sign up on HealthCare.gov and large federal subsidies are still offered. About 25% of Americans erroneously believe Obamacare was repealed in 2018, and the vast majority do not know basic facts about it, despite the Trump administration’s baseless claim that their recent 90% cut to educational/outreach efforts is warranted due to everyone knowing about Obamacare now (completely false!).

2. You may be able to enroll at any time of the year.

Although the “open enrollment” period is now quite short: November 1 to December 15, you can actually enroll at any time of the year if you qualify for a “special enrollment period.” The criteria are quite broad, and include:

• Got married in past 60 days
• Had a baby, adopted, or placed a child in foster care in past 60 days
• Got divorced or legally separated and consequently lost health insurance in past 60 days
• Someone on your plan died causing you to become ineligible in past 60 days
• You moved between counties or ZIP codes or for work or school and had qualifying coverage for at least 1 of 60 days prior to the move
• You became a U.S. citizen in past 60 days
• You left jail or prison in past 60 days
• You began or ended service in an AmeriCorps program
• Anyone in your household lost qualifying coverage in the past 60 days or expects to lose it in the next 60 days
• You became a member of a federally recognized Native American tribe
• On occasion, victims of natural disasters such as Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico are declared eligible for a special enrollment period
• You filed an amended IRS tax return (Form 1040-X on paper by mail) to update a prior tax return to add Form 8962 due to failure to reconcile subsidies reported on Form 1095-A, 1095-B, or 1095-C

3. Your job cannot offer “good” health insurance.

In order to receive a federal subsidy for Obamacare, your employer must NOT offer insurance that is “quality” and “affordable.” Many employers do not offer any health insurance to part-time employees, which means you are eligible for an Obamacare subsidy if you meet the other criteria such as being ineligible for Medicaid, Medicare, VA healthcare, and so forth. If health insurance is offered to you as an employee, it must:

1. Meet the actuarial bronze level of quality (“minimum value standard”), meaning it “pays at least 60% of the total cost of medical services for a standard population and offers substantial coverage of hospital and doctor services.”

2. Be “affordable,” meaning that the lowest bronze plan for YOU only (not including your family) from your employer costs LESS than 9.78% (in premiums paid by you via payroll deductions) of your entire HOUSEHOLD’s income.

If BOTH of the above two criteria are met by your employer health insurance plan, you are NOT eligible for a federal Obamacare subsidy (i.e., Premium Tax Credit). If both of the above criteria are met, you ARE generally eligible if your household income is between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty line and you are ineligible for Medicaid or other coverage. The rationale is that taxpayers should just pay for the genuinely needy, so if you have a good employer plan available you should not be allowed to receive a subsidy.

4. The Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC) may mean your cost is absolutely zero.

Even though premiums keep going up, up, and away year after year, so does the premium subsidy—that is, the amount you can receive from the federal government as a free grant toward your health insurance. Basically, as long as your income is above 100% and under 400% of the federal poverty line (FPL) you can receive a sizable subsidy—often $1,500 per month or even more for a family. For a family of 3 in 2020, that means your household must earn between $21,720 and $86,880. You have to fill out an application on HealthCare.gov and guesstimate your household income for the tax year you are applying for (that is, you must guess what you will earn in all of 2020). The subsidy remains quite large up to 400% of the FPL and then falls off a cliff to exactly $0 per month above this income level. If your chosen plan is cheaper than your maximum monthly subsidy, you own nothing per month as the money is paid directly from the U.S. Treasury to your health insurance company via what is called an Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC).

On your tax return you must reconcile premiums and tax credits based on Form 1095 that you receive from your insurance company using IRS Form 8962, which is included in all major tax software such as TurboTax. If you underestimate your income you may be required to pay back a maximum of $1,300 of subsidies received during the year if your household income is under 400% of the FPL, or the entirety of all subsidies received if it is above 400%.

The Trump administration is making it harder for people with volatile incomes (e.g., gig economy) to receive the APTC due to requiring documented proof of income, and they are discouraging a practice of overestimating one’s projected income at 100% of the FPL for those living in poverty (below 100% of FPL) in order to receive the APTC in a state that has rejected Medicaid expansion in order to cut costs, as well as failing to educate Americans—an estimated 10 million are eligible for Obamacare subsidies but not taking advantage.

In Florida’s 6th Congressional district, some of the major insurers offering plans on HealthCare.gov are Florida Health Care Plans, Florida Blue (BlueCross BlueShield FL), and Oscar Insurance Company of Florida. You apply and enroll on HealthCare.gov and then you’ll receive your plan information, insurance ID cards, payment instructions (if you are not fully funded by the APTC), and log-in instructions for the insurer’s website later, typically by U.S. Mail.

5. If you are a big saver, you can manipulate your income using retirement accounts to stay under 400% of the FPL and qualify for a subsidy.

To receive an Obamacare subsidy, besides being ineligible for other insurance such as Medicaid or an employer plan, your household income must also fall between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty line (FPL). For a family of 3 in 2020, that means your household must earn between $21,720 and $86,880 (modified adjusted gross income including wages, interest, dividends, capital gains, etc.).

Earning over $86,880 would be particularly unfortunate for an APTC-receiving household of 3 as they would have to pay back ALL subsidies received, which could easily be over $10,000 in a year. However, if you happen to be a big saver, like many followers of Mr. Money Mustache, you can put up to $19,500 in your employer’s 401(k) or 403(b) plan via payroll deductions per person in 2020 (and your spouse can do this too). Contributions must be “traditional” or “pre-tax,” NOT Roth or “tax-exempt” or “post-tax.” Pre-tax contributions reduce your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) reported to the IRS, which can qualify you for Obamacare subsidies if your household income goes down.

Even if you didn’t receive an APTC, you can get the money back as a tax refund during the following year (as a “regular” PTC or Premium Tax Credit). Note that many tax-filing software programs do NOT correctly handle a situation where a taxpayer is receiving their subsidy as an IRS refund.

Beyond this, you can put money in a pre-tax (traditional) individual retirement arrangement or IRA to reduce your MAGI and qualify for Obamacare. The limits are $6,000 per person, so that’s up to $12,000 between you and your spouse if married, and a non-working spouse qualifies to contribute as long as you are married filing jointly (MJF).

Note that for those Age 50 and older, the limits are higher: $7,000 for IRA and $26,000 for 401(k) or 403(b) in 2020. This is a great way to reduce your income if you have a high savings rate, and you can invest your retirement money in stocks or bonds so it can grow until you are eligible to make withdrawals at Age 59.5 or older. For IRAs, you can even contribute up to the tax filing deadline of the subsequent year, which is April 15, 2020 for contributions designated to 2019, or April 15, 2021 for contributions designated to 2020. Make sure to check if you are eligible for the IRS Retirement Savings Contributions Credit via Form 8880 due to your retirement contributions.

If you designate a traditional IRA contribution for the prior tax year after having already filed your tax return, you can still get your Obamacare subsidies restored if this contribution puts you below 400% of the FPL, and get your Saver’s credit if eligible, but it won’t be easy: you must file an amended IRS tax return on paper by mail using Form 1040-X and it will be manually processed by an IRS agent and can take up to 16 weeks. You can do this for up to 3 years after the initial filing (e.g, up to March 14, 2023 if you file for 2019 on March 14, 2020). The U.S. Treasury will end up issuing you a check, with interest, for the additional amount owed from the government to you due to your amended return.

6. Florida has a Medicaid–Obamacare coverage gap.

Florida’s Rick Scott, who made off with $300 million from Columbia/HCA from defrauding Medicare (the company admitted to 14 felonies) and used it to become governor, then REFUSED to accept federal Medicaid dollars that would help over 800,000 low-income Floridians and would most likely actually save money for the state.

Because of Republican refusal to accept a federally funded expansion of Medicaid authorized under the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare), Florida has a Medicaid–Obamacare coverage gap. This means that there is a hole in between where many Floridians are ineligible for Medicaid due to making too much money (the limits are very low) and ineligible for Obamacare due to making too little money. Many adults are required to earn less than 29% of the FPL to receive Medicaid in Florida, which is only $6,299 for a family of 3, but can’t receive an Obamacare subsidy unless they earn 100% or more of the FPL, which is $21,720. Therefore, families, such as families of 3 who earn between $6,299 and $21,720 in 2020, are in the coverage gap being ineligible for both Medicaid and Obamacare subsidies. Families with small children may still be eligible for Medicaid, but “able-bodied adults” receive the worst treatment under this regime.

7. Be prepared with proof of immigration status or citizenship.

Under the Trump administration there has been a push to disqualify recipients of Obamacare subsidies who cannot prove their immigration or citizenship status. You may receive a digital or U.S. Mail notice from the HealthCare.gov marketplace requesting a copy of your passport or other documents, and they will cancel your subsidy payments if you do not comply by uploading digital files or mailing in photocopies. This can happen even if they should already know you are a citizen based on documents you submitted in a prior year or based on other information available to the government. Make sure to watch your mail closely, or preferably, sign up for emails and digital alerts to avoid the possibility of such notices being lost in the mail.

Two Campaign Promises

If I am elected to the United States House of Representatives for Florida’s 6th Congressional district, I’m going to make expanding Medicaid and Obamacare a priority, but I’m also going to make it a priority to help constituents get educated and enrolled. As long as it’s still functioning, we’ll be signing up constituents for Obamacare left and right*, or helping them understand the program and their plan. (I will comply fully with the Privacy Act of 1974 which requires written consent from constituents in order to assist.)

Note: On February 21, 2020 I endorsed universal healthcare for all Americans (Medicare for All). However, I will fight for whatever I can get accomplished as your Congressman. We need to aim high, in my opinion.

To facilitate access to my staff and I for minorities and disadvantaged populations, I will open a constituent office in mid-town Daytona Beach and possibly Deltona as well, or alternately a traveling mobile office as it can be hard to find office space in Deltona. I will also hire at least one Spanish-speaking staffer.

Using my knowledge from my Ph.D. in instructional design, I will design training materials for my employees and the public to help with Obamacare. The incumbent, Republican Michael Waltz, has an office at Port Orange City Hall, but I think mid-town Daytona Beach is a far more underserved area and many Port Orange residents have motor vehicles. Waltz’s website does not even mention helping people with Obamacare, possibly due to the GOP’s whole “down-with-Obamacare” shtick.

* As of present I have not verified the legality of this but it is clear that Congressional representatives can and do help constituents deal with federal agencies.

Congressional representatives receive a budget from the U.S. Treasury of approximately $1.3 million per year to rent offices and employ staff to help with Congressional work and constituent services.

DISCLAIMER: This article does not, and is not intended to, provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and readers should consult their tax advisors concerning the application of tax laws to their particular situations.

I need your help. Please donate if you want to see real change for Florida’s 6th district in Congress.

Donate to Richard Thripp's Campaign

Perspective, Issues, and My Potential Role in Congress (Ballotpedia Survey, Part 3)

I have now completed the Ballotpedia survey, although it may take a couple days to show up on their website. For these items, I delve into my perspective, several issues, and my potential role in Congress. For past segments, please see these posts:
More About Me and Key Issues (Ballotpedia Survey, Part 1)
On the Climate Crisis and the Next Decade (Ballotpedia Survey, Part 2)

Please see my 4/10/2020 revised campaign platform, which supersedes issues presented here. I have now endorsed universal healthcare for all and a universal basic income for all Americans.

If you are not a current representative, are there certain committees that you would want to be a part of?

I would love to be on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, which is chaired by Kathy Castor, a fellow Democrat from Florida’s 14th district that includes most of Tampa. Although the Daytona Beach area is also at-risk, the Tampa Bay area is especially vulnerable to stronger and more unpredictable hurricanes that rapidly intensify due to the climate crisis, given that there has been so much development there in the past decade particularly in low-lying areas. In the long run, all of Florida is also vulnerable to sea level rise, and we have already seen this affecting Miami Beach with king tides. We have a duty to the next generation, as well as to current victims such as farmers and climate refugees, to tackle the climate crisis head-on, with all options on the table, such as removing subsidies (including hidden subsidies) for fossil fuels and removing encumbrances for green energy, with a particular focus on storing said energy. There must also be a growing realization that travel and jet-setting needs to be curtailed, particularly among the world’s wealthiest 10% who are responsible for 50% of greenhouse gas emissions. Although my Ph.D. is in Education rather than Climatology, as a scholar I am firmly focused on science and facts and will always deliver cogent arguments and real solutions to the table.

Other committees of interest to me are the Financial Services Subcommittees on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions and on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets, and the Education Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment. I have backgrounds in financial literacy education and teacher education, focused on standing up for working-class Americans and teachers to financially educate them and stop big financial institutions from bamboozling them into foreclosure, student loan or other debt, or cash-strapped retirements. I particularly focus on women and minorities who face even greater disadvantages.

Do you believe that two years is the right term length for representatives?

I think it’s too short. Four years would be more reasonable. If you look at the House, you’ll see they are constantly up for re-election. New members from both parties are told that “dialing for dollars” takes precedence over actual governing. Representatives are not allowed to do this from the Capitol or their offices, so the parties have dank cubicles set up in office space a couple blocks from the Capitol where new members are told they should be spending 30+ hours a week of their time calling potential donors. They’re given scripts including the names of the children of the potential donors they are calling, and party leaders update a whiteboard in real-time with representatives’ names and total $$$ procured, in red, black, or green depending on whether they are below, at, or above target. The daily schedule of the House is built around being out-of-session during the valuable lunch hours, and new members are chastised for attending committee meetings during time they are supposed to spend dialing for dollars. It’s a disgrace. I won’t do it. I might still end up being able to pay my party dues (required for committee assignments and re-election support) from social media donations, or fancy events, but if not, then so be it. I am not for sale and I think too many of our politicians are, or were (they were bought and paid for long ago).

What do you believe are the core responsibilities for someone elected to this office?

I think good governance requires looking out for people, and we really aren’t doing it. We have a huge national debt, a world on fire, and the greatest financial inequality in modern history. Congress should not be in the back pocket of wealthy individuals and corporations. Congress could stand up for the poor, the downtrodden, the forgotten Americans—but instead they legislate and prioritize helping the rich attain greater wealth and privilege without paying their fair share commensurate with what they are extracting from American people, government, and public resources and commons. If Walmart or Amazon’s employees are all on Medicaid and food stamps, shouldn’t we be billing that back to Walmart and Amazon? When it comes to the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017, passed solely by Republicans, it was the greatest robbery in modern history. The Republicans want you to buy into trickle-down economics or that they care about small businesses. It’s one big fat lie. Congress and state governments alike facilitate monstrosities like Amazon, Walmart, and Wells Fargo that crush small businesses left and right. When Apple repatriated all that money from overseas, most of it just went to share buybacks, which are at an all-time high nationwide. Our government needs to work for our people. You should not have to beg for scraps from feudal overlords who will kick you to the curb if you get pregnant, hurt your back, or if they find some way to replace you with a robot.

One of my focuses is Restoring Congressional Authority. I think it goes back to the emphasis on “dialing for dollars”—Congress has abdicated so many of its responsibilities that are written plain-as-day in the United States Constitution. We can’t delegate our war powers to a reckless president. We can’t pass bills written entirely by lobbyists that we don’t even have time to read. The House needs to take control of the purse strings and really take responsibility for budgets, spending, and debt.

Date of birth
August 17, 1991

Place of birth
Daytona Beach, FL

Gender
Male

Religion
Agnostic

Education
Daytona State College, A.A., 2011
University of Central Florida, B.S. in Psychology, 2014
University of Central Florida, M.A. in Applied Learning & Instruction, 2016
University of Central Florida, Ph.D. in Education, 2019

What is your professional career to date?

At University of Central Florida I teach future teachers about technology and I studied the financial literacy of future teachers for my dissertation. I’ve been focused on personal finance, investing literacy, and financial policymaking for many years, and I’ve also become a voracious reader about the climate crisis from greenhouse gases in the past couple years. My wife and I have a handsome, goofy 10-month-old baby boy, which has really got us thinking about the future and what life will be like for him in adulthood. I’m also a bit of an expert on blended learning and worked across disciplines at UCF on National Science Foundation grants for cutting-edge STEM assessment methodologies and helped with the founding of the Center for Students with Unique Abilities by getting their website set up and refined. I’m only 28, so I plan to make a big difference in many areas going forward, even if I don’t win this race.

Please list any professional credentials below.

Besides my degrees I was an editor of a recent Handbook of Research on Emerging Practices and Methods for K–12 Online and Blended Learning, and I’m experienced with statistics having earned an Advanced Quantitative Methodologies in Educational and Human Sciences certificate at UCF during my Ph.D. program, which required completing four difficult statistics courses. I’ve taught nearly 300 students at UCF in EME 2040: Introduction to Technology for Educators, and I’ve graded hundreds of Master’s-level assignments in the same field. I’m Florida teacher certified on the General Knowledge Test, and as an instructional designer have worked with the National Park Service and redesigned a Master’s-level research course. I type 100 words per minute (no joke), am an advanced pianist, used to clean greasy restaurant kitchens with caustic chemicals as a teenager, and as a new husband and father have had many sleepless nights and poopy diapers where the poop goes all up baby’s back onto everything.

What organizations are you affiliated with and how?

Of course University of Central Florida as a triple-alumnus and instructor, but I am also an experienced Toastmaster who was President of Port Orange Toastmasters for a year followed by Treasurer for a year. This gave me wonderful experience speaking, organizing, taking leadership, and managing a 501(c)(3) non-profit chapter of an international organization. I only left because it was too much after starting my Ph.D. in August 2016, which I just finished in December 2019. I’m a current member of the West Volusia Democrats, Port Orange Democrats, and the InfraGard FBI Partnership, as well as a past member of the Association of Teacher Educators, American Society for Engineering Education, Association for Educational Communications & Technology, Academy of Financial Services, and the UCF Daytona Beach Psychology Club.

What qualities do you possess that you believe would make you a successful officeholder?

I’m a firebrand, but I also know how to make sausage (although I am a vegetarian). I’m obviously a total nerd—you don’t become a Ph.D. without being a nerd, but I can distill a complex issue down to a sound bite when needed, or expound on it at the length and depth of a dissertation when the situation calls for it. You also don’t get through a Ph.D. program without dealing with a LOT of bureaucracy and paperwork, so I will be right at home in Washington, D.C. I’m a former Toastmasters president, so I already know a bit about Robert’s Rules of Order and parliamentary procedure. I’m also a voracious reader and podcast-listener capable of competently discussing and seeing both sides to a wide range of issues, but am also able to speak truth to power in recognizing and calling out deceit, trickery, or fallacious arguments.

Although I was born in Daytona Beach, my mother emigrated from the People’s Republic of China. I am profoundly lucky to have been born here and to enjoy the freedoms and opportunities that we take for granted every day. I can put out anti-Trump statements without having to fear being “disappeared,” unlike the authoritarian government in China which has actually gotten worse under Chairman Jinping (do NOT call him “president”—it is a dishonor to the title). Our Constitution is a beacon of light and hope to the world, and I will always respect my oath of office in honoring, upholding, and respecting it. That includes the 2nd amendment, and it also includes restoring Congressional authority over matters they have abdicated responsibility for and that we are seeing a total lack of vision or leadership on. The founders were men of faith, and they recognized that government does not bestow privileges as a king does—rights are granted by God, and governments can either uphold and protect these rights or try to squash and suppress them. To be fair and just, we must endeavor to do the former.

If you could be any fictional character, who would you want to be?

The Doctor from Doctor Who. It would be so exciting to travel through time, although also dangerous with having to foil alien plots to destroy or subjugate humanity, using only a TARDIS and sonic screwdriver.

Please see my 4/10/2020 revised campaign platform, which supersedes issues presented here. I have now endorsed universal healthcare for all and a universal basic income for all Americans.