Welcome to Parker Griffith for Congress
In 2008 this was the official website for Parker Griffith who was running to represent Alabama’s 5th Congressional District.
Content is from the site's 2008 archived pages.
Parker Griffith served in the Alabama State Senate from 2006 to 2008 and then as the U.S. Representative for Alabama's 5th congressional district from 2009 to 2011. A lifelong member of the Democratic Party, while serving in Congress, at the urging of Republicans he switched parties on December 22, 2009. He ran for re-election in 2010 but was defeated in the Republican primary by Mo Brooks. He returned to the Democratic Party in 2014 and unsuccessfully ran for Governor of Alabama in the 2014 election.
Welcome to my Congressional Campaign Website.
I am running to represent Alabama’s 5th Congressional District and carry on a proud tradition of effective service and common sense leadership in Washington. In North Alabama, we care deeply about faith and family, but we are tired of partisan politics in our nation’s capital. The time for results and action is now. I am running because I believe my experience will bring a new voice to Congress and new ideas to reduce the cost of health care, increase investment in our children’s education, and continue the support of key federal programs across North Alabama.
North Alabama and America are at a crossroads. Locally, we need to continue to secure national support for our Army, NASA, and TVA programs. We have major needs for new roads, infrastructure, and additional facilities at our universities and community colleges. Nationally, we need to address the rising cost of health care, our dependence on expensive foreign oil, and an immigration policy that is not working. In Washington, I will focus on these issues and work for action and not more partisan political games. We need real, common sense solutions, and we need them now.
About Parker Griffith
Parker Griffith has served our area as a doctor, teacher, and businessman. As the first Board Certified Radiation Oncologist in North Alabama, Griffith has played a leading role in the early diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancer. This experience will continue to aid him in addressing and fighting for the healthcare needs of our community.
|The greatest threat to our economic future is the state of our education system. We cannot continue to be competitive in a global economy if we continue to have a second rate education system. There is no more pressing issue facing America today, and it will become a security and economic threat if we do not address it now.
We must expand our early education programs to include pre-kindergarten instruction. I have seen several of these programs in action across North Alabama, and they work. The students enter kindergarten and first grade ready to learn, and all students and teachers benefit. We also need to put our best and brightest teachers in our early grades and give them every resource they need to be successful. The quality of instruction in the early grades is the key predictor of success later in school. If our children are not learning the basics of reading, reasoning, and mathematics early, then they will be left behind, never to catch up.
We must do everything we can to improve the math and science performance of our students. If not, we are in danger or falling behind the rest of the world in the development of new technology and basic research. This has to occur from our earliest grades and continue through our research universities. Programs such as the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative must be fully funded and expanded to provide our teachers with new training and tools to teach these subjects. We must provide scholarship incentives to our students to encourage them to pursue degrees in engineering, the sciences, and basic research. And we need to expand support for our research universities, national labs, the National Science Foundation, and NASA.
|For us to meet our full potential as a country, we must reduce the high cost of health care and make it more available to every American. From big business to our doctors and our small businesses, everyone agrees that our health care system is broken, and if we do not address it, we will not be able to compete in a global economy.
As a doctor and a businessman, I understand how our healthcare system works and its impact on our small businesses. As a State Senator I have seen that not every Alabamian has access to health care, in some cases because an individual cannot afford insurance, but in other cases because there are not enough doctors available to take on new pediatric patients or to see elderly patients with Medicare. This has to change. As a doctor I had a rule that no patient would be turned away because they could not pay. In Congress it will by my goal to work across the aisle for real solutions so that all Americans can get the care they need when they need it most.
Every year the cost of insuring ourselves or our families continues to rise. It is hurting our businesses that want to provide coverage because it is a cost that they cannot control – which causes them to lose their competitive edge or cut back on the coverage they provide their employees. Individuals who want to purchase coverage on their own find that in most cases it is impossible to do so due to the cost or because they are denied due to a pre-existing condition or because of their age. This is an issue that must be addressed. Insurance must be more affordable and more portable, and our businesses that choose to provide coverage must have more help to do so. We can address these issues and find a way to provide access to at least basic coverage for any American family that wants it. With this type of basic coverage, a family will not have to worry that a medical problem will become a financial catastrophe that can cost them their savings, their home, and their future.
Access to Care
As a doctor I have dedicated my life to fighting cancer, and I know that the early diagnosis of cancer is key. Over 90 percent of early diagnosed breast, colon, and prostate cancer can be cured easily and at a low cost. Those same cancers caught late stage are much less curable and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat. The key is to increase access to the healthcare system for all Americans so that they can get the tests, care, and preventive medicine they need to improve their lives.
Unfortunately many people do not get the care they need when they need it. Many counties in Alabama do not have OB-GYN care, and mothers travel hours to deliver their babies. Many of our larger cities have shortages of pediatricians, and our elderly citizens on Medicare have real trouble finding doctors who can treat them. We need to address this by supporting our hospitals and working with our medical schools to educate more doctors. In Congress, I will work to develop a program to help pay for medical school tuition for doctors who will pledge to work in underserved areas or enter areas of medicine where there is a shortage of providers, such as general practice or pediatrics.
I support a strong national defense and believe that providing for that defense is the most fundamental of responsibilities of our federal government. For decades, North Alabama has played a principal role in our nation’s defense, and in Congress I will ensure that this continues and that we fund our defense programs at the highest levels.
National Missile Defense
We must be able to defend our country from missile attacks. While the risk of major nuclear strikes might have been reduced by the end of the Cold War, the fact remains that there are countless missiles in the world that remain a threat to this nation. The presence of these missiles and the developing threats from nations such as Iran and North Korea as well as international terrorists must be countered with a comprehensive missile defense shield. We must continue to develop our Ground Based Missile Defense System and ensure that it can protect the United States from any current or future missile threat. We must also continue to develop our THAAD, KEI, and MKV programs so that our ability to counter these threats continues to improve and so that we can provide the best protection possible for our troops and our allies.
Since I began public service, I have pursued ways to make sure our region is ready for BRAC. I have urged local, state, and federal leaders to provide the infrastructure required to meet the influx of people that will move to North Alabama over the next few years. Each budget cycle is critical for BRAC funding, both from the federal and state level. I will work in Washington to make sure that the overall BRAC budget is met and to look for any other ways to provide assistance to local communities to meet the needs for roads and schools.
BRAC was a major win for North Alabama. Aside from the significant economic impact, we should be honored that the BRAC Commission and the Department of Defense understood the value of Redstone Arsenal. With SMDC already consolidated at Redstone, MDA continuing to move forward, and AMC gearing toward transition, we are poised to increase our role in our nation’s defense.
Rising Oil and Gas Prices
|High energy costs are the root of many of our problems as Americans. From groceries to gasoline and postage stamps, prices are rising everywhere as a result of high oil prices. While we develop new technologies that will allow us to become energy independent, we must all work together to find solutions to keep gas prices down in the short-term. This means finding environmentally responsible ventures to drill domestically.
In Washington, I will align myself with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to bring oil prices down while we continue the search for alternative fuels. I will support removing the 27-year-old federal moratorium on exploratory drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. In addition to this, we can fix our broken and unused refineries in places like Louisiana and Texas. This will lower prices while we invest in research and development (R&D) into solar, wind, and nuclear power, as well as biofuels.
For too long, speculators and oil companies have profited from our hardship. In Congress, I will crack down on speculators who continue to inflate oil prices. While we're penalizing those who are doing wrong, we need to reward those who are working for the same goal we are. I will work toward creating tax incentives for businesses that are involved in alternative fuel R&D. Additional tax credits will be extended to automakers that boost fuel efficiency in their vehicles.
Investment in Our Future
A serious and sustained investment is needed for a solution to our problem with energy dependence. We need to stop talking about this and take action that produces real results. It is going to take time, but, if we stick with it, it's something that will strengthen every part of American life. Making solar, wind, and nuclear power more accessible to our homes and businesses is the first step in a long-term solution. We must also research and develop biofuels to make our vehicles more efficient on the road. Fifty years ago, we were challenged in space when Sputnik was launched, and we met that challenge. With the right investment and the political will to do so, we will rise to meet this challenge too.
NASA and Space Exploration
The spirit of space exploration and scientific discovery are cornerstones of our North Alabama community. As pioneers in such critical efforts, the responsibility falls on us to ensure our nation remains the leader in space utilization. U.S. leadership in space is critical to maintaining our edge in technology development and scientific understanding.
A healthy and vibrant Marshall Space Flight Center is key to ensuring a strong future in space exploration. Marshall is currently engaged in the development of the Ares I and Ares V launch vehicles. These two vehicles will not only serve as the replacements to the space shuttle, but will also be critical to our efforts to return to the moon. Additionally, the Ares V heavy launch vehicle is poised to play an important role in our national defense and in future space science research. As one of the nation’s premier scientific institutions, Marshall, along with the National Space Science and Technology Center, will play a key role in the research to be conducted on the lunar surface. This builds on our community’s strong space science capability.
In the face of ever tightening federal budgets, I will remain vigilant and prepared to defend our national investment in space exploration. As a physician, I’ve seen firsthand how the technologies developed through the space program save lives and improve the quality of life of untold numbers of patients. From rocket engine technology that has been utilized to improve heart pumps, to NASA-developed imaging technology which aids in the early detection of breast cancer, the innovations derived from our space exploration efforts are too numerous to list. We cannot take these incredible advances in technology for granted. We must continue to invest in research and development to unlock the discoveries of the future. As your Congressman, I will work every day to ensure those in Washington understand the value of our investment in NASA.
In addition to Marshall and its industry partners, the Tennessee Valley has tremendous assets in research and development capabilities residing in Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park, in our area universities, and in the rocket production capability in Decatur. The Tennessee Valley is also home to several entrepreneurial companies that are contributing to our nation’s growing commercial space efforts. In all of these areas, we must work to ensure that the federal government’s actions help and do not hinder this growing commercial market.
Future generations will benefit from the economic prosperity that an increased U.S. presence in space will afford. We must work today to ensure we are making sound investments to secure our role as the world’s leader in space for generations to come.
Illegal immigration is costing our local governments, schools, and hospitals millions of dollars and must be addressed aggressively by our federal government. This is a problem that is hurting our communities, affecting our public health, and shows that we have a continuing problem providing for our own security. In Montgomery I co-sponsored the toughest illegal immigration bill this session. In Congress, I will fight to see that our federal government responds to this crisis and works to close our borders to illegal aliens, drug trafficking, and possible terrorists.
In the State Senate I co-sponsored SB 426 as introduced by Senator Beason to address illegal immigration in Alabama. The goal of this legislation is to make Alabama a less attractive place for illegal immigrants to live, protect taxpayers who should not foot the bill for services for those here illegally, and preserve Alabama jobs for our citizens. It is my hope that this legislation can be used as a starting point to address this growing problem.
While we can do our part in Montgomery to make Alabama less attractive to illegal immigrants, it is a fundamental responsibility of our federal government to secure our borders. As an American taxpayer, I cannot believe that it has failed to do so – even in the face of the continued threat to our national and economic security. In Congress, I will work to close our borders by increasing border patrols, building new fences, and developing technology to further assist us in closing the borders. I believe we have the tools to do this today, but, unfortunately, there are those in Washington who lack the political will to get the job done.
Enforce our Laws
We must work at the federal, state, and local levels to enforce the immigration laws currently on our books. If our local law enforcement needs additional resources, then we need to supply those resources because local law enforcement will continue to be on the front lines of this fight. We also need to streamline our laws to allow for early deportation of those here illegally.
No Reward for Violators
Any sort of amnesty is not fair to those who are here legally or those waiting on lists to come to this country. I would not support any type of amnesty program that puts those here illegally ahead of those playing by the rules.