Name as it appears on the ballot: Courtney Geels
Party affiliation: Republican
Campaign website: courtneygeelsforcongress.com
Occupation & employer: RN & N/A
Years lived in North Carolina: 25
1. What are your primary concerns for the State of North Carolina?
Economy/inflation; Education; Quality Medical Care; Crime
2. What in your background qualifies you to represent the people of this state effectively? What would you cite as your biggest career accomplishments?
I have been a registered nurse for 10 years. As a nurse my job is to assess a person for what needs they have, build a relationship and trust quickly with them, and then advocate for what they need. These are all aspects of what a good representative will do in the government. People want to be heard, and they want someone who can understand what they need and care to fight for it, and I will do that. One of my biggest career accomplishments was transitioning an entire hospital administration from a decision that was based on money that was harming patients, as they were completely disconnected from the repercussions of their decisions, to looking to the experts to reform the system to protect patients and ensure their needs were met in relation to vascular access/IV access.
3. If elected, what three policies would you prioritize and how would you work across the aisle to enact those initiatives?
As far as working across the aisle, I am not a politician; I have been a nurse for 10 years. The politics need to stop, and we need to prioritize what the People need. I don’t care if a democrat sponsors the bill I want to push through; I just want to get things done. We need representation that listens to their constituents and fights for what they need, and that is what I plan to do. I am running because I felt like the federal government was making decisions that were directly affecting my family, and I couldn’t do anything to help them. I want to be an advocate for all of my constituents. I don’t want anyone to feel the way I felt where there was no one to call on.
-Parent choice in education: There are so many families who are pulling their children out of the public school system to homeschool or pay for private school because across the state we see below average testing scores (while many large grants have been given to accommodate for the pandemic). From research and speaking with hundreds of parents that the focus is no longer on education, but on social/emotional learning. Ultimately, I want the power in the states, and the Parent’s hands. When the federal government is funding something like education, there are many strings attached. I would like to push for a voucher system where any federal funds coming to the states for education, to come in the form of a voucher directly to the parents to allocate where they want their child educated. I would like to see children who come from low-income families to have equal opportunities in school choice. If funds are reallocated in vouchers to the parents, I foresee many new private schools starting, and it will be up to the parents and those schools to push for the forms of education that is best for their child. If this was enacted fully it would be better for teachers with better pay, smaller class sizes, and less regulation; more parent choice and voice in their child’s education; tailored education to fit the needs the individual child has to make sure they are given the appropriate tools to succeed.
-Inflation: As the federal government, we have to stop printing money. I have started calling it “counterfeit” money because it’s like our government has pulled out a credit card, and the American people are the ones who have to pay when the government decides to swipe. We have seen so much printing and spending of money federally in the past few years, and it is catching up to us in the price of gas, food, and housing. The people who are hurting the most are the lower income families. As the problem trickles up to the wealthy and business owners, we will see less jobs as businesses will be forced to close. I believe if we stop printing money, and build a legitimate budget and work on decreasing the debt, that is the best thing for the American economy. We also need to be energy independent, which is a huge problem right now with the price of goods and transportation. The cutting off suddenly of oil has caused dramatic change in lifestyle and sustainability in the American economy. All of that to say, I want to push for legislation to outlaw executive orders, with the caveat of temporary executive privilege in time of emergency as directed by Congress. Executive orders are not constitutional, and it doesn’t matter what party has control of the white house, it is dangerous to give that much power to one person. Legislative power is given to the Senate and House of Representatives.
-Quality healthcare: I understand the problem that healthcare is dramatically expensive. I also understand the problem a lot of people have with qualifying for coverage. If elected, I would like to spend a good amount of time overseeing the way medicaid and medicare reimburse and the qualifications to obtain coverage. Right now I see that medicaid seems to incentivize not working, as the cutoff for qualification in income is very very low. I would like to reform the qualification process to have different pathways to qualify, including a way where those who work at least 32 hours a week, but do not have access to employee paid healthcare, that they are able to get coverage. If we increase the workforce, that increases the tax base, and it will help with budgetary needs in paying for the coverage, while boosting the economic needs of the workforce shortage. I want to see Medicare actually cover the elderly care that is needed. Every person on Medicare seems to have a supplemental plan that they have to pay for to have proper coverage. Then we see terrible quality in most skilled nursing facilities, mostly covered by medicare. This has to change. We need to reform Medicare where the elderly are properly cared for. As noted at the beginning, as far as reimbursement, I want to give power to medical associations for setting standards of care. If a physician believes a treatment is best for a patient, it should be covered under medicaid/medicare. The federal government should not be dictating how a patient is to be treated by a doctor.
3. More than 1 million Americans have died due to COVID-19 and millions more are struggling with astronomical medical bills. Do you believe the American health system is working? What is your plan for making sure health care is affordable and accessible to all American citizens? Are you in favor of a single-payer option?
Please see my 3rd goal in question 3. I do not support a single-payer option. As a nurse, I already see how Medicaid and Medicare dictate how hospital administrators make decisions, and it is not based on patient needs; it is based on reimbursement. I want to reform medicaid and medicare to make sure people qualify who need it, and that it is tailored for quality care with the regulatory bodies. I want to “get into the weeds” with the complicated dynamic of what causes increased prices. Two things I want to push for in healthcare specifically are:
Transparency: If any medical facility is receiving Medicaid and Medicare funding (and the majority are), they will be required to post all prices on their website. This will drive down costs based on market costs.
Eradicate PBM’s: PBM’s are a “middle man” between the pharmaceutical companies and the consumer (pharmacies and the people needing medications). I have learned, while campaigning, that the PBM’s are the ones deciding medication prices, so a pharmacy company may price a drug at $30 and the PBM puts it at $200, and that’s what the consumer pays, while the PBM makes 85% (and some of these companies are overseas not paying taxes). I want to make sure regulations allow for direct to consumer pricing from the pharmaceutical company.
4. What factors are fueling the country’s growing political polarization and how will you work to mend it?
Lack of truth and censorship- I have spoken a lot about truth, justice, and unity in America. We cannot have unity without legitimate truth and justice. And we cannot have justice without truth. I have found most people argue about topics they don’t actually know the truth on. Everyone is just reading the news, and the news is clearly partisan at this point. This creates a frustration in Republicans and an “expert” mentality from Democrats, and neither are fully informed, and we see division in families, friends, and churches over political discussion. To have a free country, we have to have free speech. I want to reform section 230 of the Communication Decency Act to say that if any platform chooses to censor one person, they are then liable for anything said on their platform. The Act was initially signed to promote free speech and take away liability for “bad” or illegal things said or done on social media platforms from the media companies. This has created a free-for-all in censoring or not censoring.
I have always valued honesty from an early age, so when I hear people arguing about a topic that neither person has firsthand knowledge on, I see that this is the problem. No one on either side knows what is true. My goal in office will be truth and transparency and giving more power to the People.
5. Rent, property taxes, and home sale prices have generally been rising over the past several years. What, if anything, should the federal government do to address this growing affordability crisis?
Much of this problem was due to dramatically low interest rates. Large companies and hedge funds had access to large amounts of capital and very low interest rates, and they bought high with cash, drowning out the individual looking to purchase a home and driving up home values. Congress needs to prioritize affordable interest rates. Congress also needs to stop printing money. When high loans are being backed by the federal government, it drives up inflation further, so in turn the feds are helping the large companies by giving them access to counterfeit capital, and driving up costs for the low-income and middle class America.
6. Do you believe the federal minimum wage should be increased? If, by how much? If not, why?
No. I am for decreasing the power of the federal government. The economy (housing and price of living) are distinctly different in Durham than they are in rural Iowa. I talk a lot about big business and how large companies make decisions from the top that often decrease the quality of the product they are quite far removed from (for me it was hospital administrations making budgetary cuts that harmed patients). We need as much power in the states vs. the federal government as possible. If states want to implement a higher minimum wage, that is at least closer to the People level. The federal government is too high level to make that kind of decision, as it WILL increase costs for businesses across the board and drive inflation rates higher.
7. What specific policies or programs do you endorse or would pursue to combat inflation? Do you foresee the U.S. heading into a larger economic recession and if so, what is the best way for Congress to address it?
Please see number 3 and 6. I do see the U.S. heading into a larger economic recession if Congress does not implement a budget that decreases the federal deficit.
8. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling this summer overturning Roe v. Wade. Do you believe abortion should be a fundamental human right? If elected, would you support a federal ban on abortion? What role, if any, should Congress play in restricting or expanding access to abortion?
This is not a power given to the federal government in the constitution. While I am personally pro-life, I am very consistent in all subjects in finding as many ways to bring power to the states and the People as possible. I do not think this subject should be legislated federally. If it is pushed federally, I would make sure to include exceptions for the woman’s life. I am pro-life in all circumstances, and that includes the mother’s life. As a nurse, I can speak to my other republican colleagues and explain situations such as viability in ectopic pregnancy (and other life-threatening conditions) that do come up. Again, this is a topic I will be working to legislate from the federal level as it is currently in the hands of the states.
9. Please state three specific policies you support to address climate change.
This is not my area of expertise, but I have met many groups (some conservative and some liberal) that have great economic ideas for implementing better green energy policy like carbon tax, green energy tax incentives/deductions, and considering nuclear energy alternatives.
10. What more, if anything, should Congress do to regulate firearms?
I stand on the exact verbiage of the 2nd amendment “being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The reason we have the second amendment is to prevent a tyrannical government. If you talk to any immigrant they speak highly of the right to bear arms, as that is a clear distinction from what they see communist countries with controlling governments. My platform and reason for running for Congress is to decrease the power of the federal government legislatively, so that would include making sure the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Statistically more people are killed with handguns by a very high percentage, so specific guns are not the issue (that’s just a buzz term). I would approach our violence problem with funding for better mental health resources. There is high regulation and very little funding for preventative, acute, and chronic mental health conditions, and we are seeing a dramatic rise in needs. Mental health needs are a safety and security issue, as the person struggling with these issues can be a threat to themselves and others. From the federal level, my priority would be on mental health needs, and funding for local law enforcement as all of my counties are low in staff (especially Durham with the highest crime rate).
11. Are there any issues this questionnaire has not addressed that you would like to address?
I hope to make sure all policies I vote on bring more power to the People. I want to see all of my constituents thriving and experience the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that should be in America. I want to make sure the under-represented have a voice. I want to find ways to train the workforce with community college and trades in high school. Campaigning is really a massive networking opportunity, and I have already been able to connect people with each other locally to solve problems, and I plan to do that more when elected. My goal is to be transparent and accessible with at least 81 public town halls (putting two precincts together at a time) where every person in my district has the opportunity to talk with me in person about needs they have and hear what updates are going on federally (while including any local officials in those meetings that are willing, so we can all work together for the good of the People).
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