Interview with Nick Heuertz, candidate for Congress
Nick Heuertz is running for Congress in District 2, which encompasses eastern and southern Oregon. He was raised on a small farm in the district and owned and operated his own small business in the district for over twenty years. He recently wound down his small business in order to get involved in the process of making needed systemic changes in government. His webpage is at https://nikforcongress.com/. Nik also serves as VP of a local non-profit, Hadley Hope. The past few years Nik has spent working and volunteering on other congressional campaigns.
For this interview I asked Nick Heuertz the numbered questions in boldface. His answers are below.
1) Have you been able to obtain a coronavirus test yet? And how much did it cost you?
Nick Heuertz: I have not gotten a test. They are definitely not available to all as Donald says they are. The process here seems to be that you have to call a person on a hotline, who then directs you to a nurse, who then asks about your symptoms. If she deems your symptoms worthy, you are then directed to a doctor, who examines your symptoms. Then, if the doctor deems your symptoms worthy, they send you to be tested.
2) How many lives do you estimate will be lost because the American healthcare system is profit-driven?
Nick Heuertz: Some studies say that MFA would save over sixty-thousand lives per year; just under normal circumstances. I am not a doctor or an expert in this field, but I could just extrapolate that it could be in the hundreds of thousands, or more during a pandemic. It is a disgrace that people die or go broke because of health issues in the year 2020. We should be better than this. We should be.
3) How do you see the response in this country to the coronavirus?
Nick Heuertz: If Italy is a guide…and the information I have seen says that we are on a comparable trajectory, just a week or so behind…it could be five days or so. Unless the social distancing protocols that we have implemented slowed, and/or lessened, the viral growth through our country. But, unfortunately, I worry that we did not take enough action, quickly enough. Other countries say our response was lethargic. We needed strong direction from the top, from day one. Instead we got Donald claiming it was a hoax; and only admitting we had National Emergency weeks too late. Even then, and still now, he has not provided clear national guidelines. The Governors have had to do all of the heavy lifting, which has led to a disjointed and uneven response.
4) What are our best chances of getting Medicare for All, like, yesterday?
Nick Heuertz: We have to get the people back on our side. Two separate polls had the American people at 70% in favor of MFA just before the primary started. The Republicans started spreading doubt about “costs” and “losing insurance,” and some of the Democratic presidential candidates fell for it. They joined in with the Republicans, and we lost the public. Fear is a powerful thing.
We need to educate and motivate non-voters to vote; especially the young.
If Bernie is done, as the numbers people are saying he is, and he seems to be alluding to the fact himself, then we need Biden to pick a progressive running mate. He said he will pick a woman, so that leaves probably Abrams or Warren. Warren could make it happen. We would need eight years in a Biden administration, because he wants to improve the ACA first. But, Warren has a good plan to get there in three years. Maybe she could push Biden along. It all comes down to public pressure. We need people on our side. Bernie peeps often think that all of the country is with them. Unfortunately, they are wrong. There is a soft middle and soft edges on both sides. We need to educate and motivate. That is why I am out spreading the word in such a heavily red district. We need to be bold. We need to be resolute and strong in our messaging. We need to stomp down lies about costs and loss. MFA costs less than our current system by two-trillion dollars or more (over ten years). Nobody loses anything. Coverage is increased for everybody, and out of pocket expenses go away for everybody.
5) Who are your election opponents? Characterize them.
Nick Heuertz: Alex Spencer - Alex and I share many basic concepts. I would say that we differ largely in style, scope, and detail.
Style: My style is more of a direct repudiation of the current Republican leadership and policy. Alex has more of a conciliatory style which I love! I just don't think it is the right time in history for that style. I think we need fighters in the ring right now. Good, fair, honest fighters. I believe that the majority of the American people agree on most of the major issues of the day and that Republican lawmakers and their big, corporate, special interest donors are obstructing the will of the people from being legislated. I want to bring the fight to the attention of the voters and let them have their say with a record voter turnout in November. Republican and Democrat platforms are polar opposites at this time in history. It is a distinct choice. I am here to win the hearts and minds of the people with bold, unapologetic, progressive policy that I believe is on the right side of science, history, and is good for all people of the district, state, and our country as a whole.
Detail and scope: Although my first priorities in office will be Medicare for All, getting big money out of politics, and a Green New Deal to create millions of new sustainable jobs, I also go into some detail on about 30 different policy proposals on my website. www.nikforcongress.com ISSUES page.
Medicare for All: Alex proposes some form of Medicaid as a health care solution. I fully endorse the current Medicare for All legislation that is currently in congress. It eliminates all premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. It covers every person for medical, dental, vision, hearing, and mental health. One way that I am unique is that I pay for MFA without raising taxes on middle incomes. I instead raise taxes on those making $200,000+ per year to the rates similar to those that we had in the 1940s.
Jack Howard: “He (Greg Wladen) is the gold standard of congressmen” - The Observer, Dec. 18, 2019
Chris Vaughn - I call him "Nik Lite." I respect his passion for the average working person. We share similar platforms. I feel that my proposals are more numerous, detailed and bold; and my experience as a business owner adds additional insight and experience to my resume.
John Holm - John is for ACA with a Public Option while I support a Single Payer healthcare system.
6) What is your path to being elected? Lay out what needs to be done.
Nick Heuertz: The first step is, of course, the primary. I always planned on a strong social media campaign, but now with social distancing protocol, it is a necessity. I have the best start on that. I also have the most detailed plan for systemic change that will help take the economy and the government back from corporate interests and level the playing field for the average working person.
I win the general much the same way. There will be an infusion of energy and funds that comes with that, and I have a plan to spend the money in a way that it will have the effect of having ten times the amount of funds. Winning elections is only partly about how much money you have these days. It is largely about how you use that money and free media.
7) What sort of opposition have you faced from the Democratic Party’s power structure?
Nick Heuertz: I have faced zero opposition from the Democratic Party. If anything they have gone out of their way to be absent in the race out of fear that they might appear biased. In the light of the Hillary/Bernie fiasco, I find progressive groups of all kinds scared shitless to help anybody in a primary. It has sucked a lot of energy and momentum out of our party/movement. I am not saying that they should be biased, but we need to implement a list of things that groups will and will not do in primaries for all Dem candidates, and that is that.
That said, some individuals in those groups find their way to help, from an individual level, and those individuals should be heavily commended and credited for keeping small campaigns alive.
8) What sort of public pressure can be imposed upon Congress to make College for All a reality?
Nick Heuertz: Again, we need to motivate and educate. We need to win big in this next election. Blue will have to unite. We will not get the things we want unless we can unite our party.
9) How would the world be if it could be like you want it to be? Provide an outline.
Nick Heuertz: Entities like the United Nations would be strong. Most international disputes would be settled diplomatically.
We would end world poverty. We would build other countries up in a humanitarian way, instead of tearing them down through war.
The US would be a War and Peace Doctrine. It would outline when we do, and do not go to war. We would only go to war in order to stop humanitarian injustice like genocide, or when our national security was at stake. It would be illegal to go to war for profits.
Our domestic, economic policy would look a lot like Scandinavian countries. We would have a Social Democracy with food, water, health-care, education and shelter as human rights. See AOC’s Green New Deal, or Roosevelt’s “Second New Deal” +environmental considerations, as outlines.
We would have returned much of the Native American land that was promised to them and have been since taken away. We would have made payments to African Americans as reparations for their past enslavement by this country. Our laws would reflect a nation that has faced its white supremacist history and made serious efforts to restructure it in a more equitable way.
Our democracy would have moved closer to a direct-democracy. One in which one person equals one vote.
We would have a vibrant new economy fueled by being 100% renewable energy and energy independent as a country.
10) How are we to get the world as you want it to be? Suggest some steps we could take.
Nick Heuertz: 1. We have to educate and motivate voters and non-voters with bold, progressive policy for the people.
2. We have to win big in both houses of congress and the presidency and we have to hold that for at least four years.
3. Then we start with the changes:
a. Single Payer Universal Health Care
b. Invest heavily in sustainable energy and sustainable jobs.
c. Strengthen our democracy
1. Add more judges to the Supreme Court
2. Eliminate the Electoral College
3. Outlaw gerrymandering
4. Strengthen our Voters’ Rights Laws
5. Repeal Citizens United
6. Install National Auto-Register
7. Create a National Holiday for voting
8. Install National Vote by Mail
9. Install Term Limits
10. Abolish the Filibuster
11. Publicly Fund Elections
12. Work towards basing our number of Senators on population
13. Work towards ranked voting
14. Work towards making other parties viable in our country
11) What sort of hope hides in the interstices of the existing system?
Nick Heuertz: We only need the will. Our Constitution was written to be improved upon. The founder not only allowed it, they wanted it to happen. In our history, we have done it time and time again. Jefferson said that the Constitution should be rewritten every 19 years. We just need a supermajority to update the system to reflect the needs and the morals of the time.
And, if you take away the buzzwords, the majority of the American people agree on the major issues of the day. The want Universal Healthcare. They want to invest in our planet and our infrastructure. They want big money out of politics and one person to represent one vote.
We need to educate and motivate. I believe that if we are bold and honest we can get people to believe in the process of voting...then we win big...then we fix the system.
12) Is the Post Office worth saving and what would it take to save it?
Nick Heuertz: There is nothing much more American than the United States Post Office. It is in the Constitution after all. The USPS help establishes our country as a world leader and has provided inexpensive mail delivery since our country's founding. People will be shocked how much it will cost to send a postcard if we abolish the USPS. The USPS has not only paid for itself through much of its existence but at times it was a profit center for the people funding other governmental projects. Because of electronic media, it is going through an adjustment period, but it is well worth saving and expanding to meet the needs of our time. Don't let the people who wish to eliminate any government entity in order to increase profits for their corporate friends at the expense of we the people.
I urge you to join the campaign to save the USPS by contacting your senators. Here is a link on how to join the fight:
We have to properly fund and update the Post Office to the modern needs of the people.