With much excitement surrounding Sen. Marco Rubio’s speech at the Freedom Tower today, there’s been little speculation about what he’s going to say outside of his tax plan with Sen. Mike Lee and his views on American foreign policy.
Americans want to hear about those things. But, here are some other issues that I hope Sen. Rubio talks about:
1. Advancing the Middle Class
How does Sen. Rubio plan to grow the middle class and help them get ahead? His tax plan seems to be a good start. What are his plans on protecting the earnings of the middle class, though? Does he agree with Janet Yellen that the Federal Reserve should be arbitrarily targeting 2 percent inflation—essentially taking $1,000 a year away from families making $50,000 annually? What are his plans to stop that and to grow wages?
What are his plans to address the college tuition bubble? Students are graduating college unable to find a good job but are still drowning in tens of thousands of dollars in debt. These students are being put into an impossible situation, forcing them to choose between paying their student loans back or affording respectable clothing, food, and shelter—and many are trying to balance all those obligations with raising a family.
2. Protecting Life and the Family
One would have a hard time arguing that Sen. Rubio hasn’t been a champion for protecting vulnerable pregnant mothers and their unborn children from the grave injustice of abortion, but will he go on offense against Hillary Clinton with this issue like Sen. Rand Paul did? Will he bring attention to the fact that she and the Democratic National Committee support aborting babies at the latest stages in pregnancy, funded with taxpayer dollars?
Will he speak out against the radical campaign to redefine the family and silence Christians for their beliefs? Will he defend freedom of speech and religious liberty? He has been a champion on these issues throughout his career, but will he campaign for President on them?
3. Advancing the Dignity of New Immigrants, While Protecting Current Citizens
Sen. Rubio has simultaneously drawn flack and praise for his involvement in the recent attempt by the Senate to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Sen. Rubio has since declared that he supports passing immigration reform through a series of bills, instead of one large bill.
Americans support reforming our immigration system if it’s done the right way. They want a secure border, E-Verify, assimilation, and a robust, market-based guest worker system, and they are okay with allowing more immigrants into the country. What they reject is the current lawlessness and executive action that will lead to more injustice and suffering for all parties involved.
Sen. Rubio has a chance to go on offense regarding immigration reform. He can point out where President Obama has gone wrong, how immigrants can contribute to our country, and how it’s important to secure the border and implement E-Verify.
4. Common Core and the Federal Government’s Role in Education
Sen. Rubio should spell out what he believes is the proper role for the federal government when it comes to the education of our children. Do federal bureaucrats have any role in forcing the standards upon the states or promoting the standards across the country? Or should these decisions be left to the states, local school boards, and parents? Do federal bureaucrats have the authority to collect private data from our students? Are the Common Core standards a step forward or a step backwards?
This is a crucial issue where Sen. Rubio can contrast himself with Gov. Jeb Bush, who supports a strong federal role in promoting standards, collecting data, the Common Core standards, and centralizing education decisions in Washington, DC for a one-size-fits-all workforce development-style education system.
Capitalizing on these four issues, in addition to his tax policy and foreign policy, could allow for Sen. Rubio to break out of the box and away from the rest of the pack, enabling him to build a broad coalition of support from within the Republican Party and beyond.
Terry Schilling is the executive director of American Principles in Action.