America – the land of opportunity, the free world, the greatest republic to ever exist – is in peril. At one time, these were accurate descriptions of the boundless futures for all Americans. However, as a result of decades of Washington putting American workers last, exploiting taxpayer dollars, and radical policies inching the country towards socialism, I am inclined to ask, are these figments of the past?

As a former Congressman, small business owner, father, and husband, questioning America’s future is not rooted in a rejection of the country I love. It’s because I love America and its principles so much that I have been asking myself, what will our country look like in 20, 40 years, and so on? When all of our grandchildren go off to college what country will they inherit? We all want future generations of Americans to be equally proud of being American and attain good quality of life.

Washington refuses to answer these complex yet crucial questions. 

For decades, our leaders — on both sides of the aisle — have failed to articulate a plan for America’s future. We think in terms of election cycles when we should be looking out decades. We speak in talking points and sound bites instead of seeking frank, bipartisan collaboration. 

Meanwhile, existential threats like China think in centuries. 

It pains me to say this: the future doesn’t seem bright, and the present certainly isn’t. That’s in stark contrast to when I got my start in the 1980s, when America was still a land of opportunity.

Whether it’s the disintegration of the nuclear family, selling out of American workers, or a faulty school system, there are deep problems in our country – and Washington is ill equipped to handle them. Despite the countless problems at home, we continue to spend billions in taxpayer dollars to continue foreign wars or at global organizations where we see little return on investment. 

Imagine the America we’d be living in had we spent our tax dollars in our own communities. 

With that said, if there’s one thing you should never bet against, it’s the resilience of American people – a spirit I know first hand from representing them in Congress. Through the great depression, wars, terrorist attacks, and more, we have always come together as a nation. 

And we must continue to. 

While the problems we’ll strive to address are far-reaching, there are five points of action I believe are the most pressing – and won’t tackle them with talking points and platitudes but data and bipartisanship. 

First, we must improve the caliber of our education system to equip students for a modern economy and root out the damaging anti-America, anti-capitalist messages. Second, we need to draft an immigration policy that regards the interests of American workers and tax dollars as paramount. Third, law and order must be restored across the country by prosecuting looters and violent rioters, so economic prosperity can return. Fourth, rebuilding infrastructure to lay the groundwork for local supply chains and a domestic manufacturing base is imperative. Lastly, balance the budgets to ensure our progeny are not forced to pay the price of our fiscal errors, as we must get our spending in order and reject Washington’s default strategy of using crises and deadlines to pass bloated budgets.

The American dream is the next generation’s opportunity to enjoy a better quality of life than the current. Together, we can start to build a vision for that future and leave a lasting legacy for our families.