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Joseph Kopser is a Democratic candidate for Texas' 21st Congressional District in the U.S. House.

Kopser is a U.S. Army veteran and has worked in private industry. Leading up to the 2018 primary election, he was serving as president of the advisory and analytics firm Grayline as well as a member of the Defense Council of the Truman National Security Project. His other professional experience includes serving as the director of Texas Lyceum, a member of the board of directors of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, and the chairman and co-founder of Bunker Labs Austin.


Kopser's military experience includes serving as the department chair and professor of leadership and strategy at Texas Army ROTC and as the special assistant to the Army chief of staff. Kopser spent several years deployed in Iraq. He graduated from Harvard University with his M.P.A. and from the United States Military Academy at West Point with his bachelor's in aerospace engineering.


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Key Issues

foreign policy

In my four years at West Point and 20 years in the United States Army, I have been a student, strategist, and practitioner of American foreign policy strategy. Unlike most Americans, (and too many candidates), I can name countries on a map, I have a passport with lots of stamps, and a full understanding of the need to stay engaged worldwide.

In Congress, I will lead in the areas of foreign policy because of my experience in the Middle East, my work in the private sector for Mercedes (which included foreign travel and business), and my education from the Harvard Kennedy School on the complexity of international diplomacy.

It’s easy for President Trump to rattle a saber at countries around the world when he has never held one or had one aimed at him or his colleagues. I stand in stark contrast to his life experiences and will do everything I can to reduce the threat to the United States and increase our overall national security.

gun safety

The leadership of the National Rifle Association has developed into little more than a hired bully for gun manufacturers. NRA lobbyist Wayne LaPierre and his ilk bully Republican members of Congress into a corner, and it is unacceptable. It is unacceptable to the parents who have lost countless memories and birthdays with their children. It is unacceptable to the communities who have been forever broken by avoidable tragedies that have hit them at home. It is unacceptable to the teachers and administrators, the movie watchers and mall shoppers, and to the town hall visitors and members of Congress who have fallen victim to gun violence by those who never should have had a weapon in the first place. And it is unacceptable to me.

In the United States Army, we are trained to stand up to bullies. I fought bullies when I volunteered to go to Iraq. And when I go to Congress I will stand up to the bullying tactics of the NRA because not one more life lost prematurely is acceptable.

healthcare

Health care in America is sick, and we must heal it to improve the lives and “promote the general welfare” of our people, as the United States Constitution promises. Americans pay more than anyone in the world for a system that delivers some of the worst care at the highest costs. This kind of outcome differential doesn’t add up.

As a proud veteran, my family and I are covered under Tricare. The vast majority of others in this country are not so lucky and, before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), faced insurmountable financial obstacles to lifesaving routine checkups and preventative screenings. A doctor’s visit was a luxury for far too many hard-working Americans. For the millions who couldn’t afford it, this could mean prolonged illness or preventable death.

After that landmark legislation, however, many Texas families were able to gain access to health insurance purchased in the marketplace with premium subsidies. However, the ACA and many other positive facets of the health care system remain jeopardized by Washington leadership looking to “save money” from the budget by sacrificing the health and lives of millions of Americans—knowing we will still pay even more for it on the back end. Let’s end the false polarization of this subject, and let’s work together to find a pragmatic solution to fix health care in America.

I believe that the to way to solve America’s health care quagmire is to ensure all Americans are covered, regardless of employment status or income level. I’ll fight for health care coverage for all, and I’ll work to close the disparities in both the system’s costs relative to the quality of care Americans receive and the vast gulf in coverage that separates the wealthiest Americans from everyday, hard-working middle-class citizens.

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climate change

Climate change is real and scientists globally accept that emission of carbon dioxide through human consumption of fossil fuels is its principal contributing cause. A stable climate is a critical underpinning of quality of life and sustaining that stability—while exploring leadership solutions for a less stable climate—are at the core of my energy policies.

Climate change is not only real and impacted by human behavior, but the negative consequences to billions of people staggeringly outweigh the incidental benefits to fossil fuel companies. Climate change is a proven threat multiplier, leading to increased conflict over resource scarcity. This is the existential threat of our time.

Here in Central Texas, we’re already feeling the effects of climate change in terms of consequences of extreme weather. A recent study showed Texas would be especially hard-hit, with GDP losses of 5–15% in many counties. From floods, to droughts, to wildfires, climate change already exacts a painful toll in our area. For example, last winter’s mild temperatures devastated the peach harvest in Central Texas, hurting one of the Texas Hill Country’s traditional economies. As the rate of climate change increases, the consequences will increasingly devastate our regional agriculture, economy, and quality of life.