Katie Dean
Katie Dean

Meet Katie

Katie Dean has the passion, the smarts, and the work ethic to represent the people of Western North Carolina's 14th District. And if you talk to Katie's whitewater kayaking and mountain bike friends, they'll tell you she has the toughness to break through a dysfunctional Congress.

Katie and her husband, Zach, own an Auto Repair Shop. As successful small business owners, they know firsthand how difficult it has become to survive our disenfranchised economy. Nevertheless, they built their automotive service business from one bay to five bays; they understand the struggles of our elderly, families living paycheck-to-paycheck, gig workers, and small businesses.

Katie took a second job to access decent health insurance after refusing anesthetic to save money on her broken collar bone. She doesn't recommend this, but her doctor was impressed. She knows firsthand what it's like to have your back against the wall and are incapable of paying for healthcare.

Political and corporate power brokers have teamed up to create a wealth gap so large, it could fill the great valleys of the Western North Carolina Mountains. Katie will fight this greed and make an honest day's work mean something, again!

Katie earned a Bachelor's of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Georgia. She went straight to work doing infrastructure design for rural municipalities in addition to substantial work in environmental remediation and compliance. At her core, Katie is a problem solver.

Join this working-class campaign that will put the Washington fat cats on their heels and allow Madison Cawthorn to work full time in that great business he brags about, but that never produced a dime of revenue.

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Issues

Broadband and Infrastructure

Broadband - particularly in rural areas of the 14th – must be upgraded to both optimize our economy and help to educate our children. Katie believes that a regulated monopoly [i.e., utility company] should not be profiting from taxpayers. In Congress, she will fight tooth and nail for the expansion of rural America's ability to compete in the free market.

Our existing infrastructure is in desperate need of attention. Katie’s work in infrastructure design for rural municipalities gives her a unique perspective to work with state and federal agencies to ensure Western North Carolina has the necessary resources to prosper. A robust infrastructure will help push our economy forward and strengthen our residents and small businesses.

Economy

Katie believes the diversity of the rural and urban makeup of the 14th district is one of our greatest strengths. We can survive economic downturns and provide a variety of career options for all, particularly our youth. Katie and Zach have been fortunate through hard work and thrift to keep pursuing the American dream. But they also understand dreams can crash into dust and we must stand shoulder-to-shoulder to allow people to succeed and create opportunity.

On average, American CEOs make 320 times the pay of their average worker. Think about that!

30 years ago that ratio was 61 times average worker pay. From 61 times average worker pay to a multiple of 320 in 30 years.

From 1978 until 2019 typical worker pay grew 14%. For CEOs?? --- 1,167%.

This is obscene by any measure and must be addressed - immediately.

Education

Too many teachers in the 14th district practically have to take a vow of poverty to continue teaching our children. Families in the 14th district deserve top-quality schools, and in too many cases, they're just not getting them. Katie believes we can and must do better by providing better funding and developing forward-thinking policies to help our children perform better. Coming out of the pandemic, it's never been clearer that our education strategies and resources must improve for our children to learn and succeed.

Energy and the Environment

A diverse energy portfolio is a secure portfolio. Under the right leadership, Western North Carolina can lead the country to show what is possible for future energy infrastructure and policy. Katie understands the value of strategic planning, awareness, and collaboration across industries. We continuously see closed door negotiations for rate increases in our district; for too many this is unsustainable. We must invest in zero and low-carbon technology to maintain a secure energy portfolio for generations to come.

We can balance the energy needs of the 14th district while also adopting innovative environmental policies to address our climate crisis and protect our environment. Environmental health equates to human health.

Healthcare

We have serious corruption, cost, care, coverage, and competition issues in our healthcare system. Private Equity funds and Wall Street now determine our medical care at every level. These corporate raiders make fortunes by controlling physicians, nurses, support staff, and patients at their most vulnerable. In Western North Carolina, we know exactly what it’s like to have our largest hospital in our district sell out to Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). Patient care and worker’s rights tank while costs and predatory billing practices skyrocket. Katie is dedicated to addressing these unjust issues that undermine the livelihoods and way of life for our citizens.

Read the 5 C’s of Healthcare below

Corruption

To get a perspective on how relentless profiteering has corrupted US healthcare consider that just 10 years after Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) was founded, federal investigators charged the company with 14 felonies relating to fraudulent billing practices. HCA had ripped off Medicaid, Medicare, and veterans’ programs. In 1997, HCA settled the case for $1.7 billion dollars in fines, at the time the largest healthcare fraud in history. Fast-forward to 2021 and all of the top 100 hospitals are owned by hospital systems, as opposed to being independently operated community hospitals. The top system is HCA, which owns 53 of these hospitals, including the hospital with the highest charge-to-cost ratio in the U.S. We know this reality all too well inside our community when our largest hospital in NC-14 was stripped of liquidity and staffing costs slashed - all at our expense.

Katie will bring healthcare-vested corporations, private equity firms, and executives before Congress to explain their unjustified cost inflation and targeting of poor and working-class Americans for unpaid bills that bankrupt American families while corporate profits and the personal wealth of their investors rise.

Cost

Following a nasty accident and a broken collarbone with no insurance, Katie made one of the toughest decisions sick and injured Americans face every day. After her initial surgery, she endured an operation without anesthesia to pull a deck screw out of her collarbone to save $15,000 in cost. Katie was the first civilian her physician had ever performed this procedure on, so we know she is tough, but she does not wish this on one single soul.

Speaking of cost, did you know that when you go to HCA-owned Mission hospital, which is partially staffed by a private equity firm, your doctor usually has no knowledge or control of what the hospital bills you? We also know too many Americans are skipping their prescription drugs due to cost. The fact that prescription drugs are developed and produced in the United States but cost less in most other countries has to be reversed. Katie will pursue legislation to force lower prescription drug costs for all Americans, including our Medicare patients.

Care

We need to look no further than the desperate fight being waged by nurses at Mission Hospital, right here in NC-14, over nurse-to-patient ratios that are “unsustainable.” One nurse who works in the emergency department said she walked into work recently to find only ten nurses assigned to the 96-bed unit. Nurse-to-patient ratio limits must be made law to ensure quality of care and enable nurses to do their jobs effectively.

Further, physicians must be free to provide the quality of care dictated by the Hippocratic Oath rather than the private-equity owned companies employing them. By design, these corporations deliver the least and charge the most to make maximum profits.

Over 50% of America’s ER physicians are contracted out by a handful of private-equity backed titans. “Physicians they employ say they have lost autonomy and can no longer ensure proper patient care.” The physicians employed by these Wall Street staffing firms are currently required to sign away their whistleblower rights as a condition of employment. This practice degrades physicians’ ability to speak out against unethical practices and protects corporate interests.

For too many patients, the emergency room is their primary point of contact with healthcare. Katie will continue working with the doctor group “Take EM Back” (Emergency Medicine) as they fight to take medicine back from corporate control for patients, physicians, and healthcare workers.

Katie will work to legislate protection against these practices that result in degrading quality of care and leaving both practitioners and patients hanging out to dry.

Coverage

In the short term, Katie will work to “stop the bleed” and provide immediate relief to many Americans by shoring up the coverage and subsidy gaps in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), zealously protecting Medicare and lowering the enrollment age to 55, and working to expand Medicaid coverage to our most vulnerable citizens. These are ways that we can get the most Americans’ coverage or improved coverage as quickly as possible.

Katie believes that the United States will move towards a public option for healthcare. Unraveling the corruption in corporatized healthcare staffing, services, and facilities is a long and hard road. In the meantime, we cannot afford to ignore where we can make an immediate impact. Katie will do everything possible to make the existing systems work for all Americans.

Competition

Katie will bring the corporate monopolies that control our healthcare under the scrutiny necessary to root out blatant corruption and antitrust violations. These include HCA, given its stranglehold on the Mission Hospital System, as well as the private equity-owned staffing company Mission contracts. When a single company controls nearly all the healthcare of an entire community, it is fundamentally un-American.

“The root market failure that created the surprise billing problem is that patients lack meaningful choice of provider for certain services.” Congress must pass meaningful legislation to break up and discourage medical monopolies that harm patient care, cause burnout in our medical professionals and push medical costs into the stratosphere. America broke up the corporate trusts during the Gilded Age, we certainly can take on the medical monopolies today.

Social Diplomacy

America in the World

Katie believes we must work to improve frayed relations with many of our allies while recognizing that regimes worldwide, including China, Russia and North Korea, threaten our safety, security, and economy. Through smart, strategic, and persistent diplomacy, America can, once again, lead the world.

Humanity and Immigration

America's greatest strength has always been its diversity and will be more so in the future. Every community must feel safe in the melting pot that we call America. Fortunately, our justice system is beginning to get the message, but we have a long way to go. At her core, Katie sees, hears, and feels the injustices that tarnish our country's reputation and progress.

We must stop trying to solve 21st-century problems with 5th-century solutions like border walls. Technology exists which will make protecting our borders more effective at a fraction of the cost. We are a country of immigrants; that is our strength. Americans deserve thoughtful, humane policies that control our borders in an increasingly dangerous world.

Housing

Two things that are no secret to 14th district residents: housing has become incredibly expensive and our workforce cannot continue working here without more housing solutions. Modern engineering and regulatory approaches have made quality, affordable housing – well - more affordable. State and federal agencies have a massive footprint in this area. Katie will use her engineering background to work with them to provide better, more affordable housing solutions.

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