We have spent our entire lives at war. I was 13 years old when we went to war in Afghanistan and to Iraq for the second time. I'm about to be 30 and there's still no end in sight. Millennials like me have known more days that our nation's been at war than at peace. The military-industrial complex in our country is horrifyingly bloated, and our continued military interventionism has destabilized entire regions of the world. We spend more on our military than the next 8 countries combined, yet necessary social safety nets for everyday Americans are slashed every day. I believe that we must immediately enact the following solutions:
We must prioritize diplomacy over war. Our interventionist wars in the Middle East have cost thousands of servicemen and trillions of dollars, as well as the deaths of millions of civilians in the attacked countries, to little benefit in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen. This must end.
End the Presidential Authorization for Use of Military Force that my opponent, Adam Smith, voted in. This will require all military action to be debated in Congress and include clearly defined goals and exit periods. War is serious, and we must follow a path that protects us from warmongers in office.
Close Guantanamo Bay, limit the National Security Agency's reach into American lives, abolish the unconstitutional use of torture, and remember the values of personal freedom that makes America truly exceptional.
Expand our global influence by promoting fair trade that protects workers rights, addressing global climate change, providing humanitarian relief and economic assistance alongside the United Nations, defending the rule of law, and promoting human rights.
The invasion in Iraq was one of the worst foreign policy blunders in modern U.S. history. After ten years, 1.3 million Iraqi, Afghani, and Pakistani lives, as well as 6000 Americans, have been lost. This war has cost us $9.4 million per day. Let's spend that money taking care of our veterans, not endangering them.
I support the agreement between the U.S., Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia regulating Iran’s nuclear weapons program, because it has the best chance of limiting Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon while avoiding another war in the region.
I agree with the UN resolution demanding an end to illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The Israeli government must also end the blockade of Gaza, and cease developing settlements on Palestinian land. Both sides must negotiate in good faith regarding all other outstanding issues that stand in the way of a durable and lasting peace in the region. In the meantime, all sides must strictly adhere to the tenets of international humanitarian law in order to avoid escalating the conflict yet again.
Co-sponsor HR 4391 -- the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act and fight to extend the protections to all Palestinians. This bill prohibits U.S. assistance to Israel from being used to support the military detention, interrogation, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in violation of international humanitarian law or the use against Palestinian children of: (1) torture, inhumane, or degrading treatment; (2) physical violence or psychological abuse; (3) incommunicado or administrative detention; (4) solitary confinement; (5) denial of parental or legal access during interrogations; or (6) force or coercion to obtain a confession.
Nearly one-in-five Americans have a disability. Disability may occur at any stage of life, to anyone, and how our government and elected leadership respond to the issues facing people with disabilities and their families – from housing and transportation, to autonomy, to employment and education and access to services – shapes the fabric of our society. Despite the progress that has been made over the past two decades, we unfortunately still live in a world where people with disabilities have fewer work opportunities and where the civil rights of people with disabilities are not always protected and respected. I will fight for the following rights to protect the rights of people with disabilities:
Cosponsor and work with the Progressive and Justice Democrat caucuses to pass TIME act. While that Fair Labor Standards Act created better wages and working conditions for most Americans, it contained a provision that excluded people with disabilities from its protections, especially the minimum wage. Nearly 80 years later, the law still contains that provision, known as Section 14(c). The Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment Act, or TIME Act, will phase out Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) over a three year period.
Protect and expand the Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI)
SSDI is vitally important to more than 11 million Americans, including more than one million veterans and nearly two million children. The average disability benefit is about $1,200 a month. For many people, that is their entire income.
Increase employment and educational opportunities for persons with disabilities - In the year 2018, it is unacceptable that over 80 percent of adults with disabilities are unemployed. We must fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and vocational education programs. We also need to expand funding for Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs), which aim to provide “one-stop shopping” for information on long-term services and support.
Fight for the U.S. ratification of the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.
Recent treatment of Puerto Rico by the Congress has made it clear that Puerto Rico is essentially a U.S. colony. Puerto Ricans live under harsh austerity measures imposed on them by a Congress in which they have no representation. This is unacceptable in a democratic society. I will push for the following policies to change this:
Give Puerto Rico the same Chapter 9 bankruptcy protections that exist for municipalities in the United States. Puerto Rico should be able to restructure its debt in a rational way that protects its people without harming ordinary investors and pension funds in the United States.
Reverse austerity measures that have harmed children, senior citizens, and the most vulnerable people in Puerto Rico.
Create new jobs and make Puerto Rican businesses more competitive in the global economy by enacting a federal jobs program.
A Marshall Plan for Puerto Rico, helping the island not only recover from Hurricane Maria, but thrive with modern infrastructure and renewable energy systems.
A community-led, sustainable, and just recovery - including protections for Puerto Rico’s public education system from kindergarten to college and trade school.
An immediate waiver and full review of the Jones Act, which hamstrings the Puerto Rican economy with restrictions that other American communities do not have to face.
Cancellation of Puerto Rico’s Wall Street debt: this debt has been accrued by vulture funds using irresponsible and unjust behavior reminiscent of the 2008 financial crisis.
Condemnation of the PROMESA Act, which handed over the island to “La Junta,” a corporate governance board installed with the support of my opponent and his private equity donors.
Fight for a referendum in which the Puerto Rican people would be able to decide on whether to become a state, an independent country, or to reform the current Commonwealth agreement. This is an issue that should be decided by the Puerto Rican people.
Move aggressively towards energy efficiency and sustainable energy production. Puerto Rico is blessed with abundant solar and wind resources, and has great potential to expand biomass and geothermal energy.
More than seven million households lack access to adequate affordable housing, and many face a daily choice between housing, food, and healthcare. Millions of Americans remain underwater with mortgage payments and millions more can’t get a loan to buy a house.
Housing is a human right. In the richest country in the history of the world, we can end the injustices that leave many Americans without a roof over their heads. I will fight to make housing affordable for all Americans by pushing for the following policies:
Build 10 million public homes over the next 10 years.
Pass tenants bill of rights.
Support local measures to control rent.
Expand the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund to at least $5 billion a year in order to construct, preserve, and rehabilitate at least 3.5 million affordable housing rental units over the next decade. Not only will this help address the affordable housing crisis, it will also create millions of good paying jobs in the process.
Raise the Minimum Wage and tie it to inflation, starting at $15 an hour.
Reinvigorate Federal Housing Programs that build affordable housing for families, for the elderly and for the disabled.
Defend Fair Housing. Republicans have tried over and over again to defund efforts to affirmatively promote fair housing. We must push back, defend and strengthen our commitments to these programs, and make sure we never again tacitly condone housing discrimination.
Demand more from Affordable Housing Developers. Housing that is built with government subsidies should remain affordable much longer than the 10, 15 or 20 years typically required by federal housing programs.
Repair Public Housing. We need sufficient funding for public housing operating and capital costs, and we need to reduce the unacceptable backlog of public housing capital needs.
Protect Rental Assistance. We need to provide full funding to all existing project-based rental assistance contracts.
Expand the Housing Choice Initiative. We must increase funding for the housing choice voucher program to target families who need support the most and provide greater economic stability to the more than 3 million households struggling to remain in safe, secure and affordable housing today.
Support First Time Home-buyers. We should expand the Department of Housing and Urban Development and USDA Rural Development assistance programs for first time home-ownership, particularly through down payment assistance, loan guarantees and direct loans.
Expand Pre-Purchase Housing Counseling. Study after study shows that people who receive counseling before buying a home are more likely to succeed at home-ownership. Housing counseling is a good investment in families and communities.
Implement Credit Score Reform. The credit scores of millions of families have been ruined because of foreclosures or other financial hardships from the economic meltdown. If we want to rebuild the lost wealth of working families, we need real credit score reform to make the banking and credit industries work for borrowers and not just lenders.
Prevent Predatory Lending. We need to work toward requiring that all mortgage costs are clear, risks are visible, and nothing is buried in fine print. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau must make sure that consumers have the information they need to make good financial decisions.
Protect Homeowner Mortgage Interest Benefits. We need to support tax policies that promote home-ownership, and oppose any reform that would negatively impact middle and low-income homeowners. We need to close the second home & yacht loophole, as there is simply no compelling public interest in subsidizing second homes and yachts. We also need to expand homeowner mortgage interest benefits to the 19 million otherwise eligible homeowners who do not itemize their taxes.
Reinvigorate HARP that was designed to assist homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments but owe more than their home is worth, by allowing them to refinance their underwater mortgages at lower interest rates. While the average homeowner saves about $2,500 per year, many people who theoretically qualify don't benefit because of various application barriers and inadequate outreach.
Expand Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling. We need to expand National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling programs to help underwater homeowners. The best solution is to keep homeowners in their homes.
We are not going back to the days when women did not have the right to control their own bodies and economic futures. Despite major advances in civil and political rights, our country still has a long way to go in addressing the issue of gender inequality. Many of the achievements that have been made for women’s rights in the 20th century have been under attack by the Republican party — denying women control over their own bodies, preventing access to vital medical and social services, and blocking equal pay for equal work. I will fight everyday to ensure women's rights are advanced, not regressed by pushing for the following:
Fight for pay equity for women by cosponsoring Paycheck Fairness Act.
Expand and protect the reproductive rights of women. Expand funding for Planned Parenthood, the Title X family planning program, and other initiatives that protect women’s health, access to contraception, and the availability of a safe and legal abortion.
Make quality childcare and pre-k available to all Americans by enacting a new Child Development Act. It is unacceptable that the cost of a quality childcare program is out of reach for millions of Americans.
Increase the minimum wage and tie it to inflation, starting at $15 an hour. Increasing the minimum wage would significantly boost the wages of more than 15 million women and help close the gender wage gap.
Raise the tipped minimum wage to $15 an hour. The federal tipped minimum wage of just $2.13 an hour hasn’t been raised since 1991. More than two-thirds of tipped workers are women. Increasing the tipped minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023 would lift millions of women out of poverty and significantly reduce the gender pay gap.
Provide at least 12 weeks of paid family leave, 2 weeks of family vacation, and one week of paid sick days to American workers.
Expand the WIC program for pregnant women, mothers and infants so that every low-income mother and her children receive the nutrition they need to live healthy lives.
Make healthcare a right. Today, women have much higher healthcare expenses than men and pay a greater portion of their healthcare costs out of their own pockets. Women make up two-thirds of the low-wage workforce and only about 23 percent of low-wage jobs provide health insurance. It is time for a Medicare for All single-payer healthcare system.
Expand social security. Fight to expand Social Security benefits by an average of $65 a month; increase cost-of-living-adjustments to keep up with rising medical and prescription drug costs; and expand the minimum Social Security benefit to lift seniors out of poverty. Women will benefit the most by expanding Social Security. More than twice as many elderly women lived in poverty than men in 2013. Without Social Security, nearly half of all elderly women would be living in poverty.
Today, 1.2 million Americans living with HIV is the crisis of access to affordable drugs. One of the great moral issues of our day is that people with HIV and AIDS are suffering and, in some cases, dying in America because they can’t afford to pay the outrageous prices being charged for the medicine they need to live. I will fight for the following policies to right this wrong:
The United States has made remarkable progress on LGBTQ+ issues in a relatively short amount of time. But there is still much work to be done. Sadly, today there are many places where it is legal to deny someone housing for being gay or trans. That is unacceptable and must change.
Pass Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Protections. Currently, anti-LGBTQ discrimination is legal on a federal level, and its impacts are devastating. LGBTQ people can be denied healthcare, housing, and basic services, leading to disproportionate rates of illness, homelessness, and violence. Congress must pass comprehensive anti-discrimination protections to ensure that all Americans have equal access in all areas of life, regardless of gender or sexuality.
Protect the privacy of transgender Americans. Even within the LGBTQ community, transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) Americans face disproportionate rates of discrimination. Reported homicides of transgender Americans are at an all-time high, with an estimated over 100 transgender Americans being murdered in 2016 based on FBI data. The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, which was conducted prior to the Trump presidency, found that transgender Americans face “pervasive mistreatment and violence,” “severe economic hardship and instability,” and “serious psychological distress” as a result of anti-transgender discrimination. Given these dangers, we must do everything in our promote to protect the privacy of transgender Americans and ensure that all Americans are respected in their gender. Here are some steps we can take:
De-gender documentation. Currently, it is difficult and in some states impossible for transgender Americans to change their gender marker(s) on official documentation. When possible, the process is only manageable if one has enough time to learn about the convoluted legal process, access to medical professionals, and can safely be out to the world. The costly and invasive process requires notarized affidavits from medical professionals, and in some states, mandatory gender affirmation surgery, which not all people want. With disproportionately high rates of homelessness, poverty, and healthcare discrimination in the transgender community, the process bars the majority of transgender people from actually being able to change their gender marker(s). The simple solution is to de-gender documentation so that gender markers are optional and the privacy of all Americans is protected.
De-gender public facilities. Much of the anti-transgender hysteria plaguing our nation has revolved around public facilities, with anti-transgender legislators using bathrooms in particular to demonize and attack transgender Americans. Regardless of which bathroom transgender and gender non-conforming people use, they are at risk of violence and discrimination. For non-binary Americans, there is no appropriate choice for gendered facilities. This essentially bars transgender Americans to go out and freely participate in the public life. The simple solution is to de-gender public facilities.
Provide mandatory training for public officials and employees. LGBTQ Americans face discrimination not only from in everyday encounters, but also interactions with the very public officials and employees meant to serve them. LGBTQ Americans endure rampant healthcare discrimination, which can lead to the denial of basic and necessary medical services. LGBTQ Americans also endure rampant discrimination in education, depriving them of yet another basic right. The lack of adequate protections promotes a vicious cycle which pushes LGBTQ members from education and health care, and subjects them to sub-par educational and healthcare access. Consequently, this perpetuates further poverty, mental illness, and social stigmatization in the LGBTQ community, which is totally unacceptable. We must combat this through mandatory training and inclusivity for all public officials and employees.
Develop and implement LGBTQ-inclusive public education. Anti-LGBTQ school bullying is at an unprecedented high. According to a 2017 RTI International study, not only has anti-LGBTQ school bullying “not improved since the 1990’s,” “some forms of victimization, particularly those affecting youth, appear to be worsening.” Anti-LGBTQ school bullying can increase the likelihood of suicide fourfold, and LGBTQ students are up to three times more likely than their peers to be physically threatened or assaulted at school and 91% more likely to be bullied or harassed. An overwhelming 81% of transgender youth, 72% of lesbian youth, and 66% of bisexual and gay youth experience sexual harassment in school. It goes to follow that a majority of LGBTQ students feel safe simply being in school. This is an epidemic. No student should be prevented from having a good education simply because of their sexuality and/or gender identity. Lives are at stake here. We need to reform our public education system to ensure that LGBTQ students feel affirmed in their identities and can safely receive a good education.
Providing resources to LGBTQ students. Schools should be prepared to support LGBTQ students by maintaining LGBTQ clubs such as GSAs and offering LGBTQ-specific school counseling.
LGBTQ-inclusive classes. LGBTQ history and identities should be included in classes so that students are aware and accepting of LGBTQ identity. According to a GLSEN survey, only 12% of millennials learned about healthy same-gender relationships in school. Not providing LGBTQ students information about their identities robs them of the opportunity to know and accept themselves, which would help them stay healthy and happy, as confirmed by GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey. We must mandate gender-inclusive language and education in classes and events.
Community training. Students and administrators alike will, as Teaching Tolerance advises, guarantee that “all school community members [have] a thorough understanding of the part they play in making their school an environment that welcomes all students.”
De-gender dress codes. Gendered dress codes are restrictive and oppressive for transgender and GNC youth. Students of all identities should be able to express their gender as they see fit.
Designate gender neutral facilities. As Teaching Tolerance writes: “Binary (women/men or boy/girl) restrooms aren’t inclusive and can be unsafe spaces for transgender and intersex students.” Therefore, we should provide gender neutral facilities where students of all genders can feel valid and safe.
Guarantee transgender-affirming healthcare. Currently, transgender affirmation procedures are considered cosmetic, which is belittling and makes the necessary procedures needlessly expensive. Healthcare providers should cover gender affirmation procedures as reconstructive, as allowing transgender people who want to transition medically to do so improves their mental health and productivity. As a study published in the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity found, “social, psychological, and medical gender affirmation were significant predictors of lower depression and higher self-esteem.” Gender affirmation can help curb suicidal ideation, which is incredibly important given that over 40% of transgender Americans attempt suicide, according to a Williams Institute survey. Essential medical procedures are not “cosmetic,” and transgender Americans deserve to be affirmed by their healthcare system.
Ban “conversion therapy.” Also known as “reparative therapy” and “ex-gay therapy,” this is a dangerous and debunked religious practice designed to rid LGBTQ people of their true gender identity and/or sexuality. The practice is deeply harmful, causing mental illness, substance abuse, and even suicide. Yet almost 700,000 LGBTQ adults and 20,000 children ages 13 to 17 are victims of “conversion therapy,” as it is entirely legal on the federal level. We must ban “conversion therapy” and instead affirm the identites of LGBTQ Americans.
End “gay panic” murder excuse. Known as the “gay panic” or “transgender panic” defense, defendants in LGBTQ murder cases in the United States can legally claim that they were driven to violence because of the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of LGBTQ people. Homophobia and transphobia are not excuses for violence and it is outrageous that “gay panic” and trans panic” defenses are still legal on the federal level. We must ban it.
Ban intersex mutilation. As the Human Rights Watch detailed: “Intersex people in the United States are subjected to medical practices that can inflict irreversible physical and psychological harm on them starting in infancy, harms that can last throughout their lives. Many of these procedures are done with the stated aim of making it easier for children to grow up ‘normal’ and integrate more easily into society by helping them conform to a particular sex assignment. The results are often catastrophic, the supposed benefits are largely unproven, and there are generally no urgent health considerations at stake. Procedures that could be delayed until intersex children are old enough to decide whether they want them are instead performed on infants who then have to live with the consequences for a lifetime.”
One in four Native Americans is living in poverty and the high school graduation rate is 67 percent, the lowest of any racial group. The second leading cause of death for Native Americans between the ages of 15-24 is suicide. One in three Native women will be raped in her lifetime; most of the offenders are non-Native. Most federal programs for tribal nations are underfunded, which has led to inadequate housing, healthcare, education, and law enforcement. I will fight for the following policies to support Native Tribes:
Improve Housing: I will fight for increased local control over the administration and operation of tribal housing programs and for full funding of the Indian Housing Block Grant Program.
Strengthen Education: In order to create economic opportunities, we must invest in education from early childhood through higher education. We must fight to fully fund the Bureau of Indian Education and strengthen self-determination to enable culturally tailored learning unique to each tribal nation and help to retain qualified teachers for Native youth. We should build upon the integrated work of the Generation Indigenous Initiative to ensure that every Native American child can reach their full potential. We should fight for plans that allow students to refinance federal debt, lower interest rates, triple federal work-study jobs, and provide for free tuition at all public colleges and universities.
Improve Healthcare: Healthcare is a human right. We should support a Medicare-for-all system that would complement the healthcare provided by the Indian Health Service. We need to work to fully fund the Indian Health Service, strengthen regional management and recruitment of committed IHS health care personnel, demand audits of IHS operations, and ensure that Native Americans have adequate, safe, and affordable access to primary care providers, including oral health and mental health practitioners as well as substance abuse treatment options.
Restore Tribal Lands: All tribes must have the right to protect and restore their lands. I support streamlining the land-trust transfer process and will work to reverse the Carcieri Supreme Court decision that resulted in an unjust two-tier system of tribes.
Advance Economic Development: I believe we should invest in upgrading our roads and bridges, drinking water and wastewater, freight and passenger rail, and electric, telecommunications and broadband networks, creating millions of good-paying jobs across the country. Such investment will help address the “digital divide,” where lack of internet access means that Native American communities are at risk of falling even further behind in their ability to access employment, educational, and assorted opportunities made available by modern information technology. Lastly, all federal grants open to state and local governments will also be open to tribes.
Protect Sacred Places and Native American Cultures: Native Americans must be empowered to maintain and pass on traditional religious beliefs, languages and social practices without fear of discrimination or suppression. Native children are the future of tribal nations; the Indian Child Welfare Act is critical to survival and must be enforced with the original intent of the law. Furthermore, tribal cultures, sacred places, religious practices, and landscapes must be federally protected.
Expand Consultation: Examine the Executive Order 13175 “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments” to ensure that consultation means more than mere listening sessions. Moreover, all voices — tribal leadership and grassroots alike — must be heard. Expand the annual White House Tribal Nations Conference that brings tribal leaders, cabinet members and the White House together to find solutions to common problems.
Promote Voting Rights: stand with Native Americans to fight for Indian voting rights, and defend the enfranchisement of minority communities across the country.
Fight Racism: end the scourge of bias and discrimination against Native peoples in federally funded institutions. Eliminate offensive public school mascots that reflect outdated stereotypes and perpetuate racism against Native Americans.
As a nation, we have a moral obligation to provide the best quality care to those who have put their lives on the line to defend us. Reports of unacceptable wait times at many VA medical facilities mean that not all veterans have access to timely health care. We have an obligation to take care of the women and men who were sent to fight our wars overseas. I will fight every day for the following policies to take care of our veterans:
Stop sending our troops to fight unnecessary and interventionist wars in the Middle East, which lack both congressional sanction and a basis in international law.
Fully fund and expand the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) so that every veteran gets the care that he or she deserves.
Substantially improve the processing of Veterans’ claims for compensation.
Expand the VA’s Caregivers Program.
Expand mental health service for Veterans.
Make comprehensive dental care available to all veterans at the VA.
In 2015, nearly one in five Americans between the ages of 19 and 64 – 35 million people – did not get their prescriptions filled because they did not have enough money. In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, Americans should not have to live in fear that they will go bankrupt or die because they cannot afford to take the medication they need. I will push for the following policies as your Representative:
Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Jessica Hernandez, Tamir Rice, Jonathan Ferrell, Oscar Grant, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, Samuel DuBose and Anastacio Hernandez-Rojas. We know their names.
Each of them died unarmed at the hands of police officers or in police custody. The chants are growing louder. My platform for racial justice is informed by the policies put forth by Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Movement for Black Lives, and Campaign Zero. If elected, I will use my position to demand justice for communities of color. I will fight for the following policies for racial justice as your Representative:
Demilitarize our police forces so they don’t look and act like invading armies. Invest in community policing. Only when we get officers into the communities, working within neighborhoods before trouble arises, do we develop the relationships necessary to make our communities safer together. Among other things, that means increasing civilian oversight of police departments.
Create a police culture that allows for good officers to report the actions of bad officers without fear of retaliation and allows for a department to follow through on such reports.
Demand police forces that reflect the diversity of our communities, including in the training academies and leadership.
Federally fund and require body cameras for law enforcement officers to ensure that they're held accountable for their actions.
Require police departments and states to collect data on all shootings and deaths that take place while in police custody, and to make that data public.
Require Police officers to be trained to de-escalate confrontations and to humanely interact with people who have mental illnesses.
Make federal resources available to crack down on the illegal activities of hate groups.
Pass legislation to restore voting rights after one has served their sentence.
Restore the “pre-clearance” formula under the Voting Rights Act, which extended protections to minority voters in states and counties where they were clearly needed. Expand the Act’s scope so that every American, regardless of skin color or national origin, is able to vote freely.
Make Election Day a federal holiday to increase voters’ ability to participate.
Make early voting an option for voters who work or study and need the flexibility to vote on evenings or weekends.
Make no-fault absentee ballots an option for all Americans.
Automatically register every American to vote when they turn 18 or move to a new state. The burden of registering voters should be on the state, not the individual voter.
End discriminatory laws and the purging of minority-community names from voting rolls.
Ensure that there are sufficient polling places and poll workers to prevent long lines from forming at the polls anywhere.
Ban for-profit prisons, which create an over-incentive to arrest, jail and detain non-violent offenders in order to keep prison beds full.
End the failed “War on Drugs” and eliminate mandatory minimums which result in sentencing disparities between black and white people.
Federally legalize Marijuana.
Allow people in states which legalize marijuana to be able to fully participate in the banking system and not be subject to federal prosecution for using pot.
Invest in drug courts and physical/mental health interventions for people with substance abuse problems, so that they do not end up in prison but rather treatment facilities.
Boost investments in education and job training programs to help former inmates rebuild their lives.
Investigate local governments that are using implicit or explicit quotas for arrests or stops.
Stop local governments that are relying on fines, fees or asset forfeitures as a steady source of revenue.
Require police departments to investigate all allegations of wrongdoing, especially those involving the use of force, and prosecute aggressively when necessary. If departments are unwilling or unable to conduct such investigations, the Department of Justice must step in and handle it for them.
Fight to make public universities tuition free, paid for with a tax on Wall Street speculators.
Invest $5.5 billion to create 1 million jobs for disadvantaged young Americans who face high unemployment rates, and further fund job-training opportunities for hundreds of thousands of young adults. This policy would be paid for by ending the loophole allowing Wall Street hedge fund managers to pay a lower tax rate than nurses or truck drivers.
Increase the minimum wage to a livable wage of $15 an hour, which will increase the wages of about half of African-Americans and nearly 60 percent of Latinos.
Invest $4.6 trillion over the next 10 years to put more than 13 million Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling cities, roads, bridges, public transportation systems, airports, drinking water systems and other infrastructure needs. This policy is paid for by eliminating offshore corporate tax loopholes.
Pass federal legislation to ensure pay equity for women.
Prevent employers from discriminating against applicants based on criminal history, which leads to extremely high unemployment rates among rehabilitated felons.
Promote policies to give the formerly incarcerated an opportunity for education, including expanding the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program and other reentry programs.
Ensure access to quality affordable childcare for working families, especially for parents who work non-traditional hours.
Fundamentally re-write our trade policies and rebuild factories that were closed as a result of bad trade deals.
Protect low-income and minority communities, who are hit worst by the effects of climate change, while also protecting existing energy-sector workers as they transition into clean energy and other jobs.
Require equal enforcement of environmental, civil rights and public health laws across communities.
Address the inadequate environmental cleanup efforts of 'Superfund' hazardous waste sites in communities of color.
Stop the unequal exposure of people of color to harmful chemicals, pesticides and other toxins in homes, schools, neighborhoods and workplaces, and challenge faulty assumptions in calculating, assessing and managing risks, discriminatory zoning and land-use practices and exclusionary policies.
Require federal agencies to develop and implement plans to achieve climate and environmental justice and provide targeted action where the needs are greatest.
Require environmental analysis for factory pollution permits to consider the disparate and cumulative environmental burden borne by the hosting communities.
Mandate states to evaluate and report progress made on addressing climate and environmental injustice.
Promote cleaner manufacturing processes, renewable energy systems and safe product designs that end pollution and the use of toxic chemicals while providing safe jobs and other economic benefits for people of color.
Medicare for All is, morally and financially, the right thing to do. In the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, we can afford to provide our people with healthcare. We know that the single-payer healthcare systems used in nearly every developed nation on Earth improve health outcomes, reduce administrative burden, and cost less per capita than the system we use now, while providing healthcare to everyone.
It was illegal to profit from healthcare in America before Nixon signed into law the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973, which allowed the over-privatization that has created massive inequity in quality of care. Not every problem we face has an easy fix; this one does!
From my first day in office, I will co-sponsor the current incarnation of a Medicare for All bill (H.R. 676) to ensure no American ever has to worry about healthcare again.
I will fight for Medicare's power to negotiate for lowered drug prices on behalf of American workers.
I will fight to import urgently needed drugs from Canada at lower costs than they would be available in the U.S., where the price of medication for rare diseases has skyrocketed due to pharmaceutical price-gouging.
The debate is over, and the scientific jury is in: global climate change is real, it is caused mainly by emissions released from burning fossil fuels and it poses a catastrophic threat to the long-term longevity of our planet. If we do nothing, the planet will heat up five to ten degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. That would cause enough sea level rise from melting glaciers to put cities like New York and Miami underwater – along with more frequent asthma attacks, higher food prices, insufficient drinking water and more infectious diseases.The worst part is this: people who live in low-income and minority communities will bear the most severe consequences of society’s addiction to fossil fuels.
Switch to 100% renewable energy by 2035 and create millions of jobs while doing it. Invest in clean, sustainable energy sources powered by the sun, wind and Earth’s heat.
End the huge subsidies that benefit fossil fuel companies.
Create a national environmental and climate justice plan that recognizes the heightened public health risks faced by low-income and minority communities.
Build electric vehicle charging stations. In a country where nearly 30 percent of carbon pollution emissions come from the transportation sector, it is imperative that we end our dependence on gasoline.
Build high-speed passenger and cargo rail. Our nation’s rail system is largely obsolete, even though our energy-efficient railroads move more freight than ever, and Amtrak’s ridership has never been higher. We must invest in our rail transportation, and not cut corners, to make sure accidents like the one near DuPont never happen again.
Update and modernize the energy grid. Some of our grid infrastructure has not been updated since it was first built in the 1920s and 1930s. Technology development in clean energy resources and electric grid improvements have enabled “smart” technologies, programs and policies to create a safer, more sustainable energy system.
Ban Arctic oil drilling.
Ban offshore drilling.
Stop dirty pipeline projects like the Keystone XL.
Stop exports of liquefied natural gas and crude oil.
Ban fracking for natural gas.
Ban mountaintop removal coal mining and invest in Appalachian communities.
Close the loopholes that allow the chemical, oil and gas industries to pollute our air and water.
Protect public lands by promoting natural resource conservation and habitat preservation.
Invest in solar energy and put money back in the pockets of consumers. I will introduce/co-sponsor the house version of the Low Income Solar Act to increase low-income families’ access to solar energy by making it more affordable for people who own their own home and incentivize access to community solar projects.
Invest in making all American homes more energy efficient. For every dollar invested in energy efficiency technologies, like weatherization and efficient light bulbs, energy customers can enjoy up to four dollars in savings.
Before Social Security was signed into law, nearly half of senior citizens lived in poverty. Today, the elderly poverty rate is 10 percent. Social Security is the most successful government program in our nation’s history. Through good times and bad, Social Security has paid every nickel owed to every eligible American – on time and without delay. As corporations destroyed the retirement dreams of millions over the past 30 years by eliminating defined benefit pension plans, Social Security was paying full benefits. As millions of Americans lost their life savings after Wall Street’s recklessness crashed the economy in 2008, Social Security was paying full benefits. My platform aims to fight for all of us who have been disadvantaged or have left the work force. There's a lot of work to do but we can start by enacting the following legislative policies today:
The decline of the American middle class mirrors almost exactly the decline of American labor union membership. In the 1950s and 1960s, the middle class was the strongest it's ever been, and so were unions. They gave workers bargaining power to get a fair share of the economy’s gains — and unions helped improve wages and working conditions for everyone. But as union membership has weakened, from more than a third of all private-sector workers in unions in the 1950s to less than 7 percent today, the bargaining power of average workers has all but disappeared.
If elected, I will fight for the following policies to strengthen Labor Unions:
Make it easier to form a union, with a simple majority of workers voting in favor. Right now, long delays and procedural hurdles give employers plenty of time to whip up campaigns against unions, threatening location close-downs or worker firings.
Enforce penalties on companies that violate labor laws by firing workers who try to organize a union or intimidating others. These moves are illegal, but nowadays are only penalized by forcing employers to repay some wages to the fired workers, a punishment so light that many employers treat it as just a cost of doing business. I will vote to increase penalties in order to shut down this illegal behavior.
Enact a federal law that repeals the Taft-Hartley Act. This laws allow workers to get all the benefits of their local union without paying union dues, which is a back-door attack meant to defund unions. If no one pays their dues, unions have no way to provide any union benefits - to anyone. And that means lower wages.
According to a study by Harvard and Princeton economists, 94% of net jobs created since 2005 were either temporary or contract-based, not conventional 9-to-5 positions. Today, one in five American adults and children live in or near poverty, and less than half of homeless people are able to find employment. Meanwhile, decades of trickle-down economics and bank bailouts have done nothing to protect American workers against steadily increasing joblessness.
American students owe $1.48 trillion in student loan debt. The total student loan debt of our country now exceeds all credit card debt; the average student graduating in 2016 from a 4-year college owes $37,172. Combined with 45 years of wage stagnation, rapidly increasing cost-of-living in desirable employment areas, and a workforce that is retiring later, we have saddled an entire generation with a big, ugly economic anchor. Politicians have been talking about this problem for decades, yet we've made no real progress. This is why I support tuition-free public colleges and universities, and an immediate effort to relieve the massive hindrance of student debt to our to our young workers. If we want the best workforce in the world, we need to invest in our people, and that's exactly what I will do in Congress. Here's what I propose:
Federal Jobs Guarantee: A pool of unemployed workers that are ready to work for lower wages and worse benefits is a deterrent that most corporations use. A federal jobs guarantee creates a nationalized competitor in the marketplace that will create good-paying union jobs by rebuilding our infrastructure, provide quality public childcare, and establish community clinics to help care for the disenfranchised in society. I believe that a necessary pre-requisite to this is to establish federally guaranteed and free education in colleges and universities to ensure that our workforce remains highly educated and highly skilled.
Demanding that the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes. Stop corporations from shifting their profits and jobs overseas to avoid paying U.S. income taxes. Create a progressive estate tax on Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million, and enact a tax on Wall Street speculators who caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, homes, and life savings.
Increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to a living wage, tied to inflation. In 2018, no one who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty.
Putting at least 13 million Americans to work by investing $4.6 trillion over ten years towards rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, railways, airports, public transit systems, ports, dams, wastewater plants, and other infrastructure needs.
Reversing trade policies like NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR with China that have driven down wages and caused the loss of millions of jobs.
Creating 1 million jobs for disadvantaged young Americans by investing $5.5 billion in a youth jobs program.
Fighting for pay equity by signing the Paycheck Fairness Act into law. It is an outrage that women earn just 78 cents for every dollar a man earns.
Making tuition free at public colleges and universities throughout America. Everyone in this country who studies hard should be able to go to college regardless of income.
Expanding Social Security by lifting the cap on taxable income above $250,000. At a time when the senior poverty rate is going up, we have got to make sure that every American can retire with dignity and respect.
Guaranteeing healthcare as a right of citizenship by enacting a Medicare for all single-payer healthcare system. It’s time for the U.S. to join every major industrialized country on earth and provide universal healthcare to all.
Requiring employers to provide at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave; two weeks of paid vacation; and 7 paid sick days per year.
Enacting a universal childcare and prekindergarten program. I will propose a 21st century Child Development Act, to provide for the education of our children and ensure working mothers have the time that they need to survive.
Making it easier for workers to join unions by fighting for the Employee Free Choice Act.
Breaking up the huge financial institutions whose recklessness and fraudulent behavior during the subprime mortgage crisis crashed the American economy in 2008. 3 out of the 4 largest financial institutions in the country are at least 80 percent bigger today than they were before the bailout, and it's time to ensure that our tax dollars never have to bail out a bank that's "too big to fail" again.
Our democracy has been reduced to an auction of our politicians because of legally protected bribery. According to a Princeton study public policy in our country has no correlation with public opinion, and that’s no accident; the ability of corporations and wealthy donors to influence our politicians by giving them money is protected by judicial review as Constitutional. This must change if we are to make progress on any issue important to everyday Americans. I will sign on to the American Anti-Corruption Act, if elected.
Key provisions of the American Anti-Corruption Act:
Stop Political Bribery
End Secret Money
Fix Our Broken Elections
Enforce the Rules
According to the Social Security Administration, 67.3% of wage earners made less than or equal to $46,640.94. The current federal minimum wage is starvation pay and must become a living wage. If elected, I will fight for the policies below:
Tie the Federal Minimum Wage to Inflation, assessed district-by-district according to living costs, at a baseline of $15 per hour.
Co-sponsor and fight for the Paycheck Fairness Act. This act works to eliminate the wage gap by: