On The Issues

In Congress, I will fight to change the landscape of our electoral machine. There are four major elements I would alter to give a voice back to the people. 

 

  • Gerrymandering. Both parties do it, and it isn’t right or fair. By participating in gerrymandering, politicians redraw district lines to favor themselves and keep members of their own party in power. This undermines democracy and cheapens the voting process.

 

  • Money in Politics. It’s no secret that there’s too much money involved in politics. Running a campaign is terribly expensive, and with Citizens United, it’s possible for huge corporations to funnel large, undisclosed amounts of money to candidates. PACs and super PACs provide corporations and special interest groups the means to buy elections and control the lawmaking process. It’s time to get big money out of politics. As such, I’m only accepting donations from people, not corporations or special interest groups. I believe we can run a successful campaign on small grassroots donations.

 

  • Term limits. Incumbents win approximately 95% of congressional races and 90% of senate races. This allows politicians to serve 20, 30, or even 40 years in office. We set term limits for the President. Why not have them for the House and the Senate, too. It seems that once one election is over, politicians immediately start campaigning for the next election cycle. How can lawmakers fulfill their duties to their constituents when they’re constantly on the campaign trail?

 

  • Voting. We should be making it easier to vote, not more difficult. Restrictive voter ID laws coupled with an inadequate number of polling locations and a lack of early or mail-in voting options make it difficult for everyone who is eligible to vote to exercise that right. Our voter turnout is one of the worst among democracies in the world. I would like to see Election Day made a national holiday to get those numbers up. Additionally, I will fight to move our election system from our first-past-the-post system to a system that better captures the will of the people such as ranked-choice, scored, or score-runoff voting.

 

Healthcare

The Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect, but it did a lot of things right. It gave millions of people access to healthcare they would not have had otherwise. But it didn't do enough to reign in hospitals, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies. The costs of life-saving medical procedures and prescription drugs are wildly out of control. People shouldn’t have to go bankrupt just to take care of their health. It's time we join the rest of the industrialized world in recognizing healthcare as a human right. Single-payer healthcare is the answer, and that's why I support Medicare for All.

Workers' Rights

Our workforce is the soul of America. We must make sure they are taken care of.

That means raising the minimum wage to a livable wage. While productivity and CEO salaries have skyrocketed over the past 60 years, the minimum wage has remained stagnant. In the mid-1950's, the minimum wage was $1.00. Adjusted for inflation, that single dollar would have the buying power of about $10.00 today, but our federal minimum wage is only $7.25. There's something wrong there. No one who works a 40-hour work week should have to pick up a second job to afford the basics.

We must also protect unions and fight Right-to-Work legislation that threatens to strip unions of their power. Unions gave us weekends and the 40-hour work week. Unions gave us safer working environments. Unions gave workers the ability to negotiate wages. They must be saved.

Education

Education is our future, and it’s something that we as a nation should invest a lot of time money into. We need to work on improving our public schools, especially our inner-city schools that are too often left behind. Let us rebuild our schools, invest in our teachers, and prepare our children for the future.

Additionally, anyone who wants to go to college should be able to do so without having to amass tens of thousands of dollars in debt. We must fight for tuition-free higher education because education should be a right, not a privilege.

Equality

Regardless of race, creed, color, country of birth, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion, political opinion, or economic status, we are all human and should all be afforded the same legal rights and privileges, including marriage, adoption, and equal pay.

Climate Change

Climate change is real, and humans contribute to it. We must act now in order to curb its impact and ensure that future generations inherit a livable world. Our goal must be to move to 100% clean and renewable energy as soon as possible. This isn't just about saving the environment anymore; this is about saving lives.

Veterans

I think it is imperative that we take care of those who risked their lives for our country. There is no excuse for the United States to have a single veteran living on the streets. On top of that, we need to revamp the VA and ensure that our combat veterans have adequate access to the mental and physical healthcare they need.

Justice System Reform & The War on Drugs

The war on drugs hasn’t done much in the way of curbing drug usage or distribution in the United States. What it has done is put a lot of people who have never committed a violent crime in their entire lives behind bars. Marijuana in particular has been proven to be less dangerous than both alcohol and tobacco products, and yet it is still illegal at the federal level. There's even evidence marijuana can help alleviate some medical symptoms like chronic pain. Let's legalize marijuana and utilize its medicinal properties. In general, we must stop treating addiction as a crime, and start treating it like the disease it is. If we focus on rehabilitation over punishment, we will see a drop in recidivism and reincarceration rates.

Proportionally, we have the largest prison population of any other industrialized nation in the world, and minorities make up a disproportionate part of it. In the United States, African-Americans make up less than one-sixth of the population but more than one-third of the prison population. 

We must end the use of private prisons in the United States. No one should make a profit from the incarceration of people. 

Immigration

We are a nation of immigrants. I think it's important that we don't forget that the United States was founded by immigrants, built by immigrants, and sustained by immigrants. To dismiss this is to dismiss American history. There’s no evidence that crime rates spike with immigration, and it just isn’t true that immigrants are stealing jobs. Outsourcing and automation are the true culprits of job loss in America.

While illegal immigration is an issue, mass deportation isn't the answer--amnesty programs are. Mass deportations disrupt economies--especially those of small, rural communities. Building a wall would be a waste of money and resources, and it would have a negative impact on the ecosystems it would have to be built through.

First Amendment

I believe a free press is essential to a functioning democracy because of its ability to ask difficult questions and hold politicians accountable for the things they say and do. I believe that people should be able to worship or not worship whatever God or gods they believe in however they choose to as long as they don't infringe on the rights of others. I believe that the right to assemble peacefully, to protest, and to speak freely are among the greatest rights guaranteed by our Constitution.

Second Amendment

I believe in the right to bear arms, but I also believe in common sense gun laws. Safety should be our primary concern when it comes to firearms. If you want to own a gun, I think you should undergo a background check, carry a permit, and be trained in how to use it properly.

Reproductive Rights

A woman should be able to decide what happens to her own body. A woman's right to choose should be protected. Abortion must remain safe and legal. Over the past few decades, abortion rates have been in decline, and if we are to keep it that way, we must provide our youth with quality comprehensive sex education. Coupled with prophylactics and contraceptives, real-world sex education will help fight the spread of STIs as well as instances of teen and unwanted pregnancy, which will, in turn, lower abortion rates. 

Taxes & Spending

I understand that we are trillions of dollars in debt. I also understand that it is important to have a balanced budget. However, we cannot cut federal funding to programs that help people who need it most in the name of balancing the budget. 

I favor a progressive tax schedule that will ensure that corporations and billionaires pay their fair share so that the government can provide a quality education to anyone who wants one, guarantee healthcare to all, and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. 

Our military budget in 2015 was $598 billion--more than half of that year's discretionary budget. That year, the United States counted for more than a third of the world's total military spending, spending as much as the next seven largest military budgets combined--many of whom are our allies. If we cut our military budget by just a few billion dollars, imagine what we could do.