Issues

Healthcare

I believe that affordable health care should be provided for everyone. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a step in the right direction - it provides coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26 years-old, and expands Medicaid in many states.

First, we must develop stopgap measures to shore up our current healthcare system under the ACA. We need stability to return to our markets after the disruption caused by the current administration’s attempts to “repeal and replace” without viable legislation to supersede the ACA.

Once the temporary solution for shoring up the markets is complete, I will work to create a comprehensive solution that works for all Americans. By repairing flaws and building on the successes of the ACA, we can create a health care system that is affordable and provides coverage to all citizens regardless of their means.

Economy

As industries have left the 6th District, our economy has suffered. To revamp our economy, we must update our infrastructure to better connect our workers, businesses, goods, and services to the global economy.

The 6th District needs a new deal. We need to update our infrastructure in a way that uses 21st Century methods and technologies to build a more sustainable future. That means electrical systems that transport energy from renewable sources, investments in broadband to make it faster and more affordable, and increasing train services to reduce the traffic on our roads. Investing in these infrastructure improvements will pave the way for new businesses and industries to locate in our area.

While making the 6th District more inviting to larger employers, we can’t forget about small business owners and the contributions they make to our local economy. Small businesses provide 64% of new jobs, so developing small businesses can increase employment in our communities. Since small businesses are less likely to relocate, the investments we make will stay in our area.

Large corporations make billions in profits, but our workers are struggling to survive. As somebody who has negotiated a union contract with a large corporation, I know that there is a balance between corporate profits and fair wages and benefits. In Congress, I will work to create a sensible federal minimum wage that is fair, while also making sure not to negatively affect our local small businesses.

The 6th District can thrive if we make strategic investments now. In Congress, I will push for the nation to re-invest in our infrastructure, local businesses, and workers. We can build a thriving economy here in the 6th District with bold, creative solutions.

Environment

Climate change is real and an existential crisis on a global scale. Instead of shirking our duties, America needs to lead the world on combating climate change. In tacking on this challenge, I believe we can make our country more efficient, which will save both money and the environment.

We need a stronger EPA that can more effectively regulate the pollutants corporations release into our air and water. Corporations have the right to do business in our country, but they do not have the right to destroy our environment.

In order to have complete energy independence, we need to encourage the development of energy from renewable resources. At the same time, we should remove the subsidies we provide to oil and gas companies that make billions of dollars a year in profits.

I support a tax on carbon. The carbon tax will allow us to appropriately regulate carbon emissions, and would be a way to fund our infrastructure. As we wean ourselves off gas to electric vehicles, our gas tax revenues have fallen, which is the main source of funding for our transportation infrastructure.

As climate change has led to more powerful storms and unusual weather patterns, we need to invest in making our cities and towns more resilient to flooding, sea-level rise, and other natural disasters. By building more resilient communities, we can reduce the risks and financial impacts that natural disasters incur on our society.

As Congressman, I will preserve and protect our environment, while also making sure we invest in building more resilient and sustainable communities. Doing this will allow our country to run more efficiently, saving both money and our environment.

Immigration

Our immigration system is broken, and we deserve comprehensive legislation to fix it. For years, partisan squabbling has prevented Congress from passing such a solution, and instead, a piecemeal approach to immigration has ensued. This is unsustainable and why immigration remains a major issue today.

As a nation of immigrants (my family included) we need to recognize that our diversity of thought and culture has led our nation to be a shining example around the globe. That is why we need to remember our American values of inclusion, diversity, and family when thinking about this issue.

In the 1990s, millions of people crossed our border and decided to take part in the great American experiment. Many came to our country with little more than the clothes on their backs while fleeing war and poverty in their homelands. These people have built families and businesses that have helped keep our country growing and our economy strong.

The answer to our immigration problem, does not lie in the forceful removal of an estimated 11 million people from our country. At this point, we need to create a pathway to citizenship for those who are law-abiding citizens, who pay their fair share of taxes, and have been outstanding citizens, even if they are not called such.

We can develop ways to increase our border security without the use of oppressive barriers, such as border walls. I believe a balance of increased personnel and autonomous surveillance can help us increase our border security instead. We need to understand that with such large areas that are uninhabitable near the border, we cannot prevent everyone from crossing, but we can try to reduce it.

We must resolve the long-standing issues with immigration and in Congress, I will work hard to draft legislation that is in line with our American values of protecting our families and our homeland.

Education

For our country to thrive in a more competitive world, we need to make education accessible and affordable for all. Our current education system is anything but that; college students are taking on massive amounts of debt, families cannot afford to put their children in pre-kindergarten programs, and school systems are underfunded with teachers who are over-worked.

Student loan debt is quietly becoming a crisis as more students are graduating into a workforce with wages that don’t allow them to repay the loans they had to take out to complete college. On average, students graduate with $37,172 in student loan debt and there is currently, $1.3 trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt. With this burden, young people are postponing creating families, buying homes, or are just struggling to get by. We need a solution that reduces current student loan burdens, while also reducing the costs associated with education.

At the other end of the education spectrum, not all families can afford early childhood education programs that are proven to increase a child’s ability to learn and prosper in the classroom. Early childhood education shouldn’t only be accessible to the wealthy. Each child should have the opportunity to thrive, which is why I believe we should have universal early childhood education programs.

Along with these changes, we need to protect our public schools from privatization that is being proposed by the current administration. Private companies should not make decisions about the educational future of our children. We cannot let private companies put their profits before our children’s educational needs.

Our children deserve the best education system in the world to provide them with the skills they’ll need to prosper in an ever-changing world. That is what I will advocate for in Congress, a chance for every child to meet their full potential.

Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic is not a new phenomenon and has been devastating communities across the country for years. Enough is enough. In Congress I will develop a comprehensive program of legislation that makes us safer from opioid abuse and provides help for those already struggling with addiction.

I want to see an increase in funding for mental health programs. Many people struggle to deal with the social and economic stresses that invade their lives; they need access to mental health programs to help them develop coping skills. For too long we have stigmatized those with mental health issues as being “crazy” or weak. That is simply not true and affordable mental health care is just as important as physical health care.

While mental health is an important part of reducing addiction, we first need to make sure that doctors are prescribing drugs based on medical need, not pharmaceutical greed. When I worked in a doctor’s office I saw firsthand how pharmaceutical companies influence the decisions our doctors make. Pharmaceutical companies should have further regulations on their interactions with doctors.

Marijuana should be re-classified from a Schedule I drug by the DEA. Evidence shows that marijuana can be used medically for pain relief, seizure control, as well as having other medically useful properties, and is not known to cause addiction. Removing it from the Schedule I list allows doctors to prescribe medical marijuana for chronic pain instead of relying on addictive opioids.

We can beat the Opioid Epidemic, but it will take a concerted effort using innovative treatments and solutions. Throwing people in jail for addiction is not a solution - it simply ignores the underlying problems.