I believe our system works best when everyone gets a fair shot, everyone gives their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules. Our current system works to help the top 5%, while the majority of us live on stagnant wages, and many see the value of their hard work decreasing while the costs of health, safety, and opportunity continue to grow.
We are a country of entrepreneurs, and I believe we must support our small businesses as a major access point to the American Dream.
The richest 1% in America own more than one-third of all the combined wealth in our country -- stocks, bonds, businesses, real estate, cars, jewelry. The richest 5% own nearly two-thirds of all the wealth. The rich don’t need more subsidies and loopholes. They need to pay their fair share.
I don’t begrudge anyone’s success. But there is enough opportunity in this country that everyone willing to work for it can have a shot at that success.
Americans deserve a structure that rewards hard work and innovation, not one that incentivizes the super-wealthy gaming the system and passing costs onto our communities. We need rules that make economic competition fair and honest, while opening doors to opportunity.
Every American should have access to quality, affordable health care – universal, single-payer health care. My own experiences have taught me the value of that. Were it not for my mother’s insurance when I was injured in high school, I’d still be in a wheelchair today. I still walk with a cane and with braces; I know something about pre-existing conditions.
In the greatest country on Earth, health care should be a right, not a privilege. No family in America should have to make a choice between paying an electricity bill or paying for a doctor’s visit. It should weigh heavily upon our nation’s conscience when any American falls ill simply because he or she cannot afford preventative care.
I support the protection and expansion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While far from perfect, the ACA provides a strong and actionable response to our nation’s healthcare crisis. Since its passage in 2010 by a supermajority of Senators, the ACA has strengthened the quality of care in our nation and eased the burden on employers by taming out-of-control increases in the cost of care. Families should not be forced to file for bankruptcy due to their medical bills. Patients should not be denied insurance because of pre-existing medical conditions. Kids and adults without insurance should not have to receive their healthcare via emergency rooms, with the insured footing the bill. The ACA is both a compassionate and economically sound response to these crises, and to repeal or replace it would be to harm Americans at all socioeconomic levels.
I will fight to protect the provisions of the ACA, as well as enhance and expand the policy to lessen the burden on individuals and employers alike. To this end, I support single-payer healthcare, which would cover basic, necessary medical services for all Americans, regardless of their income, occupation, or health history.
Gun violence is nothing short of an epidemic in the United States. With more than 500 mass shootings in fewer than 500 days, our nation faces a state of emergency unlike any other in the world. I support the 2nd Amendment, as I support all other Amendments to the United States Constitution – but the 2nd Amendment has been misused and abused by gun manufacturers and sellers, with the ongoing assistance of the NRA lobbyists they pay to protect their financial interests. The inarguable effect of this influence is the loss of American lives at the hands of people who should never have owned a gun in the first place.
Placing reasonable restrictions on the sale and ownership of guns does not infringe on the rights of law-following Americans to hunt and to protect themselves. Background checks, ammunition restrictions, and loophole closures will help keep firearms out of the hands of those with a history of domestic violence, criminal action, and mental illness. From Sandy Hook to San Bernardino to Orlando to Las Vegas, we have witnessed far too much loss of life, grief, and pain by machines of war. It is our moral obligation to stop pandering to special interests and to make gun control a priority in this nation.
We’ve all seen what prescription painkillers (and, as the disease of addiction progresses, heroin) are doing to our communities and our nation. We must stop this epidemic where it starts: with the over-prescribing of painkillers in the only state that does not hold “pill mill” physicians accountable with a prescription drug monitoring database. In addition to stemming this crisis where it begins, we must also offer affordable, non-stigmatized treatment options for those battling addiction, to help them lead healthier and more productive lives.
I believe we have the responsibility of stewardship to pass down our resources – our land, water, and wildlife – from one generation to the next. We can no longer afford to deny that our climate is changing, and climate change should be accepted as a scientific fact, not used as a partisan football.
What’s more, the industry addressing green technology can be a major job creator. I want to help bring those jobs to our part of Missouri.
Increasingly severe weather patterns, with drastic and destructive consequences, are becoming more and more “normal.” We owe it to our kids and grandkids to protect their futures – and that means addressing climate change before it becomes irreversible. This isn’t some abstract concept for our area: our district is situated upon a floodplain, with flood events growing increasingly frequent and more severe.
Running away from tough problems isn’t American. We already have the most brilliant minds coming up with great plans that will stimulate the economy while protecting our planet, and it’s well past time to get those commonsense strategies into play. We know what’s right, we know how to implement clean energy solutions, and we know that reducing fossil-fuel dependence will make America stronger and our kids safer. It’s time to step up and get this done. Our children are counting on it.
I believe that one of our government’s most fundamental responsibilities is to keep Americans safe, and that a fair criminal justice system is one that locks up dangerous felons, and provides treatment and intervention for nonviolent and younger offenders. We shouldn’t shy away from punishing violent criminals, but we need to do everything we can to divert nonviolent and younger offenders from crime, by providing treatment, education, and the opportunity for a better life. We as a society gain nothing, either morally or economically, when we insist on locking up nonviolent or younger offenders.
I believe in personal freedom and the personal responsibility that comes with it, and this includes the decriminalization and ultimate legalization of marijuana. I believe we are missing out on a great economic and safety opportunity, via the regulation and taxation of marijuana – and we are also keeping people from its legitimate medical benefits, such as slowing the frequency and severity of epileptic seizures and providing complementary relief during cancer treatment. Further, the impact of marijuana usage and sale on our criminal justice system cannot be overstated. We are turning petty weed smokers into hardened repeat offending criminals by throwing them into prisons. This is both economically illogical and morally unsound.
America is supposed to be a land of opportunity, where hard work is rewarded. But we’ve fallen short of our values.
Imagine working a 40-hour workweek, never taking a day off for a holiday or vacation or even a sick day. Now imagine working that hard for $16,000 a year to raise a family four.
Today’s minimum wage makes a mockery of our values. Raising the minimum wage provides hard-working Americans with income to spend on the basics they need. This, in turn, generates business for our economy and eases the burden on taxpayer-funded services. A stronger minimum wage can mean the difference between a tax-payer and a tax burden. Raising the minimum wage grows our economy for everyone, including the middle class. Quite simply: It’s a win-win. Raising the minimum wage helps build an economy that works for everyone, not just the richest 1 percent.
First, it’s important to acknowledge that we as Americans are never all going to agree when it comes to abortion. It’s also imperative to understand that women are never going to stop seeking ways to end an unwanted pregnancy – and, if we are truly a compassionate people, we want to keep that procedure safe and legal.
The issue upon which we can and should agree is this: we must do everything possible to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. We do this by investing in education, expanding access to birth control, and holding men and boys to the same standard of responsibility as we do women and girls.
I believe that individuals should have the freedom, opportunity, and protected right to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. These include decisions about whether and when to become a parent, how to protect oneself from unwanted pregnancy, and how to prevent serious problems in the future. To make these decisions responsibly, individuals need access to medically accurate information, birth control, and, when necessary, safe and accessible abortion services. I believe that a responsible government should focus on reducing the need for abortion by providing education to prevent unwanted pregnancies, supporting women who choose to have children, and making childbirth safer and less costly.
Labor unions are fundamental to the productivity and safety of our nation and our District. I believe in protecting workers and their families from damaging, union-busting policies like “right to work.” A strong, protected labor force is the backbone of much of our economy, and by supporting unions, we support such key issues as fair and equal pay, workplace safety, and whistleblower protections.
I believe in wholly equal rights for all Americans, regardless of gender identity. People should be able to be who they are and love who they love, without government interference in their lives. I believe all Americans should have an equal chance to pursue health and happiness, earn a living, be safe in their communities, serve their country, raise children, take care of the ones they love, and enter into marriages.