Americans pay more for healthcare than any other developed nation- we spent $3.65 trillion dollars in 2018- but our health outcomes don't match how much we pay. We spend more on medications, wait longer for appointments, have shorter life expectancies, and experience more medical errors than many other similar countries. We have to learn from the best (and worst) strategies being used around the world to create an accessible system that meets the needs of all Americans and reduces costs. Healthcare is a human right, and the market-based approach has been unsuccessful in serving everyone.
Providing Universal Healthcare will bridge the gaps currently experienced by our military service members seeking care through the Veteran's Administration. We appreciate your service, and you deserve excellent care.
We can't afford to stay dependent on fossil fuels as our main source of energy. As we transition to clean, renewable sources, we won't leave the people who currently work to power our communities without jobs- we will retrain individuals currently working in mining and facility operation in jobs manufacturing, installing, and maintaining renewable sources such as solar or wind power. This provides a fair way to transition that doesn't leave hard-working Americans out of a job.
Renewable energy is also a great field for military service members re-entering the civilian workforce.
The Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United vs the Federal Election Commission declared money is protected speech and that corporations have the same rights as actual people. It does not protect Americans who don't have millions to give to politicians- when you're struggling to put food on the table because your employer doesn't pay a living wage, even finding ten bucks to give to a campaign is a struggle. This makes the government work only for the people who already have money, not protect those who are most vulnerable. We must make elections publicly financed, institute nationwide mail ballot systems and automatic voter registration, and make election day a national holiday. Legislators need to represent actual people, not corporations and interest groups.
“No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.... By living wages, I mean more than a bare subsistence level — I mean the wages of a decent living.” (1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Statement on the National Industrial Recovery Act)
The Federal Minimum Wage has not kept pace with the cost of living or the scale of profits enjoyed by corporations, shareholders, and CEO's. Companies cannot be allowed to escape federal taxes and reap huge profits while leaving their employees dependent upon taxpayer-funded assistance programs. The minimum wage must be raised to meet the current cost of living and adjusted annually to account for inflation. There is no reason for people to live in poverty.
We must fully fund public education from preschool through college or trade school. High quality, debt-free education will create a stronger economy and reduce burdens on families and the government.
Student debt relief will be a huge benefit to our economy since people will be able to invest the money currently going toward loan payments in a home, starting a family, or saving for retirement. Getting an education should not harm anyone's financial well-being.
Reproductive health is a matter between the individual and their provider, and cannot be controlled by the religious preferences of their employer. Colorado proved that the best way to reduce unwanted pregnancy and abortions is to provide accurate education and no-cost contraceptives through the Colorado Family Planning Initiative. "The CFPI drove a 50 percent reduction in teen births and abortions, avoided nearly $70 million in public assistance costs and empowered thousands of young women to make their own choices on when or whether to start a family." Restricting abortion access through legislation is ineffective and dangerous. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/cfpi-report
Marriage is a civil right, and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is unacceptable. Personal beliefs are not an excuse to refuse services or employment.
We are a nation of immigrants; the current administration's policies regarding asylum seekers arriving at our southern border is inhumane and harmful to people fleeing violence and poverty. Comprehensive immigration reform must include a path to citizenship for childhood arrivals and hiring enough personnel to process applicants in a timely fashion instead of incarcerating and separating families. We must put an end to racist, inflammatory statements and policies coming from the highest levels of our government, including government shutdowns and illegal seizure of lands and funds to "build the wall."
Individuals who volunteer to serve in our military must be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. Meeting their needs requires fully staffing the Veterans Administration so that services can be accessed in a timely fashion without privatizing their care.
Transgender individuals who wish to serve our country in the US military should be welcomed with the same gratitude that other volunteers receive.
We incarcerate more people than any other nation on Earth, and because we focus on punishment rather than rehabilitation our systems will always be full. A successful corrections system must work to make sure that people do not return after serving their sentence; running these institutions for profit does not motivate providers to reduce recidivism. We must stop treating addiction and mental illness as a crime and address the high number of minorities locked up for crimes committed at the same rates by people of all colors.
Congress needs a mandatory database of constituent contacts that we, the People, can search to verify that our representatives actually address the needs expressed by their voters. Every call, postcard, and email must be categorized and put into a system that can be easily navigated by the public while protecting the individual's privacy. It must include a high quality data gathering framework too, not supposed "Constituent Values Surveys" that turn out to be a request for money and attempt to create an echo chamber for their base. If we can see what the People are asking for to compare it to what our representatives are doing, we can make truly informed choices about whether they are doing their jobs well enough to keep them in office.
Information about what influences politicians' decision making from Princeton University: https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf
I support common sense reforms to gun ownership- we need to work toward the "well-regulated" provision of the Second Amendment. I support federal background checks for all firearm sales, standardized education and licensing programs, prohibitions for abusers, safe storage requirements, and banning equipment such as high capacity magazines and bump stocks.