Getting Dark Money Out of Politics
The single greatest threat to our democracy is the billions of dollars pouring into our political system as a result of Citizens United. I will not accept any money from Big Oil, Big Pharma or any corporate entity – only individual donations. As your Senator, I pledge that I will not spend one minute in office raising funds or planning for re-election. My votes will be in the interest of the people and not special interest groups.
Science and Technology Innovation
Throughout much of the 20th century, the U.S. not only recruited scientists from all over the world, we funded them at record levels. The result was the greatest series of medical and technological advancements the world has ever seen. We must do the same again. In addition, science and technology produce high paying jobs in areas like solar energy, telecommunications, and computer sciences that not only improve the economy, but also improve our way of life.
Healthcare is not a privilege; it is a right. I strongly support a single-payer, preventative healthcare system, which would save both lives and money. We need to go back to focusing less on profits, and more on patient care. Doctors and nurses go into healthcare to help patients, and they should not have to worry about the profitability of the care they provide. The healthcare conversation needs to return to the needs and well being of patients.
Criminal Justice Reform
I was a criminal defense attorney for almost twenty-five years, and as a result, I know the system is broken. It needs a major overhaul, including bail reform and the elimination of for-profit prisons. We must end mass incarceration and focus on rehabilitation, not punishment. We must treat addiction as an illness, not a crime. And we must assert that Black Lives Matter by ending the widespread racial biases in our justice system and dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline.
Environmental Protection and Climate Change
The impact of man-made emissions on our environment is the single greatest threat facing humanity today. I absolutely support the move to renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind. Renewable energy is not only safer, but it is getting cheaper and cheaper. Emerging renewable technologies provide job opportunities for displaced workers, making a shift to clean energy good for our economy. We must also secure a clean environment for the world and its children, and ensure that access to clean air and water is a human right. That means regulating the pollutants we allow companies to pump into our soil, water, and air. First step: we must ban fracking.
This is an area ripe for innovation. We need to modernize high school curriculums by adding courses that suit the technological world we live in today, such as coding and web design. We need to provide tuition-free college for every student that wishes to pursue a degree. We must revamp the student loan program for those who are about to enter college, and investigate relief program for those who are already crippled by student loan debt. We need to quit scapegoating teachers as the problem in our educational system and start providing them with the resources to help students excel.
Immigrants come to the U.S. today for the same reasons they have for the last five hundred years – to leave behind a difficult situation and to build a better life for their families. They are people who make this country better every single day! We must provide a path to citizenship for those who want to come here and work to make America an even better place. We need to stop tearing families apart by deporting family members for trumped up reasons. No human being is illegal.
Unions and Livable Wage
It is unconscionable that a person can work 8-12 hour days for 6-7 days a week and not be able to pay their bills because their wages are so low. In the meantime, CEOs and Wall-Street executives are paid increasingly obscene salaries. We have to ensure that a worker receives fair pay for a fair day’s work. We also must recognize that unions play an important role in bargaining to guarantee that workers receive a livable wage and benefits to help support their families. Unions helped produce the greatest middle class in the history of the world and yet are under attack from politicians who take large donations from companies to promote right-to-work laws that are used to lower wages.
We do not live in a fair and just society unless women have the same rights and opportunities as men. Women deserve equal pay for equal work and paid leave when starting a family. We must fight to protect women’s access to safe and affordable reproductive health care and a woman’s right to choose. Women’s voices also need to be heard in our criminal justice system.
In the 21st century, it is remarkable that we still have to discuss equality for certain segments of our society. The LGBT community is an important part of the fabric of our country, including serving in our military, operating small and large businesses and leading the way in the fight for social justice. As important members of every single American community, it is our duty to ensure that they have equal rights including access to jobs, housing, health, and safety. The depression and suicide attempt rates in the LGBT community demonstrate that we must do much more to educate society on what their daily struggles are.
The American economy functions at its highest level when everyone is given an opportunity to succeed. For the last several decades, we have seen the effects of “trickle-down” economics, which has only served to make the very wealthy even wealthier and has excluded the majority of Americans. While CEO salaries soar to the hundreds of millions, the men and women who manufacture the products have seen their wages stagnate. A worker who puts in long hours and is loyal to his/her company should be allowed to reap the rewards for their hard work.
Voting Rights and Election Reform
One of the most important civil rights issues of our time is the attempt by those in power to invalidate or eliminate the voting rights of minority communities. This clear attempt to limit access to the ballot is an assault on the heart of our democracy. We must combat this by challenging these anti-voting measures in court and by making voting easier, not harder, for every American. We can accomplish this by having elections held on weekends and by extending early voting periods across the country. Automatic voter registration needs to be passed across every state and strict voter ID laws need to be abolished to ensure every American has a voice in our democracy.
The new head of the FCC has already begun making attempts to compromise net neutrality. Not only would this approach have a devastating effect on those living in marginalized communities, it would also have a stifling effect on small businesses and Internet startups. The Internet was designed as a free and open exchange. It should not be for sale to the highest bidders.
We are in the midst of a housing crisis. We must build more affordable housing, especially in areas near transit hubs. We have to relax restrictive zoning and building codes so that development can flourish. In return, developers must guarantee that new construction will include homes and rental units that are affordable.
We talk a lot about how much we appreciate what our veterans have done in the service of our country, but the talk is not backed up by action. Medical care for veterans is grossly underfunded. The promises we make to veterans for retraining and education are often broken. Veterans deserve more than just our gratitude – they deserve proper benefits for sacrificing their lives for our country.
We share the planet with the most amazing, beautiful and intelligent creatures. Currently, we are in the process of killing off a number of endangered species that are crucial to our ecosystems. We must support efforts to stop horrific animal slaughters in places like the dog-meat markets of Asia, the dolphin hunting coves of Japan, and the elephant ivory slaughter in Africa. In our own country, we must strengthen animal abuse laws, provide for free spaying of pets, and end puppy mills.