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.
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.
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.
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.