I believe in open conversation about all the issues that affect us in the 25th District. My primary issues are centered around three main areas: the health and safety of our communities and the people who live in them, rebuilding and protecting the middle class, and ensuring that we have a truly representative government that is accountable to real people, not partisan politics, corporate donors, or special interest groups. Below you will find my take on the issues that most directly affect the people of our community.
Universal Health Care
In a country with this much wealth, we should have a system that ensures every American can get the health care they need. I’ve worked on the Medicaid expansion, that brought coverage to 13.5 million Californians, and I will use that experience to get us to Medicare for All. I am ready to take immediate steps to provide health care relief for the people who need it by strengthening the ACA and laying the foundation for a Medicare For All system that works for all of us.
Women’s Reproductive Rights
Women need to have control of their own bodies, including if and when to start a family. It’s not the government’s place to regulate the most personal, difficult decisions a woman will ever have to make. I support expanding access to comprehensive sexual health education and under a Medicare for All system, all men and women would have access to family-planning services such as birth control, cancer screenings and STI testing/treatment. This is why I stand with Planned Parenthood, as its California health centers provide our low-income neighbors critical and basic reproductive health care.
We have a moral responsibility to take care of our seniors. That includes protecting Medicare and Social Security, ensuring families are able to support aging loved ones with the long-term care they need, and providing a safety net for the generations who came before us. We need to invest in research and finding a cure for devastating diseases like Alzheimer's and Dementia that affect so many of our seniors, and all of those who care for them.
Supporting our Troops Veterans Care
We have to ensure that our troops have the resources that they need, because too often during my time at PATH, I saw veterans living on the streets. As a member of a family of veterans, who benefitted from the G.I. Bill, I support increasing educational benefits and opportunities for veterans. I know that it is imperative that our troops receive the proper mental health and substance abuse disorder treatment when returning from service. We have no greater obligation as a country than to take care of the men and women who have risked everything to protect us. Our veterans deserve the best possible care at every stage of their lives.
Mental Health Treatment
One in seven Americans will experience a serious mental health condition at some point in their lifetime. The impact this has on our society cannot be understated, and we need to address it as such. We have to de-stigmatize the issue, and ensure that every single American is able to get the care they need. Mental health must be included in all discussions of health care access.
Drug overdoses killed more Americans last year than the worst year ever for gun deaths (1993), HIV (1995), car crashes (1972), or the entire Vietnam war. Treatment options are dangerously unavailable or costly, and the epidemic has touched nearly every American family in some way at this point, including mine. We need to treat it as the public health crisis it is, and provide the resources accordingly.
Protecting the planet is not just an environmental issue, but a human health issue. Our families and communities need clean air, water and a non-toxic food supply so we can flourish for generations to come. In 2015, the Department of Defense informed Congress the implications of climate change included aggravating global issues such as poverty, social tensions and food shortages. These are all threats to vital human health and sustainability we must take seriously and should inspire us to do whatever it takes reverse the damage done to our environment.
Right here at home, the Aliso Canyon gas blowout is an example of how non-renewable energy sources and corrupt energy companies can have a detrimental effect on our environment. We must shut down this facility now and move to 100% clean energy, get off fossil fuels, and stop building new power plants.
I absolutely respect our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. I also believe in our fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This is why we need common sense measures to keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists, domestic abusers and people in a mental health crisis as part of our solution to curbing our nation’s rising gun violence. I am the daughter of a police officer and a lifelong gun owner myself, but I have witnessed the effects of gun violence first hand. We need to focus on implementing gun safety measures we all can agree on, like universal background checks, imposing waiting periods, and ensuring our law enforcement have the resources they need to address illegal gun trafficking. I support a ban of automatic weapons like the one that was passed in 1994, and expanding the California statewide assault weapons ban to be universal across state lines. I also support a ban on bumpstocks and silencers and implementing waiting periods and a minimum age of 21 on purchasing firearms. I also believe in regulating ammunition. As gun owners, we put responsibility and safety above all else, and it’s time we stop letting divisive partisan politics and special interest groups get in the way of progress on this vital issue.
Law Enforcement and Public Safety
As the daughter of a police officer I understand the vital service that our law enforcement officials provide for us on a daily basis. We need to provide fully for our peace officers so that they can protect our communities while also addressing the underlying causes of crime such as poverty.
Rebuild the middle class
Last year, the wealthiest 10% of families in the US held 76% of the total wealth in our country, while the bottom half of the population accounted for just 1%. We need to close that gap, and ensure that the wealthy pay the same percentage of their income in taxes as the rest of us do. If we did that, we would have all the resources we’d need to invest in rebuilding the middle class and ensuring a strong future for our country.
At the federal level, we should create incentives for local governments to attract and retain industries and employers that make the most sense for that community, provided they demonstrate public-private partnerships to train and hire local community members in living-wage jobs. In our district, that includes film, green energy, technology, and more. Extra incentives should be provided to those communities that connect the jobs to re-entry or to other underprivileged populations.
Education is the pathway to self-sufficiency in America. Everyone should have access to a good education – from preschool to college – no matter where they come from or what their family can afford. We must ensure the prosperity of our public school system, we must listen to administrators and teachers about the issues in their classrooms and consult with schools directly when drafting policies that affect them. I also support universal preschool, which is shown to decrease the K12 achievement gap across all American youth.
Affordable Housing and Homelessness
The growing homelessness crisis is a direct result of the shortage of affordable housing and skyrocketing rents in our communities. In my experience at PATH, I also know that homelessness disproportionately affects people of color, survivors of domestic violence, single-parent households and veterans -- all populations we must do better in serving. It is estimated that California has 1 million units of housing less than it needs, and we must address our nation's housing crisis at the federal level.
Rebuilding the middle class includes achieving real immigration reform that protects our country while valuing the people who have lived and worked alongside us for years. Our friends and neighbors – no matter where they were born or how they got here – deserve the opportunity to work for a better future for their families. Our communities will be stronger for it. We need to fulfill our promise to our DACA recipients and provide a path to citizenship for those who live and love our country as much as we do. This is why I support the bipartisan legislation crafted by the U.S. Senate to protect Dreamers.
Criminal Justice Reform
Too many people are stuck, unable to move into the middle class, because of a failed criminal justice system that disproportionately impacts people of color, poor people, those who have suffered from addiction or mental health disorders, and those who have simply made mistakes. We need a system that focuses on rehabilitation and provides people who have served their time with the opportunity to become self-sufficient, contributing members of society again.
Labor and Unions
After World War II, America enjoyed one of the most prosperous and expansive middle classes the world has ever seen — and a large part of that was due to the fact that union participation was higher than ever. I believe protecting our ability to organize, unionize and collectively bargain is vital to maintaining a sustainable economy. We need to ensure workers are treated fairly and with the dignity they deserve in their efforts to achieve American Dream.
A lack of access to childcare shouldn’t be the barrier to people being able to get and keep a good job. We need to ensure that parents can provide for their families and thrive in the middle class. Universal preschool would be a strong first step, but it would not be the last.
We know that all of our efforts to rebuild the middle class are for nothing if we don’t have a planet to pass on to future generations. Climate change is already having a disproportionate effect on poor and working families, which will only get worse in the years to come. We need to aggressively fight these effects and can at the same time create good, middle class jobs for people in our communities by investing in renewable energy technologies.
Small businesses employ most Americans -- but they are largely ignored in policy decisions and corporations gain the most in terms of tax cuts and regulatory relief. Expansion in health care access has contributed to more people starting or expanding their own small businesses and providing economic development right in their neighborhoods. Medicare for All, reinstating small-business deductions cut by the GOP and stronger education systems will help our small businesses thrive.
Campaign Finance Reform
If we want a government that represents the will of the people and not special interests, we have to reform the way in which we finance our campaigns. This includes tax rebates for small dollar donors and public financing pathways that make it possible for service minded individuals to run competitive campaigns against political insiders.
We must put an end to the revolving door between the capitol and lobbying firms by banning former members of Congress and their high-paid staff from becoming lobbyists for five years.
America is a great place to enjoy economic freedoms not afforded in other countries. With that freedom comes a responsibility to give back to the people and the country that make so much prosperity possible. That is why I believe in creating policies that incentivize businesses to act in a socially responsible manner, to reinvest profits here at home and to share prosperity with their highly productive workforces. Measures like these can ensure record breaking corporate profits finally do find their way back into the pockets of hard working Americans.
Getting Big Money Out Of Politics
We have to reduce the undue influence of big money on our politics by abolishing Super PACs - entities that sponsor political activities without donor limits and donor disclosures.
Women in Congress
Women make up more than half of our population, yet only 20% of Congress is comprised of women. If we want a government more representative of the public’s values and perspectives, we need more women weighing in on all policy decisions. It’s inexcusable that in 2018 we are so far from gender parity and the only way to ensure women have a voice on the floor is to elect them and give them a seat at the table.
Today, millennials outnumber baby boomers, yet only 5% of Congressional members are under the age of 40. It’s important our generation is represented in policy decisions made today that will ripple through the next 40-50 years of our lives. I want to empower young people to take a stand about the issues which personally affect them.
I identify as bisexual and when elected to Congress I will be the only LGBTQ woman currently in the U.S. House of Representatives. I do not take this honor lightly. The LGBTQ community is severely underrepresented in government and I believe it is my duty to ensure we have a voice in Washington. California has the most comprehensive non-discrimination laws in the country, and I believe they should be expanded and extended into every state in the nation. We must address disparities in health and and well-being, including our HIV/AIDs positive and senior community members. We must ensure the prosperity of our transgender neighbors, including securing their ability to serve in the military, addressing disproportionate rates of violence, and bringing bathroom safety laws nationwide. I want to secure greater resources and safe spaces for LGBTQ youth in our own backyard and use my own perspective to benefit the national conversation.
I dedicated my career to being a voice for vulnerable populations like the homeless and foster youth, so I believe we must ensure underrepresented communities have a voice in government. This means standing with our brothers and sisters of color, honoring our neighbor's of all religions and protecting the civil rights of our fellow citizens regardless of their socioeconomic status. It is our duty to stand together to protect the human rights and freedoms shared by all of us.