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.
Several members of my family on both sides have special needs, ranging in age from children to seniors. I know the demands that families face as caretakers, and that we as a community need to come together and provide support and resources at every stage of life. I know first hand how our system can do a better job of ensuring that people with special needs have high quality education, and every opportunity to achieve the highest possible level of self sufficiency in life. It’s vitally important that the federal government adequately funds community resource centers, programs, education, and the support necessary for these Americans and I'm ready to be an advocate for this in Congress.
As a lifelong gun owner, I am ready to be a sensible voice in the debate around gun violence. I believe that respecting the Second Amendment and advocating for gun safety measures are not mutually exclusive, which is why I am proud to have the distinction as a Gun Sense Candidate from Moms Demand Action. Like we already have in California, I support a federal ban on assault weapons, high capacity magazines and bump stocks, as well as increasing waiting periods, raising the minimum age to purchase all weapons, and expanding our current background check system. These measures can have a significant impact on reducing gun violence, while also adequately retaining the right to bear arms. It’s time to move past inflammatory politics and take steps now to curb gun violence, because protecting our kids and our communities is something we can ALL agree on.
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.
The federal government has to fully fund the education mandates they set at the national level and we ultimately have to protect our public schools from privatization. Investing in these programs across the country provides critical funding aimed at supporting the nation’s neediest students; our poor, rural, and minority students and students with special needs. These funds help supplement what states are able to invest to give these children a level playing field and equitable access to an education that will help foster their growth as citizens of the future.
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 – should be granted the opportunity to work for a better future for themselves and their families. We have to provide a clear path to citizenship for our dreamers and protect measures to keep families together. We can do this while also strengthening our borders against national security threats as well as the trafficking of sex workers, drugs and weapons. I know if we can get beyond partisan politics on this issue, we can work together to make real progress on immigration.
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.
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 Government
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. Women’s issues extend far beyond reproductive rights. We need to be working towards equal pay for women, ensuring access to affordable childcare and make sure women aren’t being hit with unfair taxes on feminine products. It’s time to level the playing field and claim our voice in government and I’m ready to lead that charge in Congress.
Through my work at PATH I became intimately familiar with the ways in which our broken system disproportionately affects people of color in a negative way. For example, in LA County, nearly 50% of the homeless population we served was African American, despite the fact they only make up less than 10% of the total population. If we are going to live up to the ideals of American freedom and give every single person in this country a fighting chance to flourish, we have to be aware of the ways in which racial injustices are perpetrated through the criminal justice system, education, housing and in the workplace. I’ve spent my career being a voice for the most vulnerable populations in our communities and I’m ready to continue to be a voice in Congress, but I can’t do it alone. Let’s work together to build a more just and equitable society.
I’ve identified as bisexual since I was a teenager and if we want to achieve equality for all in our policies, we need more voices from the LGBTQ community in Congress. I am proud to be endorsed by Equality California, Equality PAC, the LGBTQ Victory Fund and the Stonewall Democratic Club, and if elected, I will be the only openly bisexual woman in the House of Representatives. The federal government has no business in restricting basic human rights based on sexual orientation and I am ready to protect equality at every turn in Congress.
Millennials in Government
As millennials, we’re stuck with having to live with the long term consequences of decisions career politicians won’t be around to experience. Millennials now make up the largest voting bloc in the country and it’s our time to step up. Our generation has the opportunity to be the change we want to see in the world if we turn out to vote for issues like income inequality, affordable housing, education, health care for all and the environment. These are the top challenges our generation is having to face head on and I believe we’re the ones to make real change happen. This country needs millenials to turn out in a big way this election and I’m ready to be your voice, but I can’t do it alone, we have to do this together.