As someone who works in healthcare, it always mystifies me when Washington policy makers talk about healthcare in the context of coverage, insurance, and cost. Healthcare is a right, not a privilege. It’s about people.
The Affordable Care Act extended insurance and care to millions of more Americans than at any point in our history. President Obama and the Democrats passed it, Trump and the Republicans are trying to slash it.
We need to go beyond the Affordable Care Act. We need to mend – not end – Obamacare. I support Medicare for all. Period. We also need a Patient’s Bill of Rights to fill in the gaps in the system, and move towards a world-class healthcare system.
We also need to understand how healthcare isn’t just about spending, but jobs. As our population ages, we will need more home aides, nurses, doctors, and support staff. Our economy needs to meet these needs through stronger investments in training, education, and fair wages for those on the front lines.
I support a long-term funding for Children Healthcare Insurance Program (CHIP). The program has dramatically reduced the number of kids who go without health insurance and increased their access to medical services, all at a relatively low price. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that reauthorizing it for 10 years would actually save the government up to 6 billion, but the current 6 years funding isn’t that long enough to see the savings.
Investing in a Stronger Economy
We all know our tax policy is out of whack, and when Democrats reclaim the Congress, I will vote to repeal the Trump-Ryan tax bill. The Republicans rammed through a tax bill most Members of Congress never saw, much less read. I will never vote for a bill with handwriting in the margins, written by corporate lobbyists in search of their next loophole. It’s not democracy, it’s disgusting.
As someone who has employed thousands of people (and by extension, their families), I know how good paying jobs are investments in people, their dreams, and in our communities. I have always paid my employees more than the federal minimum wage. I fully support increasing the federal minimum wage, and will cosponsor legislation in the #Fightfor15.
We also have to re-regulate certain parts of the financial system, and hold those who periodically wreck our economy accountable. The special interests in the banking, credit card, and insurance industries are taking consumers for a ride. It needs to be stopped.
Standing Up to Trump
As an immigrant and a minority, I oppose Trump’s Wall and his Muslim ban. They are both costly and counterproductive steps which weaken our standing with the rest of the world, and undermine our national security.
It is only through cooperation with other nations where we can best defend America. They have the intelligence and security infrastructure to help us identify threats before they land on our shores, regardless of where they come from. In cooperating with allies, we keep each other safe from the threats of state or sectarian attack, and undermine the global trafficking of drugs, contraband, and human beings.
I fully support comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship, the protection of DREAMERS through a reinstated and robust DACA program, and stricter penalties for traffickers.
Climate, Infrastructure, and Sustainability
We all saw and felt the impact of climate change when the floods came with Hurricane Harvey. We all were #HoustonStrong – neighbors helped neighbors and strangers alike through the worst parts of the storm, and we must all continue to be strong in the long struggle ahead.
Harvey’s impact wasn’t just environmental, it was economic. Closed roads and businesses made it hard for people to get to work, and without work and wages, people are still feeling the economic squeeze.
Our recovery efforts cannot simply be about getting back to where we were, because we were already behind much of the country in planning and resiliency – we need to leverage this moment into something transformative for our district. We have to make sure the money slowly flowing in for reconstruction and recovery is spent wisely and ethically to raise our communities.
Protecting Our Electoral (and National) Security
The Republicans in Congress will not stand up to Russia. They are putting party ahead of country, and their capitulation is unforgiveable. Only a Democratic Congress will hold the investigatory hearings necessary to find the truth.
Russia’s interference in our 2016 election presents a clear, present, and ongoing danger to our democracy and national security. We need a comprehensive assessment of what Russia did (and continues to do) in disrupting our media coverage, the public debate of issues, and our elections.
Democrats must demand answers, and design solutions to protect our electoral and information infrastructure. We need to take a hard look at what social media platforms are doing with political advertising, and respond with appropriate regulation if they will not reform on their own.
Education is the Key to Opportunity
Whether our children receive a quality education should not be determined by where they live or by how much you earn – it’s a fundamental question of treating people with dignity and our willingness to invest in better outcomes.
In one of my early jobs, I was a teacher, and I understand education is the key to opportunity. I fought every day to ensure my students were provided with the tools and resources to be successful.
In the 21st Century, our children are competing against the world. We need to invest in our future thinkers, leaders, and workers, so we can continue to lead the world with creativity and in future productivity.
As your representative, I will fight for the resources to reduce class size, hire more teachers, and fund afterschool programs. I will also vote to make improve public schools and make higher education more affordable for all – with a program of free public college, a community service forgiveness program for those who go to private college, and greater research investment across all of our higher education institutions.
Supporting our Troops and Veterans
Our military and our veterans have volunteered to defend our freedoms from all enemies, foreign or domestic. We need to support them – we are the land of the free because of these brave women and men.
The best way to support our troops is by first treating their involvement as a last resort – by expending all efforts on diplomacy FIRST, and then by properly and fully supporting their missions abroad, or for the Guard here at home.
We also must meet our obligation to support our veterans.
Veterans regularly leave VA care due to frustrations caused by their healthcare treatment. Cancelled appointments, long waits, and internal corruption have alienated veterans from the organization tasked with caring for them. For so long we as a nation have made promises to care for our veterans, but we have fallen short.
Too often we see our brave servants living on the streets or under bridges due to mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder. On average, 22 veterans commit suicide each day, mostly due to physical and mental health trauma received during their service to us. This is an American disgrace we can no longer ignore.
As your Congressman, I will advocate for a complete, comprehensive, and rapid overhaul of the VA – from top to bottom; greater educational opportunities for veterans; and small business tax credits for those who hire our veterans.
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