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Healthcare

Healthcare should be treated as a right, not a privilege, because you shouldn’t have to be wealthy to stay healthy.

I am committed to passing legislation that provides Medicare for All. It is a fiscally responsible way to ensure healthcare for every person in the United States. Under this plan, Americans get a raise, businesses make profits, and all of us get the coverage we deserve. Corporations have no business making money off the sick and the dying. They have no business reaping unparalleled profits while average Americans have to choose between paying their bills and seeing the doctor. We can no longer afford business as usual.

As the leading area of job growth in the Inland Empire, health care–and the jobs it creates–will be a top priority for our region and for our country when I am elected to Congress.

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Education

K-12 education should not be for-profit. Children in all communities, especially low-income, must be given equitable opportunity to learn and to succeed whether their parents can afford to provide them an education or not. Betsy DeVos is unqualified to lead the Department of Education and everything must be done to prevent her from destroying our public schools. Her plans do not protect low-income students who do not have access to private schools; do not guarantee the rights of special education and special needs students under IDEA 2004; do not hold for-profit and charter schools accountable to standards in education or in teacher preparation; do not safeguard low-income communities from the drain on education when charter schools are allowed to take much-needed state funding away from community public schools; do not guarantee a lack of discrimination in enrollment or in hiring.

To encourage children to follow the educational path that is right for them, I will fight for tuition-free college. I will fight for full funding of our public schools. I will fight for charter schools to be held accountable to the families they serve, not their corporate leaders.

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Environment

We are responsible for doing all in our power to protect our planet for the generations to follow. Carbon pricing, or Cap and Trade, holds polluters responsible. The average American must pay a fee to disposal companies to remove their waste. Why not businesses? Why are businesses exempt from contributing to the care of the planet when they are responsible for helping to pollute it? Droughts, floods, and other extreme weather; loss of agricultural livelihoods; and a lack of fresh drinking water sources are all part of the outcome of putting financial interests ahead of the health and safety of our planet, and ultimately ahead of our citizens.

America should be leading the fight against climate change. Richard Nixon, a Republican, founded the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, and it paved the way for other countries to pass crucial environmental protection laws. 97% of climate scientists and our own military leaders agree that climate change is happening right now. This must be dealt with by establishing real programs that protect the environment, by increasing clean energy production, and by guaranteeing we are leaving the planet better than we found it for future generations and their right to drink clean water and to breathe clean air.

Clean energy creates jobs. There are currently almost half a million jobs in the related clean energy sector with half of those jobs in Southern California. Clean energy provides long-term, environmentally-friendly solutions to our environmental challenges. We must renew our commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement and to policies that protect our environment for generations to come.

Women’s Rights

Women should have access to quality reproductive healthcare. Organizations like Planned Parenthood provide services to women far beyond the issue of abortion: Pap smears to help detect cancer before it becomes deadly; birth control so women can avoid pregnancy and not be faced with the horrible decision of whether or not to keep an unborn child; mammograms to help detect and to prevent the devastating effects of breast cancer. We must continue to fund organizations that provide vital healthcare services to our most vulnerable population until we can pass Medicare for All legislation.

Equal pay for equal work. Women still make less than men, and women of color make even less than Caucasian women. Congress must act to protect workers from these inequitable practices. When I am elected, I will do just that.

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Immigration

Immigrants make communities stronger, and the research contradicts the assertion by the current administration and Republicans in Congress that they bring more crime. I will legislate for a comprehensive path to citizenship, which will increase economic development across the country and allow money normally spent on detention and deportation to be used in other areas like the environment, education, and health care.

Nowhere else in our society are children held accountable for the choices of their parents except when it comes to our Dreamers, those who were brought to the US by their parents when they were children. Dreamers who have been granted protection under the DACA program pay billions of dollars in taxes. They pass a rigorous vetting process. They do not qualify for social welfare programs and must pay their own way through college. Deporting them is not only wrong, it’s immoral. I will fight to protect our Dreamers and all immigrants who have, for years, been positively contributing to our great country.

Gun Reform and the 2nd Amendment

There are 27 amendments to the US Constitution. The 2nd Amendment is but one. As a matter of record, in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008, Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court ruled that the right to possess firearms in America “is not unlimited.”

During the assault weapons ban that began in 1994, there was a dramatic decrease in the number of deaths in mass shootings. When Congress refused to renew the ban in 2004, the number of deaths dramatically increased, even though there were only 7 more incidents.

Even gun owners agree on an assault weapons ban. So do I. As a parent and public school teacher who routinely practices active shooter drills, I believe we have a moral obligation to cherish the lives of our children more than we cherish our right to bear arms.

Ban assault weapons; ban sales to those with serious mental illness; universal background checks; national gun registry database; standardized waiting periods; gun ownership insurance which includes annual safety training, physicals, and mental health screenings; a ban on sales to those on the no-fly or watch lists. These common-sense laws cross party lines and help to protect our children and our communities from the tragedy of mass shootings.

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LGBTQ+ Rights and Marriage Equality

Love is Love. It should be this simple. For me, it is.

Years ago, I became ordained so I could perform the marriage ceremony for my dear friend, Debbie, and her now-wife, Sherry. It was a beautiful afternoon on a beach in La Jolla during the time in California when Prop 8 was overturned by Judge Walker. They said “I do,” and a couple of years later, adopted a family of three boys.

Now, marriage equality is the law of the land. I will continue to defend this right, along with the rights of people to identify themselves however they want and to have equal protection under the law.

No bathroom bans. No medical coverage discrimination. No military ban. No employment discrimination. No denial of any human or civil right based upon gender identity or orientation.

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Campaign Finance Reform

We must give democracy back to the people.

In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United, ending a century of campaign finance laws that protected politics from unlimited contributions by corporations who have a vested interest in their own profits. This landmark case allowed millions of dollars to be poured into campaigns, even from foreign investors, forcing congressional leaders to dial-for-dollars rather than meet with constituents or to focus on governing in the interest of the people they serve.

This must end.

I am committed to passing legislation that ends Citizens United and takes dark money out of politics.

Corporations are not people. And if they are, then why aren’t they limited to the federal campaign contribution limits like the rest of us?

Additionally, publicly funded campaigns not only give the power of elections back to the people of our country, but they also ensure that those who might be priced out of running for office can become public servants.

These are steps we can take to ensure our democracy works for all of us, not just the wealthy few.

Term Limits

How long is too long to serve in Washington?

Many of our representatives have been in office for most of their adult lives. Some of them continue to do good work in DC and in their home districts. Others have become so corrupted by the money and power in today’s politics that they have forgotten what it is like to be a private citizen. They have forgotten what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck. To struggle to find work when the economy hits record lows. To afford to live the American Dream, no matter how hard they work.

Establishing term limits is one way to stop this disconnect in our government. Along with publicly funded campaigns, term limits can help ensure a more connected and responsive government; one that truly works for those it serves.

House terms go back to four years. House elections, ones that are publicly funded, occur only during mid-terms. Limit a representative’s terms to no more than three. That not only gives representatives twelve years to understand the processes involved and to govern, but it also helps hold them accountable for nurturing the next generation of community leaders. No more out-of-touch, larger than life, multi-millionaires governing until they die in office or are removed under a cloud of scandal.

Let’s bring the power of democracy and government back to the people.

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Muslim Ban

When you ban refugees and immigrants from specific Muslim-majority countries although not one incident of death or violence against Americans in America have occurred from any refugees from any of those specific countries, and you insist that Christians will be given priority when issuing visas and green cards, you ARE creating a Muslim ban. Our country is a nation of immigrants. We cannot afford this premise of America First if we deny any group the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.

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Community Policing

When law enforcement agencies and their officers know the members of the communities they serve, neighborhoods are safer for everyone. Community policing works all across our country and should be of the highest priority in combating crime in our cities. Constituents want safe places to raise their children. When we work together with law enforcement and community leaders, we can and will find solutions to crime in America.

Our law enforcement officers are hired to protect and to serve. They face life-threatening challenges on a daily basis. They should have the best training available to them, including training on how to deal with suspects who suffer from mental health challenges. Included in this training needs to be the understanding that no one is above the law. Just as those who commit a crime should be held accountable for their actions in a reasonable, fitting way, officers must also be held accountable for their actions. Proper training will go a long way toward ensuring the safety of everyone involved in law and order in America.

Religious Discrimination

Discrimination disguised as religious freedom is intolerable. Allowing businesses and individuals to discriminate against people who do not share their faith, or to allow corporations to avoid providing insurance coverage for specific items, such as birth control, that goes against their own religious beliefs, is discrimination. With this argument, it would be acceptable for non-Christian doctors, teachers, lawyers, and other business professionals to refuse to treat, educate, represent or otherwise do business with Christians. Either way, it comes down to protecting and accepting a preferred religion for the United States, which is against the law, unconstitutional, and a violation of the First Amendment rights of freedom of religion.

Trade

Trade is a powerful word in America. However, it doesn’t have to be the enemy of Americans or the American economy. Trade provides the opportunity for American goods to be sold overseas, making our country stronger and our industries more profitable. We cannot shut off trade across the world, but we can provide more incentives to American corporations to help encourage them to keep Made in the USA a strong, workable model, for companies and for American workers. Yes, trade has hurt manufacturing, but only around 13% of American jobs have been lost to trade. The rest have been slowly dwindling since the late 1950s thanks to automation and technology. In order to change this, I believe we need to educate workers in modern ways, including through Career and Technical Education paths in public schools, and vocational training at no-cost post-graduation, or when jobs are lost due to automation or technological advancement.

Unions and Right to Work

Since the 1960s, union membership in industries across America has declined. Right along with this decline is a correlated decline in wages and an increase in economic disparity. The haves have more; the have-nots have less. Unions protect workers from unscrupulous corporations, bosses and supervisors. Unions work to ensure safety in the workplace. Unions provide better healthcare through bargaining with the insurance industry. Unions negotiate living wages for their members, which contributes positively to the American economy. Unions make America stronger. As a union member myself, I will legislate to protect bargaining rights, organizing, and Employee Free Choice.

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Veterans and the Military

America is a land of hope, opportunity, and freedom. Our hopes, opportunities, and freedoms have been hard fought and won by the men and women who, for as long as we’ve been determined to be America, sacrificed their lives so that we could be a land of liberty and justice for all.

For far too long, we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on military expenditures every year. Unfortunately, for all the billions we spend, our brave men and women are no better equipped in battle than any other industrialized country’s military. Outdated weaponry, the wrong equipment for the conflict, and a military industrial complex that favors the industry’s profits over protecting our servicemembers mean waste to the tunes of millions. Enough.

On top of this, our veterans and their families struggle to find the support they need when our brave men and women return from active duty. 30-day waiting periods for mental health exams; digital systems that lack proper function and training for its users; lack of qualified leadership for one of the most important agencies in our government; lack of funding for the Choice program. Our veterans deserve so much more from the country they sacrificed so much for.

I commit to working directly with veterans’ organizations to determine and to fund what veterans really need. I commit to working with women’s’ veterans groups to meet the specific needs of our brave women of the military. I commit to hiring more mental health professionals to stop the horrifying reality that between 20 and 23 veterans take their own lives every day in the United States. I commit to ensuring that every veteran who comes home from conflict is contacted by professionals in their communities so they don’t have to navigate the complicated VA system on their own.