Healthcare is a universal right. From a moral and economic perspective, the best way to ensure that right is to expand Medicare to cover everyone. Most of us have family members that receive Medicare coverage, and have seen that it saves lives, prevents economic hardship stemming from unaffordable medical costs, and is efficient by any standard of measurement. These are truths despite Medicare currently only covering citizens over the age of 65. Bringing everyone in, including healthy young people and families, will only strengthen our national health system. Continuing to deny coverage to those who cannot afford it is immoral and financially unsustainable. Medicare works! Now let us strengthen it.
Americans pay the highest prices for prescription drugs in the world. As a result, nearly 1 in 5 Americans between the ages of 19 and 64 cannot afford to fill their prescriptions in this, the richest country in the world. This is a consequence of price gouging by pharmaceutical companies. We must enact policies that bring the American public to the bargaining table.
The steady decline in quality education opportunities must be reversed by investing in, rather than divesting from, public schools at all levels. This means ensuring states and school districts receive the taxpayer funds they are entitled to by law, and restricting the use of vouchers that weaken our public schools. In Arizona, the model of private school vouchers is already beginning to take its toll, and calls to nationalize that system must be stopped immediately in Congress.
We must also address the emerging crisis of student loan debt. Over the last decade, rates on student loans have doubled and in some cases have tripled, severely handicapping the livelihoods and futures of our children. The Department of Education must act to restore interest rates to their lowest levels, in order to make college affordable for all those who wish to attend.
One of government’s key responsibilities is to ensure a stable foundation for entrepreneurship and creativity. This is achieved through common sense fiscal policies that level the playing field, appropriate and fair regulations that protect consumers, and incentives for businesses in leading areas like technology and renewable energy. These actions together yield better paying jobs and upward mobility – a strength that sets this country apart and contributes to our global competitiveness. After decades of instead witnessing America’s wealth inequality rise, our leadership challenged, and the wealthiest no longer paying their fair share, it is time to revisit how we invest in the future.
Paving new roads, building safer water pipes, and connecting our communities with new sources of energy are essential if we are going to create an environment where our families, communities, and businesses can thrive. This means holding the current administration accountable to its pledge of investing one trillion new dollars in public infrastructure; and ensuring that that money is financed equitably and distributed impactfully. And we will create millions of new jobs in the process.
The obscene amounts of money spent to buy and sell political favors and candidates must stop. Much of our nation’s political dysfunction is due to a campaign finance system that is corrupt and increasingly controlled by the most wealthy and their special interests. The disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision has further usurped our democratic principles by bringing the power of money to a historical and dangerous apex. On a personal level, this is why my campaign is committed to being one of principles not price tags. Elections, after all, should not be judged as a spending contest, but should be decided based on the positions each candidate takes on major issues and on the values they hold closest.
Climate change caused by human activity is real, and will become an existential threat during our children’s lifetime if not addressed immediately. Domestically, we must transition away from our reliance on fossil fuels, invest in renewable energy sources, and regulate carbon emitting activities. International coordination is also needed – and presents a golden opportunity for American leadership – to help developing countries implement clean power plans and hold our partners accountable for their share of carbon reductions. President Trump’s action to withdraw from the Paris Agreement completely subverts this opportunity, but it will also take four years to implement. If I am elected to Congress, I will fight to prevent the withdrawal before it can become a fact.
Ensuring the security of the United States is our most solemn responsibility. Protecting our citizens from terrorism and potential enemies, defending our vital interests, and reaffirming our commitments to our allies are tasks that I will uphold as part of my oath of office. At the same time, America’s global leadership must reflect our dedication to human rights, dignity, and opportunity, acknowledging that our strength abroad is derived from the values we espouse. Effective national security therefore also entails avoiding adventurous foreign entanglements, and as a member of Congress, I will carefully deliberate the use of our armed forces before sending our sons and daughters into harm’s way.
The President’s proposed border wall is a boondoggle and a waste of millions of taxpayer dollars. A simplistic wall furthermore does nothing to secure our border. Instead, our nation should have an immigration policy that is fair and open to those who will contribute to our nation’s prosperity, including DREAMERS and those escaping persecution.