Wall Street may have recovered from the recession a decade ago, but families in the district are still feeling the pain. Student loan debt, healthcare bills, and a lack of wage growth makes families all over the country live paycheck to paycheck and limits innovation and growth. We need to address the issues causing families to feel suffocated by debt, removing their financial freedom.
We need to start by building the infrastructure across the Southern Tier that will enable small business owners and create jobs. I support the proposals from Congressional Democrats for a $40 billion investment to expand broadband access to rural areas that would prepare us for 21st century businesses and jobs. In addition, the creation of the National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank would help provide low-interest loans to encourage investment and advance our region.
As student loan debt continues to mount for our future generations, it has become clear our model of preparing people for the workforce is no longer working. By making community colleges free and accessible for all, and making four-year colleges free for anyone who meets the qualifications, we can ensure everyone who wants a quality education can get one without tens of thousands of dollars of debt. We must continue to reject tax reforms that hurt students – something Republicans in Congress have been targeting – and continue to increase spending on technical training programs for skilled jobs.
Lastly, our government should incentivize the advancements in clean energy technologies that will make America a leader in this sector and bring good, high-paying jobs to districts like this one. In Congress, I will pursue a relief fund to target the areas hardest hit by the recession with grants for renewable energy developments, to bring jobs and businesses to the New York 23rd. I will also seek a 25-year moratorium on ending tax credits for solar and wind developments, to provide market stability for these companies so they may continue to launch new developments. By investing in professional training for these jobs, we can bring manufacturing jobs to the district and help preserve our planet for future generations.
Healthcare coverage for Americans should be treated as a right, not as a privilege. It is essential that we have a healthy, productive society – and the Affordable Care Act moved us closer to that vision. However, we haven’t gone far enough, it is time to provide universal health care for every American in this county. When insurance premiums continue to rise and insurance executives make 6 figure bonuses, it is time we take the profit motive out of our healthcare and get back to the basics, making sure every American is healthy and safe.
While Tom Reed has voted to take healthcare away from 68,000 constituents in this district and provide tax breaks for his wealthy friends, I support legislation that pays for our Nation’s healthcare system by taxing corporate profits being held overseas. With trillions of dollars being held by corporations in other countries, even a reduced corporate tax will pay for the entire universal health care system.
For too long we have treated addiction as a crime and not as a health issue. Addiction to opioids has ravaged our families, friends, and communities. There were more drug overdose deaths in America in 2016 than deaths in the entire Vietnam War. This is a national crisis. This isn’t a problem we will solve by throwing people into jail cells, it is time to employ a different approach.
As an advocate for a restorative justice policies and practices, I am committed to legislation that addresses harm in a community-centered manner. We need to increase federal funding and use of programs that work to treat addiction and heal families. We have too few beds and halfway houses in the district. You either need to go to Ithaca or Buffalo if you want to seek treatment, we are not allowing families to be a part of the recovery process.
We must pursue comprehensive reform of our criminal justice system to shift the focus from punishment to treatment. By bringing people and providers together to break the cycle of addiction, we can take the necessary steps to help repair the damage these drugs have wrought on our communities.
As a second-generation American whose grandparents came through Ellis Island, I have seen firsthand why this country is a beacon for the world. We need to embrace the values of diversity and work to continue America’s tradition of being a melting pot for all.
Here in the New York 23rd, immigration drives our local economy. We rely on migrant workers to work on our farms, we have many immigrants working in our world-class universities, and our district was built by immigrants, including my own family.
We must be open to accepting new immigrants and cultures. It spurs our economy and creates innovation. It is never the right time to build walls and shut ourselves off. I support legislation to ensure our immigration policies are clear and simplify the visa process so our workers and immigrant populations are better able to support our district.
Let’s not forget about the half-million DACA recipients (DREAMers) we have in this country. These incredible people work, pay taxes, and improve our communities across the U.S. This nation is their home, and we need to allow them to stay and work toward a path to citizenship.
As an openly gay candidate, I take the President and the Republican Party’s assault on protections for the LGBTQ community personally. There is no place in today’s America for discriminating against someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
I will not sit idly back as the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and all other individuals are being trampled on. Our government is slowly rolling back the rights of marriage, gender, and societal equality. From discrimination in the workplace, education, healthcare, and even our courtrooms, we must recognize everyone as equal.
I see and experience these issues first hand, but as a former teacher, attorney, and on the campaign trail, I will not stop until we have equality for every person, regardless of sexuality or gender.
For years, women have been made second class citizens to men in reproductive rights, pay, and services. While our current Republican congress tries to roll back rights for women, I am fighting back. I support a gender equality amendment to the U.S. Constitution to equalization.
Women deserve the autonomy to make their own healthcare decisions, and no one else. No person or no law should dictate what you can do with your own body. As such, I am fully in support of a woman’s right to control her reproductive rights. Access to women’s health and family planning services should be legal, safe, and low-cost. We need to expand women’s access to healthcare in rural areas such as our own district. Rural women face major disparities in health outcomes compared to urban women, mainly due to a lack of access.
Women still continue to make less pay than men across our Country. This is unacceptable. I support legislation to equalize pay across our nation.
Along the same lines, our government should not be interfering in our right to privacy, based on social, sexual, or gender orientation.
I support safe and responsible gun ownership – plain and simple.
As a hunter, I understand gun ownership is an incredible tradition in areas like the Southern Tier, and a majority of gun owners practice responsible gun ownership. But, we need to do a better job to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people.
There is a lot of concern about creating a National Firearms Database, but I’m exploring areas to implement a universal background system without the need for such a database to exist.
As a teacher, I know we can do more to prepare our kids. Too often the quality of education a child receives is based on his or her zip code. When the reality is we, as society, understand that education is what lifts our kids our out of poverty.
We need to strengthen our schools with better and more equitable funding. We need to give teachers the resources they need to do their jobs and strengthen our unions to push back against districts mistreating our educators. More than anything, we need quality teachers across this county in our rural and urban areas – teachers that inspire and lead our children towards a path to success.
From the Chautauqua Lake to Cayuga Lake, and all our incredible natural resources in between, there is no doubt NY-23 is filled with resources we must preserve for ourselves and our children. I am committed to protecting and improving our environment across the district. From supporting federal programs to prevent and cure algal blooms, to ensuring we have clean and treated water, to addressing the rise of development of landfills, the time is now to protect our most precious natural assets.
Tom Reed is in the pockets of oil and gas companies, promising them to lift bans on fracking across our nation and build pipelines. Science has clearly shown the harmful impacts of fracking on our ecosystem. I am a strong opponent to hydraulic fracking in this district and across our nation, and to the creation of pipelines across New York State. The time is now, as a nation, to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and move toward cleaner energy sources.
It doesn’t take long to travel the District to realize we have some of the most incredible and fertile farmland. Every day hard-working farmers across the District provide crops, dairy, and meats to people all across New York State and our Country. Without them, our Nation would face a devastating food shortage. But, our farmers continually face laws and regulations making it difficult to successfully operate. The lack of adequate subsidy programs, higher distribution costs, and harsh immigration policies continue to cut into the bottom line.
I recognize how important farming operations are to our people. Therefore, I support changing the current farm subsidy insurance program to encourage and support more farmers. Our immigration system needs to ensure our farmers are able to hire more migrant workers. Our tax system needs to include benefits to family farms and more credits to spur local farmers.
As a nation, we need to focus more on local-sourcing our farming commodities. I support legislation that promotes the development of local farming cooperatives and markets, encourages our schools and private industry to buy direct from our farms, and focuses on conservation efforts across the district.
From the beginning of the campaign, I have always said politics is about people, not power. Sadly, with the decision Citizens United v. FEC big money has influenced our elected officials. It is clear, even with the recent tax legislation, our officials are more concerned with donors than people.
Our democracy is too precious to keep donations and spending in the dark. I promise to work to overturn Citizens United and get big money out of our political system. I will advocate campaign reform finance legislation creating a clear understanding of who is giving money and how campaigns are spending it. I also support publicly funded campaigns and allowing voters to choose who gets campaign funds, similar to the democracy voucher program in Seattle, Washington.
We need tax relief for working families across this District, but not a handout to the 1%. Let’s make one thing clear, Tom Reed’s tax scam legislation is selling out our middle class families to give a tax break to the wealthiest Americans.
The goal of tax reform isn’t to take a rigged economic system and make it even more rigged, or hope that companies create more jobs by giving them a tax break. The key is to build a 21st century economy from the inside out. We need tax breaks for our middle class and to focus on re-training our workforce here in NY-23 for skilled jobs, such as welding and manufacturing.
I am committed to repealing the current tax reform legislation and working with representatives and the people of this nation to create a tax system that works for everyone.