WHERE I STAND
This campaign is focused on a few key pressure points: a gridlocked political process, the climate emergency, our broken healthcare system, the economic imbalance, and a threat of war. This focus does not mean we are not aware of all the other things that need fixing. Here's where I stands on some other critical issues.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
The federal prison population has increased by almost 790% since 1980. In the United States, a black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person is, despite approximately equal rates of use. We need to address racial inequities in our criminal justice system. We also need to end cash bail and ensure that public defenders have adequate resources to protect everyone's civil rights.
PRIVACY and CIVIL RIGHTS
It is public knowledge that the federal government is collecting massive amounts of data about every citizen. But, did you know there is a secret list of people the government intends to assassinate with drones, and that American citizens can be put on this list without any explanation, much less a trial? The Chinese government has already put modern technology to use creating the first authoritarian surveillance state. We can end up in the same place. We must demand transparency from our government and put an end to the secret security apparatus that routinely abuses civil liberties under the guise of protecting us from terrorism.
After decades of progress in expanding the rights, visibility, and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, Trump's rhetoric and executive actions have caused a tangible set back in the fight for equality. I support all efforts to create a safe and welcoming public space where everyone is free to be their authentic selves. Because some states are lagging behind, I support federal legislation to ensure everyone in this community is protected against discrimination in employment, housing, and public places.
There are a lot of things Congress can do to reduce gun violence: stricter gun laws, mandatory universal background checks, mandatory insurance for gun owners, increased taxes on firearms, ban on military style assault rifles, and red flag laws to name a few. I support all of these. But in cities like Chicago, gun violence cannot be seriously addressed without recognizing the intimate link between gun violence, poverty, and the lack of opportunity. In Illinois, 44 percent of people are poor or low-income—a total of 5.7 million residents, and more than 10,000 people are homeless. Gun violence is the cause of untold suffering in Chicago, but it is a symptom of deeper societal inequities that must be addressed if we hope to reduce its impact on our communities.
With the right to choose under attack all over the country, I will do everything in my power to ensure every woman has access to safe, affordable, and legal abortions. Research suggests that the best way to reduce the number abortions is to provide free contraceptives to those who want it - essential healthcare what would be covered under medicare for all. The federal government should also stop funding "abstinence-only" sex education which has been shown to lead to increases in unwanted pregnancies.
The United States education system was once the envy of the world. While our top universities are still unparalleled, secondary education has become too expensive. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science. We must invest in education. We can start by paying teachers fair salaries that reflect their true value to our society. At least ten countries paid first year teachers more than the United States, with Luxemborg paying their teachers nearly double what we do in the United States - $79,551 compared to $39,707 average starting salary for secondary school teachers. We must also ensure that the curriculum being taught prepares students for the jobs of the future while also training them in essential life skills like balancing a check book, navigating a job search, and basic financial literacy.