In the United States, public education is meant to establish the foundation for our youth’s future. It must instill in them the skills our country will need in order to remain a global leader. But right now, our students are victims of an unjust system. The education we receive from our public education system, advertised as equal for all, is anything but. Our children’s success is predetermined by the amount of wealth in our neighborhoods. Property and income taxes determine the pay of our teachers, our student-teacher-ratios, our extracurricular activities, our advanced classes, and the quality of our facilities. How can we say our educational system is fair and equal when a student from our district receives fewer resources than students in privileged communities. As if it was not already difficult enough for our students to achieve to the same degree as their more affluent peers, this unnecessary obstacle adds yet another level of hardship that keeps us from being the best we can be.
As your congressman, I will commit myself to address and rectify this injustice that has limited generation after generation of some of America’s hardest-working students by distributing wealth more fairly among our school districts.
And while I also support free public college for all. Emphasis must be placed on increasing the availability of technical degrees, which without, we will not be able to meet the demands of our growing economy.
Medicare for All
If you’re like me, you have probably crossed the border to get your medicine, meet with a doctor, or maybe you have even had a major life-saving procedure. Why do we do this? Because it is just too expensive to even access our American healthcare system. And while you and I are lucky enough to have access to a much cheaper medical market, millions of American don’t.
The United States is one of the few industrialized nations that does not offer healthcare to all of its citizens. Not only do we have massive amounts of individuals who are uninsured or underinsured, but we also spend the most out of all industrialized nations and have the worst outcomes.
The cost of healthcare is so high in the United States that many declare bankruptcy just to afford lifesaving cancer treatment, and even worse, some lose their lives because they cannot afford it. This unnecessary suffering is caused by the massive influence profit plays in our healthcare system.
Because healthcare is as much a basic human right as education and safety, I strongly believe that it is our government’s responsibility to ensure the health of all of its citizens.
While Medicare for All ensures all Americans have access to healthcare, it does not address its high cost. To that end, we must remove the influence pharmaceutical companies and insurance agencies have on our political system. We know that their largest incentive is profit and not your wellbeing. By limiting their influence we can end the exorbitant prices on our medicine and medical procedures.
A consensus has been reached by the scientific community. Climate change is a man-made disaster that has directly influenced the severity of coastal flooding, more frequent and extreme heat, and increasingly destructive hurricanes. As a Brownsville native, I worry about how this will affect our hot coastal city in the next 10 to 20 years.
Due to the urgency of this emergency, we must invest heavily in renewable energy sources and limit the use of fossil fuels. Not only will investing in renewable energy like wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear help combat climate change, it will also generate millions of jobs nationwide, keep us competitive in the global energy market, and provide energy independence from other countries.
And while this investment will be expensive, it will be substantially less than paying for the damages of a dying planet.
In our home, the land of the free, we have the highest prison rates in the world. 724 people per 100,000. Poorly crafted judicial processes like minimum sentences and cash bail, along with for-profit prisons, and over-policed minority populations has led to this unacceptable statistic.
End the War on Drugs
Every day, 91 people die due to an opioid overdose. Study after study has demonstrated that providing treatment is far more effective at stopping drug abuse than incarceration. Instead of minimum sentences and life crippling consequences (that are a huge burden on the taxpayers), we must focus on rehabilitation that addresses the foundational issues of addiction. This is a human health crisis and must be treated as one.
Federally Legalize Marijuana
The majority of Americans support the recreational use of marijuana. And it is the minorities in our country who are disproportionately impacted by our current drug laws. If we legalize it, we can better control who has access to it by removing it from the hands of criminals and regulate and tax it. We can reduce the amount of policing resources on marijuana-related crime. And we can improve our economy by investing in an already large market
Overturning Citizens United
In the 2010 landmark case Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, the Supreme Court granted labor unions and corporations unlimited political spending power on US government elections. Since then we have seen an explosion of money in our politics. We have essentially placed our government for sale to the highest bidder. Corporations should not be allowed to influence elections with their vast amounts of money that no single individual can match.
It is through this, and many other underhanded tactics, that money has been able to influence the legislative process for the benefit of those who invest the most.
Abolish Electoral College
It can easily be argued that voting is the single most important responsibility we have of citizens of this great nation. However, most American believe that their vote does not count. And it is easy to see why. In two recent presidential elections, we have seen the Electoral College steal the presidential nomination from the people. The Electoral College is an outdated system that aimed to ensure that the president was elected by a group of knowledgeable electors and not an ignorant population. I believe that the American people today are not ignorant, and as such, deserve to have their vote counted. As your congressman, I will push for the abolition of the Electoral College to ensure your vote truly counts. One person, one vote.
Automatic Voter Registration
Unfortunately, the voting process is exclusive to many people. I believe that to remedy this, automatic voter registration should be adopted. By ensuring that all of our citizens are registered voters when they turn 18, we can ensure more people have a say in our politics.
Election Day As A National Holiday
While making sure everyone is a registered vote will absolutely increase voter participation, many Americans, such as single parents or hourly workers, just do not have the time to show up to the polls. And because I believe that our responsibility to vote should be celebrated, Election Day must be a holiday, effectively removing one of the largest obstacles many Americans have in exercising this right, and in turn, increasing voter turnout.
Ranked Choice Voting
Our politics are plagued by a two-party system. Constant government shutdowns due to an inability to reach a consensus is a failure of politics. In response, I propose we adopt ranked-choice voting in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority. With this system, independent parties have a greater chance of winning, thus ending our political duopoly.
60 Fortune 500 companies paid $0 in federal taxes on a collective $79 billion in profits. And instead of paying the 21% federal tax rate (lowered from 35% in 2017), $16.4 billion dollars, they received $4.3 billion in rebates from the American government. This is done legally by exploiting the loopholes in the US tax system.
It is clear to see that our economy is working for the richest of the rich, and not us.
These corporations are making record profits and as your congressman, I will push for these corporations to pay their fair share so that you and your family are better supported by our country.
Student Loan Debt
Today’s young population owes $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. And the number is rising every year. This financial burden will have widespread consequences on our national economy. Americans are spending less, they are starting families and buying homes later, and are much less likely to start a business. If people spend less, our national economy slows.
One of the fastest ways we can improve our economy is by forgiving student loans and freeing up more income for more than 44 million people across our country.