Savanna Redden

Policy

I am fighting for every American to have access to affordable, quality health care; to advance criminal justice reform; to demand equality for LGBTQ+ and Black communities; to support our aging population; to lower taxes for working families and small businesses; to raise taxes on the ultra-rich and large corporations; to accelerate pathways to citizenship for immigrants; to address our climate crisis; to bring new jobs and industries to the economy; to make affordable housing a right; to provide higher education to all; to give the public a louder voice than special interests.

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Protecting Our Communities
 
LGBTQ+ Equality

At least 4.3% of Ohioans are members of the LGBTQ+ community, yet Ohio is ranked in the lowest category of the Human Rights Campaign's State Equality Index. Unlike many other states, Ohio still does NOT protect against discrimination in any of the following categories based on sexual orientation and gender identity:

 

  •  Housing

  •  Employment

  •  Hate Crimes

  •  Public Accommodations

  •  School Anti-Bullying

  •  Education

  •  Transgender Health Care

  •  Anti-Conversion Therapy

 

Incumbent Steve Chabot has been a longtime opponent of LGBTQ+ equality, with a record opposing marriage equality and efforts to reduce discrimination. Chabot voted in 2017 to strip necessary health care away from transgender service members and has consistently received a zero on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard which measures support for LGBTQ+ equality among members of Congress. Steve Chabot is no ally to the LGBTQ+ community.

 

Ohio needs a representative who will fight for these protections and ensure that every American, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, has equal access without discrimination. It's past time for new representation.

 

As your congresswoman I will:

 

  • Defend marriage equality for all and advocate for the removal of Ohio’s provision (section 15.11) that makes it unconstitutional for Ohio to recognize or perform same sex marriages
     

  • Defend the right of gay couples to adopt children
     

  • Support the Equality Act and pass comprehensive anti-discrimination policies that address the lack of protections above
     

  • Fight for equal rights and equal protection under the law for all Americans
     

  • Provide mandatory training to public employees and officials
     

  • Develop and implement LGBTQ+ inclusive public education
     

  • Vote for transgender-affirming health care
     

  • Oppose any future efforts to re-instate the ban on military service by openly gay or trans Americans that President Biden recently reversed
     

  • Strengthen anti-bullying programs for LGBTQ+ youth
     

  • Ban conversion therapy

Immigration Reform

This country was built by immigrants; they are the backbone of our society, from our economy to our personal relationships. Cincinnati is no stranger to this – our boom in the meatpacking and shipping industries brought many political refugees after the 1848 German Revolution. Between 1840 and 1850, the German population increased almost tenfold. By 1890, 57% of Cincinnatians were either born in Germany or had German parents.

 

Over 100 years later, Ohio is still seeing large immigration trends. From 2000 to 2018, our foreign-born population has increased by 56% to more than 528,000, accounting for 5% of the state’s population.

 

We, like any other country, must know and control who crosses our borders. Contrary to the fearmongering pushed by incumbent Steve Chabot, I am not a candidate advocating for “open borders” or unrestricted immigration. 

 

Our country’s immigration strategy should aim to maintain border security while still respecting human rights, prioritizing American workers, minimizing immigrants’ time spent in detention, and creating a path to legal status for those already here, especially children.

 

It should reflect our country’s historic identity as a safe haven for people fleeing persecution or striving for opportunity, as well as our commitment to human rights.

 

And it should never require us to sacrifice our moral principles. The detailed accounts of horrific behaviors and inhumane conditions within ICE detention centers do not demonstrate any moral conscience and should be condemned as simply un-American.

 

 

As your congresswoman I will:

 

  • Fight to end The Trump Administration’s racist and inhumane family separation, which has continued despite policy reversals
     

  • Work with our immigrant communities towards policies of safety and prosperity, not separation, cruelty, and poverty
     

  • Vote to abolish ICE
     

  • Support creating a fair pathway to citizenship for our undocumented Americans, including revamping our visa system and codifying DACA
     

  • Advocate to reform our immigration court system to provide the capacity to process asylum claims and hear all immigration cases
     

  • Create laws and policies that hold businesses accountable for hiring and exploiting undocumented immigrants
     

  • Ensure livable and humane conditions for detained immigrants and minimize any time spent in detention

 
Aging & Seniors
 

Ohio’s population is aging rapidly; more than 1 in 4 Ohioans will be over the age of 60 by 2025. We are on pace to become one of a handful of states that will have more residents aged 60+ than people under 20.

 

As our society’s median age increases, it becomes even more critical to plan for the needs of our seniors and prepare for economic changes. Every individual, regardless of age, should demand reforms to our existing policies and programs to account for this demographic shift and secure our community’s long-term health and prosperity.

 

State and local governments must reallocate budgets and create strategies to ensure older adults have proper access to affordable housing, health care, prescriptions, and long-term care in nursing facilities and assisted living. Many areas of Ohio already struggle with supporting seniors today, stemming from a lack of hospitals and home health aides in rural areas. We can only expect this to worsen if proactive action is not taken now.

 

Programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and SNAP benefits must be expanded to support our seniors as they face increasing costs of medical bills. While these programs frequently endure calls for cuts from elected officials, it is unrealistic for a retiree on a typical fixed income to be able to afford health care without assistance; annual health care expenses were $11,172 per person in 2018 versus just $147 per person in 1960 (adjusted for inflation). Our seniors should not have to choose between maintaining their health or their savings.

 

  

As your congresswoman I will:
 

  • Vote to maintain and enhance programs that seniors rely on for their daily living and health care expenses, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security
     

  • Ensure programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) continue to include seniors and cover their needs
     

  • Increase funding to improve our understanding of illnesses that primarily affect seniors, including Alzheimer's disease, related dementias, and other neurodegenerative diseases of the brain
     

  • Create a plan to reinforce and multiply our care facilities to support the community's aging population
     

  • Strengthen the state’s funding and resources for Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) along with home and community-based services

Supporting Ohio's Farmers

The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences notes that Ohio's cooler summers and warmer winters have had serious effects on crops, including more weeds, more disease, less pollination, lower productivity, and more risk of crop failure.

 

Precipitation in Ohio has risen 10% to 15% in most areas, with downpours greater than 1.5 inches now occurring 4-5 times per year. Excessive rainfall can affect crop productivity in various ways, including direct physical damage, delayed planting and harvesting, restricted root growth, oxygen deficiency and nutrient loss. 
 

The Midwest's heavier rainfall periods have reduced production of corn and soybeans and caused farmers to struggle with incredibly wet conditions. It is estimated that production yields of crops will decrease 20-30% by 2049 and 40-80% by 2090 if no action is taken to combat the effects of climate change.

Our farmers have recently faced other challenges too, including the negative impacts of trade disputes; low prices driving down cash receipts for corn, cotton, wheat, chicken, cattle, and hogs; and an unusual August windstorm stretching from South Dakota to Ohio.

 

These challenges, paired with the costs associated from a wetter climate, resulted in the largest direct-to-farm payment ever seen from the government of $46.5 billion in 2020. If the root of these issues is not addressed and corrected, that aid will likely continue to increase over the next few decades while our country’s food security and our farmer’s livelihoods are jeopardized. We must take action to support and protect our farmers before it is too late.

 

 

As your congresswoman I will:

 

  • Vote for improved trade agreements that support Ohio's farmers
     

  • Support bills like HB7 that help to coordinate cooperative efforts of the Ohio Department of Agriculture to assist farmers across the state
     

  • Fight to pass bills that will reduce the impact of greenhouse gases and fight to decarbonize our planet, reducing the overall effects of climate change

 
Investing In Social Safety Nets
Health Care

Your wealth should not determine your health.

 

Whether you are a millionaire, homeless, or anywhere in the middle, you shouldn't have to question whether or not you can afford to be healthy. It's absolutely unacceptable that as one of the world's richest nations we have over 87 million people facing this problem. In Ohio alone there are 133,000 children who are not protected by health insurance – 4.8% of all kids – an increase of 28% between 2016 and 2018.

 

Providing affordable, quality access to care is even more critical following the Covid-19 pandemic, as millions of additional Americans have now lost health care tied to their jobs. No one should be denied health care based on employment, gender, age, pre-existing conditions, or their ability to pay. The only way to do this correctly is to invest in a nationwide universal health coverage option and implement Medicare for All (M4A).

 

Overall costs to individuals will decrease under M4A, as the policy entirely eliminates copays, deductibles, premiums, and out-of-pocket costs. M4A will cover medical, dental, vision, hearing, reproductive care, maternity care, home health, comprehensive mental health services, substance use treatment, prescription drugs, hospital services, long-term care—you name it, it’s covered. Because health care is a human right.

 

Countries that provide universal health coverage for their citizens see the following benefits:
 

➤ Lower costs to the individual (about 50% lower than current costs in the US, even with taxes being raised overall costs to the individual are still significantly lower due to elimination of copays, deductibles, premiums, and out-of-pocket costs)
 

➤ Higher life expectancy (the US currently ranks 26th in life expectancy)

➤ Better average health (people aren't afraid to go to doctor, resulting in more physician visits and proactive treatment of chronic diseases, obesity, and the #1 killer in Ohio: heart disease)

➤ More entrepreneurship (health care wouldn’t be tied to employment or restrict people from starting small businesses)

➤ Better care in rural areas (while 20% of Americans live in rural areas, only 9% of the nation’s physicians practice there – M4A would incentivize doctors to move to areas most in need and would help fund rural hospitals that typically care for uninsured patients)

➤ Higher quality of treatment (people go to the doctor sooner and therefore are able to try less drastic treatments prior to jumping to surgeries or invasive operations).

 

 

It's time for Ohioans to see higher wages, lower expenses, and better health care.

It's time for Medicare for All.

 

 

As your congresswoman I will:
 

  • Vote to pass Medicare for All and encourage my fellow congressional representatives to do the same
     

  • Guarantee your ability to keep your doctor (and ultimately have even more options)
     

  • Maintain the option of Americans to obtain supplemental or private health insurance or supplemental insurance on top of M4A if they choose to do so
     

  • Ensure our system provides robust supports for Ohio’s seniors
     

  • Focus on increasing preventive care to improve medical outcomes and quality of life without increasing costs
     

  • Support and safeguard women’s health and women’s right to choose
     

  • Leverage state and federal programs to incentivize health care professionals to work in underserved and rural areas that don't have sufficient access to treatment

 
Energy & the Environment
 

Unemployment numbers and global temperatures are both at record highs. The fast rate of our planet's decline is causing irreversible damage to our farming industries, coastal cities, ecosystems and wildlife populations, and food security. The overall health and stability of our nation is at stake if we do nothing to combat these changes.

 

The scientific consensus is unambiguous: if pollution from fossil fuel combustion is not controlled, the consequences will be even more dire. We have paid $1.79 trillion for natural disasters since the 1980's and 3x the amount of taxpayer dollars, as the frequency of billion-dollar-disasters continues to increase each decade. 

We know we need to move toward a cleaner and more renewable future for long-term sustainability. We also can't leave behind the millions of workers currently employed in the fossil fuel, automotive, and manufacturing industries, among other sectors that emit large quantities of greenhouse gases. Now is the time to create millions of jobs by transitioning to renewable and clean energy, with a historic socioeconomic program on the level of FDR's New Deal. We must establish climate policies that create new jobs while moving our country in the direction of clean energy. 

 

Renewable Energy Creates New Jobs and Industries
 

Over 18 million people are unemployed and millions more underemployed. Moving to green energy has the potential to create millions of long-term, full-time jobs to replace the number of lost jobs from moving away from the oil and gas industries.

 

In order to reduce our carbon footprint and prevent the planet from worsening, we’ll need to create many new jobs. We will need workers who will oversee the storage of renewable energy facilities; who will manufacture energy-efficient appliances; who will construct green buildings and transportation; who will plant trees; who will engineer new ways to decarbonize. Moving to green energy would create new opportunities for hard-working Americans who have been left behind by coal, oil, gas, and automation.

 

These jobs should provide adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security. Much like the original New Deal, these jobs would exist across a wide variety of fields - but they would all be in service of mitigating the effects of climate change and preventing further decline of our environment.

 

Our country has been through a disastrous pandemic, had years of underemployment and stagnant wages, and lost millions of jobs due to automation. A large push to green energy is the kind of stimulus we need to revitalize our economy and support our working class.

 

 

Decarbonization of the Fossil Fuel Industry
 

Climate change won't wait for the fossil fuel industry to die.

 

At our current rate of global greenhouse gas emissions, we are on pace for the atmosphere to warm by as much as 2.7° Fahrenheit (or 1.5° Celsius) above pre-industrial levels by 2040, according to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. When we reach that point, scientists say we will face rapid increases in coastal flooding, droughts, wildfires and food shortages, as well as more than $54 trillion in global economic damages.

 

In order to avoid these horrors, our 2030 emissions must be 40-to-60% lower than they were in 2010. Although many of us have been told to recycle, change habits, plant trees, and other individual actions to combat climate change, it’s actually the oil and gas industries that are responsible for 85% of the carbon dioxide (C02) emitted. If we're going to meaningfully combat these rising temperatures, we must address their biggest source.

 

Engineers have already figured out how to safely dispose of C02 through decarbonization, a process of capturing, purifying, compressing, and injecting C02 deep into the ground where it cannot negatively impact the environment. Even though decarbonization is an established way to reduce carbon emissions and warming temperatures, the fossil fuel industry has proven that it will not proactively take these steps because of increased costs. Requiring heavy government regulation of the industry is the only way to ensure that these companies do not continue to profit off our planet's damage and force them to address the problem they've created from their own pockets.
 

As your congresswoman I will:
 

  • Make energy and environmental policy on the basis of scientific evidence — not lobbying by industrial polluters
     

  • Support large-scale climate policies that drastically reduce carbon emissions and address our country's need for greener infrastructure
     

  • Never take money from lobbyists or PACs, as they statistically have the oil and gas industries' interests in mind over the public’s and planet's

 
Affordable Housing

I believe housing is both a human right and essential to ensuring every family has the opportunity to thrive. No American should struggle to find a home they can afford while thousands are vacant.

 

The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless has cited that Hamilton County has a shortage of more than 40,000 affordable homes. Although Lower Price Hill currently has a 40% vacancy rate, most of these buildings have been vacant for 15-20 years. High costs of maintenance and renovations prevent them from being occupiable without large investments from the city and state.

 

In the Lower Price Hill (LPH) area of Cincinnati almost 87% of children live in poverty and the average household income is only $15,000. These families cannot earn the minimum amount needed for an affordable two-bedroom rental unit, let alone pay for food, clothes, medical care, and other basic necessities. Since the majority of schools are funded by property taxes, children living in LPH attend underfunded schools where classrooms are crowded, teachers are underpaid, and extracurricular activities are out of reach. Disadvantaged kids are more likely to drop out of high school, raise their own children in poverty, have more chronic illnesses, and overall fewer opportunities for advancement over their lifetimes.

 

Projects like the Willkommen Project in Over-The-Rhine (OTR) and Lower Price Hill Thrives aim to help families obtain affordable housing. Instead of building Section 8 housing, these projects renovate vacant buildings into residential areas with inclusionary units, where a portion of units are created to be affordable to lower and middle income families. Sadly, these projects can still take years to get all the approvals and city/state loans needed to move forward.

 

Even if successful, these projects contribute to gentrification that displaces current residents. As the newly renovated location becomes more desirable to affluent non-residents, the costs of rent and living increase to the point where current residents can no longer afford to live there. Over the past decade we've witnessed this in OTR, where 3CDC, a non-profit real estate development company, invested more than half a billion dollars into the city to rescue 131 historic buildings and construct 48 new ones. While OTR’s revival can be seen as a great success for the city of Cincinnati, it can also be seen as a failure to support the many tenants who can no longer afford the place they've always called home.

 

This is the premise of our need for affordable housing. It's not just a problem here in Cincinnati, it's a problem across our country.

 

As your congresswoman I will:
 

  • Vote for Universal Rent Control nationwide
     

  • Ensure that housing is a basic human right
     

  • Support a massive investment in creating new affordable housing for low- and middle-income families
     

  • Strengthen housing opportunities for citizens reentering society from incarceration
     

  • Increase programs that improve economic mobility and fight stagnating wages so more Ohioans can afford their homes and have access to better education

Creating a Future Where We Can Thrive
Education for All
 

We are stuck in a vicious cycle that cripples younger generations from fully participating in our economy and beginning the next chapter of their lives. The student debt crisis cannot be solved unless our government reforms the higher educational system.

 

Here's why:

 

College is now a basic requirement due to "degree Inflation".

Unseen in previous generations, our teens today find that attending college is a fundamental prerequisite to joining the workforce and being hired for basic, entry-level jobs and middle-skills jobs. The percentage of students who head straight to college after high school has risen from 63 percent in 2000 to 70 percent in 2016, according to the Department of Education.  Today the question we ask high schoolers is no longer “are you going to college?”, it's “which college are you going to?”, even when they are personally better-suited for a trade or career that does not require a 4-year degree.

 

Most students have to take on debt.

Our current climate causes millions of students to make the difficult decision to attend a school they can't afford, believing this will land them a higher salary job for long-term success. On average students take on $33,000 of debt, only later learning that many companies requiring a degree don't pay a net disposable income for entry-level positions.  If you successfully graduate college and find a job, paying off student debt can still be nearly impossible in a job paying less than livable wages.

 

Almost 4 out of 10 students don't graduate.

Roughly 42% of students don't graduate college at all. This can be for a number of reasons, but the most common include lack of affordability, living costs, working during school, and lack of academic preparation. Many students who drop out only have modest amounts of student debt, but they have also left school without the piece that matters most to hiring managers: the degree. This population of former students represents the bulk of the student debt crisis, as they are the least likely to make their payments.

 

The government increases spending to offset the costs.

As a result, government spending has significantly increased, mostly as grants, loans, and direct subsidies. Federal, state, and local governments have increased spending on higher education from $70 billion in the late 1970's to $200 billion today (adjusted for inflation).

 

Colleges then increase tuition more.

Colleges then take advantage of this increased government aid by raising tuition year over year on everyone; for every $1 in subsidized federal loans and grants, schools have increased tuition by 60 cents, whereas for unsubsidized loans tuition only increased by 15 cents.  Although overall demand for colleges has decreased in the recent decade, technological advances and cost disease have caused tuition prices to continue increasing.

 

Private loan companies continue to raise interest rates.

And if you are required to go to college even though tuition has increased, you're likely to take out loans through a private loan company. Companies like Sallie Mae, Navient, and others offer predatory loan rates based on a requirement for high schoolers to move forward in life. Student loans interest rates now approach 7, 8, or 9% (versus the 4.53% federal interest rate), and because many students have no other option, they take out loans at these high rates. This makes it nearly impossible to pay loans off in a timely manner only contributing to this terrible cycle of ongoing student debt.

 

As your congresswoman I will:
 

  • Make a 2 or 4-year community college degree free to every adult regardless of age, race or socioeconomic status
     

  • Require that endowments, costs, and budgets of public universities' spending be publicized and considered when providing federal, state, and local funds
     

  • Strengthen apprenticeship programs that provide opportunities and funding for those who want to learn a skill or trade rather than get a degree, and partner with the Greater Cincinnati Apprenticeship Council
     

  • Impose caps on interest rates from private student loan companies to reflect market interest rates
     

  • Enable students or former students with existing student loan debt to refinance at today's interest rates
     

  • Eliminate the ability for the federal government to profit off student loans
     

  • Reform general education to include more curriculum on life skills such as cooking, taxes, laundry, and other skills needed for becoming an independent adult
     

  • Put limits on public universities' year-over-year tuition inflation
     

  • Work to remove cost-additive requirements for public universities (such as a freshman must stay 1 year on campus)

Marijuana Legalization
 

Legalize it. 

 

Today almost two-thirds of states have some form of legalized cannabis (medical or recreational) and 68% of bipartisan Americans – the highest percentage ever recorded – support it. Colorado has raised over $1B in marijuana taxes that is reinvested into public health programs, education, human services, and other needs. The House has already passed sweeping legislation that would decriminalize marijuana and expunge nonviolent marijuana-related convictions. Now with a Democratic majority in the Senate I believe we have the responsibility to not only make that bill a reality, but also to build on it so that we can address the damage that's been caused.

 

Our “war on drugs” has spent decades enforcing drug policies that led to the imprisonment of millions of Americans – disproportionately people of color – without reducing drug use. Extensive federal framework must be laid out to redress the racial disparities that have been exacerbated by our criminal justice system and the war on drugs. Rehabilitation programs are a necessity for those coming out of prison to have a fighting chance to reintegrate into society, find a job, and restart their lives.

 

Over the last 30 years our country, especially Ohio, has witnessed a chronic problem with opioid addiction. For decades, pharmaceutical companies pushed opioids at patients for everything from small pains, to deadly diseases, and everything in between, continuing to line their pockets while people became addicted or died. Although Big Pharma has faced more accountability and has pulled back access to these drugs, people continue to suffer from addictions and pain without adequate treatment.

 

We must provide an alternative for people that is accessible, affordable, and safe. We must federally legalize marijuana.

 

 

As your congresswoman I will:
 

  • Federally legalize marijuana
     

  • Expunge the criminal records for those involved in non-violent marijuana crimes
     

  • Create programs that help rehabilitate those coming out of prison so that they can reintegrate into our society successfully
     

  • Use the tax revenues to reinvest in our communities, especially areas with people of color that have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs
     

  • Use the tax revenues to invest in marijuana research that has been previously illegal due to its schedule 1 status, including research for autism and how to properly test for DUIs
     

  • Encourage replacing addictive opioids and other drugs for marijuana, especially for those battling deadly diseases, PTSD, or pain in general where opioids would have normally been prescribed
     

  • Enable dispensaries and marijuana sellers to conduct business with banks, and help them grow their economies of scale to make cannabis more affordable to Ohioans.

2nd Amendment & Gun Safety

I am proud to be a Democrat who strongly supports the Second Amendment. I myself am a gunowner, my immediate and extended family all own guns, and I believe it is our constitutional right as Americans to bear arms. I have no intentions of changing or limiting gun access if elected, despite what some people on the opposite side of the aisle would like you to think.

 

Guns are integrated into the fabric of American society. They remain a point of pride for many, whether they are used for hunting, sport shooting, or personal protection. They guarantee us strength against any military power, foreign or domestic, that stands to question our freedom. 

  

I believe that gun safety is a bipartisan issue. Children, people with mental illness, people on watch lists, and those with a criminal history of violence should not have access to firearms. Background checks should be increased and made mandatory for buyers in private gun sales and gun shows, to ensure that individuals in these categories cannot obtain lethal weapons.

Efforts should also be taken to fully repeal the Dickey Amendment, a 1996 amendment which has prohibited federal funding for research or data collection on gun violence. It is vital that science and gun violence data be factored into policymaking decisions so that we can keep our society safe and secure while also preserving gun rights.

 

 

As your congresswoman I will:

 

  • Defend the Second Amendment
     

  • Require that educational information about gun storage and safety be provided at the time of gun sales
     

  • Increase background checks to ensure that people with an established mental illness or violent criminal history cannot obtain a weapon
     

  • Support repealing the Dickey Amendment

 
Criminal Justice Reform

Our criminal justice system should protect the public from criminals while upholding due process, civil rights, and equal protection under the law.

 

Yet in America's criminal justice system today wealth—not culpability—shapes outcomes. Many people charged with crimes lack the monetary resources to hire a good lawyer, pay court fees, or post bail, often leading to wrongful convictions and excessive sentences.

 

Deep race and class disparities persist in policing, prosecution, and sentencing, at every level from misdemeanor arrests to executions. The “tough on crime” policies that led to mass incarceration are rooted in the belief that Black and Brown people are inherently guilty and dangerous. As we have seen highlighted throughout recorded encounters in 2020, that belief still exists through racial profiling, arbitrary detention, and physical brutality against people of color.

 

Instead of social workers and medical personnel, police are sent to address the symptoms of addiction, homelessness, mental illness, and poverty. Rather than giving people the help they need and addressing the root of the issues they face, we charge them and use prisons to contain them. This often makes existing issues worse; people leave jails and prisons more traumatized, mentally ill, and physically battered than when they entered.

 

As a result of this approach, we incarcerate more citizens than any other country, disproportionately impacting the poor and people of color. The US holds less than 5% of the world's population, yet almost 25% of its incarcerated population. This costs our GDP about $87 billion annually.

 

All these issues emphasize a strong need for reform in our criminal justice system. Our system should aim for the successful re-entry of all non-violent criminals back into society after their sentences have been filled. We should prioritize education and rehabilitation during prison sentences so that inmates have a chance at a healthy life upon their departure. If we don’t give people a fighting chance to reintegrate into society, then we should expect they will have no alternative other than returning to crime – an outcome that doesn't benefit anyone except prison owners.

As your congresswoman I will:
 

  • Ensure that formerly incarcerated individuals have equitable job opportunities upon release
     

  • Protect the full restoration of rights for formerly incarcerated individuals, including the right to vote
     

  • End the War on Drugs by legalizing marijuana and expunging past marijuana convictions
     

  • Advance criminal justice reform through the elimination of cash bail, along with increased diversion and reentry programs
     

  • Establish federal guidelines for the rehabilitation for criminals, such as academic education, career technical education, cognitive behavioral therapy, employment preparation, and substance use disorder treatment.
     

  • Work to increase and reallocate state/local funds to the proper resources that can address issues of homelessness, addiction, and mental illness

 
Building a Strong Economy
Jobs & the Economy

As a capitalist nation, our economy is fueled by individuals who want to start something of their own. New products and industries are created by people who have a business idea and the courage to start a fresh venture. Small business owners strengthen our economy by creating new jobs and sparking innovations that keep our country on the cutting edge.

 

I believe we should make it easier for people to start their own businesses, but that we currently face three barriers:

 

Barrier 1: Health Care
Leaving your job to start a new business means leaving your health care behind, since your health care is tied to your employer. Even with the Affordable Care Act, most market plans are not affordable for the average American and these plans still don't cover large deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. This is a huge barrier for a person who wants to start a business, but also needs to provide health care for themselves or their family.     


When trying to start a small business and purchase insurance for your employees, it can be upwards of $50k to $100k annually just for a business with 10 people or fewer. Attracting high-value employees is especially challenging when you can't afford to offer them health insurance.

 

Barrier 2: Lack of Savings

American households have a median savings balance of $7,000. This means $7,000 for anything from unexpected medical bills, to a car accident, to saving for college. If you are endeavoring to start a new business, a lack of start-up capital may prevent you from being able to do so. Decades of stagnant wages, rising costs of living (health care, rent, shrinkflation), and student loan debt can all be attributed to declining median savings across America. And if people cannot set aside enough money to feel secure about their household expenses, then they definitely can't set aside enough to start a business.
 

Barrier 3: Illicit Practices from Mega-corporations

One way that mega corporations – the types that are "too big to fail" – benefit from their size is by refusing to pay their employees livable wages, while employing the majority of individuals receiving federal aid from programs like Medicaid and SNAP benefits. These practices allow them to increase company profits at the cost of their employees and American taxpayers, because (unlike a small business would) they treat their employees as dispensable.

Mega-corporations also oust their small business competitors by using bully tactics to stifle competition into submission – a method that has been perfected by Amazon. When a new business enters the market, Amazon will copy their idea or product and resell it at a slightly (or sometimes significantly) lower price. That, paired with a refusal to allow the new business's product to be sold on Amazon.com, gives Amazon an unfair advantage even if the original product is superior. Amazon is willing to take a loss on the product until their competitor is snuffed out. With the competition gone, Amazon can then have the market to themselves.

 

Amazon also stifles competition for existing products by recreating them under its own private line AmazonBasics. Using its knowledge of its powerful marketplace machine — from optimizing word-search algorithms to analyzing competitors’ sales data to using its customer-review networks — Amazon steers shoppers toward its in-house brands and away from its competitors. As consumers increasingly shop using voice technology, the playing field becomes even more tilted. For instance, consumers asking Amazon’s Alexa to “buy batteries” get only one option: AmazonBasics. The emerging private label threat from Amazon presents a quandary for small vendors and big, national brands alike.



Lastly, mega-corporations purposely employ cheap labor abroad and at home. Many companies such as Apple, Nestle, and Nike use slave labor abroad to create products as cheaply as possible. Here in the US, companies employ undocumented immigrants to avoid taxes and allow them to pay lower wages under the table. These practices are simply un-American and go against our ideals, and corporations that employ them should be cracked down on to the hardest extent of the law.

 

 

As your congresswoman I will:

  • Vote for Medicare for All and encourage my fellow members of Congress to do the same
     

  • Support a $15 federal minimum wage and reducing the nation's overall student loan debt
     

  • Enact policies that fine companies employing undocumented workers and criminally charge individuals who repeatedly hire undocumented workers
     

  • Require companies to pay the government back the difference in their subsidies if they 1) do not pay their employees a Net Disposable Income (NDI) above an established rate, 2) have employees receiving welfare, and 3) made profits 
     

  • Require publicly traded entities to publicly report the number of employees they have receiving welfare and average amounts of aid received across the company

 
Campaign Finance Reform
 

My campaign is entirely grassroots, committing to taking zero dollars from lobbyists, corporate PACs, and corporations. This means that I depend on small donations from regular individuals like you to support my campaign's success.

 

Although some lobbyists exist to fight for good societal causes, most lobbyists do not have the public's interest in mind.  It's estimated that between two-thirds and three-quarters of all money spent on lobbying is spent on behalf of businesses, causing representation to be extremely one-sided. Lobbying enables corporations with deep pockets to influence politics to the point where the public has no voice, often against the public's own best interests. And when you look at what the average person can donate versus what businesses can donate, it's just not a fair playing field; the businesses are going to win every time.

 

On average there are 16 lobbyists representing businesses for every one lobbyist representing a union or public interest group. This ratio wouldn't bode well for my district if I were to accept money from these groups.

 

Lobbying has caused a portion of Americans to no longer participate in voting because they feel like they don't have a voice. The amount of money spent on Congress feels overwhelming, and the dominant storyline is: "money corrupts, ergo Washington must be a hopelessly corrupt place: why even bother?"

 

I propose a sweeping reform to address this problem.

 

Today every time a piece of legislation is introduced, the Library of Congress makes that legislation available online through the “THOMAS” System (found at http://thomas.loc.gov). I believe the solution to the current state of lobbying is to add a second web-based system named "JAMES" (in honor of Founding Father James Madison).

 

The JAMES site would:

 

➤ Be an online forum for lobbyists, constituents, and other interested parties to come together to publicly and transparently debate legislation
 

➤ Provide the public, journalists, and congressional staff access to the best available arguments, information, and ideas about public policy – all in a way that is easily searchable, sortable and regulates disinformation
 

➤ Track all donations from lobbyists, PACs, corporations, and the public by bill/issue for full transparency
 

➤ Require different types of participants to register themselves in the system in different ways (4 types of users: Constituents, Registered Lobbyists, The Executive Branch, and Congress Members)
 

➤ Be moderated by a newly established team within the US government. These mods would not remove posts (issue of 1A), but would tag/flag/hide posts or comments that are spam, established disinformation or generally off-topic and provide their reasons for doing so. Mods would arbitrate conversation and ensure civil discussion between the different types of participants. Like mods of many other platforms, these mods would have their performance tracked and made public to protect the system from abusers

 

The future is technology. Almost everyone already has access to the internet and we debate on platforms like Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, Parler, and others… Why shouldn't we have a formal government funded site where we can debate public policy?

 

 

As your congresswoman I will:

 

  • Introduce a bill to bring the JAMES system to the house floor for a vote.