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The New American Dream Platform
Progressive Democrat | US House | Colorado’s 7th District
Campaign Finance Reform Amendment
The primary reason that our political system is so thoroughly corrupt and broken is because it is currently perfectly legal for corporations, billionaires, and powerful special interest groups to influence our politics with unlimited amounts of money and resources. This essentially guarantees that the vast majority of our elected officials will simply be for sale to the highest bidder and will not be interested at all in representing the values of the American people at large.
We need a Campaign Finance Reform amendment to the US Constitution that does two simple things: 1.) Makes it so only flesh-and-blood human beings can contribute to political causes and candidates, and 2.) Allows Federal & State governments to limit the amount any individual can contribute per campaign cycle to a reasonable limit.
These reforms would eliminate corporate money in the political process and would severely diminish the capability of wealthy individuals & special interest groups to influence our elections.
Universal, Single-Payer Healthcare
I support Medicare For All. It is the only healthcare system that guarantees that all of the healthcare needs of all of our nation’s citizens will be met. The US is the only highly developed nation in the world without universal healthcare – and it isn’t because we can’t afford it. Studies actually show that universal healthcare would be less expensive for our nation (as a % of GDP) than our existing for-profit healthcare system. The main reason it’s so difficult to get support for universal, single-payer healthcare in Congress is because so many of our elected officials raise millions of dollars in campaign funds from huge insurance & pharmaceutical corporations, whose profits and – in some cases – existence relies on defeating these policies in favor of a for-profit healthcare system.
Tuition-Free Public Colleges & Universities
We live in a global economy that grows more dynamic and competitive every single day. Our nation’s future economic prosperity demands that we have the most educated workforce in the world today. Tuition-free public universities are needed to prepare our society for the opportunities of tomorrow while unleashing the economic power and freedom of America’s young adults.
Universal Child Care
I support Elizabeth Warren’s “Universal Child Care and Early Learning” plan because it guarantees high-quality child care and early education for every child in America. It would be free for millions of American families, and affordable for everyone. This plan would ensure that – in the wealthiest country in the history of the world – child care and early education are treated as a right for all, not a privilege reserved for the rich.
Raise The Minimum Wage
We need to turn the minimum wage into a living wage. The existing federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour (about $15,000/year if working full-time) which is an absolute disgrace. People who work full-time jobs should not be living in poverty or require government assistance to afford basic necessities. Especially not in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. I support the Fight for $15 and believe that we should not only increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, but also adjust it for inflation so that wages will not fall below the cost of living again.
Strengthen Social Security
Many Americans aren’t aware that there’s a maximum limit on how much of a person’s income is subject to Social Security taxes. Under our current system, a person making $130,000 a year and a person making $10,000,000 a year contribute exactly the same amount to the Social Security system. This is an unfair and regressive tax policy that exacerbates the problem of income and wealth inequality in America. Further, much of the income of wealthy individuals comes from dividends and capital gains – not payroll. If we are serious about making sure that everybody pays their fair share, we must expand the Social Security tax to include those forms of income as well. These reforms would allow us to increase Social Security benefits across-the-board while also enabling children to remain eligible to receive benefits through age 22 as long they’re full-time students.
The Green New Deal
I support the Green New Deal that has recently become popularized by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez because I believe that leaving a better future and a clean planet for the next generation is one of the most sacred commitments of our society. I also believe that the disastrous impacts of climate change are the most serious threats facing humanity today. The prosperity of our nation, our citizens, and our economy all depend on a healthy planet and a clean environment. We must transition our nation away from dirty energy and other forms of dangerous pollution to clean, renewable energy sources and industrial techniques that are more in harmony with natural ecosystems.
Raise Taxes On The Wealthy
We live in the richest country in the history of the world, but most Americans don’t experience that reality because a small number of people control a vast majority of that wealth. To address that, we need to adjust how we tax people in this country to ensure that the wealthy pay their share. First, we need to significantly increase the estate tax for all estates with a value over $5 million, as proposed by Bernie Sanders. Second, we need to raise the top tax rate to 70% on all income over $10 million, as proposed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Finally, we need to levy a very small wealth tax on people with net worth above $20 million, as proposed by Elizabeth Warren. These tax reforms would help create a more balanced economy that works for everybody – not just those at the very top.
End The Wars And Global Imperialism
The American People are absolutely sick and tired of having our tax dollars and our military used not for defense, but for securing strategic geopolitical and socioeconomic positions throughout the entire world – usually for the exclusive benefit of large US corporations. As Tulsi Gabbard recently explained, we’re seeing the beginning stages of it right now in Venezuela – the only country in the world with larger oil reserves than Saudi Arabia. We recently saw it in Syria and Libya. Before that it was Iraq. And before that it was dozens of travesties committed throughout central/south America and southeast Asia. This has to stop. We should only commit the enormous human and financial resources to war in defense of the American People – not in defense of corporate profits.
Take Care Of Our Veterans
If you cannot afford to properly take care of your veterans, then you shouldn’t go to war. Period. As a nation, we have a moral obligation to provide the best quality of care and opportunities to those who have sacrificed their physical and mental health to defend us. Appropriately taking care of our veterans is a cost of war. The Department of Veteran Affairs needs to be funded to the extent that every single veteran gets the care that they have earned and deserve. Additionally, claim processing, mental health and dental services, and overall access to the VA must be significantly improved.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform
First of all, we don’t need to waste money on building a wall. The truth is that, despite the important economic role that immigrants play in our economy and daily lives, undocumented workers are insulted and dehumanized for political gain and forced into the shadows. This is a national disgrace and it must end. Folks from all political backgrounds agree that we must pursue comprehensive immigration reform together. Now is the time modernize our inefficient immigration system, increase the number of people who are legally allowed to enter, work, and live in the country, invest in technology and human resources at ports of entry to prevent illicit goods from entering and leaving the country, while paving the way for millions of undocumented Americans – including the DREAMers – to earn their US citizenship in a way that is fair and efficient.
Common Sense Gun Regulation
Gun violence is far too prevalent in the United States and – even after countless massacres – our politicians have failed to respond with common sense gun regulations that would keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of people who clearly should not have them. The NRA wants everybody to think that any politician that wants to regulate guns in any way is secretly planning to confiscate all guns from everybody, but that’s simply not true. The truth is that a politician can stand up to protect the rights of law-abiding and responsible gun owners while still being absolutely committed to doing everything possible to keep our neighborhoods, communities, schools, churches, theaters, nightclubs, concerts, and children safe from murderous psychopaths.
Reform The Broken Criminal Justice System
Let’s ban private prisons. Let’s end the failed War On Drugs. Let’s eliminate mandatory minimum sentences. Let’s demilitarize our police forces. Let’s require police to wear cameras. Let’s begin to treat violent & non-violent crime differently. Let’s increase investment in mental health programs and programs that help people recover from substance abuse. Let’s end cash bail. And let’s address that the facts that African-Americans and Latinos are twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police and the fact that they comprise well over half of all prisoners while making up just a quarter of the population is the direct result of a long history of institutionalized racism in not only the criminal justice system, but also in the educational, political, economic, employment, housing, and financial systems.
Expand Civil Liberties
Our country has made remarkable progress in expanding and protecting civil liberties over the last few decades, but there is still much work to be done. We must fight for equal pay for equal work, the protection of reproduction rights, and guaranteed paid family and medical leave. Additionally, it’s an absolute disgrace that the fact remains that in many states it is still legal to fire someone for being gay. It some states it is still legal deny someone housing for being transgender. That is unacceptable and must change. We must end discrimination in all forms by expanding the Civil Rights Act to include protections for the LGBT community.
Legalize Recreational Cannabis
We can no longer afford to view the legalization of recreational cannabis as a non-serious issue or as a joke. Lives are being destroyed every day, not by people using cannabis, but by the laws regulating it. Legalization of cannabis will decrease spending on incarceration, cut off a major revenue source for criminal organizations, and provide a significant economic boost by legitimizing an already enormous and lucrative industry. Further, the revenue generated by taxing sales of cannabis could wisely be spent on rejuvenating the neighborhoods and communities that were most negatively impacted by the failed “War On Drugs” policies.
Publicly Funding Elections
We need to level the playing field a bit between established political candidates that can easily raise campaign funds and the political newcomers that typically have an incredibly difficult time gaining the initial traction required to run a competitive campaign. Having public financing available for political candidates would allow the less established candidates to gain that initial traction without having to take money from corporations or special interest groups. This would greatly increase the likelihood that incumbent elected officials could lose their primaries to the passionate outsiders that are running for office with intent to build a society that works for all of us, not just the wealthy.
Make Election Day A National Holiday
America should celebrate its democratic process and – as a society – we should be absolutely committed to doing everything possible to make sure that everybody gets to participate in the political process. Election Day should be a national holiday so that every American can have the time and opportunity to have their voice heard and participate in the most important part of our democracy.
Fair Trade Agreements
Our political leadership should be unequivocally on the side of the American worker, not the multinational corporations and their shareholders. We must reject trade deals like the recently defeated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that would have affected 792 million people and 40% of the global economy. Further, it’s imperative that we reverse or reform policies like the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China (PNTR) that have driven down wages and caused the loss of millions of jobs.
Spend $1 Trillion On Infrastructure
America used to lead the world with our ambitious infrastructure projects. Now, due to negligence and lack of investment, we are falling further and further behind the rest of the world. It is time to create 10 – 15 million decent-paying, middle-class jobs by rebuilding America’s dangerously deficient infrastructure. It’s a disgrace, embarrassment, and tragedy that even now in February 2019 the residents of Flint, Michigan are still being advised by experts to drink bottled water. All of the lead pipes have still not been replaced. Throughout the rest of the nation our roads, bridges, drinking water systems, waste and storm water systems, and other critical pieces of infrastructure are obsolete or structurally deficient. I support Bernie Sanders’ plan to invest $1 trillion into infrastructure projects throughout the nation to revitalize both rural and urban America.
Build A Nationwide Coalition
The New American Dream is the kind of progressive platform that America needs to pursue so that we can accomplish the goal of having an economic system, healthcare system, education system, financial system, environmental protection system, criminal justice system, and political system that works for all of us, not just the wealthy. But we’re not going to be able to accomplish nearly any of this by just picking up a couple of congressional seats or even if we pull off a miracle and actually elect a progressive president. This is going to require a political revolution in which millions of Americans stand up and fight to restore honesty, integrity, and character to our political process. A revolution that intends to return ownership of our government to its rightful owners. A revolution that inspires thousands of people to run for local, state, and federal office with the goal of making the New American Dream possible for ALL of us.
My driving goal and primary purpose as an elected official will be to help build, support, fund, foster, and organize this political revolution for the New American Dream. No politician can do what we’re all trying to do alone and I understand that this movement, this revolution, and this election is not about me: it’s about us.