Protect the People

The purpose of government is to protect people and provide a stable society in which everyone can thrive. Our current government isn’t serving its purpose. We can make sure that it does so in the future by providing the following, to truly protect the people:

Medicare for All

We need to ensure that members of our community can thrive. We do this by providing what the majority of the world already does: Universal Healthcare. Everyone needs healthcare. It’s time to vote out representatives who tell us what we want to hear but continue to take big checks from the healthcare industry and pharmaceutical companies. Universal Healthcare means coverage of mental health issues, dental care, and vision correction. All of these are part of a person’s well-being. No one can be healthy if any one of these is not included in their access to healthcare. The majority of folks living on the streets are severely impacted from not having this basic human right. In the current system, none of us are truly safe from worry. I know personally the fear of not being able to provide coverage to a loved one.

Guaranteed Access to Truly Equal Public Education

Our public education system remains separate and unequal. Even within the same school district, wealthier schools provide top-notch education to their students while others are left to squander their potential in under-funded schools. In this reality, the entire community suffers. Cutting funding to education increases costs in the long run. What we deny in educational investments on the front end we pay to combat crime, support social services, and aid those left behind on the back end. When schools can’t do their job, police and social services are forced to take over. Society pays. A small sum invested up front prevents much larger costs down the road, both in monetary and human terms. Today, your ZIP code determines your destiny—we don’t have an achievement gap, we have an opportunity gap. Let’s even the playing field so that America’s children can realize their potential.

Criminal Justice Reform

Through discriminatory sentencing, biased drug policy, police brutality, mandatory sentencing, and predictive policing, we have created an under-class of citizens and the largest prison population in the world. We have devalued and disregarded the lives of black and brown people. This structural and systemic racism must end if we want a stable and fair democracy that will break the cycles of racial brutality in which we’ve been caught since the Civil War. We need to truly ask whether our prisons rehabilitate or merely incapacitate and dehumanize people. It’s unthinkable to continue to use solitary confinement and other cruel punishments that simply don’t work toward rehabilitation of the prisoner. We need to look at other systems that work to restore and repair people and consider a thorough overhaul of our for-profit prison system. Let us be the best people we can be and find solutions—one of which is legalizing marijuana. Our current federal policy on marijuana is ineffective, is costly to enforce, and is destroying lives. It’s cheaper and easier to bring that money into the market, where it can be put to better use creating jobs and building the local economy.

Affordable Housing for All

Tents on the streets and cars in parking lots are not solely the product of mental health problems and drug addiction. For too many Americans, even working two full-time jobs doesn’t pay enough so that they can afford basic housing. There exist two simple causes: Minimum wage is too low and should be tied to inflation, and there are policies in place that incentivize companies and individuals to get into the game of unearned rent, or extraction of uncompensated value without contribution to productivity. I personally know that stability in housing is the first step to stability in life. We need to provide basic housing for those at the very bottom; restrict unearned rent; and promote policies that increase density and efficiencies in housing stock. We cannot feel safe and secure in our own homes when our brothers and sisters are out on the streets. I have known this instability and the memory of that experience persists even today. Everyone deserves a home.

Protection of Civil Rights for All

In a civil society, all members of the community should feel safe. With the rise of fascism around the globe infecting both authoritarian and democratic governments, we need to reinforce our commitment to combating absolutism. We must reinforce and protect the civil rights of all people. We need to elect representatives who understand the real danger that these forces present. Our government needs to stand up and be the wall that will stem the tide, the wall that will protect our civil rights in the face of cretinism, petulance, and the general disregard of our democracy’s foundations. I know what it is like to be threatened, to be othered, to be targeted. Not one of us should live questioning whether our government and our neighbors will be there for us. We need representatives who will defend us all.

Sensible Gun Regulations

A gun owner’s primary focus is safety. Anyone who has visited a gun range knows this firsthand. Gun owners favor sensible gun regulations. It is imperative that people get basic training on proper handling, securing, and keeping of firearms prior to purchase. We must ensure that firearms aren’t purchased by folks who aren’t legally allowed to possess them. We need universal background checks that close the gun show loophole. For the safety of our community, sensible gun regulations must be implemented. As a family man and a gun owner, safety is my number one concern. And, as a veteran, I know very well that safety is paramount. We need sensible gun regulations that respect our rights to bear arms.

Protect Democracy

A variety of unique issues have recently arisen to threaten our democracy. Throughout the world, in both authoritarian and democratic regimes, fascism is making a resurgence. Here in America, increased polarization and a lack of civility in our public discourse is leading to the erosion of our democracy. Our widening wealth gap has created a group of individuals in positions of power whose primary goal is to continue to amass wealth—and many of these folks hold elected positions. How can we trust the integrity of these representatives? We need to protect our democracy by providing the following:

Get Money Out of Politics

As long as money is allowed to influence our elections, we will continue to see the erosion of our democracy. Big corporate donors protect politicians from challengers who truly wish to serve the people. It allows our elected officials to ignore us, the people, whom they claim to represent. We need to cultivate a diversity of thought in our government. There’s a simple way to do that–by encouraging a more diverse collection of people to run for office. Getting big money out of politics will allow more and different folks to run, bringing with them new perspectives and fresh concepts. The wealthy do not have a monopoly on good ideas.

Overturn Citizens United

Money is not speech and corporations are not people. We need to fill Congress with the right group of representatives who will step up and undo what the Supreme Court has done.

Protect Our Elections

During the both the last election cycle and this most recent one, hostile foreign actors attacked our voting processes. After the preclearance requirement of the Voting Rights Act was struck down by the Supreme Court, some states employed strategies to reduce the ability of marginalized community members to vote. The solution is clear: We need to enact Oregon’s Vote by Mail system across the country. It would protect our elections from foreign tampering; give voters the time to research candidates and issues; prevent citizens from missing work and losing income in order to vote; and allow those with mobility or health issues to vote without the pain or inconvenience of leaving their home.

Restore the Voting Rights Act

Congress needs to act to counter the negative results from the removal of preclearance. It is evident that these requirements remain needed to protect the voting rights of marginalized people. If we’d protected people’s access to the polls during the recent elections in Florida and Georgia, we would have different governors in office today. The problem is real and finding a solution is vital to our democracy.

Hold Representatives Accountable to the People

Democracy requires choice. The most powerful way that we hold our elected officials accountable is by voting. For too many districts, including this one, we aren’t provided real choice, because political parties have an interest in consolidating their power rather than rocking the boat. A primary challenge is good for the incumbent, the challenger, and the people. For the incumbent, it is a great way to connect with what the constituents really want. For the challenger, it is a time to introduce new ideas and challenge the status quo. And for the people, it provides a way to hold the incumbent or challenger accountable to the voters rather than monied interests and corporations. Every election in every cycle should be challenged!

Are you registered to vote as a Democrat?

Sadly, Oregon, and in particular the 3rd District, is effectively a one-party system. This means that leadership is decided by voting in the Democratic primary rather than in the general election. Democracy requires choice, and the true choice for Representative of the 3rd District takes place in the May 2020 primary. Check to see if you are registered to vote today!