A Brighter Future for NC-04
Addressing the climate crisis is the greatest challenge of our generation. We have less than 10 years remaining to prevent irreversible damage to the planet according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. But the truth is, the climate crisis is already here. Extreme weather events like hurricanes and record-breaking heat waves are already devastating our communities — and Black, brown, and working class communities are on the front lines of this crisis.
I support a Green New Deal because we need to invest in solutions that meet the scale of the climate crisis. We can transition to a green energy economy and put millions of people to work with good paying jobs in the process. Those in power have let fossil fuel companies wreak havoc for far too long. They’ve polluted our air and water and knowingly lie about their contribution to global warming. In Congress, I will fight to end fossil fuel subsidies and oil and gas leases on federal lands because the fossil fuel sector doesn’t need any more government handouts. Instead, I will work to bring federal dollars back to the communities most impacted by the fossil fuel industry’s reckless behavior and fight for a just transition for the workers in this industry who are most at risk.
Everyone deserves a good paying job and to be treated with dignity in the workplace. But in North Carolina, the minimum wage has remained at $7.25/ hour for the last 13 years, even as the cost of living has increased. North Carolina’s disastrous right to work laws have rigged the system in favor of big corporations; they’ve denied North Carolina workers opportunities to collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions.
In Congress, I will fight for a $23 minimum wage, consistent with the current cost of living in NC-04, for all workers, including tipped workers, because no one should have to work multiple jobs just to keep a roof over their head and provide for their family. I support the PRO Act, legislation that will expand labor protections and ensure all working people are free to organize in the workplace.
In the wealthiest nation on earth, everyone deserves a good paying job. I support a federal jobs guarantee that will put people to work tackling the biggest challenges we face, like fighting climate change, repairing our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, and bolstering the care economy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed what so many already knew — that our healthcare system is broken and failing to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our society. Before the pandemic began, over one million North Carolinians were uninsured, and over the course of the pandemic an additional 250,000 people lost insurance tied to their employment. Those who do have health insurance often still have to jump through hoops to get the care they need, and high premiums and deductibles put a strain on family budgets. Our current healthcare system might work for insurance company executives, but it certainly doesn’t work for working families in our district.
I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. I support Medicare for All, which would ensure everyone can receive the healthcare they need regardless of how much money they have. Everyone deserves comprehensive high-quality healthcare coverage that includes primary care, vision, hearing, dental, mental health care, reproductive health care, and more. Our broken healthcare system also means we pay far too much for prescription drugs — more than twice that of other wealthy countries. I support the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act, which will allow the government to negotiate the price of prescription drugs on behalf of Medicare recipients and decrease the cost of prescription drugs for everyone.
Every child deserves a quality public school education, not just students who live in wealthy communities. North Carolina’s public education system was once the gold standard, but now public school students don’t have the resources they need to succeed. For my generation, the growing cost of higher education and the burden of student loan debt means we aren’t getting our shot at the American dream. All of our students deserve better.
In Congress, I will fight for increased Title I funding, so schools in communities with high poverty rates have the resources they need for all of their students to thrive. I support expanding the Full Service Community Schools Program, which equips schools to provide a full range of social services to students and their families. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of digital connectivity for students. We must ensure all students and families have reliable and affordable broadband access no matter where they live. And we must make higher education a possibility for all students. In Congress I will fight to cancel student loan debt and for tuition-free public colleges and universities.
Our right to make healthcare decisions about our own bodies is under attack. The Supreme Court’s failure to strike down S.B.8, the de facto abortion ban in Texas, has emboldened other Republican-controlled states in their efforts to similarly limit abortion access.
In Congress, I will fight to make sure everyone can make their own healthcare choices. I support the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify Roe v. Wade into federal law and end the assault on reproductive freedom being carried out by Republican state houses and the courts. As a member of Congress, I will fight to repeal the Hyde Amendment, a law that prevents low-income Americans from accessing abortion care, and ensure reproductive healthcare is central in our fight for Medicare for All.
Housing is a human right, and all of our neighbors deserve a safe and stable place to live. But the high cost of living in our area and sustained underinvestment in affordable housing means this stability is not a reality for everyone. In NC-04, a family needs to make nearly $40,000 a year to afford a two-bedroom apartment. Rising rents mean that over 30 percent of renters are cost burdened, and nearly 50 percent have difficulty affording their homes.
In Congress, I will fight for full funding of Section 8 housing choice vouchers, so that families who need rental assistance can receive it instead of being placed on years-long waitlists. We need to fund the rehabilitation and preservation of our public housing stock and invest in the retrofitting and energy efficiency upgrades outlined in the Green New Deal for Public Housing. I support an expansion of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit to encourage the development of new affordable housing in our area. We can also further reduce the barriers to development by limiting exclusionary zoning.
The United States has been at war for the better part of two decades, but it hasn’t made us any safer. We have spent $13 trillion over the last 20 years on our military, but we remain unprepared to tackle the biggest threats to our safety, like climate change and future pandemics. Since the start of the so-called war on terror, the president has been given almost unilateral authority to conduct military operations without congressional approval — proving a risk to safety at home and abroad.
American foreign policy should be centered on diplomacy, cooperation, and the protection of human rights, not on endless wars designed to preserve U.S. influence and financial interests. I support reducing the defense budget to prioritize issues like domestic poverty. In Congress, I will fight to limit executive authority through the repeal of the 2001 and 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which have allowed presidents to pursue military action without Congressional approval. We must stop enabling regimes committing human rights abuses by selling weapons and providing direct aid and instead refocus on humanitarian relief, poverty reduction, and peacebuilding.
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