Immigration / Illegal Immigrants / Dreamers
Issue: We are a nation of immigrants.
My Policy: We need to keep the promise that we made to the Dreamers. We need to create a reasonable pathway to citizenship. We need to create worker visas and have special considerations for those who; at least one nuclear family member is a US Citizen, have been in our country for 20+ years, are a contributing member of society, have no criminal record, and agree to have an annual review.
Issue: Our Teachers, Police Officers, Fire Fighters, First Responders, and Social Workers are amongst those who we trust our lives, our children, and our safety and I propose a re-evaluation of earnings for those who keep us safe. I’ve met officers and teachers that carry two jobs to support their families. This isn’t right.
In addition, the little guy; the waitress, the custodian, the bed maker, the Walmart worker, and many other employed individuals should earn livable wages. Enough with the tax breaks for large corporations that, in turn, don’t pay their workers enough to live. If you work hard you should not have to have to go to a food bank or have a store food drive for your employees. As a social worker I have seen how healing it is to a person’s spirits when they can go from homeless to having a place to sleep and food in their bellies. As a volunteer I have seen how life changing it is when someone does not have to pick between feeding their family and or buying their medication.
My Policy: Equal pay for equal work! Women deserve to be paid the same amount as their male coworkers. I support the ERA and would vote yes in its favor.
My Policy: Tax reform to benefit the lower income and middle class – NOT the top 1%. Enforce taxation on greedy corporations who make millions/billions while their workers struggle to pay for their next meal.
Healthcare for Everybody
Issue: As a social worker, I see the red tape and lack of funding that causes our mentally ill population to be warehoused in County Jails. We need a legal system and a healthcare system that focuses on prevention but also provides readliy available access to treatment. Everybody deserves medical, mental, and dental insurance despite any pre-existing conditions, demographic, or economic situation.
My Policy: Congress should establish a single-payer national health insurance program in the United States. Healthcare is a right, not a privilege. A government sponsored public option for insurance coverage would significantly lower healthcare costs1 while improving access to affordable and quality care.2 The problem with the ACA is that it did not go far enough in reigning in the abuses of insurance companies. For real health justice that ensures equitable access to high quality healthcare, we need to redefine the relationship between the medical industry, the state, and patients.3 It is time to pull the plug on the private health insurance industry that exploits our basic need for healthcare in the name of profit.
Issue: Pharmaceutical & Prescription Drug Regulations.
My Policy: Congress should establish price controls on prescription drugs sold in the United States. Compared to other high income countries, we spend the most per capita on prescription drugs.4 Government negotiated drug prices are as much as half the cost of drugs sold to private retail pharmacies.5 Centralized negotiation with the expanded purchase power of the federal government will counteract the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and bring American prescription drug costs in line with the rest of the developed world.
Congress should reform patent laws to prevent pharmaceutical companies from unfairly locking out competition and blocking innovation. In addition to the exploitative pricing strategies employed by pharmaceutical executives, these parasitical companies take advantage of loopholes in U.S. patent law to delay and prevent the manufacture of cheaper generic versions of life saving drugs.6 Patent supported research could easily be replaced by increased investment in NIH back research which would solve the only substantive argument pharmaceutical companies have made against price control and patent reform proposals.7
Issue: There is too much money in politics and all to often Politicians are answering to large corporations and big donors instead of their constituents.
My Policy: Congress should pass the CLEAN Politics Act to close lobbying disclosure loopholes and restrict lobbyist fundraising. Pay-to-play politics are at the root of political corruption in the beltway. Current regulations allow lobbyists to skirt disclosure requirements and wield a disproportionate level of influence.8 The revolving door of ex-government officials turned lobbyists only benefits the bottom lines of those individuals and the interest groups that hire them9, not the American public. Forcing clearer and broader disclosure of the activity of professional political influencers is a critical first step to actually draining the swamp.
Congress should require the disclosure of dark money contributions in elections. Recent administrative rule-changes aim to exempt organizations such as the National Rifle Association and the Koch brother’s funded Americans for Prosperity from existing donor disclosure rules10 making it even easier for dark money donors to go unnoticed by the public. Dark money subverts the core principles of democracy by putting candidates up for sale to the highest wealthy corporate bidder.
Air Quality / Protection of Public Lands
Issue: The air we breathe is dangerous to our health. As a citizen of Utah, a father and Uncle I am worried and we need to ensure that the world we live in is safe for our children and future generations.
My Policy: Congress should prevent the planned rollback of current Corporate Auto Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standards. Keeping these standards in place will prevent the emission of approximately 6 billion tons of carbon pollution and save consumers an estimated $98 billion dollars on fuel costs.19 Rolling back these standards now would stifle innovation and undermine the creation of 250,000 new jobs by 2035.20
Congress should establish a carbon tax of at least $40 per ton of carbon pollution. Revenue generated from the tax should be used to support the adoption and development of sustainable energy sources. Carbon pollution has an unpriced deleterious effect on our society, and it is past time to end this corporate subsidy by making polluters pay for the actual costs of their business.21 Carbon pricing strategies will help the U.S. meet its emissions targets under the Paris Climate Accord and spur economic growth by incentivizing technological innovation.22
My Policy: Congress should restore the original land designations of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments. Additionally, congress should strengthen the Antiquities Act to prevent future presidents from diminishing the natural and cultural resource protection designations of their predecessors. More than just land is at stake in the fight over our precious public resources; at the root of this controversy is a debate over the fate of our environment23 and indigenous sovereignty24. Corporate greed and oil interests were at the heart of the decision to dramatically shrink these extraordinary monuments.25 We must act to reverse the Trump administration’s decision to back outdated and dirty technologies that pollute our air and threaten our planet. We must respect the traditions and rights of our Native American brethren to preserve and exercise sovereignty over their unjustly stolen sacred lands.
Common Sense Gun Control
Issue: Guns are being purchased by people who murder our children, attack our churches, and traumatize victims and grieving loved ones. As a therapist I have treated people for anxiety due to the violent murders seen on TV/phones/computers. Our families need to feel safe.
My Policy: I will work to enact common sense legislation that would protect the second amendment rights of law-abiding citizens while making sure that reason and common sense prevail when it comes to the legislation necessary to reduce gun violence.
A great place to start is with Universal Background Checks. Under current federal law, the NICS background check database is a great tool to aid Licensed Gun Dealers in preventing the sale of firearms to those with a certain criminal record – the types of people who demonstrate that they can’t exercise their second amendment rights responsibly.
NICS however, is not without its flaws. There is even legislation in the senate (Fix NICS) being sponsored by both parties and even Utah’s Orrin Hatch to strengthen this system. I do think that this is a step in the right direction, but the reality is we need more than just one step in the right direction. Besides, Fix NICS is rendered moot until there are universal background checks in place for ALL gun sales.
Under current federal law, there is a private sale loophole. For individuals who want to purchase a gun from a private seller at a gun show (some sellers at gun shows are not licensed dealers) or from a private seller advertising in a website like Armslist.com, there is nothing requiring them to conduct a background check for this private sale. This enormous loophole could easily be closed by passing federal legislation that would require Universal Background Checks for all private gun sales. This would be done by requiring that all private sale transactions be conducted at a licensed gun dealership. The dealership would receive a small fee to conduct the background check and facilitate the bill of sale, if the background check is clean. The paperwork would be filed at the gun dealership and the transaction would be done on the books between qualifying parties.
Once Universal Background Checks are in place, another step towards reduced gun violence would be to place a ban on bump stocks which allow a semi-automatic rifle to fire at a much more rapid pace. Utah politicians and even the NRA have expressed support for this legislation, but despite overwhelming public support, no federal ban exists.
This is a failure of the current and previous congresses. An IPSOS poll done for NPR found that 82% of Americans favor banning bump stocks26 and a Quinnipiac university poll27 shows 97% of Americans support background checks for all gun buyers. Even local polls like a Utahpolicy.com poll28 show that 9 out of 10 Utah residents supporting background checks on all gun sales.
On top of all this, add the collective outrage, expressed through mass protests in Utah and across the nation. The tragic American reality that the best voices of America’s youth are trying to shoulder the burden of the failures of previous generations while simultaneously dealing with their own grief is not a reality that I am willing to accept. These pleading collective voices are demanding change.
When a group can so reasonably, accurately, beautifully and tragically articulate the obvious problem and solution that is staring us all in the face and their demands are still left unfulfilled even with broad public support, that is a failure of leadership.
Those were just two ways I would be fighting to end gun violence, but I would also support legislation to raise the legal age to purchase all firearms to 21 (which many private companies are already doing on their own), Legislation placing a ban on extended magazines, Legislation placing a ban on assault style weapons because of their design and destructive nature29, and any other practical ways to make this country safer.
We will never be able to completely end gun violence, but we absolutely can reduce it. Reduce the suicides, reduce the accidents, reduce the mass shootings, reduce the homicides and reduce the stranglehold that the gun Lobby has on the American congress and reduce the burden our children have just because they want us to pass laws to keep them safe.