I believe that healthcare is a right and not a privilege. As a cancer survivor, I fully understand what it would mean to think otherwise. We live in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, and we must not accept a system in which the poor and disenfranchised are allowed to die because they lack affordable access to medical treatment. I fully support a single payer healthcare system, but recognize that such a program likely is still many years away. In the meantime, we must reverse Republican efforts to strip away the individual mandate and restore Affordable Care Act in full.
We can also begin reducing the cost of American healthcare right now. There are many ways this can be achieved but at a minimum Congress can:
- Allow the federal government to negotiate lower prices with drug companies similar to what the Department of Veterans Affairs does for the military.
- Allow the working and middle-class to reduce healthcare costs by qualifying for tax breaks.
- Mandate a national standard for recording, storing, and sharing patient information.
- Provide incentives to healthcare providers to "bundle" related treatments at a reduced cost to the patient.
The most important investment we can make in America’s future is educating our children. I grew up in the public school system where my mom was a teacher and my children attend Delaware County Public Schools. While there are many wonderful schools in our district, there are kids going to school with very little resources solely because they live in neighborhoods with lower property tax revenues. It is simply unfair that a child’s education, and much of his future, depends on the zip code in which he lives. To address this problem, I propose a federal requirement that each state provide a minimum level of funding to each of its public schools. In that way, every school will receive sufficient funds to provide a quality education to its students while not unduly burdening those schools that currently receive the most funds.
As the mother of a child with special needs, I also recognize the importance of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). When originally passed, Congress committed to provide 40% of IDEA’s funding and leave the rest to the States. However, Congress has never lived up to this commitment. I believe that the federal government should provide all of the funding for IDEA but at a minimum, it must at least meet its promise to provide 40% of IDEA funding.
I served my country for more than a decade as an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency and know well the threats posed to America by terrorist groups and rival nations, and I have watched in dismay as this President has alienated America’s most loyal allies, expanded our military commitments in South Asia and the Middle East, brought us to the brink of war against North Korea, all while ignoring attacks on our democracy and the global order from Russia and China.
Our country needs members of Congress who understand national security and who will stand up to this President. We also need representatives who will work to rebuild our security alliances, support measures to challenge our adversaries, and push back against an Administration that is pursuing ever larger conflicts because it lacks the wisdom or imagination to find diplomatic solutions.
I was raised on a small family farm by a public school teacher and prison guard and know full well what it means to “go without” and to worry where your next meal will come from. There are too many families in our district that are facing the same crisis on a daily basis. To grow our economy and middle class we must put working families first. I propose a four-part plan to decrease the growing income inequality:
- We must raise pay: Wages are currently stagnate and not keeping up with the cost of living. It is time to increase the minimum wage to at least $15 per hour and require that wages track with inflation ensuring that working families are able to earn a living wage.
- We must create jobs: We must invest in infrastructure, incentivize small business growth, and level the playing field on international trade.
- We must reduce costs: Reducing prescription drug costs and child care will go a along way toward ensuring that workers are able to achieve a living wage and invest in their futures. We must also take steps to prevent corporate monopolies.
- We must prepare for the future: This requires making college more affordable and providing career training programs or apprenticeships for those who choose a different path.
All women and young girls are entitled to reproductive healthcare. Not only for abortion and abortion related services but routine and preventive medical screenings including birth control. Too many disadvantaged women lack access to adequate health screenings and die needlessly of preventable and curable diseases. Congress must increase its funding to Planned Parenthood to ensure that all women have access to affordable healthcare. It must also require that medical insurance cover the full gamut of reproductive healthcare.
Additionally, everyone is entitled to equal pay for equal work. PERIOD. A person's pay should never, under any circumstances, be dictated by her gender.
As an attorney who researched and published on the racial inequities in our criminal justice system, I understand that we have more work to do in learning to treat all Americans equally. We have an Administration that is working to strip away the rights of people of color, of the LGBTQ community, and of anyone who was not born in this country. We also have a President who has made clear that his idea of “real Americans” does not include anyone who does not look and think like he does.
To ensure a better future for all Americans, we must ensure that every individual who is qualified to vote is able to vote; that every individual who is accused of a crime is treated equally by the legal system; that those who accept the enormous responsibility of enforcing our laws are given the necessary tools and training to safely and equitably do their duty; and we need to ensure that our enforcement and detention resources are directed toward the most serious crimes and not toward non-violent, non-repeat offenders.
I believe that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people should be able to participate fully in American life free from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity on the job; in housing; when shopping or in restaurants, hotels, and other public places; and when accessing government programs and services. Pennsylvania currently has very minimal protections for the LGBTQ community, even though there is widespread public support for making discrimination against LGBTQ people illegal. I will work tirelessly to ensure that all people are treated fairly and equally.
Our children have begun practicing "duck and cover" drills at school. Drills that were designed to prepare children for nuclear war are now being used to prepare them for active shooters. As a mother of three young children, it distresses me that our schools have become prisons rather than environments that foster learning and creativity. As parents and leaders in our country, we are responsible for protecting our children and citizens. This begins with developing sensible gun policies that prevent guns from falling into the hands of dangerous people. These policies should include an immediate ban on military assault weapons that were designed to kill as many people as possible in a short amount of time. These policies should also include universal, comprehensive background checks. This Congress is not doing enough to ensure the safety of our citizens and I will fight for sensible gun policies that will keep our children safe.