I know we all want the best opportunity to have a good education, get a job that’s satisfying and pays well, have a family, and chase the American dream. That starts with the best foundation: early socialization and education with universal pre-K and sturdy funding for schools and teachers. Teachers are the building blocks of a functional society; they should be paid accordingly. College needs to be more affordable so that it is not just a luxury for those with higher financial means. However, we need to place a higher a value on training programs and apprenticeships for hands-on skills because not everybody wants to go to college. Once ready for the workforce, these college graduates and/or skilled trades-persons need to be able to rely on protections against discriminatory practices and unfair labor policies. Employees of all backgrounds should earn a living wage and have access to paid time off in the event of a pregnancy or family illness.
Access to healthcare is a human right. We must take care of the sick and elderly by ensuring that every person has access to the health services he or she needs, regardless of financial ability, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation or gender identification. No diabetic should ever have to ration insulin. No person should have to rely on emergency services because it’s health insurance or rent. No parent should ever be concerned about the price of an epi-pen. No family should ever be one broken leg away from bankruptcy. Our healthcare system is broken. I support state efforts to protect pre-existing conditions, expansion of coverage for low income Virginians, and price regulations for life saving medications. I support any congressional efforts at moving toward a universal healthcare system. Gun violence should also be viewed as a public health crisis. We must implement common-sense reforms such as universal background checks and protect the victims of domestic abuse by removing firearms from their attackers - this will not only protect our communities but also our law enforcement personnel.
Our Equality and Fairness
The opportunity to lead our best lives cannot be achieved unless every person is treated equally and fairly. Women should receive equal pay for equal work; I support the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation should not be a barrier to any opportunity. We must focus our efforts on ensuring the protection of racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities by passing laws that include them and repealing laws that hold them back. We must address the systemic inequality within the criminal justice system. We must stop prosecuting juveniles as adults, decriminalize marijuana and address the policies that disproportionately affect minority communities. Equality is also measured in the voice that is given to the people. In Virginia, we have the opportunity to allow voters to choose their politicians and not the other way around by ending political gerrymandering. I support the creation of an independent redistricting committee to reduce, if not eliminate, the conflict of interest a legislator has in drawing his or her own district boundaries.