My positions on the issues are rooted in my upbringing, my culture, and my experiences. My positions have developed over time and continue to evolve. As I meet more people, I will gather more information and get a good grasp of what it is my district needs me to focus on.
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 tradespersons 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.
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.
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.
We need criminal justice reform; juvenile justice reform; adequate specialty training for law enforcement in juvenile delinquency, mental health and substance abuse; and better funding and treatment for the mentally ill and substance addicted so that our children, loved ones, and communities are safe. We need to keep guns out of the hands of bad guys and out of our schools. I support sensible gun safety measures that promote responsibility and save lives.
Equality for all leads us to recognize and address the divide between oppressed populations and law enforcement. We must value and respect of first responders by paying them, training them, and equipping them with the tools and knowledge they need to keep themselves and our communities safe. We must recognize and appreciate them while holding bad apples accountable for bad behavior.
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.
At the end of the day, none of the above even matters if we continue to destroy the planet. We must progress toward clean, green energy and move away from this dependence we have on fossil fuels. We cannot have clean air and clean water if we continue to pollute. Because the pollution we create is given back to us in the form of natural disasters. We must do better as a community, as a state, and as a country.