Policy #1 Pass the Green New Deal
As a proud Green Party member, I feel that one of the most important issues facing our nation and the world is Climate Change.
It is a fact that the communities receiving the worst environmental fallout are low-income neighborhoods with residents who are mostly people of color, and in light of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the best chance we have of recovery is to invest heavily in renewable energy, that can update our failing infrastructure, ban fracking as well as oil drilling and pipelines while providing racial and environmental justice for our children’s future.
Policy #2 Pass Medicare for All
Each year we hear horrific stories of people who die prematurely due to rationing medicine like insulin, or from stage 4 cancers that they never received a diagnosis for, and all because they couldn’t afford the cost of seeing a doctor or the premiums tied to insurance. We know for a fact that over 1 million people filled for medical bankruptcy in 2015 and with the cost of health insurance projected to go up by 40% before the end of this year, that number will increase.
We are currently facing the greatest pandemic the human race has seen in over 100 years, and passing Medicare for All while also erasing medical debt, and re-opening rural hospitals & clinics is a moral imperative that all of our elected representatives must ratify and sign into law.
Policy #3 Universal Housing
The United States is currently facing a housing crisis we have never seen before. A person who is homeless or housing insecure is 40x more likely to be physically or sexually assaulted as compared to someone living in permanent housing. It is estimated that the number of renters and mortgage payers facing eviction and foreclosures is over 28 million people.
We currently have a homeless population of over 530,000 with 40,000 homeless veterans who have no safe place to live or shelter in place, and it’s time to make homelessness a thing of the past. We have boarded up homes all over the country which need minimal updates to be brought up to code and turned into safe, permanent homes. At a time where tens of millions face eviction, we must demand an end to evictions and foreclosures, and provide people with the security of having a home.
Policy #4 Universal Basic Income
The global pandemic has effectively shrunken our economy by 10.5% with 60% of small and local businesses forced to close their doors permanently.
Stores, shops and businesses which took years, decades or even generations to build are now gone forever. We have seen our friends, families and neighbors wait in bread lines that stretch on for miles for 1 bag of groceries, while millions face an end to the moratorium placed on rent and mortgage payments.
In these times of severe economic hardship, giving each adult $2,500 per month plus $500 for each child would ensure that people can afford basic amenities like food, medicine and rent payments so they can stay in their own homes.
Policy #5 Reparations for Descendants of Slaves and Indigenous People
The United States has an over 400-year history of genocide, ethnic cleansing, enslavement, and terrorism that it has committed against People of Color and Indigenous People, all in an effort to perpetuate the myth of White Supremacy.
Between the ICE Concentration Camps, the impoverished conditions suffered by Indigenous People on reservations, Redlining, and the injustice of black people being killed at a rate of 2.8x higher than their white peers by police, it is obvious that the legacy of White Supremacy in our country is alive and well.
To help address this systemic racism, and lift affected communities out of poverty, we must demand monthly reparation payments of $2500 directly to Adult Descendants of African Slaves and Indigenous people.
Policy #6 Increase the Federal Minimum Wage
The Fight for $15 began in 2012 when fast-food workers in New York City began to strike and demand higher wages as well as union benefits. While increasing the minimum wage by 50% is a good place to start, it does not go far enough.
There is only one state in the country where a $15/hour wage is enough to afford rent on a 1 bed, 1 bathroom apartment, and that is Arkansas. In every other state, the minimum wage needed to afford the same apartment is between $16/hour and $38/hour.
Wages have not increased to the level of productivity produced by our workforce, and if they had, we would currently have a minimum wage of $22/hour. For both these reasons, it is our mission to increase the federal minimum wage to $25 per hour.
Policy #7 Expand Worker Co-Ops, Unions & Worker Rights
During the aftershock of the Covid-19 viral outbreak, we watched as industries gave massive lay-offs, benefit cuts, and pay reduction to their workers while Congress awarded the CEOs’ with massive bailouts that workers did not receive.
For the past 15 years, the Mondragon Corporation in Spain has expanded the number of co-ops to over 100 factories that maintain the steady employment of 84,000 workers despite Spains 16.6% unemployment rate, down from 26% seven years ago.
In these co-ops, workers are able to negotiate directly with managers and owners so everyone can benefit from profit sharing, quality pay, worker benefits, and safe workplace conditions that maintain employment and the opportunity for companies to expand. The United States was founded on the practice of Democracy, and it’s time for us to expand it to the workplace.
Policy #8 Campaign Finance Reform
The amount of money received each year by members of Congress and other State/local officials from Super PACs, lobbyists, and private fundraisers amount to the tens of millions.
This number increases exponentially during a Presidential Election, and it is intended to do one thing: own our elected representatives. It has been proven that public policy is driven by the wants and desires of the people who can donate the greatest amount of money to an election campaign, and simply put is legalized bribery.
Our policies should be driven by the voters who elect us and not money, which is why we must end corporate lobbying, gerrymandering, Citizens United, and institute a modern-day Glass Steagall.
Policy #9 Mental Health Advocacy for Children
The second leading cause of death for children ages 10-12 in the United States is suicide and is on track to become the leading cause of death for children ages ten and older. The number of kids who were hospitalized after a suicide attempt increased by 50% during the past 2 school years and there are over 4.5 million school-age children who currently suffer from suicidal thoughts and acts of self-harm.
This issue is almost never discussed in the halls of Congress because of the stigma surrounding mental health, but there is an answer. Schools in a few isolated districts have re-designed the curriculums by adding specialized programs that impact every student and teach mindfulness. This skill enables a student to monitor their emotional and mental health so they can identify warning signs before symptoms arise and become worse.
Schools who have implemented these programs have seen incredible results not just in students’ well-being but also in their academic performance. Grades and attendance have increased dramatically, in & out of school suspensions have been eliminated, and after school detention along with peer-related conflicts have decreased.
This epidemic is one of many that our children face and can be solved by expanding curriculums across the country. If you are or know someone in crisis, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255
Policy #10 Mental Health Advocacy for Adults
It is estimated that over 47.6 million adults suffer from some form of mental illness have inadequate or no access to mental healthcare or treatment. 22 Veterans die from suicide each day, and 37% of inmates have a history of suffering from mental illness. If we continue to ignore and marginalize individuals who have or currently suffer from mental illnesses, these numbers will continue to grow, unless policy changes are made.
Medicare For All should not end with just providing care for vision, dental and physical wellness, but must also include full coverage for counseling, psychiatric and psychological treatment as well as crisis services and rehabilitation.
While the stigma surrounding mental health is a powerful force driving people away from seeking out help, the high cost of care should never prevent anyone from getting the treatment they need and deserve. If you are or know someone in crisis, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255
Policy #11 Immigration Rights and Ending ICE
The United States as we know it today would not exist without immigration. Even so, the Xenophobia we are witnessing at the federal and judiciary level is abhorrent and demands radical immediate change.
Immigrants from all across Central and South America are coming to the US as a direct result of Coups imposed by the United States, meeting asylum seekers with modem day Concentration Camps and indefinite Imprisonment; instead of social workers, emergency medical aid, and other forms of immigration advocacy services, that they rightfully deserve, but are nowhere to be seen.
It is for this reason alone that we must abolish ICE, expand the legal protections of DREAMERS and asylum seekers, bring home deported Veterans, and begin the process of reuniting separated families with their children. ICE did not exist before 2008, and its proper place is on the trash heap of history.
Policy #12 Gun Reform
In the aftermath of one of the deadliest school shootings in US history, which took the lives of 20 children and 6 adult teachers and staff, the entire country was in an uproar. The public outcry for Universal Background Checks and a ban on the sale of Semi-Automatic Rifles filled the nightly news and halls of Congress.
Yet with the overwhelming majority of our people supporting both of these policies, we continue to live in a country where mass shootings occur almost every day I will personally stand with the victims and their families, by Co-Sponsoring bills that will not only pass comprehensive gun reform but pass legislation that institutes a gun buy-back program to get as many weapons off the streets as possible.
Policy #13 LGBTQIA+ Rights & Civil Liberties
This year we witnessed a historic victory when the Supreme Court ruled against employment discrimination on the basis of Sexual Orientation and/or Gender Identity: But the road to equality is still long and winding, and more legislation must be passed to end discrimination against our gay, transgender and queer friends, family, and neighbors.
We must demand an end to federal laws that allow landlords, stores, restaurants, hotels, colleges, adoption agencies, and even hospitals to discriminate against members of this incredibly diverse population.
Advocating for the rights of this community is part of the modern-day Civil Rights Movement, and ending bigotry towards people who simply want to enjoy the same services and rights as their straight, cis-gendered neighbors is a goal we will achieve.
Policy #14 Rights of People with Disabilities
We have come a long way with regards to providing inclusivity, services, and accommodations to the world’s largest minority group. 20% of the world’s population is made up of people who have cognitive, physical, developmental, mental, sensory, and learning disabilities, and there is something that our Senate can do to improve the lives of children and adults who have them.
In 2009, the Convention on the Rights with Persons with Disabilities was accepted by 165 countries, including the US, and would provide countries who have ratified the treaty with information, services, and accommodations that citizens here enjoy, while also improving our own infrastructure and become more inclusive of people with disabilities. However, since the treaty was accepted by the US, it has yet to be ratified by the Senate, so it can be signed into law by the President.
When elected to the Senate, we must push for this treaty to be ratified along with updating the Americans with Disabilities Act, increase Social Security to a living wage and end the practice of paying people with disabilities less than minimum wage so we can ensure that people with disabilities can live indignity and inclusivity.
Policy #15 Ending Foreign Wars
The longest-running war in the United States history began 19 years ago in 2001, and with no specific mission left to accomplish, we must demand full withdrawal from the middle east as well as 22 African countries where US troops have been stationed.
Our government has been responsible for countless war crimes including the use of cluster bombs, depleted uranium, and the sale of arms to the very country which produced 15 of the September 11th hijackers, Saudi Arabia.
These foreign wars serve no purpose other than to enrich the bank accounts of defense contractors and ending them along with nationalizing the weapons manufacturing industry must become a national priority to bring about lasting peace.
Policy #16 Tuition Free College
Providing tuition for public Colleges and Universities is considered a high cost by many, but the truth is that it is an investment in our children’s future. In New York State where we passed tuition-free college for households earning less than $125,000 per year, we saw the number of high school graduates increase by 30%.
The tuition-free college would provide students an incentive to not only earn a high school diploma but to graduate from college as well. By passing Tuition-free College and Student Loan Forgiveness, we will ensure that all students have an equal chance to go to College regardless of their individual or family income.
Policy #17 Fully Fund Primary K-12 & Universal Pre-Schools
The United States is the only country in the developed world where public schools are funded based on the property taxes raised in the communities where they are built. This policy causes many schools to open with no computer, math or science labs, outdated textbooks, no/low-speed internet, overcrowded classes, and severely underpaid teachers.
Even more, schools have severe structural issues, water damage, weak/failing ceilings, and electrical systems, as well as leaking pipes and boilers that produce no heat. All students deserve to learn in fully public-funded schools which are up to code, highly staffed with teachers who receive a minimum of $60,000 per year, and after-school and nutrition programs that enable their success.
Policy #18 Ending the Drug War
The beginning of the Drug War is arguable, but one thing we know for certain is that it was used as a tool during the 1960s in order to suppress protests against the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement.
By criminalizing the use of Cannabis and Heroin, public officials could throw dissenting voices into prison for an issue that should have been treated as a public health crisis. In 1999, Portugal decriminalized the use of all drugs and began an infrastructure that enabled remission and a severe drop in overdoses over the course of 13 years.
Today Portugal has a 60% enrollment rate in addiction recovery and rehabilitation programs, as well as an overdose rate that is significantly lower than the EU average. At a time when the country is facing an epidemic in opioid addictions, we need to do what Portugal began over 20 years ago and pass legislation that decriminalizes drug use and enables recovery.
Policy #19 Criminal Justice Reform
The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery with the exception of incarcerated inmates. Today the population of prisoners in the US is predominately made of people of color, most of whom are serving time for non-violent crimes and are used by the state for cheap or free labor.
We must abolish for-profit prisons that incentivize repeat offenders, the practice of solitary confinement, and instead adopt practices that promote recovery and transition into lifestyles void of criminal activity that put all of our communities at risk.
Policy #20 End the Backlog of Rape Kits
1 in 5 women and 1 in 6 men will become victims of sexual assault at some point in their life, but less than 1% of those charged with rape will receive a conviction. The low number of convictions is in part due to the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of rape kits that remain untested in jurisdictions all over the country.
Another reason most rape kits go untested is that there is no federal law mandating the testing or tracking of the rape kits we currently have collected, which allows sexual predators to commit acts of violence against multiple victims across state and international lines without the fear of being caught.
We must establish a National Database which tests and logs each rape kit and end the 10-year statute of limitations on sexual assault crimes.
Policy #21 Reproductive Rights
Women should have free access to birth control and abortion services as a right. In states that allow pharmacists to write prescriptions for oral contraception, such as Colorado, abortion rates dropped by 60% for teenagers over an 8 year period.
Even though the number of women who traveled from outside the state to obtain abortion access did not change, the number of abortions inside the state dropped by 10% between 2014-2011.
Women’s health clinics provide many services like cancer-screenings, pre/post-natal care, pelvic exams, and other annual health exams which increase life-expectancy and decrease the risk of health and birth complications. It is a long time for us to decriminalize women’s care in this country and codify Roe vs. Wade into law.
Policy #22 Free Childcare & Paid Family Leave
Each year, millions of women and men are prevented from having access to higher-paying jobs or starting a family due to the high cost of childcare.
Many women are fired, demoted, or not hired to jobs at all because they either become pregnant or are seen as a risk for having children in the future. It is for this reason that we must provide federal funding to make childcare in this country free as well as paid maternity and paternity leave.
Policy #23 Ending Food Waste
Our Country throws away approximately 40% of the food we produce every single year, however, most food waste is not due to consumer habits. Farmers often plant more than what they sell to account for food loss with mold or insect infestation, while another portion of food is lost in transport from the farm to the grocery stores or factories.
Another percentage is lost when grocery and convenience stores throw away un-expired or un-spoiled food to make room for more products they are scheduled to receive each week. While dumpsters are filled on weekly basis with everything from fresh produce, meat and dairy products, baked goods, and eggs while millions go hungry.
The number of adults and children who are food insecure has skyrocketed in the wake of the viral outbreak, and whole fields of food have been destroyed due to a decrease in demand from restaurants. To solve these problems, and provide food to people in need, we must pass legislation that requires grocery and convenience stores to donate any unsold food to pantries and community centers in food deserts where fresh produce is scarce.
In addition, we need to abolish food monopolies that own and control a vast majority of our food supply by enabling small, local farmers who can grow and supply grocers and restaurants with bio-diverse food.
Text #24 Protecting the Press and First Amendment
Democracy only functions in the presence of a well-informed public where dissent is prevalent. The more dissent and opposing voices we have, the healthier our democracy becomes. In 1996 the Telecommunications Act caused the merger and private ownership of 50 different television studios, radio stations, and newspapers down to only 6 companies.
Enabling independent, local, and publicly owned news sources begins with ending the monopolies that own so many of our news and information sources, as well as the Espionage Act and all other laws which criminalize peaceful protests.