Having worked in nonprofit and public service jobs throughout my career, the challenges faced by everyday New Yorkers are not hypothetical to me. I have spent my adult life living paycheck to paycheck, I know what it’s like to be buried by student debt, and I know how it feels to go to a doctor worried as much about the bill as I am about the test results. We need big changes on Capitol Hill to strengthen our economy and build a better future for our country. And that’s exactly what I plan to advocate for in Congress. 

As your representative, every decision I make will be driven by our district’s common goals to:

Defend 

our Democracy

Build a Stronger

Economy

Fortify our Social Safety Nets and Ensure Equal Opportunity

Protect

 our

Planet

Enhance our Criminal Justice

System

Fulfill

our

Nation's Promises

Fight for

a Brighter Future

Are these the goals that matter to you?

Defending our Democracy

 

“We the People…”

The goal of self-government and a nation driven by its citizenry is enshrined in the first three words of our Constitution. Our democracy is everything. Without safeguards to ensure that the voice of the people is heard and followed, we cannot begin to move forward. In practice, this means that:

  • Voting is a right of citizenship. Every measure must be taken to ensure that all eligible Americans can actually cast their vote, including:

    • Making Election Day a federal holiday

    • Increasing early voting and the number of voting sites

    • Providing any required ID to all voting-age citizens, free of charge

    • Automatically registering all citizens to vote when they reach 18

  • We should implement Instant-Runoff Voting in our elections. With our current voting system, Americans are oftentimes forced to take part in "strategic voting"—voting not for your favorite candidate, but for the candidate you can tolerate who you think stands the best chance of winning. Because of this, our elections have devolved to the point where many voters feel like they have no good option—and no real voice in government—because their authentic vote would be "wasted" on a long-shot candidate. All of this inevitably leads to lower engagement in the democratic process and less confidence in our government. Instant-Runoff Voting can solve this problem and give Americans the ability to vote for who they truly want, turning our elections back into what they should be: a search for the very best candidate our districts have to offer.​

  • We need to end the filibuster rule in the Senate. Politicians in both parties will argue that this rule encourages debate and reasonable compromise. But, in reality, it has brought the Senate to a grinding halt and has stopped the upper house of Congress from making any real progress for years. With this rule in place, Senators representing just 11% of all Americans have the power to overrule everyone else. This minority rule is simply not democracy and it must be brought to an end.

  • Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico should be given statehood if they choose it. 3.9 million Americans lack states’ rights and have no voice or vote in the United States Senate. The over 3 million citizens in Puerto Rico cannot even cast a vote for our country’s president. It is essential that we give real power, voice, and representation to our millions of citizens in DC and Puerto Rico. 

  • We must end the use of the Electoral College. Too many times in American history, presidential candidates have earned the majority of all votes and yet still lost the election, seemingly because they didn’t win the right votes. Our faith in our democracy depends on the knowledge that everyone’s vote is of equal importance. We cannot continue to let that trust and faith be shaken every four years. 

  • Money is not free speech and cannot drive our democracy. Far too often, politicians in our country are controlled by corporations and the 1%. Money is power and the super wealthy have used that power to lobby against policies which would benefit the vast majority of American citizens. This has to stop. I will refuse corporate PAC money throughout my campaign and time in office, and I will challenge all moneyed interests that do harm to my fellow citizens.   

Building a Stronger Economy

 

A strong economy is essential for our future. It must be taken into account with every decision made in DC. A strong and equitable economy is what drives innovation, encourages hard work, and promotes investments in our future. A strong economy is what allows us to fortify our social safety nets, provide pathways to the American Dream, and ensure that our unalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are protected and promised. In order to build a strong economy:

  • We must increase taxes on the super-rich to address growing inequality. Income inequality, in and of itself, is not always a bad thing; some level of it is actually good for the economy. Money is an effective incentive, and we need strong financial incentives to encourage people to work hard, gain experience in their fields, pursue jobs that require intensive training, and provide goods, services, and entertainment that the free market deems valuable. In a thriving economy, there can and will be multi-millionaires with fancy homes, and also low-wage workers with studio apartments. But there simply cannot be billionaires with more money than their great-grandchildren could spend in a lifetime, while others struggle to even afford dinner for their children tonight. We cannot sustain income inequality this extreme; we need radical change, and we need it now.    

  • Congress needs to understand that an economy cannot grow from the top down. For decades, US economic policy has leaned heavily on the concept that “job creators” at the “top” pay the wages of workers at the “bottom,” and so economic aid must come from the top down. But an economy is not a simple line or a pyramid, and we cannot continue to treat it like one. Consumers at the “bottom” must buy goods and services to generate profits for the “top”; consumers fund the salaries of the 1%. Our working and middle classes fuel our economy, and failing to fully support them will ultimately cripple the entire system. Average, everyday Americans are the ones that need the most financial support to keep the economy moving, and that fact must be recognized by Congress.

  • We must increase the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour. If the minimum wage had kept up with productivity since the 1960’s, estimates show that it would currently be almost $24 per hour. The $15 minimum wage is already a compromise, and a full-time worker earning this amount will make just over $31,000 per year, before taxes. This is a subsistence-level income, and any job that needs to be done must compensate workers with at least this much money to live, thrive, and provide for their families.

  • We need an economy that works in every community, from urban metropolises to small rural towns. Too often, rural communities in our district and our country are being ignored by politicians—especially Democrats—because they don’t have enough voters to earn political attention. From crumbling infrastructure to poor internet access to the skyrocketing costs of basic services, many of our biggest economic problems are hitting rural communities especially hard. And our economy is all interconnected; what hurts rural communities will inevitably hurt cities and suburbs as well. What hurts one group will inevitably hurt every other. Strong economic policies mean solutions that support every community and demographic and provide equal opportunity for all. Basic economic necessities cannot be subject to political games, polling numbers, or electoral math.

Fortifying our Social Safety Nets and Ensuring Equal Opportunity 

 

“It's a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.” 

Martin Luther King, Jr. encapsulated it perfectly when he said this. The American Dream may be based on hard work and perseverance—and it should remain so—but there are basic services that everyone needs in order to survive, and there are basic tools that everyone must have access to in order to thrive. Throughout our nation’s history, systemic problems of racism, sexism, LGBTQIA discrimination, xenophobia, religious persecution, and ableism have all broken down our promise of equal opportunity. We need to reckon with and correct this damage, and we must ensure that all Americans share basic protections and have access to the necessary tools for health and financial growth. For Congress, this means acknowledging that: 

  • Healthcare is a human right. In one of the wealthiest nations in the world, we undeniably have the resources to provide exceptional healthcare (both mental and physical) to every American. The cost of healthcare in the United States is skyrocketing, not because it needs to, but because it can. A private healthcare system is based on supply and demand, and people will pay just about anything for the medicine that keeps them alive. So “demand” in this system is infinite, and skyrocketing prices are inevitable. Single-payer healthcare removes the bureaucracy of insurance companies and limits medical costs to what is actually necessary to provide quality care. Americans need and deserve Medicare for All. 

  • Abortion is healthcare. The miracle of life can be an amazing and beautiful gift for those with the means and desire to have children. But not everyone wants children, and pregnancy and labor carry significant risks—physically, emotionally, and financially. Many of these risks can be alleviated with systemic changes, but they will never be fully eliminated, and no one should be forced to accept these risks when safer alternatives exist. While birth control methods should be widely understood and easily accessible to prevent unwanted pregnancies, everyone must have equal access to safe and legal reproductive healthcare when they need it.

  • Food and shelter are human rights. There are estimated to be over half a million homeless people in America, and at least 1 in 7 of our children are unsure where their next meal will come from. There is absolutely no reason for this. We have the economic ability to provide food and shelter for every American and, with an issue this fundamental to our people’s wellbeing, the economic ability to do so means the moral imperative to make it happen. 

  • Good parenting is good for society. Children need devoted attention from their families in order to thrive. And thriving children are how we build a stronger future for our country. It is time for the United States to catch up to all other wealthy nations and guarantee that every parent and guardian has at least 12 weeks of paid family leave to care for and bond with a new child in their home. Supporting good parenting also means increasing funding for childcare to make it more accessible and affordable. When and if parents decide to go back to work, they should have confidence that their children are safe and that their decision will be financially worthwhile for their family. 

  • Education serves the public good. Every parent in America has probably thought at some point about where to live and where to work in order to send their children to “good schools.” But good schools in this country should not be diamonds in the rough; they should be the expectation and the universal norm. Teachers should be compensated as the invaluable, highly-trained professionals that they are, and public education from kindergarten through a four-year college degree should be fully funded and tuition-free. Education, when well-funded, is the great equalizer, and it must be a public service that is universally accessible to all.  

  • Medical Debt and Student Debt should be forgiven for all Americans. Medical debt in the United States is estimated at over $50 billion, while student debt is estimated at over $1.6 trillion. Millions of Americans are financially struggling simply because they accepted life-saving medical care. And millions more struggle because they believed that education was “an investment in their future” and systemic problems have made that narrative woefully untrue. These debts, quite simply, should never have existed in the first place. Forgiving the debt is not only the right thing to do; it is the smart decision that will stimulate our economy and help our middle class get back on its feet.

Protecting our Planet

 

The science is in. It’s not a couple of studies; it’s not a few climate change activists with megaphones; it’s not a handful of engineers with a love of solar panels. Decades of research have led 97% of all climate scientists to agree: humans are causing global climate change and—without drastic intervention—the results will be catastrophic. To tackle this problem:

  • We need to listen to scientists, not corporations. The scientific community is in agreement on the existence, cause, and deadly consequences of global climate change. Corporations and the politicians they fund may try to argue that “we don’t really know enough yet” or that we’re “overreacting” to the problem. But science simply does not support this. Understanding and respecting the voice of the global scientific community is essential to addressing climate change as quickly and effectively as possible.         

  • We need the Green New Deal to protect our environment and ensure a livable planet for future generations. Not only does this proposal protect the Earth, it benefits our economy as well. The seemingly daunting costs of the plan refer to money that the government will pay to American workers and to American businesses as the plan is put into action. That combined with lower energy costs and the benefits of cleaner air and drinking water gives us full confidence that a Green New Deal can boost our economy and promote our public welfare.

  • We need to acknowledge and address the concerns of Americans currently working in unsustainable industries. The Green New Deal can and will bring millions of new jobs into the American economy, and predictions show that this increase will significantly outweigh the job losses in fossil fuel industries. But we must also recognize that the people losing their jobs in outdated industries will not always be able to take the new jobs that are being created. This means that implementing sustainability initiatives will require interim financial support and job training to ensure that working-class Americans do not bear the brunt of this economic shift. 

Enhancing our Criminal Justice System

 

Safety is of the utmost importance to Americans—as it certainly should be—and a well-designed criminal justice system is key to providing all citizens with security and peace of mind. An effective system must ensure that our people are safe and protected from those that would do us harm, while also ensuring that our freedoms are protected, our humanity is maintained, and our system does not harm innocent members of our society. What this means for our government is:

  • Funding the prevention of crime, not just the punishment for it. Police officers serve an essential role in our community: enforcing the law and frequently putting their lives on the line to keep us safe. They should be well-compensated for their service, and their training should reflect the immense power and authority being granted to them. But even the very best police forces cannot prevent crime. It is simply not what they are trained to do. Police officers can serve as a deterrent to some extent, but this strategy is often used disproportionately in communities of color. And BIPOC citizens are the most likely to be victims of police brutality. Truly preventing and reducing crime requires different skills and training than what police officers have at their disposal; prevention requires allocating some police funding to other public services that support the community and provide for the common good. Improving our social safety nets can reduce crime and lessen the need to call in police officers in the first place unless they are actually necessary for the situation at hand. This change in perspective is how we can make our streets safer. 

  • Eliminating the use of capital punishment. The United States is on an extremely short list of major world powers that still execute our own citizens. And there is no good reason for it. Capital punishment has not been shown to reduce or prevent capital crimes, we have in the past executed people that were later proven innocent, and capital punishment actually costs our government significantly more than sentencing someone to life without parole. Capital punishment should not exist in a modern, moral society and it needs to be brought to an end.

  • Understanding drug use as the healthcare crisis that it is. The United States has been in a War on Drugs since 1971, trying and failing to solve an addiction crisis with prison time for 50 years now. To say the very least: this plan is not working. For marijuana—which poses no greater risks than tobacco or alcohol—society is moving forward by rightfully legalizing it state by state, and the federal government can make that a national change. For the far more dangerous drugs, a better way forward means understanding addiction science, eliminating mandatory minimums, and building a better healthcare system that will allow us to break the cycle of addiction, whenever possible. 

  • Ending mass incarceration and the existence of private prisons. Prisons and jails, when used appropriately, serve an important purpose in our society: providing both an effective punishment and deterrent for some crimes, while also physically protecting our communities from people that would otherwise do us harm. But the United States has the highest incarceration rate per capita in the entire world, and no evidence suggests that this mass incarceration has made us safer. Our citizens can spend decades in prison for non-violent drug offenses, while others sit in jail, awaiting a trial behind bars simply because they cannot afford bail. And private companies throughout the country are turning a profit on this injustice. It is objectively unethical to have a financial incentive to put people behind bars, and this broken system needs to be fixed.

Fulfilling our Nation's Promises

 

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”

- Emma Lazarus, from The New Colossus at the feet of the Statue of Liberty 

America is supposed to be a nation of immigrants and a land of opportunity. But, throughout history, this has been a noble goal that we have often failed to live up to. From early immigrants who slaughtered Native Americans...to colonials who kidnapped and enslaved Black men, women, and children for 250 years...to modern citizens who fight to close our borders to even the most desperate asylum seekers...our history is littered with painful reminders that America is often a land of opportunity for some, at the expense of others. This cannot be justified and cannot be sustained. We can and will be better than this. 

As with any past injustice, it is impossible to truly make up for what our long-gone ancestors have done. But we can and should try, and we must find better, more humane, more idealistically-American approaches to fix our current immigration system. 

 

We must abolish ICE and set up pathways to citizenship for immigrants and asylum seekers. While eliminating ICE may sound like a radical idea, ICE is not a longstanding government institution; it is in no way fundamental to our nation’s safety. ICE had only existed since 2003, meaning there were over 200 years where our country managed a successful immigration system without ICE presence. There is no evidence to suggest that immigrants as a whole are violent or dangerous to our society, or even that their presence is bad for our economy. Our current system treats immigrants as threats with no justification or evidence, and we need to change this framing at every level; immigration at a slow and steady pace improves our society and grows our economy, and embracing this fully will benefit our current and future citizens alike. 

Fighting for a Brighter Future

 

The Preamble to our Constitution starts with a promise—”We the people”—and ends with a goal: to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

Our nation is founded not just on doing what is right for our people today, but on ensuring that future generations are supported and protected for tomorrow. As your congressman, every decision I make from healthcare to education to environmental protection to justice reforms will be made to defend our future. We are a nation founded on lofty goals, with a lot of room to grow and a lot of promises to keep. My promise is to fight for my fellow citizens as a member of Congress—keeping my decisions rooted in the knowledge that my own success  and wellbeing is deeply entwined with that of everyone else.