On public schools. . .
I don’t want for-profit companies running public schools. I’m against vouchers. I want us to do a better job funding our public schools. I believe we—as a society—should make sure that every child can get a quality public education. I believe our teachers need our support (and should be respected as professionals).
On community colleges. . .
We need to increase our commitment to our community colleges. We need to think clearly, as a society, about how we are going prepare our kids for their work lives and how to help them find meaningful and productive employment. Community colleges are an integral part of this equation. Four-year institutions also play an important role here, of course, but I think we often fail to realize as a community that community colleges have a greater reach and are generally more accessible and affordable to a larger segment of the population. We need to more energy and more resources in helping our kids transition into productive and gainfully employed adults.
On creating more economic opportunities for people in CD-1. . .
As a Democratic, I’m often accused of wanting to give people handouts or of supporting special treatment for different groups. That’s not true. Here’s what I want. I want folks that work hard and play by the rules to have a chance to get ahead a bit. Slowly, over time, those with money and power in our society have changed the rules—a little change here, a little change there—so now it’s harder and harder for the average person to make it. My dad—as he told us over and over growing up—paid his way through college by working as a night janitor. Why was it possible back then to do something that isn’t possible today? My daughter is at a four-year college. I know what it costs. She’d have to have 3 or 4 night janitorial jobs—and that’s not physically possible, there aren’t that many hours in a day—to pay her own way through college.
Why are 50% of those that work full time in fast food on public assistance? Why do 40% of these workers live in poverty? There is something wrong with an economic system that demands people work full time, and then when they do, still requires them to take a handout from the tax payers so that they have enough money to pay for food and shelter.
If you’re curious, click on this link (and click through to the study by the Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education): https://www.eater.com/2015/4/13/8403905/52-percent-fast-food-workers-public-assistance-food-stamps-study.
This is a complicated issue, but the bottom line is that is HAS to be possible for someone that works hard, full-time, to afford a dignified life. If they can’t, they won’t have incentive to work, they’ll drop out of the system, and that hurts us all.
On guns. . .
I support the 2nd amendment. I also support common sense gun regulation. My position mirrors the position of Mom’s Demand Action. From the Mom’s Demand Action website:
Moms Demand Action supports the 2nd Amendment, but we believe common-sense solutions can help decrease the escalating epidemic of gun violence that kills too many of our children and loved ones every day. Whether the gun violence happens in urban Chicago, suburban Virginia, or rural Texas, we must act now on new and stronger gun laws and policies to protect our children.
Moms Demand Action envisions a country where all children and families are safe from gun violence. Our nonpartisan grassroots movement has grown to include a chapter in every state across the country. We are educating, motivating, and mobilizing supporters to take action that will result in stronger laws and policies to save lives.
On Criminal Justice Reform. . .
The U.S. (as of 2013) has the highest incarceration rate in the world (at approximately 700 per 100,000 of national population). There is no reason we should be doing this to ourselves. Our current system needlessly ruins lives. It is incredibly expensive. It hurts us as a country in numerous ways. We need to make significant changes to how we define criminal behavior and how we punish those who engage in it.
On good government. . .
There are things we want and need the government to do, and we should want the government to do these things well. The tag line of my campaign is “smart, effective government.” We wouldn’t expect a Fortune 500 company to hire a socialist or a Marxist—someone who is hostile to capitalism—as it’s CEO, so why do we so often elect individuals that are hostile to government to government office?
We need government to:
1) serve as a mechanism for pooling resources (through taxation) to purchase public goods (roads, military protection, and so on),
2) provide essential inputs to our economy (without which businesses would be unable to function), including a system of property rights, a stable currency, intellectual property protection, access to courts, public infrastructure of all kinds, an educated workforce (a product, primarily of public schools), and so on,
3) create the necessary rules (and act as a referee) for market-based economic activity,
4) enforce the rule of law; protect the minority from the majority (in other words, to insure a level playing field for everyone)