“While we are the wealthiest nation in the world, our children are now the second generation entering into adulthood worse off than their parents. With every county in this country facing a housing crisis, with millions of American’s unable to afford health care, with stagnant wages and slow job growth, it is no surprise many of us are left feeling uncertain about the future. As a prosperous nation we need to fight to ensure ALL the people have a share in the fruits of their labor, not just those that can afford a lobbyist. In order to do so we have to reform our government and return power to the people rather than just the corporate interests Congress currently represents.
Together, we can take on big money and build a government that works for everyone so that we can all realize the promise of America.”
– Dorothy Gasque
The American Anti-Corruption Act
The American Anti-Corruption Act is model policy that sets a framework for city, state and federal laws to fix our broken political system. It fundamentally reshapes the rules of American politics and restores the people as the most important stakeholders in our political system. An Anti-Corruption Act has three primary goals:
Stop political bribery so special interests can’t use job offers and donations to influence politicians.
End secret money so people know who’s buying political power.
Fix our broken elections so the people, not the political establishment, are the ones in control.
Getting Money Out of Politics
The influence of money in politics has moved our government away from a democracy and towards a plutocracy. In order to create a government that is truly accountable to the people rather than corporate interests, we need legislation that gets money out of politics once and for all.
Money in politics has halted legislative progress on two equally important fronts: campaign finance and political lobbying. Large sums of money are thrown at candidates from wealthy individuals and corporations in order to elevate career politicians to a place where it’s extremely difficult for them to be challenged. The marriage between money and politics doesn’t stop there, as the wealthy individuals and corporate interests who bankrolled the campaigns of establishment politicians expect an open ear when lobbying them to cater to their interests in office. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision further exacerbated this problem by allowing super PACs to spend unlimited sums of money on the candidates of their choosing. This decision must be reversed by a Constitutional amendment that gives the federal government and states more control over campaign finance, and ceases to consider corporate money the same as speech. We must also maximize transparency in political contributions by passing legislation that requires wealthy donors to disclose who they give money to.
Medicare for All
We believe healthcare is a right for ALL people, regardless of their ability to pay. Nobody should go without proper medical care in such a prosperous country.
Private insurance companies have been allowed by generations of corrupt politicians to become monopolies with the power to extort many hundreds of billions of dollars from the American people each year. The health insurance industry spent $150 billion dollars last year in lobbying expenses alone, to protect their monopolies — money that could have been spent on providing care and saving lives. Medicare for All will provide all Americans with Medicare, increase the number of doctors and care facilities and stop Big Pharma from gouging American consumers.
Fixing Our Economy
The greatest struggle that Americans face today, one that cuts across the lines of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and political party, is a broken economy and income inequality. We need a bold economic vision if we hope to ever fix this rigged system.
America has fallen into a long-term, economic decline. Wages have been stagnant since the 1970s. Over the past 4 decades, America has lost millions of high-wage jobs and failed to replace them, leaving many American workers with a low-paying service job or no job at all. To reverse this economic decline once and for all, we will kickstart new high-wage industries, modernize old industries, build a 100% renewable energy economy, repair our crumbling infrastructure and rebuild local communities. We will rebuild American industry, build the cheap renewable energy economy in 10 years, invest $4.6 trillion needed to repair our country’s crumbling infrastructure, rebuild our local communities, raise the minimum wage to $15/hour and tie it to inflation, and make special investments in communities that have been devastated in past decades.
That even one veteran has to struggle to get by when he or she returns home is a national travesty. People who have sacrificed so much for this country deserve the opportunities that they were promised, and so much more.
It is a national disgrace that our veterans come home to a society that takes them for granted. Not only do politicians recklessly send them to war, but they also fail to adequately fund the VA and other programs that help veterans in need. Veterans suffering from PTSD and other mental health issues often fail to get the help that they need, many of them end up homeless due a mix of medical and financial hardships. That is why we believe, like Sen. Sanders does, that we should fully fund and expand the VA, provide greater access to mental health services for veterans, and make it easier for them to obtain the benefits they deserve without going through bureaucratic red tape.
Our tax system should be structured so as to require everyone, especially corporations, to pay their fair share. Tax revenue is what we use to get things done for the public benefit, and it’s time corporations give back to the country that has helped them to thrive.
For too long, the tax reform debate has been the same old song of the rich getting more tax breaks, while middle and working class families see their taxes increase while their wages do not. Instead of wealthy corporations paying their fair share into a system on which they intrinsically benefit, various tax loopholes and benefits have disproportionately helped them pay as little as possible. Although our nation has recently seen an explosion of GDP growth, this does not mean that everyone reaps the benefits. The only way we can make sure that they do is through tax reform that finally gets it right in terms of fairness for average Americans. That is why we agree with and adopts the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ assessment on how we need to address tax reform so that all Americans may benefit from the system they are required to pay into, and have an easier time navigating those benefits.
The United States has made the business of other countries its business for way too long, all in the name of promoting democracy and security. The result of our government’s actions has often been the opposite. It’s time we reorient our foreign policy to include more cooperation, and stop acting like the world’s police.
The irresponsible, and destructive war in Iraq created conditions that were highly favorable for anti-western terrorists. Our subsequent intervention against Muammar Gaddafi added Libya to the list of failed states where terror groups could thrive, and emboldened a range of anti-government actors in Syria, including anti-Western terrorists. By encouraging such actors the U.S. government helped plunge Syria into chaos and expanded the territory of terrorist groups. George W. Bush’s rush to war created a political vacuum in Iraq that ISIS exploited. We need to turn the page on this track record of destruction, chaos, and military adventurism under the pretext of “exporting democracy.” When the Cold War ended, the U.S. national debt was 4 trillion dollars, and it is now nearly $20 trillion, due largely to our wars of choice (e.g. the War in Iraq alone cost taxpayers more than $2 trillion). Yet, armed intervention made life worse for ordinary people.
With that said, we are not isolationist. We believe that America and— importantly— American citizens must play an active role in the international community in order to advance peace, support democratization and human rights and protect the global environment, whenever possible.
Women have been at the forefront of every movement for social change in this nation’s history. If we ever hope to fix our broken political system, we need to protect the rights of women in this country, and provide greater opportunities
In recent political memory, there has not been a greater time in which protecting the rights of women has been so urgent. As establishment politicians strive to legislate what women can do with their own bodies, and the head of the Department of Education seeks to remove Title 9 protections from college campuses, women have had to defend themselves from attack on all fronts. Not to mention, issues like the gender pay gap and increasing STEM opportunities for women in school still need to be addressed as well. Women have contributed so much to this country and it’s time that our Congress listens to them. That’s why we will work to pass legislation that takes the rights of women off of the political bargaining table and cements them into unassailable law.
Criminal Justice Reform
America has an incarceration problem, and it is often the most vulnerable communities that pay the price for unequal policing and sentencing practices. We need to fix our broken criminal justice NOW, or else deal with the social and economic consequences of inaction.
America imprisons more of its own people than any other nation in the world. Even as the crime rate is on a steady decline, incarceration rates continue to climb. Incarceration rates are skewed in favor of targeting minorities with longer sentences and higher arrest rates. This trend has left devastation in its wake, as more and more Americans find themselves unemployable and disenfranchised after serving their time. Children and partners lose their parents and loved ones to the system, perpetuating negative social and economic outcomes. We will attack this crisis through an extensive plan that protects the rights of ALL Americans, which includes ending the War on Drugs, demilitarizing the police, legalizing marijuana and expanding due process protections, among things.
The rights of LGBTQIA people are in danger of being curtailed under the current administration. We must pass comprehensive legislation that guarantees the promise of liberty for ALL Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
We are committed to protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex Americans and ensuring that they have the dignity, liberty, and respect that all Americans deserve. While the United States has made some strides for LGBTQIA equality, we are still far from where we need to be, and the gains we have made are at risk of being lost under the current administration. Much of this risk comes from the fact that many of our gains have come from Executive action. Therefore, we must protect and expand these gains through federal legislative action that sets forth comprehensive non-discrimination policies for each level of government to follow.
We need to fix our broken immigration system and provide undocumented Americans with a path to citizenship. We must also make our border secure and make it easier for people to come to this country safely and legally.
For decades, activists and politicians alike have attempted to pass comprehensive immigration reform, but failed. With a perpetually dysfunctional Congress, it has been impossible for our representatives to reach a common-sense consensus that would improve the lives of all Americans by creating a more just and humane society, growing our economy, and demonstrating our fundamental American values. We will provide undocumented Americans efficient pathways to citizenship, ensure that their rights are protected, and secure the borders in a fiscally responsible manner while guaranteeing immigrants a safe entry.
No taxation without representation. The right to vote must be protected for ALL Americans.
The right to vote is one of the most precious rights held dear by all Americans. The history of our nation is predicated on the ideal that it should be a democratic republic that works for every adult of voting age, even though it hasn’t always lived up to this creed. Indeed, various men and women throughout history, whether it be civil rights heroes or determined suffragettes, fought hard to be able to participate in our electoral process in the face of extreme opposition and bigotry. This is why it is more important than ever that we safeguard the victories of the past and expand access and fair elections right now and in the future.
Environmental Protection and Renewable Energy
99% of scientists agree that climate change is real and poses a dire threat to humanity. With this in mind, it’s time to get smart about investing in a robust renewable energy economy so that we can protect our planet while creating jobs and opportunity in the process.
Our current energy system is costly, inefficient, and unsustainable. Unlike oil, coal and natural gas, the sun and wind can provide us with a virtually infinite supply of energy — millions of times more energy than we could ever possibly use. Building an all-renewable energy system will require a massive investment at first — just like the American highway system did back in the 1950s — but once it’s built, maintaining our new energy system will be far cheaper than the expensive energy system we have today.
The cheap renewable energy economy is coming. If we choose to build it now instead of decades from now, we’ll create millions of jobs and free up trillions of dollars from energy costs for other projects. This will be a huge boon for American workers and this cheap renewable energy will give American businesses a competitive edge. Every nation in the world is moving away from fossil fuels. The oil, coal and natural gas industries are going to go out of business whether we like it or not. We have a choice: fall behind the rest of the world or build America’s cheap, renewable energy economy right now.
Education is necessity for social mobility and innovation. The best minds and talent shouldn’t be denied quality education in this country simply because they cannot foot the bill.
It’s high time that our country provides a tuition-free education to qualified students at all public universities, colleges and trade schools. If you meet the academic requirements, you go for free. This is not a new concept — before the 1980s, many public American universities provided a tuition-free education to all qualified students. Today, most industrialized countries do the exact same thing. If we want to rebuild our economy and encourage innovation in America, we need a highly-educated and highly-skilled workforce. Saddling students with debt is not only destructive to students’ futures, it also slows and depresses our economy.
We recognize that our public and private sector Unions not only build economic security for their members, but are essential to the overall well being of the working people of America. The labor movement played a crucial role in helping to usher us into the progressive era of the early 20th century. Today, once again, we see income inequality at rates comparable to the Gilded Age, leading to a significant decline in our standard of living. It is time for the leaders of the progressive movement and labor to once again come together in our shared fight for an equitable economy that works for everyone, and actively promotes a stronger middle class.
This campaign recognizes that today, our Unions are in peril. There has been a coordinated and systematic attack by corporate and moneyed interests on the rights of workers to negotiate for livable wages, fair benefits, and safe working conditions. We must stand strong against “Right to Work” legislation, fight for fair workplace standards, insist on responsible bidder laws such as CBAs and PLAs where applicable, and protect the privacy of Union members and their families.
The gun lobby seeks to divide us when a majority of Americans agree on common-sense protections for our children, women, and all people wanting to live without fear of being victims to gun violence. By rejecting special interest money we can both protect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners while also helping prevent ineligible owners from obtaining firearms. Comprehensive background checks, safe-storage requirements, and gun safety training will likely lead to less mass shootings, suicides, accidental shootings among kids, and make victims of domestic violence more secure against abusive intimate partners.
Gun manufacturers and the NRA along with corporate media do not report that less than 1% of mass shooters are seriously mentally ill. People with mental illness are more likely to be victims of mass shootings than perpetrators. We need to repeal the Dickey Amendment, so the CDC can fully study the U.S. gun violence epidemic, while promoting systems and services that deal with the root cause of gun violence— such as Medicare for All and fully funded public schools where we can educate a culture that values nonviolence. Further, the majority of gun deaths in the United States are suicides indicating a holistic approach to gun safety can save thousands of lives each year.
Protecting the Bill of Rights
These days everybody wants to defend a particular amendment in the Bill of Rights (the 1st, 2nd and 4th Amendments come to mind). These Amendments don’t exist in isolation, however, and it is time to address protecting ALL of our rights from governmental infringement.
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We are issuing substantive policy that directly affects the lives of those in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. Dorothy cares deeply about what is most important to you, contact us to share your issues and be informed about how our fight for equality progresses