People should not have to choose not go to a hospital or doctor because the medical provider won’t take their insurance or because they can’t afford insurance at all. Americans should not have to worry about not being able to pay for health insurance because they lost a job. Millions of Americans are working jobs they don't like and are not the most productive in - just to acquire health insurance. We believe in the right to adequate and affordable healthcare and believe the best way to achieve this is through a Medicare for All system, as proposed by Progressive Democrats. We believe the state of NJ should lead in this effort and transform our own healthcare system. Every other industrialized, wealthy nation has implemented some form of universal healthcare and there is no reason the United States should not be one of them.
Urgency of Climate Change Action
According to the United Nations, we have less than two years to address the issue of climate change through government policy before we have runaway climate change. New Jersey is particularly vulnerable because we are a coastal state with hundreds of miles of coastline. We also have a very old, crumbling infrastructure system that cannot endure another Superstorm Sandy-like event. If we do not support programs like the Gateway Tunnel project, we may have catastrophic damages to our tunnels and bridges that will paralyze our integrated economies. This issue is now more urgent than ever.
We believe that municipalities should take full advantage of state and federal affordable housing programs, because it is a right of the people to have a decent place to live no matter what their economic standing. We believe this is a way to curb extreme poverty, reduce crime and give the least fortunate some footing to begin a productive life in our society. Here's what it costs for a family to afford a 2 bedroom apartment.
Path Toward Citizenship
The Dream and Promise Act of 2019, unveiled by Democrats in the House of Representatives earlier this week, includes a path to legal status for many undocumented immigrants, particularly many in the latinx community, brought to the country as children. The bill also proposes a path to legal residency for immigrants who have been granted Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure. TPS, or temporary protected status, is granted to foreign nationals living in the U.S. from countries experiencing natural disasters, armed conflict or extraordinary conditions.
The bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for eligible "Dreamers,'' the term used to describe undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children. They would be provided conditional permanent resident status and would need to fulfill an education, employment, or military track to adjust to permanent resident status. It would also permit eligible immigrant youth who have been deported by the Trump administration to return. 115,000 New Jersey residents could benefit from the bill, including 13,900 TPS holders and 101,000 "Dreamers", according to figures by the New Jersey Policy Perspective, a left-leaning think tank.
Eight of New Jersey's 12 Democratic congressional members signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. They are Rep. Bill Pascrell, Rep. Albio Sires, Rep. Andy Kim, Rep. Tom Malinowski, Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Donald M. Payne, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Rep. Donald M. Norcross.
Lots of politicians talk about the widening gap between the rich and the poor, but not many can agree with how to reach a solution. We should be discussing innovative ideas for solutions to tackle this highly complex problem, because kicking the can down the road just causes the problem to exacerbate ever further. Peoples lives are on the line. We need to champion a fairer economy and government should facilitate this so that we can all thrive, together.
We believe that for government to truly work for the people, it must be trusted by the people. This requires the government be transparent and honest about how it works and who it works for. Sadly, we have some of the lowest public participation in elections in the developed world, because people no longer feel their government truly represents them - whether Democrat or Republican. We believe in being loyal and accountable only to the PEOPLE, not party, and certainly not wealthy donors. If the party wants the support of the people, then it must truly win their trust back and inspire them again.
Criminal Justice Reform
Our prison systems are run like hotels that are more concerned with their occupancy rate. We must end the system of for-profit prisons and enact a fair judicial system that is both income and race agnostic. Justice is blind, but justice is not served in fair ways to people living different experiences of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender and/or economic standing. We need to work together to create a more perfect system that works for everyone the same.
New Jersey arrests more people for “weed” than almost any other state. In fact, NJ cops are the nation’s toughest weed enforcers. Marijuana possession accounted for nearly 11% of all arrests made by NJ cops in 2016. A report from 2017 showed that police made a marijuana possession arrest in NJ every 22 minutes. Another recently published analysis of marijuana arrest data shows that in 2016 New Jersey was third in the nation in total marijuana arrests -- after Texas and New York -- and second only to Wyoming in marijuana arrest rate. In 2016, 35,700 people were arrested in New Jersey for either marijuana possession or distribution, according to data from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting program. Arrests are expensive too, costing the state over $127 million. The Quesada Mahmoud campaign is appalled by these figures, especially knowing that of those arrests, people of color are almost 3 times more likely to be arrested despite using at the same rate as a white person. We believe in passing legislation that will eliminate employers from forcing mandatory drug testing as a precursor to employment, as well as banning the box - meaning individuals do not have to provide that they were previously incarcerated. These draconian laws disproportionately affect men of color and it’s time to ban these laws that perpetuate a cycle of poverty. See our press release regarding this topic.
Arts & Culture
We believe that in addition to a strong STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), our children need proper funding for both performing and visual arts. It's an essential part of development and it creates a more aesthetically beautiful future for our communities.
LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Issues
In the United States, there are an estimated 500,000 homeless youth, over 40% identify as LGBTQ. Once homeless, LGBTQ youth are more likely to experience violence on the streets, mental health issues, HIV infection, substance use and tragically, suicidal thoughts. We believe this problem should not be ignored. We also believe in addressing issues for the most at-risk in our community, our trans community, like providing better access to trans-specific healthcare.