covid-19

The disastrous leadership of the Trump administration and the members of the GOP that enabled it has cost us thousands of American lives. The American people deserve better, because it didn’t need to be this way.

This is about crisis management and making tough decisions on what is important and of utmost urgency (what constituents need right now), and the systemic issues that brought us here that must be fixed so this doesn’t happen again.

We need to approve national waivers for the red tape to federal feeding programs so Food Banks can operate to the best of their ability during this time. Extending federal funding for the National Guard who are assisting with crisis COVID-19 related management, especially with now overburdened nonprofits and social services.

I will work alongside fellow Congress members to implement and fund programs like TEFAP and waiving requirements. And increasing the maximum SNAP benefit. Extend the increased unemployment benefits to those facing unemployment in this time of crisis. Provide another round of direct stimulus payments to Americans. More payroll protection for small and medium sized businesses. A fund for essential workers who are continuously risking their health and safety during this pandemic. We must be doing MORE testing and MORE tracing. Create a special enrollment period in the ACA, and protect the ACA.

We must ensure that no American pays for COVID related medical expenses. Quickly push for measures that assist students, teachers, families and parents during COVID, through childcare and education, as found in the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act that was introduced in the Senate. Delay evictions and provide renters assistance.

In short,  I would do absolutely everything possible to ease the burden of constituents and their families during a time of turmoil that, from the onset, has been poorly handled. I would, with urgency, push for, and be involved in, any legislation that provided direct and quick support to our constituents, help them get back to work, get to work, and receive the necessities and dignity they deserve as hard-working Ohioans. I would be present in my district, advocating for the people here, advocating for the nonprofits and organizations helping those most impacted.
 

Healthcare 

Medicare-for-all is the ultimate goal for expanding healthcare in America, and every day we do not have that is a day I’ll be fighting for it in D.C.

The stakes are personal for me, and I know they are for you, too. When I was in junior high, my dad was diagnosed with diabetes. Being from a working-class family with healthcare that wouldn’t cover the cost (and eventually called it a pre-existing condition), we couldn’t afford the insulin. This eventually cost him his life – a life he devoted to his kids, to making our lives better than his.

Despite the progress made under the Affordable Care Act, more must be done to ensure that the American people have access to quality, affordable healthcare. I will work to protect the ACA, expand its coverage, and ensure that one way or the other, every American is covered so that we can all visit the doctor without fear of going bankrupt as a result.

agriculture 

The farmers of OH16 deserve more than they’ve gotten from Rep. Gonzalez. They’ve been ravaged by Trump’s trade war – which, like everything else Trump does, Anthony Gonzalez lavishes with praise. They’ve been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic – which, thanks to Trump’s inaction (and Gonzalez’s undying loyalty to Trump over the country), has been far worse in the United States than anywhere else in the world. But the issues facing OH16’s farmers go beyond this, even.

We need to support sustainable agricultural practices, and we need to provide resources to enable our farmers to learn about and implement modern sustainability practices, to save their land, reduce their costs, and increase their yields.

We also need to look at seed rights: giant companies like Monsanto exercise an enormous amount of control over their seeds, which has led to a monolithic crop across too much of Ohio and too much of the country. This is a national security threat: a uniform crop means a uniform weakness to blight and parasites, and it imperils our nation’s food supply. The easiest solution is to allow farmers more control of their seed stock, which will increase crop diversity while lowering their costs and putting more power back in the hands of the farmers who know best.

student loans

 We cannot continue to sacrifice our future generations for the sake of profit at our universities – it damages the ability to foster our greatest minds and leaves students ruined for life with debt they cannot escape. Public universities should be tuition free, with the Department of Education offering loans to cover the rest of the costs of college – to all high school graduates, regardless of their parents’ income or credit histories.

Debt taken on by students, new and old, should be made affordable, with income-based repayment plans that allow for tax-free forgiveness after a set period of time. Furthermore, I want students to be engaged in their communities: to that end, I’d like to see credit given to loan repayment based on how much community service a student does in a given year.

science & stem

A scientist’s job is to observe a problem, and, through logic, research and study, come to a solution. Science is not influenced by fear-mongering, by personal gain or by what happens to be the best thing to say at any time. Politics should work like this too.

We must lead the way in STEM education, preparedness in technology and clean energy based jobs. We are uniquely positioned to reinvent ourselves to be the world’s leader in green manufacturing. The majority of wind turbines and solar panels are manufactured overseas – we have the framework and the skilled labor to do it here – we just need the willpower.

Two year and community colleges should be tuition free – we need to make this investment towards our future and the health of our state. We need to invest in the STEM programs at community colleges to make sure they are equipped with the most cutting edge tools available so graduates are ready to put their skills to use here.

gerrymandering

The practice of partisan redistricting undermines our democracy and creates the political climate we deal with today, with hyper-partisan districts where only the most extreme candidates can win a race, and where the election is determined by a primary instead of a general election.

While Ohio passed a ballot measure to undo this damage starting in 2022, many states still engage in this undemocratic practice, encouraged by a deeply flawed SCOTUS ruling in 2019. As your representative, I will pursue every available path to end partisan gerrymandering and give the government back to the people.

climate change

It’s real and we are dealing with consequences today. Studies done by the EPA show temperatures rising here in Ohio too, which can amplify air pollution, lead to longer droughts in the summer (with 5-15 more days per summer over 95° within the next seventy years), and considerably warmer lake temperatures, which can lead to undrinkable tap water – as we saw in Toledo on August of 2014. And let’s not forget the onset of polar vortices in the winter, or the cost of helping rebuild areas impacted by ever-strengthening storms on our nation’s coasts!

To help combat climate change, we should immediately re-enter the Paris climate accord, and we should wean ourselves off of fossil fuels. We can do this by building a new, smart electrical grid (an important national security goal as well) and having the EPA enforce strict standards on automobile manufacturers to encourage a transition to electric vehicles. We could also create incentives to research tech to improve range via additional department of energy research grants and prizes, and boosting the funding for ARPA-E (a government agency which promotes & funds research in advanced energy storage & generation). Additionally, we should expand tax breaks for renewable energy infrastructure such as wind farms and solar plants, and encourage research into the tech needed to improve both. Lake Erie could be a vital energy source for the entire region if we provide an incentive to spur its development.

seniors

Those who have worked all of their lives and done everything right continue to be robbed of dignity and security. It’s time for our senior citizens to have a loud advocate in Congress.

Social Security has not kept up with the costs of living in this country, and too many of our seniors are dependent on charity to make ends meet. While this President has sought to slash programs that ensure seniors are cared for and have enough to eat, I believe we should expand them while also raising Social Security to make sure they are able to pay for their needs.

Seniors should not be asked to pay the price for reckless Republican tax breaks for the rich. Instead, we should ensure that we address all of the issues facing the senior community, whether it be food security, housing, or access to healthcare. We all want our mothers and fathers to be able to live with dignity.

 

women

This year, we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in America – unfortunately, we still have a lot of work to do if we want to see the end of gender discrimination. As such, in office, I will fight to protect a woman’s choice and their freedom to do what they want with their bodies, and ensure that Planned Parenthood remains funded and able to do the important work that they do, providing healthcare services to millions of women who otherwise wouldn’t have access. I will also fight for equal pay for equal work, and do everything I can to end the disparity in wages between men and women.

The issues women face in America today don’t end there, though, and neither will my fight on their behalf. Special interests – including the gun lobby and the GOP – have taken in recent years to attacking the Violence Against Women Act, landmark legislation that has protected women across our country for over 25 years. They seek to weaken its protections – for example, by keeping the “boyfriend loophole” which allows access to guns by abusive ex-boyfriends and stalkers with past convictions. In Congress, I would join with my fellow Democrats in closing the boyfriend loophole, and supporting the Violence Against Women Act.

education

The US and Ohio have fallen in world rankings in education, to the detriment of our nation’s future. We must reform our educational system to emphasize the importance of math and science (which led us to victory in the Cold War). We should also make public schools and universities tuition-free so that we don’t ask our next generation to begin their lives saddled with inescapable debt.

For students who choose not to attend college, we should ensure free access to vocational schools so that they can enter the workforce with the skills they need to guarantee a well-paying job with a future.

Lastly, I am opposed to for-profit charter schools siphoning taxpayer dollars, weakening the public school system. We need to support strong public schools to ensure all students have an equal chance at a quality education.

workers & wages

Our unions, workers, laborers and their pensions continue to be under attack. I will be the loudest advocate for the working class and our unions.

Additionally, no one working forty hours a week should earn so little they cannot afford rent. We must raise the minimum wage to a real, living wage and chain it to economic markers to provide a living wage for all Americans..

 

lgbtqia+

Transgender violence in this country is out of control. According to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2019, at least 25 transgender people were killed, and in 2018, at least 26 transgender people were killed. Unfortunately, this is part of a bigger problem we must work together to address: and that is the uneven protections afforded members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Protections vary state by state, and sometimes vary even by locality, providing an uncertain future for these vulnerable people.

Let me be absolutely clear: I support equal rights and protection against discrimination for all people. All of us, no matter your race, your creed, your sexual orientation – we are all Americans, and we must strive to live up to the ideals our founders set for us, even if they could not live by them themselves.

We need to work together to find solution to the problems facing the LGBTQIA+ community on a nationwide scale, but the start to this solution is very clear: we must extend Title IX protections to all Americans regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

parks

Everyone in Ohio has seen the dire warnings…toxic algae blooms infecting our once healthy water resources.

The greater Cleveland area, and especially our district, is fortunate enough to have several beautiful parks, watersheds, creeks and natural spaces, both in and out of the metropark system. We need to protect our natural spaces so everyone can appreciate their natural beauty while they continue to be economic assets to the cities and counties where they reside.

As a part of that desire to keep our public parks pristine, I oppose any mining or drilling operations in public parks.

Similarly, I support initiatives that seek to clean up and protect our Great Lake, such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has considerable success making Lake Erie an even greater asset to our region. I will support and fight for any bill that works towards the prevention of both point source and non point source pollution.

We need to protect the Clean Water Act to protect the health of our watersheds.

poverty & food security

Politicians talk a lot about the working and middle class, but we must work to lift up the most vulnerable among us – many of whom are seniors and children. I promise to stand up for and fight to expand our social programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and WIC. The data on these programs are clear: they work and help lift Americans out of poverty. 

I will also work on legislation that promotes affordable housing, legislation that protects residents of low income areas, job training and placement programs and more. Additionally, I would emphasize a national spotlight on the homelessness and eviction crisis in our country.

The people who these types of legislation will benefit aren’t the picture the other side paints to promote divisiveness. These are working adults, children, seniors and veterans. Helping our fellow American should not be a political issue. 

 

Criminal Justice Reform

We can begin by reforming the police force. This starts, first and foremost, with ending the practice of selling military equipment to local law enforcement. Then we can expand our services in communities across the country, so that the police do not have to be the catch-all service for various crises.

By focusing services on proactively addressing the needs of a community – through investing in things like quality education and mental health services just as a starting point – we can end the practice of re-actively sending in police to deal with the consequences of under investment.

Additionally, we need to end cash bail, end private prisons, abolish mandatory minimums and end the inequitable tax code school funding structure.

animal welfare

As a long-time volunteer at a local animal shelter, I place a lot of value in the protections the government affords animals, be they pets or otherwise. In Congress, I would help enact legislation that would protect our four-legged friends. I oppose breed-specific legislation (e.g. Pit Bull bans), puppy mills, and the inhumane treatment of animals in whatever form it may occur. I’d work to support legislation that further criminalizes cruelty to animals, bans on cosmetics testing on animals, and animal fighting (e.g. dog fighting or cock fighting).

Moreover, I would fight to enact legislation such as H.R. 2327, the Puppies Assisting Wounded Service members (PAWS) Act, which would enable the Department of Veterans Affairs to help cover the costs of service dogs for vets with PTSD.

 

fracking

In addressing the climate crisis, we must begin to put fossil fuels behind us. Fracking is a step in the wrong direction, jeopardizing our communities and their health to dig up outdated technology that needs to be left in the past.

Enough is enough: the energy companies have endangered us long enough, and in Congress, I will fight as hard as I can to prevent more fracking projects from beginning, ending those exist, and making energy companies responsible for the damage they do to the land around them.

TRANSPARENCY

The incumbent is notorious for not being visible or answerable to the people he is supposed to represent. I will change the way the people of the 16th interact with their representation in DC. I will host town halls as frequently as possible throughout the entire district, and I will do my very best to ensure that I or my staff provide real, meaningful answers to your inquiries with my office as often as possible.

I will engage with constituents wherever I can – whether it’s via Facebook, Twitter, town halls in the district, emails, or various campaign & official events. I will make myself available to the people I represent and to do my best to accurately represent them in DC.

veterans

It’s time to end endless wars and prevent our getting unnecessarily involved in foreign entanglements. We must also work to protect the benefits our men and women earn after their service – for example, by improving the VA, ensuring they never have to worry about student loan debt, and ensuring that they have the resources they need to be successful once they return home.