Healthcare should be a basic right, not just a line-item from which insurance executives profit. I became a delegate for Bernie Sanders in 2016 because I believed in his vision of a single-payer national health care program. Only a single-payer system can bring down the rapidly escalating costs that are eating into our nation’s health and productivity; today 18% of our GDP is spent on healthcare, and that will increase to 20% by 2025. This is double the average spent by other industrialized countries.
As a school board member and community college trustee, I’ve grappled with the escalating cost of insurance premiums for our employees, and always fought to soften the impact on workers. But it’s hard to fight against the large insurance companies that run our system. That’s why I support a single-payer system that will provide greater negotiating power and accountability for consumers.
Gun violence is a national health epidemic that is unique to the United States. Every other day, an incident of gun violence takes place at a school in our country. We cannot accept this as normal, because it isn’t. We must enact the gun safety laws that the vast majority of Americans, including those who own guns, support. This includes expanded background checks that cover all commercial gun sales – including those at gun shows, over the internet, or in classified ads. We need to ban the sale of modifications that make these weapons more dangerous than they already are, and we need to renew the assault weapons ban.
As an officer in the United States Navy Reserves, I’m proud to be qualified as a sharpshooter with both the M9 Beretta and M16. I know how to handle a weapon of war, and I know it has no place in our streets.
As the only candidate running for office who has served on a school board or college board, I’m passionate about putting education issues front and center. My family chose to move to this community 30 years ago precisely because of the quality of our school districts, and in this I am not alone. My education at Mesa Robles Middle School and Glen A. Wilson High School prepared me to attend Harvard University. Our district includes flagship schools such as Troy, ranked #3 in California, Diamond Bar (#37) and Walnut (#44). We must protect the quality of our schools.
As your Congressman, I will support expanding federal funding for public education, including increasing federal grants for afterschool programs, and expanding the reach of Head Start, so more families can benefit from early childhood education. I will oppose unfunded mandates, such as the thankfully shuttered No Child Left Behind, which imposed unrealistic expectations and harsh penalties on schools without providing the funding to raise achievement. I will fight any attempt by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to funnel public dollars away to private schools, and make sure charter schools aren’t given special treatment.
I’m proud that I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, home to the Kalamazoo Promise program, which ensures tuition-free college within Michigan for graduates of Kalamazoo public high schools. The Kalamazoo Promise inspired the national College Promise program that seeks to make community colleges tuition-free nationwide.
As a Trustee at Mt. San Antonio College, I have been a proponent of College Promise, and I will continue to support this initiative in Congress. As traditional four year universities continue to struggle with escalating demand and increased tuition rates, community colleges will become increasingly necessary to grant students and mid-career workers the opportunity to advance their skillsets and obtain degrees.
Wall Street reform and other Democratic policies have given our country the strongest consumer protections in history, and we must fight against Republican efforts to roll them back. As we enter the eighth year of economic expansion that began under President Barack Obama, and as the stock market blows past tech bubble highs, we must be wary that cyclical downturn could be just around the corner. The impacts of any downturn will be exacerbated by the loss of revenue that has been incurred by the Tax Scam recently passed by Congress, which will saddle the federal government with $1.5 trillion in debt, with 70% of the benefits flowing to the richest in our country. As your Congressman, I will fight to restore a progressive tax code that allows everyone to pay their fair share, and does not penalize coastal states that voted for Hillary Clinton.
As a former management consultant to Fortune 500 companies and current owner of a small business, I’ve seen the impact that technology has had in disrupting businesses and shifting paradigms. With the advent of artificial intelligence and greater automation of work, we must be prepared to retrain our workforce for the 21st century job market. We must also fully support our nascent green economy, which is already creating a manufacturing and employment boom here in California, while bettering our environment. Green jobs, whether in installing solar panels, building windmills, or making buildings more energy efficient, are jobs that cannot be offshored.
It is nearly impossible to live on the current federal minimum wage, which has remained unchanged since 2009, at $7.25 per hour. Raising the minimum wage and linking it to inflation or a cost of living index is essential to boosting the overall economy. Protecting workers’ rights and the right to collective bargaining is also essential to protecting the middle class. If President Trump presents a sensible plan for infrastructure investment that does not shortchange workers and the environment, he can expect bipartisan support from Congress. Congressional District 39 is in dire need of federal infrastructure investment. The 57/60 interchange is rated the worst in the nation for traffic accidents, and the east San Gabriel Valley deserves a terminus for the Metro Gold Line extension. As your Congressman, I will fight for the federal dollars we need to improve the quality of life in this district.
In this Year of the Woman, I am proud to hold the endorsement of two of the highest ranking female elected officials in the region, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva and Supervisor Janice Hahn. They support me because they know that I will be a voice for all. I will always support a woman’s right to choose and fight for equal pay for equal work. I will fight to improve our country’s Paid Family Leave policies for both mothers and fathers, to enable true bonding and family building, which will lead to better-adjusted children and the next generation of contributing citizens. I will also fight for greater access to childcare and early childhood education, so that parents don’t have to choose between pursuing a career and providing quality care for their daughters and sons.
LGBTQIA rights are human rights. I am honored to have received a unanimous endorsement recommendation from the Stonewall Democratic Club, despite competing in a field of seven progressive candidates. Stonewall Democratic Club supports me because I don’t just talk the talk: I walk the walk. As an elected official, I spoke out against propositions that sought to divide our community and deny marriage based on sexual orientation. As your Congressman, I will support federal laws that prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. I will fight for everyone’s right to proudly wear the uniform of the armed services and defend our country.
America can have safe, secure borders without sacrificing the dignity and humanity of our immigrants. The Trump border wall and Muslim travel ban provide neither. Our country is currently experiencing a net outflow of undocumented immigrants back to Mexico, and a border wall would be a literal monumental waste of taxpayer dollars, and an unnecessary insult to our third largest trading partner.
The Muslim travel ban is un-American and glosses over a couple of important facts; our nation already has a robust screening process for refugees, and none of the terrorist attacks that have occurred on U.S. soil would have been prevented if this ban had been already in place, since the attackers came from countries not listed in the ban.
Our country was built by immigrants. They make us who we are, and are the essence of our national character. Almost half of Fortune 500 companies were founded by American immigrants or their children. I will fight tooth and nail against any short-sided policy that treats immigrants like a punching bag, as Trump has tried to do with DACA students. As a college trustee, my first instinct when Trump rescinded DACA was to issue a resolution affirming Mt. SAC’s support and protection of our Dreamers, many of whom are the strongest leaders and contributors to our campus. I will take that same tenacity with me to Congress, and fight for a path to legal status for our Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants that affirms rule of law as well as the compassionate nature of our country.
Our nation has lost its footing on the world stage. In one quick year, President Trump has managed to alienate allies and empower our adversaries, while gutting U.S. embassies worldwide. As your Congressman, I will do what the Chairman of Foreign Affairs, Rep. Ed Royce, has not: hold the executive branch accountable for the decimation of the U.S. State Department and our waning global influence.
As a member of Operation Key Resolve in 2014, I was boots on ground in South Korea alongside our Republic of Korea allies, training and simulating potential scenarios that could occur with the unstable North Korean regime. I never could have imagined that our country would elect a comparably unstable leader, one who resorts to tweeting about the relative size of nuclear buttons. In the last year we have seen an acceleration in North Korea’s nuclear program, which should concern entire world. We need leaders in Congress who will hold the executive branch accountable and prevent further deterioration of global security. That’s why I am running for Congress.