My Plan to Make Congress Accountable and Accessible to the People

 

I am tired of seeing Washington politicians looking out for their donors’ desires instead of their constituents’ needs.  It doesn’t have to be this way. As a lifelong Daytonian, I am running to serve everyone in our community, not just those who vote for me. It’s time we take our democracy back. As your Representative, I will work tirelessly to fix our broken campaign finance system and to put everyday people back in charge of government.

 

Here are the key components of my plan to make Congress more accountable to everyday people:

 

Hold regular town halls:  We’ve had enough of Washington politicians looking out for their self-interest at the expense of those back home, dodging town halls and public dialogue in favor of fundraisers and photo ops. As your Representative, I will hold hold four town halls per year around the district and will be accountable to you.

 

Release a public schedule: You put your trust in your elected leaders and deserve to know how how they are spending their time and who they are meeting with. If elected, I will release a public schedule of everyone I meet with in my Congressional office.

 

No work, no pay: Congress is required to pass a federal budget each year, but more and more frequently, they haven’t done that job on time- causing government shutdowns and major disruptions. If the government shuts down, Members of Congress shouldn’t get paid. If elected, I will support legislation to stop paying members of Congress until a budget is passed.


Require members of Congress to wait five years before becoming lobbyists: We need to close the revolving door where politicians can become lobbyists shortly after leaving office. We can increase integrity and take back government by shutting out special interests.

We Need to Unrig the Rules to Give Everyday People a Bigger Voice

End gerrymandering: We need to ensure that neither political party is given an unfair advantage when new congressional maps are drawn next census. We need to pass a federal law requiring states to use independent redistricting commissions to draw congressional district maps. Voters should choose their representatives- not the other way around.

 

Strengthening voting protections: Citizens have a right to cast their ballot in a secure, accessible way that fits their needs. We need policies that protect our right to vote, and actively encourage more people to cast their ballots like expanding voting hours, automatically registering Americans to vote, restoring voting rights for those who have paid their debt to society.

 

Stopping the corrupting influence of big money in politics: Until we fix our broken campaign finance system, progress on all of the critical issues we really care about will continue to stall. Big donors and special interests unfairly profit and benefit,  while hard-working Americans will be left to suffer the consequences. A new Congress can write new rules to change the system to give a bigger voice to small donors and everyday people. Here are key components to fix our system:

 

Reject Corporate PAC money: The avalanche of special interest money in elections is undermining our democracy, and shutting everyday Americans out of the process. That is why I rejected any money from corporate PACs. We need to pass laws to prohibit contributions to candidates from corporate PACs.


Overturn Citizens United: The Citizens United v. FEC decision completely changed elections in the United States, allowing unlimited and dark money spending. Now, the money in politics problem is worse than ever before. Corporations and special interests are not people and their oversized influence on the way our government works needs to end now. We need to work toward a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

Strengthen disclosure of outside political spending: We deserve total transparency in our elections to avoid undue influence by individuals or organizations. Disclosures would also prevent foreign money organizations using shell companies to influence elections.

Fair election funding: We need to transform the way our elections are funded, so candidates have the option to run with solely the support of everyday voters they wish to represent instead of big-money donors. This gives candidates a greater voice in their own elections and empowers those who can’t afford to write checks for thousands of dollars.

Stop the intrusion of foreign money: American elections should be about Americans. We need to make sure foreign money stays out. I support strong disclosure laws to prevent foreign money organizations from using shell companies to influence elections.

Stronger penalties for breaking the rules: It seems like every day we hear of another politician breaking the rules to benefit themselves. We need better enforcement of our laws. Candidates should be held accountable for breaking the rules and face real consequences, not just a slap on the wrist.


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Currently, under the tenure of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, federal education policies are misguided and dangerous. Initiatives to arm teachers, cuts to Department of Education funding against public schools and proposals to eliminate grants for student mental health services are just a few examples of the offenses the Trump Administration has put forth against the American education system.

Our public school administrators and teachers are under-resourced and over-worked, evident in  teacher strikes all over the country. I believe that public education requires proper funding, particularly for increasing teacher pay, to be able to attract talent to the profession and ensure that kids of every zip code have the opportunities and knowledge to succeed. School districts also need properly-trained support staff, ​including mental health counselors,​ adequate supplies and updated course materials so that students have the infrastructure and tools to understand what is being taught.

Lastly, teachers need to be able to negotiate better pay and working conditions. I will fight to protect their right, and the rights of other public employees, to unionize and collectively bargain.

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I hate the negative connotations associated with calling Social Security and Medicare “entitlement programs.” Of course people are entitled to them, we spend a lifetime paying into them. I know that our seniors rely on these benefits that they have earned, and I’ll fight any attempt to privatize Social Security or turn Medicare into a voucher system.

The recently-passed Republican tax law reduced revenue for Social Security and Medicare in favor of tax breaks for corporations and special interests. The GOP tax law also effectively dismantles the Affordable Care Act, leading to more uninsured people and driving up Medicare payments to hospitals. If elected, I will fight for legislation to shift the current benefits of the law from giveaways to the ultra-wealthy to providing relief for middle-class and working families and retirees.

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If we don’t have clear air and clean water for ourselves and our children, nothing else matters. I strongly oppose the actions of Trump Administration to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to enforce standards for our health and safety under the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. We know that low-income communities, communities of color and those in urban areas are especially vulnerable to toxic pollutants and chemicals.

I believe that informed environmental policy based on science and innovations in green energy should play a significant role to ensure a good quality of life for future generations.

In Congress, I would support initiatives and incentives to transition to 100 percent Clean Energy by 2050, such as extending the solar investment tax credit (ITC) and the wind production tax credit (PTC). Solar already provides more employment than oil, coal or gas combined.

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My mom and her boss, former Rep. Chuck Whalen, were my role models in public service. They showed me the need for our public officials to be accountable and responsive to the people that elected them, instead of the corporate interests that fund them.

As a lifelong Daytonian, I am running to serve my everyone in the community, not just those that vote for me. I am tired of seeing Washington politicians looking out for their self-interest at the expense of those back home, dodging town halls and public dialogue in favor of the company of their corporate donors. We pay the price when they vote for large tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and corporations on the backs of working people, like in the recent GOP tax law.

I support federal legislation to reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and stop unlimited corporate spending and influence in our elections. I am proud to have earned the support of End Citizens United as my first national endorsement, and I refuse to accept corporate PAC money in my campaign.

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Dayton tops the country in areas hit hardest by the opioid epidemic. It breaks my heart that our community is first in the nation in overdoses. We need to increase access to treatment and provide alternative medical options and education to prevent addiction by addressing the underlying pain and causes. We cannot jail our way out of the problem, which is why I support State Issue 1 on the ballot this fall.

Most of all, we need to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the chemicals that go into prescription medication and for their role in perpetuating the unproven notion that certain opioids were not addictive. We’ve been here before with the tobacco industry.
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Health care costs are simply too high for the services we receive. It’s a pervasive issue that cuts so many ways. My experience in caring for aging parents and a sibling with lung cancer has taught me that people simply don’t have the options they should.

I am committed to working to make insurance more affordable for everyone. The Affordable Care Act hasn’t kept costs from rising as quickly as they are – not to mention the burden it places on small businesses. But it enabled millions of people to receive access to care. We cannot repeal it and revert back to a system in which women were charged more, and people with pre-existing conditions were refused coverage.

We need to increase carrier competition to keep costs down. And we need to make it easier for small businesses to enroll their employees without taking on huge costs. Ultimately, I believe we need to work toward a Medicare-for-All or single-payer system.
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Too many of Ohioans are struggling to pay the bills, even after doing everything they were supposed to. We were hard-hit by predatory lending and still haven’t fully recovered from the housing crisis. We’ve lost major employers like GM, NCR, Good Samaritan Hospital, and Teradata. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is the economic driver in our area, but the Greater Dayton region must be a thriving, vibrant community in order for our employers to attract the talent they need.

My own father lost his job with Frigidaire at age 55, so I understand first-hand the disruption that a family goes through when a parent loses a job. I will stand up to the bad trade deals that cause jobs to be shipped overseas and hurt Ohioans.

I support the Fight for $15 efforts to increase the federal minimum wage, because no one who works 40 hours a week should be struggling to put food on the table and a roof over their head. I believe in providing a more supportive environment for those in the workforce, like paid family leave and paid sick leave, and will defend the right to unionize and collectively bargain.

We also need to make sure that we have an educated workforce to fill the demand for 21st century jobs, thereby providing incentives for business and for young people to settle down locally. This also includes supporting workforce development partnerships between institutions of higher education and those in search of a second career and making sure enrolled students are able to complete those programs.
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