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Priorities

Health Sense

“Healthcare is personal to me. Together, we can make quality, comprehensive, and affordable healthcare access a reality for all.”

Healthcare is the primary reason I got into this race.  I believe healthcare is a human right. As a three-time breast cancer survivor, I firmly believe no one should have to choose between food and medicine, between their health and their children’s future, or between financial ruin and their own child. 

Health care is a complex issue, but these are simple values we should uphold three ways:

Cover pre-existing conditions.  

Imagine someone you love got a double whammy: job loss and a cancer diagnosis.  Under the bill championed by my opponent, that loved one could be denied insurance coverage, making it hard to get a new job and impossible to treat their cancer.  We should not go back to the days when a pre-existing condition left us without coverage.

Cover all Americans

I’m open-minded on how to get to universal healthcare but get there we must. In voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, my opponent chose to throw 24 million people off of their insurance, a move that would have increased premiums by 50% over three years.  I’ll do the opposite.

Seniors over drug companies

Right now, Medicare and Medicaid are prohibited from negotiating drug prices.  As a result, Americans pay more for common, necessary drugs like insulin than anywhere else.  Congress’s unwillingness to fix it is shameful and it threatens Medicare in the long term. We need to lower costs to help our seniors. 

This is the most important issue of the campaign. I’ll make a very non-politician statement:

If you disagree with me that pre-existing conditions should be covered, that all Americans should have access to health care, and that we should value our seniors over drug company profits, you should vote for my opponent.

But if you agree with me that there is a better way, that we can save lives and money, then I hope to earn your vote in November.

Gun Sense

“Together, we can save lives.”

I strongly believe in a law-abiding citizen’s right to keep and bear arms.  But the push to allow anyone, no matter how dangerous, to have any type of gun, no matter how lethal, is costing innocent lives.  And it needs to stop.

 In 1995, President George H.W. Bush renounced his lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association because the organization had become too extreme. I’m with him.  The NRA has come out against common sense, lifesaving measures. They stand in the way of saving the lives of tens of thousands of people killed by guns each year. 

The inability of Congress to pass common sense gun reform is not just a failure; it is immoral.  Here’s how I will both save lives and preserve our Second Amendment liberties:

Support universal background checks

The NRA used to support these and, according to a Fox News poll, 93% of Americans (and 89% of Republicans) do right now.  No wannabe criminal or terrorist should be able to legally buy a gun. States with laws requiring background checks for all purchases have lower homicide rates, lower suicide rates, and lower rates of gun trafficking.  It should be nationwide

Limit high-capacity magazines

You don’t need a 100-round magazine to protect your house or to hunt. You only need a 100-round magazine to maximize fear and carnage.  Limiting these magazines is just common sense.

Disarm abusers

Every month, 52 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner but many places don’t require convicted abusers to give up their guns. Laws that take guns away from abusers reduce the gun homicide rate by 15%. 

These laws are common sense.  And they will save lives.

Fiscal Sense

“Together, we can invest in the middle-class and end corporate welfare. “

Our budget deficit will top $1 trillion this year because of 2018’s tax give-away. Of the Fortune 500 biggest companies in the United States, more than 60 of them paid not one dime in federal tax in 2018.  Some of them also get subsidies from the government, meaning they made more from the government than they paid.

They are escaping their responsibility by taking advantage of loopholes my opponent and his colleagues put in the law intentionally, like the ability to deduct the entire cost of private jets.

This is simply wrong and frankly un-American.

We need to rollback these tax giveaways.  But more than that, we need to end corporate welfare. Companies should rise or fall on their own merits — that’s real capitalism.

It’s time for real fiscal sense in Washington.  That means everyone pays their fair share: no more, no less. 

And when we invest, it shouldn’t be in picking corporate winners and losers.  It should be in the health of our neighbors, the care of our elderly, the future of our children.

Climate Sense

“Together, we can preserve our Earth for future generations.”

The science is clear. Our warming oceans are causing seas to rise, which hurts our most precious resources, our water, our coastline and our economy.

We are already seeing the impacts to the First Coast.

The combination of rising seas and stronger storms is making us more vulnerable. Hurricanes Matthew and Irma caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to the First Coast and yet neither was a direct hit.

Salt water intrusion into our drinking water is already occurring and will only worsen as our greenhouse gases continue to rise.  Toxic algae blooms mean there are times when we can’t fish, can’t swim, can’t enjoy boating. The health of the river is suffering. 

Our whole quality of life and economy are at stake. 

Some of our neighborhoods already flood on sunny days and Mayport Naval Base will be breached if we don’t take resiliency seriously. 

So far our steps have been woefully inadequate. It’s time to invest wisely in green technology that will create good jobs and preserve the future for our children and grandchildren. The cost of inaction will be far greater.

In spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, my opponent continues to call climate change a hoax. We can’t afford this type of head in the sand mentality. We should be good stewards to the Earth God gave us.

Immigration

“Together, we can make safe, secure, and compassionate immigration a reality.”

I’ll protect our borders, while also protecting the safety and well-being of immigrants. The senseless cruelty of the assault on families, including children of immigrants, is indefensible.

Immigration is an important issue and I want to get two things straight:

  • I am for comprehensive immigration reform.  Congress has failed to address this issue for well over a decade under both Republican and Democratic presidents.  It is yet another example of our broken system. 
  • I believe in borders; and that illegally entering our country should continue to be a crime. But let me be clear, jailing families and separating children from mothers is NOT the answer. We as a country are better than that. 

Our nation was founded on the ambitions and drive of immigrants seeking a better life for their families. We can build all the walls we want, and it will not make us safer or solve the problem. This is not the 12th century and moats and alligators don’t work either. We can and should do at least four things right now to address immigration. 

  1. We should secure our border with well-trained border officers armed with 21st century technology. 
  2. Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform to bring undocumented immigrants out of the shadows. This will create a path to citizenship that helps these people become tax-paying, productive members of society. And if you have a criminal record and should not be here, you get deported. 
  3. We have to address the root cause of the problem. Imagine a future so bleak that a mother is willing to risk the death of her children in the hope of getting them out of harm’s way. We should resume aid and assistance to Central America so that people can have a future where they live. In the long run, this approach will save the American taxpayer money; it’s the right approach fiscally and morally. 
  4. We need to stop using DREAMERS as a political football.  These are children, and now young adults, for whom America is the only home they know.  Many join the military, go on to college. They are part of our country; they should not be arrested, deported or threatened.  

Immigrants have always contributed to our country’s ever rising and enduring vitality, economy and character. They embody the best of who we are as a nation. 

Education

“Together, we can build lasting opportunity for everyone in Northeast Florida with overdue investments in our public schools.”

I fully support public schools; and I think it is just criminal how our public schools in Florida have been shortchanged for years by Tallahassee. Our teachers are under paid, well below the national average, and our schools are left in disrepair. Talk about a lack of common sense. Our children are the future of this country and yet we continually shortchange their education.

While the Federal government only provides 8% of public education money nationwide, I certainly support more funding for teacher pay, all teachers new hires and veteran teachers, and for school construction from the local, state and national levels.  

Education funding is an investment in our country and our children. We know very well that young people who are successful and continue through graduation are assets to our community.  Therefore, I believe that in order for our children and our communities to have the opportunity to reach their full potential, we must invest in our educators to attract and retain the best across the First Coast. We must also invest in quality education facilities where students can learn, and teachers can teach in safety. This November, Duval County residents will vote on a half-cent sales tax for school safety and construction. In Congress, I will work to enhance, not gut, support for our educators and schools.

LGBTQ+ Rights 

“Together, we can make equality for LGBTQ+ people a reality. “

Everyone deserves the opportunity to participate fully and fairly in this world. We are all God’s children. And we can only make the solemn promise of America real for everyone by seizing every opportunity to protect our citizens from discrimination. So, it is on all of us to rise to the challenge of healing the wounds of hate and division that have tarnished our legacy for too long. 

Our nation – including our own community – has made important strides toward advancing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ+) Americans. But we have more work to do. 

After decades of hard work and relentless determination, the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans were affirmed, in part, by the Supreme Court this summer. In the landmark 6 to 3 Bostock v. Clayton County ruling the Court found workplace protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to unmistakably apply to LGBTQ+ Americans. Yet, I understand the struggle for equality is not over – there is still progress to be made. As your congresswoman, I will work to make Florida and our nation free of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. That includes but is not limited to areas of healthcare, housing, education and credit.

I believe that building the society we want requires both persuading judges and politicians together with justly making our community safer for, and more inclusive of, LGBTQ+ people. 

That is why I will work to:

  • Extend to Floridians, and all Americans, the fair housing, public accommodations and public services protections already provided to LGBT people in 21 other states.
  • Update the law so all LGBTQ+ Americans – whether eagerly volunteering to faithfully serve our country in uniform or simply trying to find a ride home – no longer fear government sanctioned discrimination.
  • Bring people and resources together to end the scourge of violence and discrimination directed at transgender Americans, notably trans women of color, and instead promote equality and human rights to demonstrate that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination is wrong. 
  • Ensure LGBTQ+ young people are never forced to sleep on the streets without the safety, stability, and support of a family or a home. In our hearts we know that no young person should ever be living on the streets. Yet, over 100 young people experience homelessness without a parent or guardian every night in Northeast Florida. Sadly, LGBTQ+ youth and young adults make up a disproportionate number of homeless young people – 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. Without a place to turn, too many LGBTQ+ young people are at a high risk for suicide, substance abuse and victimization on the streets. We have a responsibility to protect our young people and their God-given potential. 

Criminal Justice Reform 

“Together, we can choose safety and justice for all.”

Our nation’s approach to criminal justice simply isn’t working and we need to take a new direction. We must make the thoughtful choice to put our safety ahead of vengeance. I will work to improve our complex criminal justice system – keeping our community safe by reducing recidivism, building trust between law enforcement and communities of color, and ending cruel and senseless mass incarceration.

The vast majority of prisoners are eventually released into Florida communities. Approximately one in four of those released returned to custody after committing new crimes or for administrative action within three years. Failing to fully address this recidivism rate not only undermines our potential but it comes at significant taxpayer cost while jeopardizing the safety of Florida communities. It costs roughly $100 per day, or upwards of $36,000 annually, to incarcerate one federal prisoner.

To reduce recidivism rates, we need to strongly support people re-entering society from prison and drug treatment programs so they have the support they need to stay in recovery, find meaningful work, go back to school, reunite with their families and live full lives. To end the revolving door in our prisons, I will work to:

  • Fund evidence-based education, substance-abuse, transitional programs, and alternatives to incarceration.
  • Provide and incentivize critical life and job skills training.
  • Enhance employment guidance and support that leads to a lasting quality of life, so recidivism is no longer driven by poverty and financial hardship.
  • Ensure access to licensed behavioral health services.

Our country is over-incarcerating its people. Our country has less than five percent of the world’s population yet nearly one-quarter of its prisoners. One in three people in the United States has some type of criminal record – no other industrialized nation comes close. I will address over-incarceration by working to:

  • Ensure that sentences fit the crime by rethinking prison sentences for lower-level crimes.
  • Promote proven alternatives to prison that are overwhelmingly supported by victims.
  • End cash money bail.

Finally, I am committed to joining in the work of rebuilding trust between law enforcement and the public. Each citizen, and the law enforcement officers they entrust to protect them, deserve every opportunity to forge lasting trust through meaningful community outreach and genuine accountability.