NATIONAL ISSUES

ZERO EMISSIONS BY 2030 We recognize climate change as the most significant issue of our time. The rise of deadly heat waves, wildfires and coastal floods has been only the beginning. The increases in armed conflicts for scarce food resources, starvation and species extinction are already here as well. We must build national and international coalitions to tackle these issues and the United States, the world's largest polluter, must lead the way by example. We support the Green New Deal, the green energy revolution and a global solution to the nightmare that for so many is already here.
MEDICARE FOR ALL The US is the only wealthy country in the world where we have to choose between paying our rent and paying for our medications and doctors' appointments. Yet, despite having the most expensive healthcare system in the world, our outcomes are some of the worst. We must divorce our brand of winner-takes-all capitalism from the health and wellbeing of our people. Medicare for all is the simplest and most politically feasible way of doing just that. That's why we fight for it!
EDUCATION EQUITY We recognize education as a public good. While generations of politicians speak of education as an individual investment, in reality education is an investment in the good of the society. The United States has succeeded because it has been able to unleash the creative potential of its citizens and immigrants to tackle the world's most pressing problems. This potential would not have been unleashed without a strong primary, secondary and university education system. Furthermore, education is a public good because it allows our citizens to make better informed choices for the benefit of all citizens. College educated voters were one of the main reasons why Biden won in 2020 and this fact alone saved our country. But education is not equitable, our schools have grossly disproportionate per pupil funding. Kids from minority communities do not receive the opportunities of their wealthy, majority-white suburban counterparts. And universities continue to be only accessible to the wealthy and those willing to take on exorbitant amounts of debt. We must end this by ensuring that all schools in our country can provide a top-class education and all colleges and universities are free to attend. By investing in our education system we invest in all of us.
WEALTH TAX Our campaign recognizes that our nation has a gross mismatch of priorities when people are living without homes, without insulin, and without clean water while billionaires are making records in their wealth. Taxing income does not get at inherited wealth, nor wealth passed through loopholes. If we are to be serious about decreasing inequality, we must create a wealth tax. We support the Sanders plan for a wealth tax, as its ambitiousness meets the current moment. We support taxing net worth above $30 million at only one cent on the dollar, increasing in rate up to eight percent at wealth above $10 billion. Until we decrease inequality, creating opportunity for all people and not just those born to fortunes, the “American Dream” will rest a mere myth, an unattainable dream for tens of millions.
GUN CONTROL Gun violence is an epidemic in New York and the United States. We have the data: more guns do not mean less death, but the opposite. While tens of thousands of Americans lose their lives each year due to senseless gun violence, gun manufacturers make profits off massacres. We support tangible policy solutions such as: ​ - Universal comprehensive background checks for every firearm purchase. - Gun buyback programs to allow people to voluntarily get rid of their guns for cash. - Limits on the ability of sellers to advertise guns. - Imposing financial liability on gun manufacturers and distributors for certain deaths caused by their products. - Capacity limits for all cartridges and magazines - Standardized and mandatory safety training for all gun owners to protect themselves and their loved ones - Red flag laws to get guns out of the hands of people who may cause harm to themselves or others - Mandatory waiting periods so impulsive action does not lead to unnecessary death
TAKE MONEY OUT OF POLITICS We are taught that we live in a democratic country, but our democracy is greatly skewed towards the interests of the wealthy and the powerful. Our politics has become a pay-to-play system where the largest political donors receive the largest government tax breaks and benefits. The only alternative is to implement public funding of elections and take private money out of the equation. New York City has already moved in this direction and this has greatly diminished the power of entrenched wealthy interests. It's time for the rest of the country to follow. ​ Other necessary reforms that will move us in this direction are to legislate away the effects of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision thereby ending super-PACs and enacting across the board term limits for every Congressperson and Senator. Our movement will push on each of these fronts to end the systemic corruption of money in politics.
CHILDCARE AND PARENTAL LEAVE Child care is the last bastion of for profit education. An accident of history, it was President Nixon's reactionary decision to veto a universal child care bill, so as not to be like the Soviet Union, that ended hope for parents in this area. But child care, just like every other stage of education, is one of the greatest investments we can make in the people who are the future of our country and the public good of our society. At the same time we must expand the opportunity for parents who wish to spend time with their children to be able to do so as well. Our campaign believes that every parent must have six months of paid leave upon having a child to be allocated at the parents' discretion between them. In the case of single parent households the parental leave should be a year. ​ While this might sound radical there are many countries who already have equally strong child care policies. Even poor countries like Russia, where I was born, have a year long maternity leave for women, no questions asked. If we say we value families and being together then let's have policies that encourage strong families and togetherness.
ANTI-RACIST POLICYMAKING Our campaign embraces an explicit anti-racist approach to policymaking. That means that for every bill that gets drafted in Congress, a thorough analysis of its effect on different races must be undertaken by a nonpartisan body with expertise in the area. Our campaign pledges that with every policy proposal we will move the needle of historic and systemic racism in the direction of equity.
RENEWABLE ENERGY The future is green! Not only green in its renewable energy generation and efficiency, but green too in the economic potential of high-tech manufacturing. But transitioning to a real green economy means more than clean energy production. It means investments in energy storage and transportation are necessary. It also means creating laws that break the stranglehold that utility monopolies hold on the energy markets in all states. Providing private home owners strong incentives to install their own solar panels and, where appropriate, wind turbines is where our policy must quickly go.
THE "WAR ON DRUGS" The failed “War on Drugs'' has led to an immeasurable amount of harm for people of color in the US, young adults thrown into prison for life for the crime of tweaking their consciousness. Rather than prevent crime, it overcrowds prisons with nonviolent offenders. Drug addiction is real, but it’s time to see it for what it is: a matter of health, not crime. We would never throw someone addicted to alcohol into a cell, cutting them off from all social groups. Our campaign recognizes that one’s own choice to alter their consciousness without hurting anyone else is the choice of that adult alone, not the state.
SUPREME COURT REFORM Let’s not fool ourselves: the Supreme Court is political, of course it is. But we are not powerless to let our rights be stripped away, one at a time. If the Court is willing to throw out a person’s right to an abortion in Roe v. Wade, a precedent that’s half a century old, why should we think they’ll stop there. Today it’s abortion, but tomorrow it may be the right to gay marriage, decided by Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, or the right to contraception in Griswold v. Connecticut. Under the current Supreme Court, no precedent is safe. No matter your political ideology, a group of unelected and unaccountable Justices who serve for life is not working. Justices aren’t even required to follow basic ethics, like recusing oneself when there’s a conflict of interest! Public policy is powerless if every law is partisanly struck down, and our rights with it. Term limits and additional justices appear to be the only viable solutions and therefore, yes, we must go there.
PRIVATE PRISONS AND CASH BAIL Our prison system emphasizes incarceration over rehabilitation. Nowhere is this worse than within the private prison system where the incarcerated are worked for cents and hour. By creating a profit motive for corporations to exploit inmates our system recreates indentured servitude. We must shut down all private prisons and refocus our prison system on providing rehabilitation and skills that would get those who are held there reintegrated back into society as quickly as possible. Further, cash bail is the criminalization of poverty, plain and simple. It’s unconscionable to hold prisoners based on their ability to post bail, rather than their risk factor. The only considerations in deciding whether to hold someone against their will prior to trial should be the risk of that person not showing up to court and their danger to society. Their wealth should not matter.
VOTING RIGHTS America isn’t and has never been a true democracy. Our founders disenfranchised minorities, women, and those who didn’t own land from participating in the electoral process. Today, we still disenfranchise minorities, the poor and the young even if to a lesser degree. Some states take away the right to vote from convicted felons for the rest of their lives; most states have much longer waiting times in poorer communities than in wealthier ones in the hope that poor people and minorities get tired out and leave without casting their votes; other states purge their voter rolls in ways that always helps the officials doing the purging. All the while, those implementing these anti-democratic schemes gaslight us into believing that it is we who are cheating. Our campaign will protect voting rights by: - Putting an end to voter ID laws once and for all. - Requiring federal pre-clearance for changes in state voter legislation during redistricting, changes in voting locations, and changes in the voter roll process. - Passing measures that create a more proportional election system at the presidential level, such as supporting the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. - Fighting to abolish the electoral college and to create a popular vote election system, to enshrine one person one vote as the fundamental tenet of our democracy. - Expanding local measures, such as the one recently passed in New York City that allows non-citizens to vote in local and municipal elections to all communities nationwide.
POLICE REFORM Throughout our country, the poorer and darker a neighborhood is the worse police officers treat the people who live there. People who are forced to live like this live in terror of the police officers who are supposed to protect them. We must make significant fundamental reforms to address these issues: - The community must be empowered to investigate, subpoena and discipline police officers. - Police officers must come from the communities they are policing. - Police officers must not use military grade weapons or tear gas. - Police officers must be required to at least have a bachelor's or master's degree in criminal justice. (At no cost to the police officer as education should be free for all.) ​ Police officers must not be the front line of response in cases where a civilian response is more appropriate such as unarmed and nonviolent mental health situations. These solutions won't solve the entire problem, but we believe they will be an excellent start.
QUEER RIGHTS Our campaign proudly supports the LGBTQ+ community in making sure that every queer person is able to pursue life as they see fit, free from discrimination that persists to this day. For too long queer people have been discriminated against in housing, employment, public accommodations, healthcare, education, and beyond. Equality can not be brought about until barriers stopping LGBTQ+ people from living are torn down and we recognize those who may not love or live like us are just as human as anyone else. Further, we must work towards a future where queer people are not placated, but accepted. 40% of transgender Americans have attempted suicide in their lifetimes, a deeply tragic statistic that will not be fixed by only strengthening anti-discrimination protections. LGBTQ+ youth need to know that they are welcomed in schools and sports. Queer people need to know that they will be able to receive gender-affirming medical treatments, covered by Medicare-For-All. Only after we begin healing the wounds of the past will we be able to start building a world where LGBTQ+ people can live their truth.
HOUSING EQUITY We support affordable housing. This includes nationwide policies for rent control, rent stabilization, public housing, and where gaps continue to exist, high quality homeless shelters. ​ We must tackle homelessness and housing unaffordability at the federal level because local solutions shift the burden onto municipalities and states that are unable to bear it and force those in need to migrate to communities away from their families and support networks. ​ Similar to the policy in New York City, every large city must be mandated to have a bed available for every person in need. Furthermore, homeless shelters must provide good nutrition, internet service, comfortable and safe common areas and job training opportunities. ​ Similarly, every large city must have an income based rent control and rent-stabilization plan for renters. People who fall behind on their rent because their income goes down should not lose their housing. Landlords can't make a fortune on the backs of the homeless they throw out into the streets. ​ When the homeless suffer, we all suffer.
IMMIGRATION REFORM America was founded on the principles of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. When people from other foreign countries came to this country, down on their luck, we accepted them. In the words of the poem The New Colossus, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” America should treat its immigrants like our brethren; the same way we treat the children of immigrants born on our soil. It makes both moral and economic sense. Our campaign will help immigrants by: - Reuniting families separated at the border by dismantling cruel and unusual detention centers. - Welcoming refugees and asylum seekers into the country, including climate refugees. - Abolishing ICE and making our immigration enforcement policy just, equitable, anti-racist and compassionate. - Ending the deportation of veterans, who gave themselves to protect this country from enemies abroad. - Providing an easy path to citizenship for immigrants and redefining citizenship as a right and not a privilege for those who have lived here for more than five years in all circumstances.
END DANGEROUS AND RACIST TRAFFIC STOPS Every year, hundreds of unarmed drivers are killed by police nationwide. Many municipalities and police departments prioritize balancing their budget by making their police departments perform dangerous and needless traffic stops. Instead, we must prioritize safety and equity. After finding out that 70% of traffic stops are made against black drivers while they only make up 42% of Philadelphia's population. Philadelphia became the first city in the country to ban traffic stops for minor offenses. This anti-racist city wide policy should be extended nationwide. Minor offenses such as failure to signal, minor speed limit violations, or a broken brake light should not be used as a pretense to stop and interrogate motorists just going about their day. Furthermore, we will introduce a law to make it illegal for municipalities to balance their budgets on the backs of motorists in a disproportionate manner by setting a percentage limit to how much of a municipality's budget may be made up of traffic violation fines.
INVEST IN ARTISTS The last two decades saw a wave of disinvestment from arts and artists in our communities. School programs, residency programs, university programs and fellowships have all suffered massive cuts. Nowadays, for artists to make a living they have to make art that can be monetized. For those unable to do so, everyday life can be tremendously difficult. Our policies of art disinvestment fail to recognize that artists are some of the biggest contributors to our society. Art can uplift entire communities; it can push us to think differently about pressing social and political issues; it can challenge us like nothing else and it can build a stronger, more beautiful country and world for all. Capitalism fails to capture this value that art creates for all of us. ​ Many countries including Canada and Norway have done so much more to support artists financially in their endeavors. Our movement believes in working hand-in-hand with the artist community to come up with the best path forward for supporting arts and artists throughout every part of our country.
MASS INCARCERATION The US has only 4% of the world’s population but holds 25% of the world’s prisoners. On any given day, a whopping 1% of the entire US population is in prison or jail awaiting trial. Something is deeply rotten in our country and it's certainly not the people. No one is born a criminal. If we really want to stop mass incarceration, we must begin at its roots: homes free from paint and water tainted with lead, fully-funded public schools no matter your zip code, a guarantee that all kids have homes and meals to return to every night; and laws that do not address non-violent offenses with jail time. Born in different circumstances, any one of us could easily find ourselves in prison. Further, we must stop dehumanizing those who commit crimes. The right to vote is sacred and it should be kept no matter the crime one has committed. The right to a safe environment and good medical care within a prison are likewise inalienable. Let’s guide our criminal justice policy through the ideas of empathy and compassion and confine our current system which is guided by fear, racism, and vindictiveness to the dustbin of history. We will all be better off for it.
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION The days of isolation and “might makes right” are over. International diplomacy, through organizations like the United Nations and the International Criminal Court, are how we settle disputes. And it is only through international accountability will we be able to foster democracy, equality, and freedom. Unilateral action and unjustified military incursion are the antithesis of this goal. It may be the case that groups like the UN and ICC don’t hold great power to enforce their decisions. But that only means that it’s time for the UN itself to undergo profound reform. We must end the days where the US, UK, France, Russia, and China can veto UN resolutions. The UN must be a democratic institution where all members hold equal power. Only then will human rights everywhere begin to be respected.
THE OPIOID CRISIS Over half a million Americans have lost their lives to the opioid crisis since 1999, with over a hundred people tragically being added to the tally every single day. And while families mourn those lost, it was companies like Purdue Pharma that raked in billions of dollars in profits. Companies that knowingly misled the public, causing thousands to become addicted to their products, must be held responsible for such inhumane and reckless actions. But holding companies accountable will not bring back those lost, nor help those suffering with substance abuse disorders. Those suffering should be able to go to a local safe injection site to receive treatment safely, without fear that they are using drugs contaminated with dangerous counterfeits like fentanyl. Further, rehabilitation programs should be available free of change to help people turn their lives around. No one should be forced to endure this difficult journey alone.
EDUCATING FOR DEMOCRACY Democracy hinges on a citizenry that can critically engage with political issues, one full of people who have their own ideas about how to make our society better, whether at your local school board or in the halls of Congress. Educating our children to be mere cogs in an economic machine may maximize corporate profits, but it bankrupts the foundations of our democracy. All of us must be active participants in the American project. Our campaign believes that educating for democracy means: - Teaching children to empathize with others who may not look, believe, or love like they do. - Teaching our youth how to think critically and recommitting to the liberal arts. - Giving students the well-rounded education they need to form their own political opinions, including sociology, history, political science, economics, and philosophy.
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