I come from a proud family that have worked hard all their lives as sharecroppers, maids, and field hands. I saw that there was no one to advocate for them, and I took on that role at an early age. I've been involved with public service for as long as I can remember. I want to carry on that work for you. We need to create more living wage jobs, reduce inflation, improve our schools, and ensure that every citizen has access to adequate health care at a reasonable cost. We also need to ensure environmental protection by funding the Green New Deal, and make sure our returning veterans get the care they need as well as public safety concerns - especially getting guns off the streets, a top priority. With over two decades of government experience, I know what it takes to find solutions, navigate the complicated governmental agencies, and get things done. I've done it before and will do it again!
ISSUES AFFECTING OUR COMMUNITY
Support K-12 Public Schools
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic local government budgets are strained and many school districts are facing budget cuts. Our public school system should never be on the chopping block, even when funding is tight. That’s why I support the HEROES Act, which provides funding to state and local governments and would be instrumental in helping many jurisdictions with additional revenue for public education.
Tuition-Free Public Colleges and Universities and
Student Loan Debt Forgiveness
Rising tuition costs have made college and trade school economically unavailable for tens of millions of Americans and saddled millions of others including myself with student loan debt. This is why I will be laboring hard to free people who are suffering from this burden. We can make our public college system affordable once again.
When I get to Congress, I will sponsor the College for All Act, a law that will establish tuition-free public college and trade school, and through the Student Debt Cancellation Act of 2019, we will forgive outstanding federal and private student loans of all previous and current students in our education system. In doing so, we’ll create an easier pathway to economic stability and provide a $10 trillion boost to our economy over a 15-year period.
Criminal Justice Reform
Ending misconduct by prosecutors, police violence and investing in people, not prisons private or otherwise is a major issue for me. Having spent 14 years in prison as an innocent man I can personally attest that the entire system needs reform. (Go to www.ONEINNOCENTMAN.ORG)
People all over the country have risen in sustained mass protest against the police killing of George Floyd, as well as the killings of Breonna Taylor, Eric Gardner, Walter Scott, Philando Castile, Tony McDade, Ida Delaney, Ronell Foster, Jordan Edwards, Nathaniel Pickett II, Oscar Grant, Alton Sterling, and even a 12 year old child, Tamir Rice, as well as countless other people of color. We’ve also seen police commit acts of brutality against citizens exercising their constitutionally protected right of protesting, as well as assaults against essential workers on their way to work or on their way home during the COVID pandemic. It defies reason and logic for public officials to look the other way as their fellow citizens' constitutional rights are often violated. We must change the culture of policing in this country, as well as how misconduct is viewed. Officers pulling masks off citizens to pepper spray them, beating them with batons, running them over with a vehicle, shooting them in their backs and many more over reactions to non lethal situation than most. As a former Social Worker and Police Officer, I recognize that peoples' basic needs have to be met. That is when real safety and progress will take hold in a community.
Uprooting crime begins with economics. A job gives a person self-respect and purpose and can make all the difference in the trajectory of one's life. I will create economic opportunity grants for business startups and small businesses as we do for corporations. I will push for decriminalizing truancy and taking police out of schools. I will advocate for ending qualified immunity for egregious acts of police and prosecutor misconduct, with oversight boards to review police Internal Affairs decisions on misconduct. I will also support establishing a public national database that tracks all police officers decertified in any state or locality, to ensure transparency when the same officers seek employment in law enforcement elsewhere. I fully support repealing Maryland laws that make police disciplinary records and histories of misconduct secret, banning the use of tear gas and rubber bullets, and supporting quality-of-life policing.
Medicare For All
and Protect Social Security
In a modern, decent, and moral society, no one should be too poor to receive needed medical care. With nearly 35 million out of work and facing this COVID pandemic that has taken over 900,000 American lives, we MUST separate health insurance from employment and expand Medicare.
We must also respond to COVID-19 by putting permanent systems and structures in place so that we will be prepared for future pandemics as scientists believe it is not a matter of if, but when.
Guaranteed Health Care Not Tied to Your Job
Before the pandemic, over 30 million people in the United States were without health care, with another 75 million classified as underinsured. Now as a result of COVID-19, there are approximately 40 million people who have just lost their jobs, and, along with it, their employer healthcare coverage, in the midst of a pandemic. This is why I will also push to provide Medicare access to those without insurance for the duration of this pandemic.
Medicare for All uncouples healthcare from your job. It allows all citizens to receive quality care that is affordable at the hospital, pharmacy, or doctor’s office. It will cover primary, mental, dental, vision, women’s health, and emergency room care in addition to prescription drugs.
CURB HEALTH CARE COSTS
We pay 70% more in costs because of insurance companies, billing costs, hospital administration, and drug companies.
A national healthcare system has stronger buying power and can negotiate lower prices for drugs and medical equipment as well as curb the astronomically high administrative salaries.
Moreover, this pivot towards a national system unburdens thousands of companies that are saddled with onerous health insurance payments for their employees.
Economic Equity & Opportunity
The number one cause of crime anywhere in the world and even the United States, is poverty. Don't be confused about "those people", it is the lack of economic opportunity that drives crime and social unrest, further fueled by corporate and government policies, both written and unwritten, that routinely disenfranchise certain groups. We want to expand the economic pie in America providing opportunities and entrepreneurship through grants and endowments, as well as federal, state, and local contracting. We will advocate for business enterprise zones, tax rebates, as well tax credits for all citizens to start businesses to lift themselves, their families, and their communities out of poverty.
Housing as a Human Right
Protect our seniors and current occupants, repair public housing, and provide affordable housing.
More than 10 million people are homeless in America or one paycheck away from being homeless. I too was homeless as a teenager and slept in abandoned cars when I was in the 11th and 12th grade, not because I was a bad kid, but because my family broke up and it was a struggle to keep a roof over our heads. I know the feeling of being ashamed, unclean, and hungry; it is debilitating. We need programs available to those less fortunate than ourselves, like rent control laws that help make housing more affordable. If we can subsidize multi-billion dollar corporations we can subsidize housing for the less fortunate among us.
I will fight for your dignity and your opportunities to succeed in life, and open doors for you and your families. The battle plan is laid before us, let us not retreat from this moment. With a roof over your head you will have one less worry about tomorrow. Believe me, I know from personal experience. I am with you!