We got a lot of great feedback and questions from the survey my team sent around earlier this month. I thought I’d take a few minutes to respond to some of your questions:
Do you support the Green New Deal?
— Robin from OK
Yes — this was actually the very first question I got out on the campaign trail. Climate change has imperiled our planet, and it’s going to require bold action like the Green New Deal to save it. That means making a dramatic investment in green energy, which we know will create the jobs of the future. The United States of America needs to be leading this effort.
How do you feel about LGBTQ rights and what will you do for us?
— Michael from OH
LGBTQ rights are civil rights. But right now in over half the country, LGBTQ people can still legally be discriminated against just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. I helped to introduce the Equality Act, to fully protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination under federal law, because no one should ever have to live in fear of being fired from their job or evicted from their home or denied an education just because of who they are or who they love.
We’ve got to ensure that our most vulnerable have the resources to protect themselves from those that would harm them. That means addressing the systemic, ingrained racism that runs rampant in this country. How will you do that?
— Rachel from TX
Systemic racism in our country permeates our public policy and every aspect of public life — erecting barriers to access, from economic opportunity to educational opportunity, to clean air and water, to affordable, quality healthcare, to a justice system that fairly applies the law, to equal access to the ballot box, and more.
We need to tackle systemic, ingrained racism head-on in our public life and our public policy. That’s why I’ve championed things like American Opportunity accounts or “baby bonds” that would almost entirely eliminate the intergenerational racial wealth gap for young people; the Environmental Justice Act, to strengthen legal protections against environmental injustice for communities of color, low-income communities, and indigenous communities; and the Marijuana Justice Act — because it’s not enough to legalize marijuana, we also have to expunge the records of those serving time for use and possession.
And while I’m proud to have led the effort to successfully pass landmark criminal justice reform legislation last year that finally begins to turn the tide against mass incarceration, I just put forward a bill that, when we pass it, will be the most ambitious criminal justice reform in a generation. My bill, the Next Step Act, will work to lower mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses, give formerly incarcerated people the right to vote, and reduce the racially-targeted sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses from 18-to-1 to 1-to-1.
Do you support Medicare For All?
— Susan from MI
I do. No one living in the richest country in the world should die or go bankrupt because they can’t afford the quality care they need. Access to care should not be dependent on wealth or employment. I believe in an America where healthcare is a right and poverty is wrong. That’s one of the many reasons I support Medicare For All.
What is the fire that makes you feel you can heal and reunite our nation from the political divide that has permeated our democracy?
— Michael from SC
I learned at an early age that we’re better when we help each other. When I was just a baby, my parents tried to move to a neighborhood with great public schools, but no real estate agent would sell us a home because of the color of our skin. A group of white volunteer lawyers who saw civil rights activists march in Selma were inspired to help black families like mine in their own community. They helped a family they had never met before. And that’s the perspective I’ve built my life upon. Right now, many people are worried that the things tearing us apart are stronger than the things holding us together. I’m running because I don’t believe that. I believe we are facing a common pain in our country, and what we need now is to reignite our sense of common purpose. I know that no single person can solve all of our problems, but I think if we’re willing to help each other and work together, we can take on the challenges other people say are impossible.
One of the questions that I was pretty excited to see over and over again in these responses was, “How can I help?”
This will be the first formal measure of our progress, and anyone who gives will always be one of the founders of this campaign.
I’d love for you to be a part of it. Thanks for your questions,