During every election, you will probably hear a candidate invoke the old adage that “Washington is broken”. It doesn’t help that once they are elected, many of our representatives simply keep campaigning and choose to put partisan politics above implementing common sense solutions to serious issues. You expect and deserve better. We need leaders in Washington who can bridge the partisan divide to bring real change for all Americans. There are times when we have to stand our ground for what we believe in, but we don’t need representatives who create gridlock at every turn just to score political points. I am committed to working with anyone who is able to come up with smart, effective policies that reflect our shared values of freedom, equality, and opportunity. Visibility and accountability will be the foundations of my role as your representative. I intend to build local coalitions by bringing together diverse segments of our community to engage in a civil dialogue, find common values, and work together toward solutions. None of us live in a vacuum, which is why it is so important that we understand and respect one another. There will undoubtedly be times of disagreement, but each disagreement should be an opportunity collaborate and advance our shared interests. My door will always be open for those in the community who wish to share their thoughts and ideas so that I can truly carry your voice to Congress. An essential part of representing the people is being accountable to the people. That is why my campaign does not accept donations from corporate PACs or special interests. Voters deserve to know that when their elected leaders get to Washington, they will look out for them - not for the big money donors who fill their pockets. That is why I intend to make campaign finance reform a priority during my time in Congress. Because our Democracy does not work when our representatives answer to lobbyists instead of voters.
In 1965, the historic Voting Rights Act was signed into law. These laws, alongside the Civil Rights Act, were arguably our greatest achievements of the Civil Rights era. Unfortunately, in 2013 the Supreme Court reversed key portions of the Voting Rights Act, allowing states to create their own voting laws without congressional approval. Republicans and Democrats came together to pass the original law, realizing that we must ensure that every citizen is allowed their constitutional right to vote. But since that ruling in 2013, Congress has refused to revisit this fundamental issue and restore balance to the system. Preserving the integrity of our democracy is as important as ever, but there are surely smarter solutions that won’t create more unnecessary burdens to voting - such as complex voter ID laws that disproportionately and negatively impact minorities and low-income citizens. We also need stronger federal standards so that state legislatures - like our own here in Texas - do not have the opportunity to take advantage of unethical practices like gerrymandering in order to secure their seats at the table. Leaders in Congress need to take action and show that they value the rights of their constituents to have their voices heard in every election. As your representative, I will work to make sure that everyone has a fair chance to participate in our Democracy.
There is no greater investment we can make than in the success of our children. We have a responsibility to ensure the best and brightest future for them, and for our country. This begins with providing a quality education - one that equips them with the knowledge and skills necessary to not only provide for themselves and their families but to keep America competitive in an ever-evolving global economy. For too long, American students have been at the back of the pack compared to other advanced nations. We can begin to address this by ensuring that every child has equal access to excellent and well-rounded early, primary, and secondary-level public education - no matter their needs, gender, race, or economic status. I will oppose any federal program that works to redirect taxpayer dollars to support a private voucher system, and do what I can to make sure that our public schools, teachers, and programs have the resources they need to make sure our kids meet world-class standards in science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts. Early education is a particularly important area where our public system has opportunities for growth. A student who can't read at grade level by third grade is four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than a child that keeps pace. The earlier a child receives support for a suspected learning delay, the better their educational outcomes will be. Additionally, from a budgetary standpoint, providing greater resources for younger children and their families often means less money spent on interventions in the long term. Higher education should not be accessible only to those who can afford it. The cost of higher education has risen steadily in recent years and average student loan debt along with it. I will work towards enacting fair practices for federal student loans and accreditation and collaborate with state governments to fully realize the benefits of producing a highly educated workforce in Texas and across our nation. This includes supporting access to technical and vocational schools that provide a range of practical pathways to success. I will work tirelessly to make these goals a reality and help provide all our children with the opportunities they deserve.
Every American deserves access to healthcare, no matter their circumstances. No American believes that our current healthcare system is perfect, but we must continue to improve upon the progress we have made. Medicare and Medicaid must remain funded. Veterans, seniors, children, and the disabled should always receive the care they need, and the federal government must work with states, healthcare providers, and drug manufacturers to keep the costs of basic care and prescriptions affordable for everyone. The U.S. already spends more per person on healthcare than other leading nations, but with little to show for it even as premiums and drug costs continue to rise. As the national debt grows, some will suggest cutting programs that people’s lives depend on – but simply spending less isn’t the answer. We need to spend smarter, explore using groundbreaking medical research and new technologies to make the system more efficient, and make sure Americans are getting a fair deal when they need treatment and prescriptions. I will seek a new approach to health and welfare in our country - making sure the people come first - and work to propose effective and sensible solutions that give American families the information and freedom to lead healthy, productive lives. We can start by expanding public options - such as a single-payer system that is available to all, and which includes preventative care, coverage for mental health issues, pre-existing conditions, and treatment for substance abuse. I realize this isn’t a change we can make overnight, but ensuring access to quality, affordable healthcare for every citizen is a fundamental responsibility of our government. As your representative, I will work with my colleagues in Congress to make sure that the decisions we make reflect that - because no American should have to choose between paying their medical bills and paying their rent.
Climate change will have a huge impact not only on our country but on the entire global community that we all participate in and depend on. Our first step needs to be recognizing that confronting this problem is not only about saving the planet, but saving the future of the human race. Rising temperatures and sea levels will eventually cause serious harm to our food and water sources and create up to 150 million climate refugees in the coming decades, as our beautiful landscape shifts beneath us. Some of these refugees would undoubtedly be U.S. citizens, as their homes become affected in places like Louisiana, Florida, Alaska, and even Texas. Over 97% of published peer-reviewed scientific literature agrees that humans have contributed to climate change – it is no longer a matter of belief. I strongly support working alongside other nations in implementing sustainable, long-term plans to reduce the output of greenhouse gases in the near future by investing in innovative new technologies that will eventually move us away from reliance on fossil fuels. America has a unique opportunity to demonstrate leadership on this issue, and we shouldn’t waste any more time sitting on the sidelines. The fate of future generations hangs in the balance, and we cannot afford to sell that future in favor of yesterday’s interests.
As National President of the American Business Women’s Association, I advocated for equal pay for women - particularly for women of color who face the greatest wage disparity. To help begin to close this gap, employers must be more transparent with their wages and pay practices, and we need to hold businesses accountable when they discriminate based on gender, race, or parental status. Income inequality in America has been on the rise for decades. Today’s single-income, minimum wage workers often need to work more than one job to get by. While the recent tax reforms offered some relief to low and middle-income Americans, they largely served big business and the wealthy, failed to deliver on closing loopholes and simplifying the system, and will likely add to our nation’s growing debt. If we truly want to support hard-working Americans, we need to put forward more policies that will impact them directly, and not just hope that huge breaks for corporations will solve our problems. Beyond a fair and transparent tax code, this means sensible regulations that reward our entrepreneurial spirit while protecting our safety, and serious investment in education, healthcare, and infrastructure to make sure we all benefit from America’s economic success. Because incomes for the working class have largely remained stagnant, I believe it is time to take a hard look at raising the federal minimum wage, building upon the lessons learned in states and communities that have already begun to surpass it.
The ability to come to America from anywhere in the world and make a better life for your family is the foundation our country was built on. Immigrants help make our society more vibrant and prosperous in many ways, and we are responsible for making sure there is a clear and fair pathway for them to do so. It is estimated that there are over 11 million people living in the U.S. without any legal status. Many immigrants have started families, put down roots, and contributed to our economic success. This includes over 800,000 registered DACA recipients who were brought here as children through no fault of their own and only know life in America. Law-abiding people who are only working to better their lives deserve a pathway to legal status that will allow them to continue contributing to our country without fear of losing their homes and being separated from their families. At the same time, we need to enact and enforce strong laws that will prevent bad actors from harming our society. Effectively monitoring our borders, stemming the tide of drugs and human trafficking, and taking criminal offenders off of our streets are basic duties of our government - but this should not mean closing off all avenues for immigration. We all agree that our immigration system needs work, but we must not lose sight of our inherently American values while creating legislation to fix it. We must compassionately address the situation of the undocumented already in our country and create a system for new immigrants going forward that serves all our interests, doesn’t get bogged down in bureaucracy and partisan politics, and enables the many benefits of a diverse and inclusive America.
While attending law school at George Washington University in D.C., I spent a semester as an intern-investigator with the city’s public defender service, and it became clear to me that not everyone was receiving the equal treatment from our justice system that they deserve. Even as I’ve spoken with members of our own community here in North Texas, I have heard story after story detailing how Muslims, South Asians, and other communities of color are subjected to greater profiling while simply going about their lives. This cannot stand. I will continue to be a fierce advocate for criminal justice reform – including a common sense bail approach that fairly considers all relevant factors, limiting sentencing for non-violent drug offenses, and ending pre-investigatory traffic stops. The goal of criminal justice reform should be to ensure that every person is treated with equal dignity and respect under the law. To help achieve that, I support increasing the use of body cameras by police, and educating officers about non-violent law enforcement strategies and the potential impact of demonstrating bias, whether intentional or not. Solutions such as convening citizen-police forums that encourage constructive dialogue with all the communities they serve would go a long way in improving relations with local law enforcement. Working together to implement strategies like these can help to reduce tension between law enforcement and citizens, and help to keep our communities, and our police officers, safe.
NO DONATIONS FROM LOBBYISTS OR CORPORATIONS While our elected leaders are accepting huge campaign contributions from groups like the NRA, we know that they aren’t going to be taking meaningful action to prevent gun deaths in our country. The number one thing we can do to make sure our Congress is working for us is to elect leaders who are committed to campaign finance reform, because the lives of our family, friends, and children should be the biggest concerns for our legislators. STRENGTHEN AND ENFORCE CURRENT GUN SAFETY LEGISLATION I support the Second Amendment right of lawful gun owners to protect their homes and families. Unfortunately, far too many guns are ending up in the hands of those intent on causing devastating harm to our communities. Congress needs to work with state and local leaders to strengthen current common-sense gun safety measures, and make sure that these laws are being consistently enforced. This includes working to close loopholes in the current laws. For example, closing the “boyfriend loophole” which will help prevent more domestic abusers from owning a weapon, the “default proceed loophole” that allows dealers to sell firearms if a background check is not completed within 3 days, and the “gun show loophole” which allows unregistered dealers to sell guns without completing a background check. Critically, we need to improve the ways in which federal and local law enforcement agencies are conducting investigations and sharing information pertaining to criminal and mental health records, background checks, and any potential threats reported by citizens. While the right to bear arms is enshrined in our constitution, the prevalence of gun violence in America today demands that we thoughtfully consider ways to make our society safer. In the words of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in the 2007 case of The District of Columbia v. Heller, “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR GUN VIOLENCE RESEARCH There are many ideas and proposals put forward every time the country comes face to face with the issue of gun violence, but the conversation can’t stop a few days after every tragedy. I believe one of the most reasonable ways to keep the issue at the forefront is to fund the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and other groups in order to discover potential ways to prevent as many deaths as possible. Currently, the CDC is unable to effectively conduct research on how gun deaths may be prevented due to decades-old legislation. Gun deaths are a serious public health issue in our country that needs to be addressed, and granting the CDC the freedom and resources to do so should be a priority for Congress. New research and insights can also go a long way in helping us better understand the relationship between mental health and gun deaths – something desperately needed when roughly two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States are a result of suicide. CONSIDERING PAST & CURRENT POLICY In 1994, Congress passed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which prohibited the manufacturing and sale of certain semi-automatic firearms and high-capacity magazines for civilian use. This ban expired in 2004, but I believe Congress should debate similar measures going forward to prevent more gun deaths by stemming the sale of military-style weapons and modifications such as bump stocks to civilians. Additionally, the currently proposed legislation to allow for concealed carry reciprocity across state lines should be rejected by Congress. Although there are many things that our federal government can and should do to prevent gun violence, we should not ignore the right of the states to enact the gun safety measures they deem appropriate, which this controversial legislation would do. Beyond smarter gun and background check legislation, the federal government must also work together with communities across America and take a role, where appropriate, in supporting them as they develop their own approaches to improving school safety, ensuring that our children have the opportunity to learn in peace that they deserve. I look forward to an honest and productive conversation here in our community where we can share ideas and come together to make meaningful progress towards making life safer for everyone.