At 13, I saw the World Trade Center fall from my school's eighth floor stairwell in downtown Brooklyn. My classmates and I were confused by what we just witnessed and the ensuing panic that it conjured. Words and phrases like terrorism and, “If you see something, say something,” became part of our everyday vocabulary. For most of our lives, my generation has witnessed our country at war. Wars that have cost trillions of dollars and countless lives of our American service members and innocent civilians in the conflict zones. Congress must re-invest in our diplomatic service to maintain and protect America's interests and integrity overseas. We must place human rights at the forefront of our country’s foreign policy priorities.
Campaign Finance Reform
Washington's political agenda is defined by the wealthy and special interest groups who pour unlimited funds into political campaigns. We need to curb the outsized influence of big money in American politics and to encourage everyday people to run for office regardless of their access to big donors. This starts with overturning Citizens United, the Supreme Court case that allowed unlimited dark money into our elections and instituting a public financing system that would allow candidates to be competitive with small donations rather than chase big checks from lobbyists and corporate political action committees.
End Voter Suppression
Modern day voter suppression continues to exist in Queens and around the nation. As a local poll worker, I've witnessed firsthand how institutions intimidate and discourage immigrants and communities of color, the elderly, young voters, and people with disabilities from exercising their fundamental right to cast a ballot at the poll site. Voter suppression tactics work in both visible and invisible ways and extend beyond election day. To combat these measures, we need to implement automatic voter registration nationwide, make Election Day a national holiday, and hold our officials accountable on issues such as investing in election security, non-partisan re-districting and the restoration of voting rights to returning citizens.
for U.S. Congress
We need our representatives to work on what they were elected to do: develop, advocate and pass policies that improves the lives of their constituents. However, we often find empty committee chairs in meetings and missed votes in Washington because career politicians make posturing and fundraising a full time job instead of showing up to do what they were elected to do. Washington gridlock is exacerbated by complacent politicians that wait to get things done since they plan to return for their next term. Through term limits, we should allow for new voices to represent their communities in the national legislature.
Count Every Vote
Every vote should be counted equally. The electoral college system is designed to give power to the states, not to the people. In my generation, we have seen several presidential candidates who have won the popular vote but lost the presidency because of a system designed to give a few swing states the privilege of choosing the president of the United States of America. Through a constitutional amendment, we need to abolish the electoral college system and restore a popular vote to elect the President of our nation.
Representation for Washington DC, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico
Five million residents of Washington D.C. and the U.S. territories are denied voting equality under law because of where they live. They have no voting representation in Congress. Washington D.C. has three electoral votes for President while the territories have none. More than 98% of the collective demographic is represented by racial or ethnic minorities. Every American deserves a voice in their government and their zip code should not be the basis for denying their right to vote.