If you turn on the news during this election season, you will hear endless commentary about how divided we are as a nation. Pundits will say that there are two Americas divided along party lines that want fundamentally different things. But is that really the case?
Americans, regardless of party or ideology, overwhelmingly want access to quality affordable healthcare and lower prescription drug prices. We want Social Security and Medicare to be preserved, not only for current retirees, but for the next generation as well. And we want to protect our environment from corporate polluters because it is vital to our planet, our economy, and our quality of life.
We also overwhelmingly agree that Washington is not working for us. According to the most recent Gallup survey 75% of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing, while only 21% approve.
Republicans and Democrats alike understand that Washington works for special interests and not the American people. They understand that our representatives are too often more interested in serving themselves, rather than their constituents.
I’m running for Congress because it’s time to fix this broken system. And if elected to serve, I commit to making my top priority passing comprehensive democracy reform like the For The People Act, the most sweeping anti-corruption legislation in a generation that passed the House this session as H.R.1. This bill would help implement the following reforms to make Washington work for all of us:
1. Overturn Citizens United
The 2010 Supreme Court Decision Citizens United vs. FEC has allowed our elections to be bombarded with billions of dollars in corporate campaign contributions. Much of this spending comes in the form of “dark money” where wealthy individuals and corporations can spend unlimited money without having to disclose who they are.
I support legislation to get big money out of politics so that we will have representatives who work for us and not for special interests.
2. Step Up Enforcement of Campaign Finance Laws
Too often bad behavior by politicians goes unpunished. My opponent has remained in his position after being named one of the most corrupt members of Congress five times by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) because of campaign finance violations, similar to the practices that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has recently come under fire for.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC), which is charged with enforcing campaign finance laws is unable to do its job because it is underfunded and understaffed. I support the Restoring Integrity to America’s Elections Act, which would allow the FEC to do its job holding politicians accountable and getting big money out of politics.
3. Reject Corporate PAC money
As a state legislator, I’ve seen firsthand how corporate money can have an outsized influence on policy. That’s why I have pledged not to take any corporate PAC money as a candidate or a member of Congress.
My opponent takes thousands of dollars from corporate PACs. My campaign is funded by grassroots donations and 69% of the money I have raised comes from people who live in Florida’s 16th District.
4. End Partisan Gerrymandering
Partisan gerrymandering has created a Congress that does not represent the people it serves. Politicians should not be allowed to draw districts for their own political benefit at the expense of their constituents. In 2015, the Florida Supreme Court had to re-draw Florida’s Congressional districts because of unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering.
I support legislation that would require states to use non-partisan commissions to draw legislative and congressional districts so that voters get to choose their representatives, not the other way around.
5. Restore the Voting Rights Act
Our nation recently mourned the passing of John Lewis, a civil rights hero who fought to ensure that all Americans would have access to the ballot box. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was a landmark bill that helped ensure people who had been disenfranchised since the founding of this country would finally be able to vote.
Unfortunately, in 2013 the Supreme Court dealt a major blow to the Voting Rights Act by striking down critical enforcement mechanisms. This has led to rampant voter suppression and disenfranchisement, mostly of Black people and people of color. Congress needs to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to ensure that all Americans have the fundamental right to cast their vote.