“Where there is enough love there is enough room. Where there is compassion there is courage.”

Policy Platform Brief

Vision:Working to create a fourth congressional district where no one is left behind but everyone feels they belong and have the opportunity to thrive and reach their fullest potential as a contributing member of a strong economy. Communities where we value the contributions of every member protect and promote the rights of all no matter their age, gender or sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, age or socioeconomic status. My conviction that “now is my time” and that we are confronted with the “fierce urgency of now” is grounded in one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s most profound statements:

“One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The issues that I believe are important to me and many residents in North Carolina’s 4th Congressional District and that I want to go to Washington to promote and defend are:

Economy

(NC Child report by Whitney Tucker, March 2018) gave NC a grade of “F” in Housing & Family Financial Security. Family financial security is one of the most impactful determinants of children’s health. Children who live in poverty, particularly during early childhood, are at risk of poor health outcomes throughout their lives. Children living in financially secure families are more likely to achieve educational success and grow to be healthy, self-sufficient adults. Almost half of North Carolina’s kids live in poor or low-income households (defined as less than 200% of the federal poverty level). 28% of children live in households spending over 30% of income on housing costs.

26% of Durham’s children and 21% adults live in poverty.We must enact policies that buttress closing the wealth gap not sustain it.

  • Work with industry leaders to develop mechanisms that will assist states and local municipalities in increasing affordable housing opportunities for families and disabled individuals.
  • Advocate for a renewed commitment to a jobs-reform bill that is responsive to changing demographic trends; ensures every person, no matter what their educational background, has an opportunity to work in a job that pays fair and livable wages and offers pathways to competitive skills development and growth-opportunities including incentives to support the reskilling of senior workers and career shifts; and close the unemployment gap between African American youth and other youth of color and their white peers.
  • Advocate for Fair and Equal Pay for All Workers. Fight for an increase in the national minimum wage to $15 and fight for wage parity that will eliminate the gender-wage gap.
  • Fund for alternative pathways to employment (other than four-year college degrees) including jobs training and education in vocational fields.
  • Create alternative lending programs and institutions other than banks for entrepreneurial development in low-wealth communities among historically marginalized populations.
  • Make sure that persons released from prisons seeking employment are connected with African American business owners and operators and that these businesses have incentives for employing formerly incarcerated persons.
  • Incentivize corporations and businesses to do reinvest in the African American community including require yearly investment transparency reports where businesses are required to report how much profits they have made doing business in the African American community and how much they have invested.

Health Care

  • Fight for more funding for mental health and substance abuse services. (In North Carolina between 2011 and 2015, suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death for youth age 15 to 17.)
  • Lay to rest the debate about expanding Medicaid and improving the ACA to provide health care for every person.  We must do what is right for all Americans by advancing a Medicare for All based health care coverage system. This system will be publically funded, but privately delivered, leading to more freedom in choosing healthcare providers, and more opportunity to negotiate prices and control costs.
  • Continue increasing funding to community health clinics.
  • Provide student education grants to increase number of Black and other students of color in medical and health care professions.
  • Using AmeriCorps as the model implement a student MedicalCorps program that provides incentives for students to practice medicine and work in community-based clinics in low-wealth and poor communities.
  • Look at NIH funding distribution and make sure that researchers and scholars at HBCUs are getting a fair share of the funding.

Criminal Justice Reform

  • Lead the call-to-action to champion, along with others including Senator Kamala Harris, a reasonable, just and fair-minded overhaul of our nation’s antiquated criminal justice system that all too often criminalizes the poor and sick (mentally ill and substance addicted) and discriminates against the poor and persons of color, entrapping them into a shameful pipeline of providing cheap labor to increase profits of the prison industrial complex.
  • Champion banning the use of criminal records of nonviolent offenses and credit scores to influence hiring decisions and buttress unjust and discriminatory labor and housing practices.
  • Revise voting laws and allow incarcerated persons to register to vote in their home districts or communities that they resided prior to arrests.

Education Reform

  • Reform our nation’s public education system including  a renewed commitment to the humanities, arts and sciences in addition to STEM; advocating for more funding of our community colleges and technical schools; fight against predatory for-profit un-accredited online colleges and universities; fund alternative pathways to careers including vocational careers; and reinstitute head start programs. Strengthen system of accountability—bad school administrators and teachers are like bad doctors—they should not be teaching and coming contact with children.

Eradicate disparate treatment by race and SES that result in desperate outcomes

Dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline at every stage including increase funding for head start and early childhood programs, eliminate funding to private charter schools.

Enact polices that prohibit out-of-school suspensions for nonviolent offenses including truancy. In Durham Public Schools, black students were 8.7 times more likely than white students to receive short-term suspensions. Black students were 46 percent of the district’s enrollment but received 81.5 percent of the short-term suspensions. White students in DPS made up 18.5 percent of the district’s enrollment, but received only 3.6 percent of the short-tern suspensions. Hispanics, roughly 30 percent of enrollment in 2015-16, had 12.3 percent of the short-term suspensions.

Ensure Domestic Tranquility, Freedom and Equal Protection under the Law

  • Fight for equal protection under the law for all—including LGBT and immigrant populations.
  • Stand strongly and firmly against any and all actions to gut the Voting Rights Act and eliminate obstacles blocking access to the ballot.
  • Protect a Woman’s Right to Choose using a reproductive justice frame,by defending woman’s right to agency over her own reproductive choices, including defending Roe v. Wade and protecting funding for critical women’s health services and programs including Planned Parenthood and other community-based reproductive health services.
  • Champion increased protections for women and girls including increased and more punitive sanctions against perpetrators of violence against and the trafficking of women and girls.

Environmental Protection

  • Work to protect the environment and advance science-based environmental justice polices.Pushing back against the current administrations reckless behavior and disregard for environmental protection including pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, putting a Mobil-Exxon CEO in charge of the EPA, a gag order on EPA scientists, cutting funding for the NC Dept. of Environmental Quality, repealing environmental protection laws, Gen-X and coal ash water contamination, and a wind power moratorium.

Foreign Policy

  • Refocus on global poverty and human rights issues.
  • Evaluate US ambassador’s roles and strengthen compliance with UN resolutions.
  • Support a two-state solution to Israeli and Palestinian conflict.
  • Provide emergency relief including military support to victims in Syria, Darfur, and South Sudan.
  • Help rebuild and strengthen Haitian economy and infrastructure
  • Promote solutions to end all wars and reform and prioritize funding of the Defense Department including providing better health care and housing to veterans and their families.

Sensible Gun violence response:

Marcia Morey gun violence restraining order
Mental Health training and services
Training for parents and care providers—warning signs and what to do.
Civility and culpability

Campaign Finance Reform

Remove the veil and allow for transparency of campaign contributions from corporations.
Eliminate filing fees for candidates
Set a cap on total amount of money (not individual contributions) that can be raised to fund campaigns at all levels.