While preventing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act is important, we must work to join the rest of the industrialized world to offer health care to all our citizens. The for profit health insurance industry is getting rich by denying coverage and people are losing the American dream just because they became ill. The only way forward is to remove the for profit insurance companies from the system and create a single payer system that guarantees coverage for every American.
People are working harder and harder for less and less. Too many large companies offer poverty wages, no benefits, and a schedule that constantly changes, making it almost impossible to hold two jobs to make ends meet. Working people deserve to be able to work a job that enables them to provide for their families while also giving them time away from work to enjoy life.
Social Security is an earned benefit, we pay into it our entire working lives. Nearly half of all Americans have saved nothing for retirement and are counting on that income. People should get to enjoy their retirement after a lifetime of work. We must work to expand benefits for current retirees and protect the system for future generations.
The scientific consensus is that the planet is warming and that burning of fossil fuels is contributing to that warming. While the planet has been warming as we come out of an ice age, the acceleration of the pace of the warming as a result of the industrial revolution is a cause for concern. The Pentagon recognizes that this change is a threat to our national security and the economic impacts of stronger storms and more severe droughts are already being felt. We must join the rest of the world and commit to transitioning to a renewable energy future.
The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates it would take 4.6 trillion dollars to get all of our infrastructure up to par. We have lead in our water, crumbling roads and bridges, and our power grid needs to be brought into the 21st century. Every dollar we spend on improving our infrastructure will help create good jobs that can't be outsourced and will have a multiplier effect as they work their way into local economies.
A nation that does not invest in the education of its' citizens is doomed to the dustbin of history. Education in this country started in the one room schoolhouse and has evolved to public education through the 12th grade. We need to expand access to both college and trade schools so our young people are better prepared for the future and don't graduate with a mountain of debt.
Fifty percent of children with a single parent, live in poverty in our district. We as a society must accept our responsibility to help protect those that cannot protect themselves. Poverty creates a sense of despair that leads to crime, drug abuse, and broken families. As a society we need to work to create a system that acknowledges the causes of poverty and works to address them.
We must work aggressively to make our buildings more energy efficient while also working to build all forms renewable energy. We must take future generations into account when making decisions about how we power our society. Jobs are being created in this industry at an extremely rapid pace and training workers to participate in this clean energy revolution should be a top priority.
Over and over we see someone with mental illness use a firearm to injure or kill innocent Americans. I believe in the right of Americans to own guns, but we must work to find common sense solutions to keep them out of the hands of people that would use them against their fellow citizens. We cannot continue to wait for the next tragedy, we must vote for a Congress that is willing to act.
Our district has been hit exceptionally hard by the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the nation. We must work not just to treat the addiction side of the problem by expanding access to treatment programs, we need to address the underlying societal issues that lead people to drugs in the first place.
While the markets have recovered completely from the financial crisis of 2008, real Americans are still suffering. Nothing was done to punish those that were responsible for the collapse and Republicans are working hard to repeal the protections put into place to prevent it from happening again. We must work to completely separate risky gambling on Wall Street from ordinary banking services that real people require.
There should be no profit motive in our prison system. Our for profit system lobbies states to push for tougher sentences in order to keep these private facilities full to maximize profit. They also cut their budgets razor thin so inmates and employees both suffer from overcrowded and underfunded prisons. We must work to reform our criminal justice system to focus on helping people transition back to being productive members of society.
There may be no one thing that is better poised to help transition America to a sustainable future than hemp. It captures more carbon in a growing season than any other plant, and can be used to make fuels, plastics, textiles, and the seeds are high in protein. Working toward an industrial hemp policy will create new industries and will give farmers the opportunity to help power the future.
The prohibition on cannabis has ravaged our communities, filling our prisons with non-violent drug offenders. Many states have passed both medical and recreational cannabis legalization measures, and most have had success with this new industry as it has added much needed tax dollars to the state coffers. Cannabis prohibition has proven to be terrible policy, we must work to end the federal prohibition and help make convicted cannabis offenders whole.
We spend as much on our national defense as the next eight countries in the world combined, yet somehow we sent our men and women in uniform into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without the proper equipment to protect them. Large defense contractors are using our treasury to pad their profits, while ignoring the needs of our troops on the ground. This all comes at a time when cyber warfare is one of the largest threats facing our nation and we are inadequately prepared to defend against it. We must work to make sure our military has the equipment they need, and to secure our cyber infrastructure against foreign attacks.
Since the ruling on Citizens United, billions of dollars have flooded our political process from large corporations seeking influence, and we now have the best Congress that money can buy. Corporations are immortal, and therefore have a distinct advantage over real human beings. We must work to fight against the idea that corporations are people and should be allowed to spend unlimited sums to influence the electoral process.
President Trump has worked hard to alienate our allies while idolizing our adversaries. A man, who on the campaign trail said Hillary Clinton should not be elected because of her email investigation, now finds himself surrounded by investigations by the House and the Senate as well as by special counsel Robert Mueller. For a man who claims to have nothing to hide, why is he trying to hide everything? We must work to get to the bottom of the scandals and be prepared to take appropriate action should the investigations conclude that he, or anyone in his administration, acted beyond the law.