Climate, Infrastructure, and Energy
We must ensure that working people do not bear the economic burden of our necessary transition to a greener economy. We can save American families money with investments in weatherization, public transportation, modern infrastructure, and high-speed broadband.
In Congress, I will support ongoing and increased incentives for climate resiliency, public transport, and green infrastructure.
Access to quality housing is a basic right. Unfortunately, we have a dire shortage of affordable housing in our country. We can provide good union jobs by investing broadly in the quality and affordability of our housing stock.
In Congress, I will support the expansion of high-quality public housing. I will also support a nationwide rent control standard.
We need to rapidly change our energy system to carbon-free sources in every way possible. Nuclear power plants are the safest, densest, and most proven source of carbon-free energy. Our country is overdue for the modern development and expansion of fourth generation molten salt nuclear power stations.
In Congress, I will support an expanded build-out of modern technology nuclear powerplants. I will also support the ongoing safe operation of our current nuclear plants.
Our public lands are a national treasure and must be protected. In an increasingly unstable climate, we need to manage these lands in a sustainable manner that protects them for generations to come.
In Congress, I will support increased funding of our National Park System, and other public land agencies. I will oppose fossil fuel extraction from all public lands.
Criminal Justice Reform
End the War on Drugs
For too long, our country has taken a punitive approach to substance abuse disorder victims. Treating a health-related illness by punishment is grossly ineffective and simply wrong. For decades the American war on drugs has caused untold suffering for families and communities. It is time to stop this ill-conceived heritage of pain. While 100,000 people die from drug overdose annually, most people survive and recover from their addiction with time. We need to provide pathways to reduce harm and to help recovery for those who are ready to enter treatment. Locking people up is cruel treatment for suffering neighbors in our communities and it is not effective.
In Congress, I will support the decriminalization of drug possession, and will seek funding for harm reduction policies.
Legalize Recreational Marijuana
There is large public support for the legalization of recreational marijuana, and many states have already acted. Millions of lives have been ruined through criminal charges, convictions, and imprisonment because the federal government still refuses to move on this issue.
In Congress, I will support the full legalization of cannabis, push to expunge, and vacate all marijuana convictions, and support the reinvestment of revenue into communities hardest hit by the War on Drugs.
End Discrimination Based on Sex, Orientation, and Gender
Today, we are seeing people try to get and hold onto power by labeling us based on what we look like, where we’re from, or our gender identity. They choose to exploit the lack of familiarity with transgender people, excluding trans kids from healthcare, school, or sports. They stoke fear so we turn against some group instead of demanding what our families need. By joining together, we can make this a place where we are all free to thrive and support each other for who we are.
In Congress, I will support HR 5, The Equality Act. We cannot allow discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system.
Community Peace and Security
An expansion of the child tax credit during our COVID pandemic raised millions of American children out of poverty. We need to make the tax credit permanent and to reach the millions of children who are left behind by incomplete implementation of the program. While tax credits may not be the most efficient way to provide community benefits, we should preserve this important program.
In Congress, I will support efforts to expand and extend federal child benefits.
Protect and Expand Social Security
Ever since FDR signed the Social Security Act in 1935, this program has kept millions of seniors out of poverty. Everyone deserves a dignified and secure retirement. In order to secure the long term viability, we must protect Social Security from attempts to refund or privatize it. A modest and progressive tax on high income earners and corporations can safeguard Social Security for future generations.
In Congress, I will fight to expand and safeguard Social Security.
Federal Jobs Guarantee
No community should go without family sustaining jobs, especially when we know there is so much important work to be done in our economy. From child and elder care to environmental remediation and the care of our public lands, we need to build an economy that prioritizes socially useful and rewarding work. The federal government should step in where private business refuses to invest in our cities and rural areas. We have a precedent for job guarantee in the New Deal era programs like the CCC and the WPA. These can be union jobs, with family-supporting wages and benefits.
In Congress I will support the implementation of a Federal Jobs Guarantee.
Federal farm policy has resulted in boom-bust cycles, with each bust leaving fewer farmers on the land. While an export-based system may reward large agricultural corporations, family farms cannot compete in the volatile market that it results in. The needs of farmers and regional consumers of food should be the goal of our food systems, not just corporate profits.
In Congress, I will support measures that promote price parity, and supply management of major commodity crops.
Farmers steward massive amounts of land, and generally want to do what is right for their soils and watersheds. Healthy soils can sequester huge quantities of carbon. It is in all of our interest to support farmers in conserving these precious resources.
In Congress, I will support expanded federal funding for conservation, regenerative farming practices, and agro-ecology.
Busting up the Big Monopolies
Industry consolidation combined with aggressive vertical supply integration, especially in the meat sector, has led to consistently low prices paid to farmers and ranchers. We need a fair and open market for all commodity producers.
In Congress, I will support anti-trust measures and expanded regulation of the meatpacking industry.
The COVID pandemic has reinforced the fact that agricultural workers are essential workers. If they don’t work, we don’t eat. Yet, working conditions and wages remain too low for the vast majority of farm laborers. Draconian immigration laws make it harder for workers to come to the USA, and for farmers to find the quality workers they need to succeed.
In Congress, I will support expanded protections for farm workers, and fight for a fairer and more streamlined immigration system.
Voting Rights and Campaigns
Federal Elections Integrity
The bedrock of our voting systems is the hard work, devotion, and integrity of hundreds of thousands of local elections officials across our country. Our votes are our voices that represent our lives and hopes for our future. Every person who votes needs to have their voices heard and their lives respected. Mark supports a popular vote election of our president, the creation of non-partisan congressional representative districts, a decrease legal voting age to 16yo, and support of a national Election Day holiday for voting in federal elections.
In Congress, I will support the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act
Get Big Money out of Politics
Too many public policy proposals that have broad popular support are never enacted into law. Our political system is captured by wealthy corporation interest that exercise power over politicians through the funding of their reelection campaigns. It is easy to understand how political cynicism arises in the hearts of Americans. Ordinary folks don’t have expectations that their voices and concerns are heard in a political system that serves wealthy and powerful interests. We need to correct this undoing of our representative government. We need more meaningful campaign finance reform, a transparent electoral system, and bold reforms to ensure voters have a meaningful voice in our democracy.
In Congress, Mark will support the Fair Representation Act and other democracy expansion efforts. Mark refuses to accept campaign donations from for profit corporate PACs.
Statehood for D.C.
More people live in Washington D.C. than in many states, yet people living in our nation’s capital lack representation in our federal government. Statehood for the District is long overdue. Washingtonians deserve congressional and senatorial representation just like all Americans living in our 50 states.
In Congress, Mark will support statehood for Washington D.C.
Medicare for All
In the United States today, healthcare financing is an expensive bureaucratic mess. Private insurers make billions by taking in premiums and then working hard to find ways to avoid paying them out. We need to replace a system designed to guarantee corporate profits with one that is designed to increase the health of our American people. We need to join the rest of the industrialized world, and institute a universal healthcare financing system. We can expand and improve the existing Medicare system, to cover all medically necessary care, affordable prescription drugs, and long-term care. All services should be payment free at the point of service, with no deductibles or co-pays.
In Congress, I will co-sponsor the Medicare for All Act.
Bring Drug Price Control to Big Pharma
The pharmaceutical and medical technology industries lobbyists wield far too much power in Washington, and that needs to end. Billions in public funding have gone into drug and technology development, and then our government stands aside and lets private industry price gouge American people selling those products. The federal government can negotiate lower drug prices through Medicare, and this would lower prices across the board for everyone.
Publicly funded research dollars should produce benefits for everyone. We can stop medical industry executives and shareholders from taking unfair advantage and unfair profits from our need for reasonably priced quality medicines and healthcare devices. We the public should retain development rights for any medical breakthroughs financed by the federal government. If private industry cannot provide the products we need, our federal government can directly produce them through our existing world-class research institutions.
In Congress, I will co-sponsor the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act. Furthermore, I will not accept campaign funds from the insurance, medical industry, or pharmaceutical lobby.
On May 3rd, 2022, we learned that we can no longer depend on the Supreme Court to protect women’s freedom to care for their bodies, and their right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
We need to pass federal legislation that explicitly protects all women’s right to the full range of pregnancy care and support, including safe abortion care. These healthcare services should be available to all regardless of anyone’s ability to pay. Medical decisions should be made between patients and their doctor, not by politicians.
It is wrong for our laws to jealously protect our rights to own property while, at the same time, egregiously failing to protect our basic freedom to decide how and when and with whom we will birth children.
Our decision to birth children is our gravest burden and our grandest joy. What choice can I imagine to be of greater importance for anyone’s family?
The state has no place to judge here. The role for our government is to protect our freedom and to never oppress our humanity.
In Congress, I will work to repeal the Hyde Amendment, and will work to ensure a federally guaranteed right to an abortion.
Foreign Policy & Defense
Progressive Foreign Policy
The United States spends too much on war making, with higher military spending than the next ten nations combined. Year after year, Congress spends more and more for unnecessary military conflicts, wasteful weapons spending, and over eight hundred overseas bases. The true cost of all this spending is casualties among American service members and civilians abroad, and a more unsettled world. Too often our country has engaged in go-it-alone coercive action against other nations. It is time for the United States to become a more supportive and responsive diplomatic partner in the global work and mission of the United Nations.
In Congress, I will support the reduction of our bloated defense budget. I will also oppose unnecessary military interventions, and military aid to oppressive foreign governments.
Honoring Commitments to Veterans
Our promises made to soldiers who have served in our military must be honored. We have fallen short through under-funding and privatization of the Veterans Administration. It is unacceptable that we have epidemics of homelessness, suicide, and mental health disability among veterans. The VA can be and should be a model of quality healthcare delivery to our veterans of all military service.
In Congress, I will fight to fully fund and resource the VA and oppose all privatization efforts.
Self-Determination for Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico exists with an antiquated and unjust colonial status, and puertorriquenos are relegated to second-class citizen status as Americans.
In Congress, I will support a referendum for Puerto Rico to decide on independence or statehood.
Protect and Support Childhood Development
Fortunately, there is an improved and greater awareness of the importance of childhood development for longevity and healthfulness throughout all later stages of life. It is important that parents be supported by our larger community in their efforts to give all of their children the most healthy start in life. Parents should receive paid newborn parental leave in the way other wealthy nations provide this support to families during their children’s first year of life. Toddler childcare should be publicly funded and payment to childcare workers should be adequate to support their high standard of certification and to insure our appreciation for the value of their work assisting families in caring for their children during their preschool years. Public school education should begin with full Pre-K programs and continue through high school with robust mental and emotional health programs to assist American children during their important years of adolescent development.
Free Higher Education and Expanded Apprenticeship Programs
In our country it is unfair that millions of young Americans are priced out of a quality higher education. The increasing price of college increases income inequality. We need guaranteed publicly funded higher education, technical colleges, and universities for our youth in the same way that in America we have provided a century long tradition of K-12 public education.
We should also work with labor unions to expand and fund apprenticeship programs.
In Congress, I will push to publicly fund higher education for college and to increase federal support for apprenticeship programs administered through unions and other institutions.
Forgive Student Debt
The cost of higher education has soared over the past several decades, putting unprecedented burdens on graduates. This physically expands inequities by making it harder for working class people to get the training they need to meet the needs of a modern economy. This situation pushes many young people out of home ownership, marriage, and starting families. Graduates of higher education should expect to pay forward to their communities the benefits of their learning rather than to worry about paying back stifling debt to creditors.
In Congress, I will fight to cancel $50,000 per individual of all federally held student debt, and push to make existing student lending rules fairer and more equitable.
Repeal No Child Left Behind
The effects of No Child Left Behind and related bills have been disastrous for our schools, students, and teachers. The emphasis on standardized testing, incentive pay schemes, and privatization is harmful to all involved, except for those who profit from the arrangement. To become competitive with other nations, we must repeal No Child Left Behind.
In Congress, I will vote to repeal No Child Left Behind and its successors, and work toward decreasing class sizes, empowering teachers, and reducing administrative overhead.
Economy and Jobs
$15 Minimum Wage
For decades, workers’ wages have fallen behind the cost of living. The prices for healthcare, housing, and many other necessities have soared. Meanwhile, the wealth of a few American families grows at an incredible rate. A strong working class is the foundation of any nation, and we must guarantee a living wage.
In Congress, I will support the implementation of a $15 federal minimum wage, tied to inflation.
Protect Workers and Support the Labor Movement
A union job was once a ticket to a solid middle-class life, and organized labor was the heart of the Democratic Party. It is too bad that for decades the party has more often taken the side of big business, while union participation for American workers has crashed to among the lowest in the industrialized world. An organized workforce is the greatest counterweight we have to runaway corporate power, and we must work to grow the union movement.
In Congress, I will support the PRO Act, which strengthens workers’ rights, facilitates fairer union elections, and combats “Right to Work” laws.
Smarter and Fairer Trade Policies
We have lost millions of good jobs to corporate offshoring and downsizing, while corporate profits have soared. This could have been avoided. Years of federal policy have incentivized job loss policies through rotten multinational trade deals and tax policy that rewards companies for bad behavior. American workers have been forced to engage in a race to the bottom, forced to compete against countries with lower safety, labor, and environmental standards. The COVID crisis has taught us the weakness of global supply chains. It is time to start building things in America again.
In Congress, I will only support trade deals that ensure workers’ rights. Federal contracts should only be awarded to companies that demonstrate a firm commitment to high labor and environmental standards.