Democratic socialist, environmental justice advocate, trade law expert
Healthcare is a human right. I will fight for Medicare for All to guarantee that every Mississippian has access to healthcare without having to go through private insurance. Medicare for All will cover all services requiring a medical professional, including dental, vision, mental health, and full coverage of pharmaceuticals. High drug costs and workforce shortages threaten many rural hospitals. By removing private insurance from the equation, at-risk hospitals would be able to continue treating people, through the federally administered Medicare for All program. Just because someone cannot pay does not mean that they should be denied treatment. If profit is no longer the primary driver for the healthcare system, at-risk hospitals will be able to receive the federal help necessary to keep them open. Many of Mississippi’s at-risk hospitals provide essential coverage for their communities. Closing them is not an option.
Public education requires public funding. Our state legislature has repeatedly let our children down by underfunding our public education. Federal funding for public schools must be increased. By prioritizing public schools over private and charter schools, we can ensure that our public education truly belongs to the public. The use of local property taxes to pay for public schools creates inequities in how schools are funded, with wealthier communities ensuring that their children go to superior schools. This particularly disadvantages poorer students of color, continuing a legacy of school segregation. Quality public education requires well-paid teachers with the autonomy to adapt their lessons to their students rather than being forced to teach to a standardized test. Equal funding for all public schools in the state, removing mandatory standardized testing, and increasing teacher pay are critical steps to achieving an equitable, quality public school system in Mississippi.
Politicians and elections should not be for sale. Money is a gatekeeper that ensures that only the wealthy and powerful feel like it is possible to run. The outsized influence of lobbyists in Washington has contributed to the toxic partisanship that plagues our nation. Removing lobbyists from halls of power and prohibiting them from holding public office would be an important first step. Additionally, far too much money is wasted in protracted political campaigns. Limiting the amount of time and money that candidates can spend on their campaigns would limit the ability of the wealthiest to co-opt the democratic process through their ability to outspend their opponents. Participatory democracy should be about normal Americans advocating for policies that benefit them, not about wealthy elites taking kickbacks from corporate interests whose causes are purely profit-driven.
Voter disenfranchisement remains a serious issue in this country. Too many people have been purged from rolls or barred from voting due to criminal convictions, even after having served their sentence. Given the disparate racial impact of incarceration on African Americans, these types of laws continue to perpetuate systems of oppression and racial injustice. Restoring voting rights is imperative. Our current voting system also disenfranchises those who work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Many people struggle to make it to the polls on election day, whether because of work or other obligations. We must also make it easier to vote absentee, so that people with disabilities or those lacking transportation are not left out of the electoral process. Election day should be a national holiday to encourage voters to turn out, and we should return to using paper ballots to reduce the chances of tampering with election results.
Sustainable development and renewable energy offer the possibility of bringing back manufacturing jobs to the United States, while providing new opportunities for rural and urban communities alike. Enhancing technological development in these areas offer the possibility of bipartisan collaboration. Additionally, the area of outer space is one where we are seeing considerable private investment as well as renewed interest on the part of the public sector. Bipartisan measures to develop the space sector and ensure that we uphold the values of exploration and fair usage of resources would benefit all of humankind. Bipartisanship continues to fail most Americans and I am willing to work with anyone who will prioritize the interests of working Americans.
I will fight for Medicare for All and to bring the Green New Deal to Mississippi. I believe that Mississippi is a state with limitless opportunity, and given our rich agricultural land, finding ways to work towards addressing climate change through sustainable development measures and alternative materials is a priority. Industrial hemp would offer communities in Northeast Mississippi the opportunity to not only diversify agriculturally, but would bring with it the possibility of manufacturing jobs relating to the production of hemp-based plastic alternatives. Workers in Mississippi also deserve more. I pledge to fight for a $15/hr federal minimum wage, to be automatically adjusted based on indexed-linked cost of living adjustments.