A Healthcare Plan to Help Texans Thrive
Access to healthcare is a fundamental right — one that too many of our fellow North Texans have been denied for too long. According to the Census Bureau, nearly 1 in 5 Dallas County residents — over 500,000 people — lack health coverage, and Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the nation. Many North Texans who do have insurance still must contend with high premiums, high deductibles, and large out-of-pocket costs.
This system is broken. We can, and must, do better in this country. Health care isn’t a luxury item you can go without—it’s a matter of life and death. You don’t choose when you get cancer, get into a car accident, or have a child born with a serious medical condition. Access to quality, affordable health care shouldn’t depend on how much money you make, how wealthy your parents are, or how generous your employer is.
If elected to Congress I will fight to:
- Protect and Expand the Affordable Care Act: The ACA was an enormous step forward in expanding access to health care and ending abusive practices by insurance companies. No longer can insurers treat you differently because of a pre-existing condition or impose an annual or lifetime cap, and parents can now keep their children on their health insurance plans until they’re 26. I will support efforts to expand coverage and protections under the ACA, and oppose any efforts to undo these important achievements.
- Encourage Texas to expand Medicaid to cover more Texans, and protect the Medicaid guarantee for vulnerable children, the disabled, and the elderly.
- Enact a Medicare Buy-in program: Despite the progress we have made under the ACA, for millions of Americans access to health care is still out of reach. In order to cover every American, and lower costs, we must introduce more competition into the health care market by allowing every American the option to buy in to Medicare. Medicare's low overhead costs and established provider networks can provide all Americans with a quality, affordable health care option that puts people over profits and that will compete with private insurers, driving down costs and cutting out the insurance executives in the process.
- Lower premiums and prescription drug costs by using the government’s purchasing power and funding tools to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs, reduce waste, and improve the value of care.
Every generation of Americans must rise to the task of protecting and passing on our greatest legacy: the American Dream and the idea that your children will have a better life than you did.
This uniquely American idea has spread across the world, but here at home, social mobility is decreasing and the American Dream is disappearing. I have lived my version of the American Dream here in North Texas and am committed to restoring this fundamental promise for future generations by fighting for good paying jobs and an economy that works for everyone.
In Congress, I will fight to:
- Invest in job training programs for the 21st Century: A shrinking world and increasing automation have dramatically changed the workforce needs of the modern American economy, but our workforce development is stuck in the past. Here in North Texas, we have a shortage of skilled labor that is holding back our economy and raising costs for businesses and consumers. We can provide our businesses with the skilled workforce they need and create good paying jobs by investing in vocational training in our high schools and community colleges, creating and promoting apprenticeship programs, and finally addressing the cost of higher education.
- Rebuild our crumbling infrastructure: Every year 100,000 people move to North Texas, bringing dynamism but also straining our already aging infrastructure. We need a new national commitment to rebuilding and updating our infrastructure here in North Texas and across the country, creating millions of jobs and providing the foundation for our businesses and workers to thrive.
- Empower our small businesses: Small businesses are the drivers of new jobs, innovation, and are the cornerstones of our communities. We must make North Texas the best place in the country to start and grow a small business by cutting red tape holding back business creation, expanding access to capital and early investment, and offering tax breaks and incentives for small businesses instead of huge handouts for the largest corporations.
- Raise the minimum wage to $15: We not only need more jobs--we need better paying jobs. Raising the minimum wage puts more spending power in the hands of workers, improving the economy and reducing inequality. I will fight to raise the minimum wage, in graduated steps, to $15 an hour and index it to inflation—because if you work a full week’s work in this country you should be able to take care of your family.
- Enact paid family leave, and expand child care programs: You shouldn’t have to choose between having a family and having a career. Paid family leave would allow you to take time off when you have or adopt a new child, when you or a family member gets sick, or when a member of your family is deployed in the military. Helping to make child care affordable for working families would enable more parents to continue to work full-time.
So much progress has been made in recent years toward equality for all, both under law and in our society at large. But there is also still so much to do. It is still true that you can be legally married on a Saturday, and then be fired on a Monday for marrying the person you love.
As a civil right attorney, I believe we must stand united against all forms of prejudice, and as a member of Congress I will work to continue to erase all barriers to equality in our society. In that fight, I am proud to have the support and endorsement of the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.
- Pass the Equality Act: This landmark legislation would amend civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity with regard to employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service--so that everyone can participate equally in all aspects of American life.
- Protect transgender members of our military and recruits: Congress must protect our brave servicemembers, and those seeking to join our military, regardless of their gender identity. Serving in the military and defending your country is a basic right of citizenship, and we should be thanking and supporting all those who are willing to serve.
- Ban conversion therapy: Programs that purport to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity are not only discredited scams, they perpetuate bigotry. These programs cause real and lasting harm, especially to young people, and must be eliminated entirely.
- Bolster the fight against HIV/AIDS: We have made tremendous strides in combating HIV/AIDS in recent decades, but there is still work to be done. In Congress, I will fight to fully fund, and expand, programs to educate, prevent, and treat HIV/AIDS. That includes programs that provide vital medical care for those with HIV who are uninsured or underinsured. I will also fight to expand access to PrEP (also known as Truvada, which has been shown to reduce HIV infection by more than 90%).
- Fight for equality worldwide: Same-sex relationships are still illegal in 72 countries, and punishable by death in 8 countries. In Congress, I will speak out against any and all efforts by foreign countries to enact laws and policies targeting their LGBTQ citizens, and will ensure that American taxpayer funds are never used to perpetuate discrimination abroad.
The right to vote is the most fundamental of all rights: without it, we are powerless to protect all the other rights our Constitution guarantees. Without the right to vote, all of our other rights are at risk. But the right to vote is under extreme threat, both here in Texas and across the country.
This issue is personal to me: I am a voting rights attorney who has personally seen the effects of voter suppression. As a member of Congress, I will not only fight this effort to turn back the clock, but also work to expand access to the ballot:
- Restoration of the Voting Rights Act. One of my first priorities in Congress will be to restore the Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court’s decision striking down the heart of the VRA triggered a wave of new voter suppression laws that have had a clear impact on voter turnout. I will work to pass legislation reinstating and modernizing the VRA.
- Make Election Day a national holiday and set a national standard for early voting: We should honor and respect this fundamental act of citizenship by declaring Election Day a national holiday, and setting a national standard of at least 20 days of early voting before a federal election.
- Automatic voter registration at the age of 18: Every American should be automatically registered to vote when they turn 18. When you turn 18, the government makes sure to register young men for selective service. There is no reason that the government should take steps to make sure you can be drafted to fight a war but not also make sure you can vote for our country’s leaders.
- Restore voting rights for the formerly incarcerated: 4.7 million formerly incarcerated Americans have been disenfranchised by discriminatory state laws across the country. This must end. In Congress, I will support efforts like the Democracy Restoration Act to restore voting rights in federal elections to those who have paid their debts to society.
- Elimination of unreasonable and discriminatory voter ID laws: Under the pretext of fighting nonexistent in-person “voter fraud,” these laws disenfranchise the most vulnerable voters who may not have the money or time to obtain a current, government-issued photo ID. Congress should fight these efforts to restrict the vote by overriding state voter ID laws in federal elections.
- Partisan gerrymandering should be eliminated: Voters should pick their representatives, not the other way around. As a Member of Congress, I will continue to shine a light on this issue and encourage Texas, and all other states, to adopt non-partisan redistricting.
Women’s rights are human rights. Even with the progress that has been made expanding opportunity for women, there is still so much work to be done.
I will be a champion in Congress for removing the barriers women still face in advancing in our society, from the fight for gender equality to combating violence against women.
- Equal Pay for Equal Work: It is outrageous that in the 21st Century women still make much less than their male counterparts for the same work. And the pay gap is even wider for women of color. In Congress I will support passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would make it easier for employees to discover and seek redress for unequal pay, and bolster the EEOC’s investigative resources to root out pay discrimination.
- Enact paid family leave, and expand child care programs: You shouldn’t have to choose between having a family and having a career. Paid family leave would allow you to take time off when you have or adopt a new child, when you or a family member gets sick, or when a member of your family is deployed in the military--and then come back to work afterward. Helping to make child care affordable for working families would enable more working moms to continue to work full-time.
- Stand with Planned Parenthood: Planned Parenthood provides vital medical care for millions of women, including many low-income women who would have no other way to see a doctor. I will fight against any effort to defund Planned Parenthood.
- Fight attacks on women’s reproductive health and freedom: I will fight for choice and for bodily autonomy for all women. It is a woman’s choice, and hers alone what she does with her body, and no government bureaucrat should stand between a woman and her doctor. I will also fight efforts by the Trump Administration to restrict access to contraception.
- End Violence Against Women: We must take aggressive steps to combat sexual harassment, sexual assault and intimate partner violence in this country, and the federal government must work to ensure victims of such incidents are provided with access to support services, including counseling and health care. I will resist this Administration’s efforts to dismantle Title IX protections for victims of sexual assault on campuses across the nation-- we need to reinforce and expand sexual violence prevention programs in our schools, not roll back protections. In Congress, I will continue to fight for victims and speak out against harassment, assault and gender-based violence in all its forms.
A quality education is the first essential building block to ensuring equal opportunity in our country. Every child has the fundamental right to a quality education—regardless of where they grow up, whether their family is rich or poor, or the color of their skin. Education liberates the mind and opens the door to a better life. But today, we are not doing enough to make sure every child has access to the education they deserve.
That is why in Congress I will not only fight efforts to cut back on public education, but I will work to expand investment in education—so that every child in America has an equal shot at the American Dream.
- Universal Pre-K and early childhood education: Every American child should be able to attend pre-K. Investment in early childhood education is one of the best investments we can make as a country. Research shows that access to early learning is critical for the development of a child over their lifetime. Access to pre-K is also important for families looking for affordable, safe childcare. Today, however, just half of 3- and 4-year-olds in America are enrolled in pre-K. Together, we can make sure every child gets the start they deserve.
- Support our teachers: We need to recruit, train, and retain the best teachers in the world. The most important factor in a child’s development in class is the quality of their teacher. Teachers are responsible for our most valuable resource, our kids, and we as a nation must do more to support them. That means steering our best and brightest into teaching by offering incentives like scholarships and loan forgiveness, paying them a competitive salary once they are hired, and supporting them throughout their career.
- Rebuild the decaying infrastructure of our public school system: Our children deserve better than to go to school in buildings that are falling apart around them. We must provide our schools with the resources they need to bring their buildings into the 21st century, provide up-to-date textbooks to all kids, ensure Internet access in every classroom, and harness the new generation of digital technology to bring the world into our classrooms.
- Close the education achievement gap: To ensure we continue to move forward as a nation we must close the education achievement gap for lower income students, students of color, students with disabilities, and students for whom English is not their first language. Too many of our kids are falling through the cracks in schools that are more segregated now than they were 50 years ago. To address these issues we need to identify these underserved populations and direct resources to help them, so that every child has a chance to succeed.
- Bolster vocational and apprenticeship programs, and work toward debt-free college: We need to prepare our kids for the jobs of the 21st Century. In our ever-shrinking world that means they need to have access to the skills training they need to be able to compete in the global economy. We can do that by providing every student with an opportunity to learn computer science and coding, reintroducing vocational training into our high schools, and make debt-free college a reality for families earning less than $125,000.
We must reject the idea that random, regular mass shootings are a part of American life that we must simply accept. We can and must do more. Gun violence in our country is also about more than mass shootings-- we have to do more to protect people across our country from gun violence. In Congress, I will fight for these common sense approaches to reducing gun violence:
- Require background checks on every gun sale. Background checks save lives. Loopholes in our current laws allow felons, domestic abusers and the severely mentally ill to avoid background checks when buying guns through unlicensed sellers, often online, who are not required by federal law to run background checks. Background checks are the best way to ensure folks who are a danger to themselves or others, cannot buy firearms.
- Keep guns out of the hands of the domestic abusers. A woman is five times more likely to die if a gun is present in a domestic violence situation. We must close all loopholes that allow abusive dating partners, abusive spouses and individuals who have been convicted of misdemeanor stalking to purchase guns.
- Restore the Assault Weapons Ban and limit the capacity of ammunition clips. Assault weapons have been used in many of the mass shootings that have become all too commonplace in recent years. Weapons of war have no place in our streets in and our communities. We must make efforts to pass a comprehensive law that takes into account not only these weapons but also large capacity magazines that allow for mass shootings to be so lethal.
- Support Red Flag laws. An individual deemed a risk to themselves or others should not have access to firearms. Guns are only used in 5% of all suicides, but are responsible for over half of all suicide deaths. Additionally, there are multiple examples of warning signs with individuals who have committed mass shootings. Red flag laws give family members and law enforcement officials the ability to temporarily restrict access to firearms to individuals who are at risk. This bipartisan solution can and will save lives.
- Support firearm research. In the development of gun violence prevention policies it is critical to research the causes of gun violence. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must be able to perform research to solve this public health problem and provide much needed information to develop informed and researched policies and laws that address the problem.
- Overturn Citizens United. I support legislative efforts including a constitutional amendment, to overturn Citizens United. This has been used to corrupt our politics with a flood of money from special interests including the gun lobby. In order to remove the undue influence of money in politics, we must put power back into the hands of the people.