For The People
I invite all of you to participate in defining the most important issues facing our community and to propose actions and ideas to resolve them. This is a fluid process, which includes all of us, united, working together. As your elected representative, it will be my responsibility to be your voice and to reflect your will. Together, we will embrace the challenges affecting our community. The following are platform issues which, as a member of our community, I feel are important to address. This will serve as a starting point for all of us to begin a collaborative discussion, in hopes of stimulating innovative solutions from members of our communities. For too long the office of NY Congressional District One has been occupied by party-first politicians, and it is long overdue for the people to be heard and regain control of that office.
Fight for Working Families
My wife and I, work two jobs each to support our family. We are the middle class, and as a working class family, I understand the hardships facing our communities. I understand the tax burden, as well as the struggle of choosing to pay a bill or buy groceries for the week. I am a committed advocate for hard working families here on Long Island. I plan to promote future policies that benefit everyone, not just the people at the top and corporate America. As your representative, I will fight to ease the tax burden on the 99%. I believe we must protect our ever-shrinking middle class, for we are the roots of this nation and we must create jobs that allow us to live and work, not work to merely survive.
Protect Our Environment
Like many Long Islanders, when I was growing up, I spent countless days enjoying the natural wonders of our district, exploring The Pine Barrens, the wetlands, the bays, and our beautiful beaches, from Fire Island, to Ditch Plains, to The Sound.
This is our home and we must ensure that these wonders will be here for future generations to enjoy and experience. Therefore, I support investing in green technologies such as solar and wind power. I will fight for a bold, environmentally-friendly policy that not only addresses the problems of today, but tackles the problems of tomorrow. I will push for all Government buildings to lead by example, and be one hundred percent powered by renewable energy by 2030. We cannot shy away from the challenges of global warming. We need to face the future head on, and embrace these hurdles as opportunities for innovation. Investing in green technology and our infrastructure will create jobs, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and lower our dependency on fossil fuels. As your representative, I will work to substantially lower nitrogen levels in our waters, and to clean our marine ecosystems by advocating for federal funding to support our municipalities in their pursuit of Innovative Alternative Wastewater Treatment Systems. I will also work with our state and local governments to help rebuild Long Island’s once world-renowned fishing industry.
Practical and Implementable Immigration
There are many undocumented residents who are living in the shadows in our district. The vast majority have come here to provide a better life for themselves and their families, as all Americans and their ancestors did. Growing up and working on the East End, I have been privileged to work alongside many undocumented workers. I am proud to call them my family and friends.
Our current immigration system is broken, and it must be fixed. Any realistic immigration policy must end with a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in this country. Moral and economic arguments aside, there is simply no way to deport them all. We must bring them out of the shadows, and into the light. This all starts with giving everyone an opportunity to register and receive a tax ID number, in order to get everyone into the system. This ID system would allow them to legally work, get a driver license, car insurance, have access to safe living spaces, and allow them to show how valuable they truly are to our community. This ID system will eventually lead to a pathway towards earning permanent residency and citizenship. We can keep the American dream alive, protect our economy, preserve the safety of our communities, and give these people a chance to prove that they are productive members of our communities.
I support DACA, and will work to make sure that the Dreamers affected by Trump's suspension of the program will have the opportunity to stay and help our nation grow and prosper. These young Americans were brought here as babies and children, and this is the only country they know. They are Americans in every sense of the word. I also believe that immigrants that were granted Temporary Protected Status should be permitted to stay. These immigrants were granted that status because their countries were engulfed in turmoil, civil war, or natural disasters. Many of these immigrants would face violence and great hardship if they were to return to their home countries. We cannot send people to their country of origin to die.
The American dream isn't just for American citizens. It exists to instill the hope that a better day will come to all of the tired, oppressed, and poor Dreamers of the world.
End the Policy of Endless Warfare and improve Care for Our Veterans
War is not the answer. War is a failure to resolve conflicts through diplomacy and negotiation. Perpetual warfare is the ultimate failure of democracy, and must end. No one's child should be sent to die on a battlefield for no reason. The brave men and women in our armed forces risk making the ultimate sacrifice in service of our nation and its interests. Any decision that puts them in harm's way must be made with the utmost care. Every option for diplomacy and peace must be explored before our leaders make the decision to enter into a war. That is truly the best way to honor our members of our military.
Our nation's spends more money on defense than on any other program. We have the ability to maintain a high degree of defense, and still cut wasteful defense programs that end up costing the American taxpayers billions, with little to show for it. The money we save could be reinvested into our country through updating our crumbling infrastructure, increasing Social Security benefits, or federal block grants to states for education. Our military must maintain a high level of readiness for our national security, and the security of our allies across the world. By cutting wasteful spending, we not only increase efficiency at the Pentagon, we also free up billions in tax dollars that can be spent helping the American people here at home.
We need to shift our focus from perpetual war and invest in helping our veterans at home with immediate care and support. We need to fix the Veterans Administration. Many of our veterans wait far too long, or have to travel too far to receive the care they need and deserve. These men and women have sacrificed for our nation. They deserve far more funding for their care. If we cannot afford to properly care for our veterans, then we should not be sending them to war. As your representative, I will fight to update the infrastructure of the Northport Veterans Administration Medical Center. Its outdated facilities date back to before the Vietnam War. Our veterans deserve state-of-the-art care in modern facilities.
I believe in diplomacy. A functioning fully funded, and fully staffed State Department is vital to our national security. Our diplomats make sure that we present a united front with our allies, and help to prevent deadly misinterpretations for our adversaries. Our military and diplomats must work in concert to prevent and resolve conflicts around the world. Current Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated that if we don't fix and fully fund the State Department, he's going to need a lot more ammunition. That should be all the convincing anyone needs that the current situation is dire. Foreign aid is also a vital part of defending America's interests abroad, and can solve problems in countries before they become the next global hot spot or haven for terrorists. I believe we must once again become a nation which leads by example, and that means promoting compassion and human rights. We must evaluate any relationship with any country who oppresses their citizens and violates their human rights.
End the Opioid Epidemic
Pharmaceutical corporations have made billions of dollars in profits at a great cost to our nation. The opioid epidemic now kills tens of thousands of Americans every year, makes addicts out of scores more, and criminals out of formerly hardworking Americans. The pharmaceutical industry has spent tens of millions of dollars each year on an army of lawyers and lobbyists to sway Congress and buy votes. In 2016 alone, the industry spent over three hundred million dollars on lobbying Congress. This has shielded the industry from responsibility. No more. There must be accountability for anyone in "Big Pharma" who knowingly deceived the American people about the addictiveness and potential harm these products have.
Now, our community is in crisis. Our friends, families, and neighbors are being directly affected by opioid addiction and abuse. As your representative, I will fight to hold manufacturers and distributors accountable. "Big Pharma" must answer to the people and the law. We cannot allow their influence to sway our representatives, which continues to result in putting our citizens in danger.
I will work with our elected officials, law enforcement, recovery specialists, nonprofits, and medical experts to find out what exactly can be done to eradicate this heartbreaking problem. Harm reduction strategies and programs like free purity tests, needle exchanges, and establishing safe injection sites, must be explored. Medical marijuana has proven to be a non-addictive and effective substitute for prescription opioid medications, particularly in the pain management field. Because of this, I support the full decriminalization and eventual legalization of marijuana in the United States. Legalizing medical marijuana at the federal level is an essential first step to help the millions of Americans affected by diseases like muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and countless more. These people shouldn't have to choose between being in pain, and becoming addicted to opioids.
We must increase oversight and work for tougher penalties for corrupt or negligent distributors and manufacturers, and move to treat those addicted as victims, not criminals. We need to treat this issue as a public health crisis first, and an issue of crime second. Treatment must be available to all who seek it. State facilities are overloaded, and waiting lists are too long. Intensive inpatient care facilities that deal with dual diagnoses, such as drug addiction as well as mental illnesses, have proven to be the best way to successfully treat individuals addicted to drugs. Unfortunately, these programs can cost ten thousand dollars or more per month, and are thus only available to the rich. Instead of spending around $40,000 to send them to prison for mere possession, perhaps that money could be better spent by placing them in an inpatient drug treatment center. The federal government needs to allocate far more resources to tackle this epidemic. States and local municipalities cannot do it alone.
Economy - supporting Small Business & Labor
Small businesses are one of the largest job providers on Long Island. Our villages and towns are filled with mom-and-pop stores, which lend character to these areas and a sense of community. Our farm stands on the East End provide delicious and nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables. I will work to ensure that we stop punishing small businesses for growth. We need to let these businesses have the opportunity to prosper. I will fight for a living wage for our nation's working people, and I will work to make sure corporate welfare ends. It is not the responsibility of the American taxpayer to subsidize corporations which reap huge profits and yet which refuse to compensate their employees with a living wage and the benefits they deserve. Too many big corporations receive billions in tax cuts and incentives so that they will create jobs or invest in the American economy, and then these same companies fail to keep up their end of the bargain, and continue to move jobs overseas. These same companies issue stock dividends and buy-backs that only further enrich their wealthy shareholders, rather than raising employee wages or investing in new factories.
Long Island farmers desperately need workers. I will work to expand the migrant worker visa program, known as the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers program, so that our farmers have the workers they need to prosper. I will also work to ensure that any proposed offshore wind farms will not adversely affect our commercial fishing industry. We must protect and help Long Island’s oldest industries, to ensure their way of life can continue for generations.
Make Health Care Truly Affordable
Healthcare is a human right and must be available to all Americans. It is not an exclusive privilege reserved for the rich. Healthcare needs to be affordable and available for everyone in our nation. Like many Americans, my family struggles to pay for healthcare insurance each month. Often, there are few or no doctor's offices accepting our insurance plans, very high deductibles, and rising insurance premiums. The Affordable Care Act was a giant step in the right direction, and although healthcare premiums have continued to rise since the law was passed, they haven't risen as much as they would have. The ACA only did so much, and its flaws must be amended. We must take steps to ensure that every American has affordable healthcare. Far too many Americans are forced to deal with outrageous deductibles, and expensive co-pays. Even now, far too many Americans are forced to file for bankruptcy due to medical debt. In the wealthiest nation in the world, that is a tragedy. For those reasons and more, I am in favor of eventually moving to a single-payer, universal healthcare system. Ensuring that everyone has access to healthcare will inevitably lead to a healthier society. A healthier society will lead to people taking less sick days at work, and as a result, will lead to a more productive economy.
Our current educational system has been in place for a century with little change to its structured learning. Policy is made in offices in Washington D.C. That needs to be stopped, and we must revert power back into the hands of those teaching in the classroom. We need to teach to our children's passions and talents, and not just to teach to tests. We can still supply a strong core education, while allowing our future leaders the ability to focus and grow their talents. I feel that a standardized test is a poor way of measuring a student's understanding and knowledge of a subject. It also is unfair to judge teacher’s effectiveness based off of curriculum handed down, with little to no input, designed by someone who hasn’t been in a classroom for years, if ever. For these reasons and more, I support the opt-out movement.
We need to focus on the positive impact of vocational training, the arts, physical wellness, as well as a strong well rounded core education. We need to prepare our students for the real world, and to be ready to enter the workforce of their future. We need to individualize education instead of broadly making national policy. We need to allow room for a child’s personal growth, rather than trying to fit every individual into a cookie cutter educational system.
I am strongly in favor of state-funded college educations and vocational training for students living in New York. While I applaud New York State's recently instituted 'tuition free' program, the Excelsior Scholarship, it is only a step in the right direction. The eligibility requirements are too stringent, and they fail to cover the cost of books, or room and board. Much more can be done. As your representative, I will fight for more federal funding for state universities and colleges. In the meantime, I will fight against high-interest student loans. Far too many students are saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of debt after graduation that only grows exponentially. Many students that drop out due to the expense of a degree are forced to pay off that debt without the economic boost that a degree would give them. These young men and women are forced to pay hundreds of dollars per month paying off these loans. That money could be growing the economy, but instead these graduates must delay moving out of their parent’s houses, postpone buying a new vehicle, and instead pay down their debt. That is a massive drag on the overall economy. This debt also leads to our young taking jobs to pay debt, rather than finding something in their fields. We have created a generation of indentured servants to banks that may never know true financial freedom. Education is an investment in our nation’s future success and prosperity. Making sure an affordable education is available to all will not only benefit the students graduating with degrees; it will also grow our economy.
As your representative, I will fight to pass legislation ensuring Net Neutrality. I support a free and open Internet, with a level playing field for companies of all sizes. Huge corporations like AT&T, Verizon, and other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) shouldn't be able to dictate how quickly a competitor's website loads, or block access to websites that have opposing political viewpoints. Small companies shouldn't be relegated to a slower tier service just because they cannot pay the fees to the ISPs. Net Neutrality is a way to ensure that the Internet is an open marketplace for ideas. It benefits individuals and companies of all sizes, particularly small businesses and startups. We cannot allow the Internet to become pay-to-play.
unity and equality
I support and believe that equality is for everyone and not just the chosen. We must make sure all human’s rights are protected. Equal pay for equal work is something that can’t be debated and must be ensured. We must protect a woman's right to choose, and make sure that decisions about woman's health be made by those whose lives hang in the balance, not by old men behind closed doors. I stand with Planned Parenthood, and will fight to protect availability of services from them to woman across the country. We need readily available contraception and need to make sure our children are educated and knowledgeable when it comes to sex education. I am proud to have the privilege to call members of the LBGQT community friends and family. We must fight to end homophobia, and unfair practices, aimed to alienate and create hate. We must address the commonality that we are all of this Earth, breathe the same air, and are entitled to live all of our lives to the fullest. It is 2018 and united we will tell the supporters of sexism, racism, homophobia, and fascism, that America will not be corrupted any longer.