Responsive and Transparent Leadership
My job as your Congresswoman will be to listen to your needs and concerns, and amplify your voices in Washington D.C. While Chris Smith, the current Representative of New Jersey’s 4th Congressional District, has not held a town hall in over 26 years, I have committed to hosting 39 town halls in my first term alone. I believe the basic job of a Representative is constituent services and being present in our community. I will provide prompt, responsive and compassionate constituent services. I want to hear from the people I serve and understand how my work in Washington can improve the lives of our families, friends, and neighbors. The Founders of this country always imagined that Congress would be citizen legislators and that is exactly what I intend to be. You can be sure that if elected, I will regularly take the short train ride from Washington D.C. back home to New Jersey, to meet with members of our community and discuss the issues we are facing.
Healthcare costs too much. It costs businesses too much. It costs too much out of our pockets too. Every person in the United States should have access to healthcare that does not force them to go bankrupt—no exceptions. People with a pre-existing condition, like me and the other 303,900 members of our community, should not live in fear of losing or being denied coverage because of their healthcare needs. I support legislation that automatically enrolls people who are uninsured or under-insured into a publicly-funded program such as Medicare, while maintaining employer-based insurance options for those who want them. I oppose the Medicare for All plan that is being pushed by some. I will also work to lower the cost of prescription drugs, as no one should be rationing their medication or deciding between taking their medicine or putting food on the table. We also must expand what is considered to be “healthcare.” Reproductive rights are healthcare; substance abuse treatment is healthcare; mental health services are healthcare too. We all do better as a society when we are healthy, and I will fight for that human right every day.
Environment and Climate
We live so close to the ocean and we see more “freak” weather, more once in a lifetime storms. Part of climate change is rising ocean temperatures that contribute to storms like Sandy. Climate change is an urgent threat to our community. I support efforts to re-enter the United States in the Paris Climate Agreement to reassert the U.S’s leadership on combating climate change worldwide, and reinstate any environmental regulations that have been rolled back. But that is not enough.
Like so many times before, America can innovate and build a whole new industry with high paying jobs for skilled laborers and in manufacturing. I see moving to cleaner energy sources as a way to kickstart a part of our economy that needs it and gives working people jobs right here in Central Jersey.
Part of that effort must include modernizing and expanding our infrastructure by securing our electrical grid, properly maintaining and modernizing our bridges and tunnels, and increasing access to trains and high speed rails. While we must act swiftly to prevent climate change, we must also grapple with the fact that some of its effects are already upon us, which is causing severe storms, flooding, and displacement. We at the Jersey Shore have already seen the devastating effects of climate change firsthand from Hurricane Sandy. I will work diligently to fully fund our flood insurance and federal emergency management programs so that victims of natural disasters have immediate support.
Taxes and Debt
The middle class, especially here in Central Jersey, is bearing the burden of tax increases and diminished property values as a direct result of Congress’ decision to place a cap on the State and Local Income Tax (SALT) deduction. We need to immediately remove the SALT Cap that explicitly and unfairly targeted our state to provide financial relief to thousands of middle class New Jersey homeowners. I support a balanced budget that addresses our spiraling national debt. We should not and cannot continue to increase our debt and hand it off to future generations to deal with. That means making cuts and rooting out waste.
I am a proud product of New Jersey public schools and I believe that every child should have access to a quality education.
Early childhood education is vital for future success since it serves as a foundation for development and learning abilities. A good start leads to more kids graduating from high school and increases opportunities for better jobs. I will work to make sure every child has access to pre-K and early learning programs.
I will also work to increase access to and affordability of New Jersey’s colleges, universities, and trade schools. We need to expand our vision of higher education and recognize that the traditional four-year college model is not right for everyone. Trade schools can provide important training not just for traditional jobs like plumbers, carpenters, and electricians, but also for computer engineers as well as jobs in clean energy technology. And I will fight for a student loan interest rate cap and work to expand student loan forgiveness programs so that debt does not burden so many young adults and students have a realistic and achievable path to repaying their loans.
Teachers have one of the most important and challenging jobs. Now, more than ever, they are on the frontlines working to ensure the social, cultural, and economic health of our country. Teachers everywhere should be well paid and provided with the resources they need to be successful in the classroom. I will always have the backs of teachers across our district and our country, and will fight for fair pay, benefits, and healthcare for our educators.
Gun Safety Reforms
Our children have the right to go to school in an environment free from violence. Nor should we have to live in fear of gun violence at the grocery store, movie theater, shopping mall, or our places of worship. We are fortunate to live in a state that prioritizes our safety with strong, common sense gun laws, but we are only as safe as the weakest protections elsewhere.
I was awarded the 2020 Moms Demand Action Candidate Distinction, which is awarded to candidates who are committed to advocating for gun violence prevention and governing with gun safety in mind. I support common sense gun reforms that will keep our communities safe while respecting the right to gun ownership. As your Congresswoman, I will support universal background checks, renewal of an assault weapons ban, and an optional gun buy-back program to decrease the number of weapons on the street. Every month, an average of 52 American women are shot and killed by an intimate partner, and abusers with firearms are five times more likely to kill their victim. Therefore, I also support red flag laws, as well as reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in order to ensure that those convicted of domestic violence offenses are not able to purchase or possess guns.
I will protect Social Security and stand up against privatizing this critical program and oppose any cuts to benefits. It is really that simple. You paid in to a system with a promise and you deserve to have the government keep that promise.