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 extend 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. In places like North Carolina where the solar industry is taking off, people are seeing lower utility bills too.
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 a direct result of Congress’ decision to place a cap on the State and Local Income Tax Cap (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 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.