CHIP and ALL Kids
My first and largest priority when I get to Montgomery will be to protect the healthcare of Alabama's children. There can be no compromise; it is far too much to ask the parents of Alabama to live with the fear that their children's healthcare could be stripped from them at any moment. If elected, I will immediately introduce legislation to strengthen ALL Kids and Medicaid in Alabama so that all our kids remain covered regardless of who is in the Oval Office or Congress.
If I have to, I will visit every county in Alabama to urge each representative and their constituents of the vital importance of this issue personally. Even if I have to drive the whole way myself.
Healthcare for adults in the state of Alabama is not looking very good either. Seven counties in Alabama look like they will be without a hospital. In rural areas, it can be difficult to get to the hospital even if your county has one. Even in Baldwin County, it can be difficult to get to an Emergency Room and cost you a fortune if you need an ambulance. That's why I will support initiatives that facilitate hospital growth in District 96 and across Alabama, as well as initiatives that will improve transportation to these hospitals.
Moreover, I am a firm supporter of Medicare-for-All. If elected, I will do all in my power to pursue health justice and make sure every single Alabamian remains healthy. In the interim, I also support the expansion of Medicaid, especially with the knowledge of how it will help our state's struggling and young.
Another concern is the actual cost of prescription drugs: I say we allow Medicaid to negotiate drug prices, introduce state patents for drugs developed by public universities in our state, and aid in the creation of drug factories here in Alabama.
The politicians in Alabama need to build bridges. Literally. The American Society of Civil Engineers has given Alabama's infrastructure a C-. If elected, I pledge to pursue comprehensive infrastructure legislation. We will rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges. It's ridiculous that in 2017, Baldwin County, one of the richest counties in the state still has dirt roads or has to fear tolls being put up on its roads. We'll pave the road and we'll do it with no toll booths.
I also would like to put forward legislation to take on the big telecommunication cartels like Comcast and Mediacom that hold our state back by looking to our northern neighbors in Tennessee. Let's work to incentivize municipal fiber internet, giving us much faster speeds and no data caps for a fraction of the cost. They're ripping us off so that we can use the internet cables taxpayers paid for; it's time to cut them out of the picture. Technology and the internet is the future, and we can't let the Gulf Coast and Alabama be left behind because of the greed of big telecoms.
Second only to my commitment to getting healthcare for Alabama's children, we must work to restore the power of workers here in Alabama. I will work to end so-called "right to work" laws and empower the unions that make our state and our nation one of the greatest in the world.
I'll also work to pass legislation that allows local municipalities to raise their minimum wages, while working to raise the state's to a living wage: $15 an hour. All the while, I want to fight to protect worker benefits, pensions, and make sure they are guaranteed paid parental leave after the birth of their child.
It's time to end the War on Workers.
Civil and Human Rights
The state of Alabama produced some of the greatest figures of the Civil Rights movement, including Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, John Lewis, and many others. In their grand example, I would like to work to protect the voting rights of black Alabamians. Let's do away with racist voter ID laws and make getting an ID easier in general.
Furthermore, I would like to make sure we continue the process of integration that began after Brown v. Board of Education. Let's work to stop blatant attempts at segregation by insular communities.
On LGBTQ rights, I will put forward legislation criminalizing discrimination in housing and the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity. I will also work to make existing penalties for discrimination against other minorities and women harsher and clearer.
First and foremost, I know better than anyone how college tuition can cripple your future. I paid off over twenty thousand dollars just for the chance to continue going back to school. That's ridiculous. Which is why I support making public universities and community college tuition free.
But the problem doesn't start or end there. College isn't the end-all, be-all; it isn't for everyone. We need to be working to encourage and fund apprenticeships and trades. Moving past higher education, we need to work to revitalize our elementary, middle, and high schools. We need to raise teacher wages. And we need to institute universal pre-k, both to help impoverished parents who can't watch their young child at work and to help the young children themselves; studies have consistently shown a correlation between early education and overall achievement.
Criminal Justice Reform
First and foremost, the jury is out: marijuana is safer than alcohol or tobacco. It has significant medical uses. It is impossible to overdose on. It's time to legalize marijuana. We've all seen everywhere from Colorado to Maine to California to Alaska legalize it. They're doing fine, and we're missing a great opportunity.
With the legalization of marijuana, I support it on the condition that all non-violent drug offenders guilty of possession or sale of it be immediately released and their sentences cleared. In some cases, a person can be imprisoned longer for possession of marijuana than someone convicted of rape. That's completely asinine. My radical idea? Let the potheads walk and punish the rapists.
I also support the further decriminalization of other substances here in Alabama. We have a heroin epidemic across the country, and it has not left Alabama or District 96 untouched. Many of us have a family member or friend that was lost to opiates or other narcotics. Locking them up doesn't solve anything. These people need treatment and help, not a jail cell next to a murderer.
Outside of illegal substances, we need to work to reform Alabama's prisons. I will work to end private prisons in the state and push for measures that help prisoners return to us as productive, non-violent members of society. All the while, I will work to make sure if law enforcement abuses a citizen it is held accountable. We must hold those in uniform to the highest possible standard to maintain our free society.
A Constitutional Convention
A little known fact: the Alabama Constitution is the longest constitution in the world. This is by no accident. It has been designed this way to become nigh unreadable to the average citizen, to obfuscate and obscure. Buried in that great length, there any number of racist, classist amendments to keep people of color and working people down. There are even amendments targeting single districts like ours. That's why if elected I will call for a constitutional convention to draft a whole new one.
At this hypothetical constitutional convention, I will work to make sure the state constitution protects workers, insures the general welfare of our people, protects the rights of women and minorities, and makes it so that the state at large can't lord over smaller communities like ours trying to help their own people. Sorry, Etowah, no more voting on whether or not Baldwin County gets toll roads.