Parkland: This time it's different: Why I think this time we'll see substantive gun reform.
I support the "Rebuild America's Schools Act" that's being championed by Congressman Bobby Scott. As an educator for 30 years, I recognize the importance of rebuilding the physical & digital infrastructure of our public schools. This is the type of legislation that I will vigorously fight for in Washington, D.C.
The Trump/Devos agenda will be devastating to public education. The proposed cuts will jeopardize programs that provide an opportunity for working class and socioeconomically disadvantaged children to achieve success. We must prepare all students with 21st-century skills. We must also ensure that all educators have the resources and tools they need to get the job done. As a 30-year veteran teacher, I can tell you that educators witness the triumphs and failures of public policy as they play out in our classrooms every day.
The Affordable Care Act has brought healthcare to millions of Americans saving thousands of lives. I’ll fight hard to protect Obamacare while working to push the country towards a system providing universal coverage. Trumpcare threatens to kick 23 million Americans off their health insurance and decimate Medicaid. Scott Taylor already voted once to destroy our healthcare system and we can’t let him do it again. We must repeal and replace Scott Taylor!
A Fair Economy
Unlike Scott Taylor, I know that a strong economy is built from the bottom up, not from the top down. America deserves a raise! Low minimum wages not only hurt low-income workers and force taxpayers to subsidize large corporations, they hold down wages for the middle class as well. Until the minimum wage is raised to a living wage and pegged to inflation, middle-class wages will continue to stagnate. That is why I will #FightFor15 to pass a increase that will lift working Americans out of poverty.
And the Trump Tax Scam isn't helping either. Those tax bill 'bonuses' are a distraction from the theft occurring as the middle class is getting robbed. We need a Representative who will fight for health care and paid family leave, not another pro-business faux-progressive.
While 39% of rural Americans (including many on the Eastern Shore of Virginia) do not have access to broadband internet service, just 4% of urban Americans face that same challenge. The large digital divide between urban and rural communities must end. Broadband is essential to localities’ economic and workforce development and can provide those in rural communities access to educational and worker retraining opportunities such as online college courses. Additionally, rural patients -- who lack broadband access who very often have difficulty physically accessing the healthcare they need -- have a much harder time taking advantage of the increasing “telemedicine” opportunities that allow patients to confer and consult online with medical specialists in urban areas. Karen will work closely with local, state, and national officials to ensure that all of her constituents get access to high-speed internet.
National Security, Military, and Veteran Advocacy
Our country’s continued world leadership relies on a strong and balanced national security apparatus. That apparatus is supported by our diplomatic, information, military, and economic national instruments of power. America must clearly articulate our national security strategy to our citizens, allies, and adversaries. We must provide national instruments of power to support the strategy that are balanced and in alignment with our values. Our current administration has taken a READY, FIRE, AIM policy that leads with military aggression. I will fight to authorize and fund smart power that intelligently coordinates all the instruments to act in concert to provide for our security and prosperity at home and across the globe.
We must have the strongest military the world has ever known and be prepared to fight on many fronts against 21st century threats. We need to make a strong commitment to taking care of our troops, our vets, and our military families. We need to ensure that our veterans have access to quality and timely health care, opportunities for education, and pathways to transition to the workforce after their service is over. Those who serve our nation pay a personal price to defend our freedom and caring for our military families is a sacred responsibility. When our troops are deployed, we have a duty to care for their families. When they return from service, it is our duty to honor their sacrifice by keeping our commitments to them such as the GI Bill and the VA. I will fight for our military families and veterans.
America must continue to maintain a comparative military advantage. That means transitioning from a 20th-century industrial age force to a 21st-century information age force. Cyber security is a threat to our democracy and we must strengthen our defenses in this area. A military that quickly sets conditions for a political end, supported by a well-funded diplomatic corps to bring lasting peace is needed. Most importantly, I take seriously the solemn requirement to debate and decide on the use of military force. It is a duty that requires examining the impact on our military members, their families, and this country.
Those who serve our nation pay a significant personal price to defend our freedoms. I believe that caring for our veterans and their families is a sacred responsibility. When our troops are deployed, we have a responsibility to care for their families. When they return from service it is our duty to honor their sacrifice by keeping our commitments to them such as the GI Bill, health services, and civilian work transition. As I have for 30 years, I will passionately serve our military community, families and veterans with the compassion, respect, and dignity they deserve.
The Trump budget proposes eliminating the Chesapeake Bay cleanup fund. The Bay is not just an ecological treasure, it is a trillion-dollar industry providing Virginia families with thousands of jobs and producing millions of dollars of revenue for the Commonwealth. Efforts to clean up the Bay have been immensely successful. However, President Trump’s and the EPA’s rollback put all that progress in jeopardy. Now, more than ever we need a strong advocate for environmental protection in Congress. As your representative, I vow to fight the Trump-Pruitt agenda and keep America moving towards a sustainable, clean energy future.
Climate change threatens our planet’s future and protecting our environment is crucial to our safety, health, and prosperity. I oppose off-shore drilling and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Sea level rise is a threat to Hampton Roads and we need legislation to address long-term solutions to deal with all of the issues connected such as infrastructure repairs and flooding.
Women's Reproductive Rights
Democrats believe that women's rights are human rights. I support reproductive and sexual health and rights, as well as, expanding the availability of affordable family planning information and contraceptive supplies and believe that safe abortion must be part of comprehensive maternal and women's health care.
Civil Rights and Equal Justice
One of the foundational principles of America is equality. As an educator for 30 years, I have worked diligently to even the playing field for all people. I participated in the African American Male Summits organized by Virginia Beach Public Schools which was launched to commemorate the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through the demonstration of student leadership, community involvement, college-career readiness and relationship building. African American students are suspended and expelled 3 times the rate of Caucasian students and I have participated in training and professional development to enhance classroom management to help educators reduce this rate. We must work to halt the school to prison pipeline and stop Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, in her attempts to return to zero tolerance disciplinary actions which will disproportionately impact African American children. African American children are also four times more likely to witness gun violence, so we must also work to prevent gun violence.
I support legislation to restore key provisions of the Voting Rights Act and will work to expand early voting and access to the ballot box for all Virginians.
As an educator, I know that diversity and inclusion strengthen our communities. I support DACA students and legislation that provides a clear path to citizenship. As the wife of an immigrant, who recently became a citizen, I understand the importance the American Dream represents to so many and fully support family reunification.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People
Democrats believe that LGBT rights are human rights and I support the ability of all persons to live with dignity, security, and respect, regardless of who they are or who they love. Marriage equality may be the law of the land, but LGBTQ Americans still face challenges with equality in the workplace and I’ll fight for legislation to protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination.