This nation is facing a healthcare crisis — and Texans have been hit hard by outrageous insurance premiums, deductibles, and pharmaceutical prices that are sometimes triple the cost compared to other nations.
We must stand together, as a nation, and say that healthcare is a basic human right, not a privilege reserved for only those who can afford it.
That’s why, for decades, in the Texas Senate, I have fought to expand Medicaid to our most vulnerable neighbors. No matter your circumstance, our nation benefits from healthy and productive people.
I sponsored a bill in 2018 to expand Medicaid eligibility to our military heroes. Veterans and their families have earned high-quality healthcare, but we must do better, and take action to help cover the over 40 million Americans without coverage.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a monumental step for the American healthcare system, but it didn’t go far enough. Costs are still too high, and patients had limited options for doctors. Texas left millions without coverage by refusing Medicaid expansion.
That’s why we need to invest in making the ACA work for everybody–this needs to be a funding priority in 2020. We need to ensure that everyone who wants to enroll in the ACA can do so, without forcing others to forfeit their employer sponsored insurance.
Healthcare, like reproductive freedom, must be a choice.
While we work to ensure affordable, quality healthcare for all people–it is imperative that mental health services don’t fall through the cracks. We must continue educating people on the importance of mental health and include those services with basic healthcare packages.
Introducing the importance of mental health to our children is a clear step we must take as a country. I authored multiple bills in the Texas Senate to not only include mental health services in our schools, but to also add mental health care as part of our curriculum.
We have to look at the full person, body and mind, when discussing the future of the American healthcare system. As your next Senator, I will face this healthcare crisis head on and fight to ensure every Texan receives the affordable care we all deserve.
EDUCATION – Higher Education
Increasing the accessibility of higher education has been the hallmark of my career. But there’s so much more we need to be doing for our students from preschool to college.
When students feel more burdened by their education than empowered, that is a big problem. Tuition is too high and student loan interest rates make it nearly impossible to even pay off your debt. We must offer debt relief programs for the millions of Texans who are unable to invest in buying a home or vehicle due to the burden of their debt.
We need to invest in Community Colleges, offering free tuition for low income students. The path from a Community College into a 4-year institution is complicated and uneven, and it is imperative to make that pathway easier to navigate for students.
I truly believe that everyone deserves the best education, and I’ve fought for 30 years for access to a high-quality education.
I was instrumental in bringing the University of North Texas – my alma mater – to southern Dallas, so people could get a 4-year degree close to home. I also worked tirelessly to create the UNT School of Law in Downtown Dallas – the cities first and only public law school. These institutions are going to transform lives and the community.
EDUCATION – K-12
Investing in K-12 education is one of my top priorities.
In the Texas state legislature, and in the voting booth, Democrats have put pressure on Republicans to finally do the right thing and pour more funding into our children’s public education.
Finally, after years of fighting, Republicans tried to placate things by passing an overhaul. It’s a good start, but don’t be fooled—we have to stay on top of this issue.
For years, politicians talked about the achievement gap and how to close it, but every time we went back to session, the gap stayed the same. So, the state, spearheaded by educators, especially teachers and Democratic legislators, decided to invest political capital at the polls and prioritize education. You know what, it worked!
One of the things we did was make sure funding followed our low-income students. Money would be given to schools based on the number of low-income students in attendance.
We also invested in our teachers. We passed a statewide pay increase for teachers to ease the burden they face. Teacher’s shouldn’t worry about paying for their own school supplies out of pocket.
Texas is starting to move in the right direction, but there is still a lot more we can do.
And, it is crucial that education remains a funding priority to ensure the investment we made last year continues forward.
A woman has the right to make decisions about her body — it is that simple.
Any issue involving a woman’s healthcare is between her and her doctor, and that’s where we need to leave it.
In 2013, State Senator Wendy Davis gave an iconic 10-hour filibuster in pink sneakers to fight for women’s reproductive freedom in Texas. I was honored to be standing beside her that day on the Senate floor in support of her filibuster.
That day, we won the battle, and I am dedicated to continuing this fight in Washington, where Roe vs. Wade is under attack, and the continued appointment of anti-choice Supreme Court Justices could result in a catastrophic blow to women’s reproductive freedom.
I will take this fight from the Texas State Senate floor to the United States Senate floor.
Our country is facing a gun violence epidemic, and this evil continues to hit Texas.
Our loved ones are being killed. Students are scared to go to school. This isn’t a “should we” question anymore, this is an absolute undeniable must. This must be addressed.
My position on gun reform has been clear for over 30 years. In the 1990’s I authored bills on both universal background checks and an assault weapons ban.
Since the 90’s, I have remained consistent in my unwavering belief that we must regulate deadly weapons. I support universal background checks, banning weapons of war, red flag laws, and limiting magazine capacity.
We need brave legislators in Washington to take on the NRA, and my record proves that I’m the best candidate to do that.
ECONOMY & JOBS
Our economy is no longer working for middle class Americans. Cost of living continues to sky-rocket while salaries and wages remain stagnant.
Hard working Texans deserve a living wage, and should not have to live paycheck to paycheck.
I fully support a $15 federal minimum wage and I have fought for legislation to raise the minimum wage in Texas. With the staggering increase in income inequality, a single parent has to work 2 or 3 jobs just to afford putting food on the table.
This country can afford to pay workers a dignified, living wage.
To combat income inequality, we also need to make banking available to low income families without making interest rates so high that they continue the cycle of poverty. We must end predatory lending practices and safeguard well-intentioned borrowers who are trying to make their lives better.
Together, we must elect leaders to Washington who will ensure we have an economy that works for all of us — not just big banks and corporations.
Immigration is an issue that uniquely affects Texans, particularly our border communities.
Our immigration system is broken, and President Trump has used it as a divisive hot-button issue to play to racism and bigotry. This presidential administration has thrown our immigration policies into total chaos — to the point where we are violating international human rights laws.
Children do not belong in cages, families must stay together, and we must immediately address the humanitarian crisis going on at the border.
Our border needs more resources, like judges who can expedite hearings for asylum seekers.
But let’s remember that people seek asylum because they are fleeing violence and war. We must take a proactive approach and work with Mexico and Central America in order to stop citizens from fleeing their homes.
We must solve the humanitarian crisis at our border, while also investing in technology and infrastructure to keep them secure.
The window to address climate change is getting smaller and smaller. This is something that America must address now, and our first step is reengaging in the Paris Climate Accords.
Beyond that, we have to end our dependence on fossil fuels and utilize renewable energy. As a nation, we are not investing nearly enough in clean energy solutions.
We have the technology to invigorate the solar and wind industries, which would create thousands of jobs across the country and aid our environment.
When we make energy decisions going forward, we must think of how it will impact both the environment and economy.
Our nation’s criminal justice system is in peril. From the halls of our local police departments, to the court rooms, and overcrowded prisons, total reform is needed at all levels of the judiciary.
Felony convictions for nonviolent drug crimes, criminal profiling, and excessive force by law enforcement disproportionately affects the black and brown communities. It is time to look at redefining the use of deadly force to better protect the officer and citizen.
We must pass federal legislation to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, end private for-profit prisons, promote rehabilitation centers, and put support systems in place for former inmates who are shut out of opportunities.
In Texas, we are on the heels of several tragic deaths of black Americans by the police force, which occurs all too frequently to families across our country. We must seek justice—there is no other option.
We must hold our police departments accountable for misconduct and excessive force; and bring in independent investigators to reexamine the use of deadly force and foster an environment that prioritizes de-escalation tactics.
I have a long record of fighting for criminal justice reform and putting measures in place to hold law enforcement accountable. In the Texas State Senate, I authored groundbreaking legislation for body cameras and dashboard cameras in police vehicles.
Fairness in the criminal justice system is not a new issue but continues to evade resolution. We must look for new approaches that will bring about trust and accountability, while maintaining community safety.
America was built upon the ideal of one person, one vote. And over the past hundred years, people of color, women, and disenfranchised folks have been fighting to be equally included in that simple phrase—one person, one vote.
Lawmakers and government institutions, for decades, have been working to systematically undercut voter access for millions of Americans, disproportionately affecting minority communities.
Federally, we must take whatever steps necessary to ensure that every person has the opportunity and access to the voting booth.
Voter equity means strengthening automatic voter registration, making Election Day a national holiday, increasing the number of polling places, and reversing all of the discriminatory Voter ID laws.
Voting rights has been one of my top priorities in the Texas State Senate and I have worked for decades to ensure all Texans, regardless of background, are given their right to vote.
I am proud to be one of the leaders in the Senate loudly advocating for voter rights, and arguing against ploys for voter suppression—that is how we protect our democracy.
There is no room for discrimination—every person has the fundamental right to love who they want and personally identify as who they are.
The systems of oppression built against the LGTQ+ community must be dismantled, and that starts with repealing dangerous policies that attacks same-sex couples and transgender Americans.
First, as a nation, we must pass The Equality Act and unequivocally say that discrimination in housing, employment, healthcare, and access to public goods and services is illegal.
LGBTQ+ folks must have the freedom to live openly without fear of prejudice, so Congress needs to pass legislation to end the exclusion of sexual and gender identity as a protected class under Title VII and Title IX.
Furthermore, Congress must take action to immediately end the Trump Administration’s blatant transphobic policies. Our military service men and women are heroes and deserve our respect and gratitude—no matter how they identify.
As a society, we cannot exclude courageous and honorable individuals, and Trump’s transgender military ban does just that.