What Will They Think of Us?

Near the end of his first administration, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Americans to consider how our descendants would think about us in the future.  “Let us hope,” he said, that they at least will “give us the benefit of the doubt, that they will believe we have honestly striven every day and generation to preserve for our descendants a decent land to live in and a decent form of government to operate under.”

It is a question worth asking today.

Since Roosevelt, the advent and spread of nuclear weapons has posed a threat to future generations.  More recently, changes in climate and the earth’s ecosystem may pose similar threats to life on earth.

Roosevelt’s answer to this question provides a yardstick for our efforts today.

As thoughtful and responsible citizens of this great country, we should settle for no less – “a decent land to live in and a decent form of government to operate under.”

Stay tuned for additional forthcoming issue statements.

CATEGORY:  ELECTION INTEGRITY

Election Integrity in the United States

The 2016 elections saw many fiascos that took place with the type of voting systems we currently use. In my own primary against Debbie Wasserman Schultz, we found out only through a lawsuit that the Broward County Supervisor of Elections broke Federal and State criminal statutes in destroying all of our paper ballots, while also preventing us from inspecting the software for the electronic voting machines. As a result, no one will ever be able to verify the final vote count. That’s why the United States must transition to hand marked and hand counted paper ballots in every election. Too much is at stake to allow this to ever happen again.

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CATEGORY:  CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM

Restoring Our Democracy and Campaign Finance Reform

We’ve seen the disastrous effects of Citizens United becoming law in 2009. Predatory special interests like Wall Street banks, Big Pharma, the fossil fuels industry, Big Sugar and agribusinesses have become even more powerful with their ability to buy politicians on both sides of the aisle. Often we hear how the one solution is to overturn Citizens United, but that’s not enough. The United States should be moving towards a publicly financed electoral system that forces candidates to win based on the issues and their character, and not how much money that can raise. That’s why our campaign does not take a penny from any corporate interests, not their PACs or Super PACs. We believe in representing ordinary working folks and our donations are fueled by small dollar grassroots donations.

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CATEGORY:  INCOME and WEALTH INEQUALITY

Reversing Income and Wealth Inequality

We are now living in unprecedented times, with the largest levels of income and wealth inequality in our country’s history. Tens of millions of Americans are on poverty wages and living from paycheck to paycheck. This is not the America I grew up in, and we intend to change these dangerous trends. We can begin to end this historic gap. We need to cut taxes for working middle class families, while raising taxes on the super rich who have been receiving massive federal government subsidies. We need to dramatically change our monetary and fiscal policies so they work for Main Street, to regulate and rein in Wall Street abuses, and to revise trade deals so they prioritize working Americans over corporate profits.

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CATEGORY:  CLIMATE CHANGE and SOUTH FLORIDA ENVIRONMENT

 Addressing Climate Change and Protecting South Florida’s Environment

 Climate change is real and Florida is ground zero for the effects of warming oceans and rising sea levels. That’s why I support Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s Off Fossil Fuels Act to put the United States on track to convert to a 100% renewable energy economy by 2030. Throughout Florida, we’re seeing horrific cases of toxic algae that is killing thousands of sea turtles, manatees, dolphins, birds and fish, while undermining our tourist economy and marine sports industries. This issue needs to be addressed immediately, and that means taking on Big Sugar and Big Agribusiness and factory farming industries that are polluting our waterways and contributing significantly to climate change. We must act now and act boldly for the sake of our communities and future generations.

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CATEGORY:  ENDING WAR ON DRUGS

 Ending the War on Drugs

We must end the misguided and failed War on Drugs. It’s one of the major reasons the United States leads the world in the number of incarcerated people. Cannabis should not be listed as a Schedule 1 drug on the federal list of controlled and dangerous substances. States with medicinal cannabis have much lower opioid abuse and overdose rates. Yet, Debbie Wasserman Schultz still calls marijuana a “gateway drug.” I trust the voters and states to decide whether to legalize cannabis for responsible adult use.

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CATEGORY:  PAYDAY LENDING and ENDING VICIOUS CYCLE OF DEBT

 Regulating Payday Lending and Stopping the Vicious Cycle of Debt

 Payday lenders are modern day loan sharks. Lower income borrowers are trapped in a vicious cycle of debt and bankruptcy by interest rates above 300 percent. I have long supported strict regulation of interest rates on payday loans, while Debbie Wasserman Schultz has supported Republican bills to prevent the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from regulating payday lenders. We need alternatives to payday lenders, such as “Postal Banking” to allow the U.S. Postal Service to offer low cost checking accounts and loans at significantly lower interest rates — just like the Post Office did for decades from the administrations of Franklin Roosevelt to John Kennedy.

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CATEGORY:  ELECTION INTEGRITY

Support for a Two-State Solution that Guarantees Security for Israel and a Palestinian State

I grew up in a blended family with a loving Jewish stepfather. I have lived and worked and travelled throughout Israel and parts of the Middle East several times. I have also studied the history of Arab-Israeli wars and Middle East conflicts. Past peace efforts have failed, in part, because outside powers have continued to sell arms to those with an interest in perpetuating violence in the region. I believe the United States must be the leader in pushing for regional and global arms control and disarmament talks, including for conventional weapons. Arms makers throughout the world must be converted to civilian use. The peace process between Israelis and Palestinians has been dead for too long because of financial interests in perpetuating this conflict. We must create conditions for lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and throughout the region.

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CATEGORY:  IMMIGRATION REFORM

Sensible, Humane, and Comprehensive Immigration Reform

My father was a child immigrant and all of my grandparents were immigrants from Italy. Like many Jewish immigrants, my stepfather’s family escaped calamity in Eastern Europe. Like so many immigrants, my ancestors escaped all kinds of hardships, found peace and opportunity in the United States, and served our country in wartime. The G.I. Bill of Rights after World War II helped integrate millions of immigrant families into a growing middle class. That’s what we need for today. We must stop the roundup and deportation of undocumented aliens, and instead provide a path to citizenship for the millions of people who live and work in our neighborhoods. This includes citizenship for the DREAMers who were brought to the United States as children and often know no other country. We must extend Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for hundreds of thousands of our neighbors from Haiti, Venezuela, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras, who have fled natural disasters, economic calamity, and political persecution. The United States must also stop wars of regime change and foreign coups that prop up corrupt oligarchies, creating conditions that lead to mass migration from war torn countries to the U.S. and elsewhere. We must return to President Franklin Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor” approach and President John Kennedy’s “Alliance for Progress” to help create conditions that foster democracy, development, and peace.

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CATEGORY:  AFFORDABLE EDUCATION

Making Higher Education Affordable for all Americans

As a law professor, I’ve seen first hand the crippling effects of high interest rate student loans and mounting debt on my students who are merely seeking an education. If the Federal Reserve can make trillions of dollars in low interest loans (at 0.25%) to the same Wall Street banks that collapsed our financial system in 2008, the federal government can certainly offer the same deal to our nation’s students. I also support a Voluntary National Service program for people of all ages to serve for three years in a Civilian Conservation Corps or other kinds of public works program, in exchange for tuition-free higher education — just like my dad and the rest of the Greatest Generation received for their service in World War II. An education should not be a debt sentence that relegates millions of our fellow citizens to a lifetime of indentured servitude. It’s time to invest in our ow people and to make their intellectual development a high priority.

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This should be Two Categories…  or WOMAN FOCUSED?

CATEGORY:  ( several options )

WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE

PROTECTING WOMEN’S RIGHTS

WOMEN

Preserving a Woman’s Right to Choose and Fighting for Equal Pay for Equal Work

The Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade marked an accommodation between competing interests, protecting the reproductive rights of American women, particularly during the first trimester of pregnancy. I fully support this framework, along with much greater investments in education, including on reproduction, to greatly reduce our unwanted and teenage pregnancy and abortion rates — exactly what’s been so effective in many other countries. We must do much more to protect the status of women in our society, and that includes full equality in the workplace and schools, and respect for young girls and women in our daily lives.

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CATEGORY: LGBTQ+

Ensuring Equality for our LGBTQ+ Brothers and Sisters

In recent years, there has been notable progress in protecting the rights of LGBTQ brothers and sisters and those who identify as non-binary in terms of gender. But this progress is under constant assault by those who would impose their own views on sexuality on the rest of society. I support anti-discrimination laws that protects all members of the LGTBQ+ community.

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Protecting and Expanding Social Security

My father died suddenly when I was a child, leaving my mother as a young widow with three young children. Thanks to my mother’s determination in working full-time, along with Social Security survivor’s benefits, we were able to stay in our family home. I have seen first hand the importance of Social Security in keeping families together. I have supported legislation to protect and expand Social Security and Medicare, when Debbie Wasserman Schultz could not be bothered. I support lifting the cap on Social Security taxable income above the current $118,500, so that those earning more – and in many cases much, much more – pay their fair share into the system, thereby preventing Social Security from going insolvent. I have also supported increasing the benefits for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for the poorest seniors and disabled. Again, Wasserman Schultz only recently signed on to increasing SSI benefits, three years after I published an op-ed supporting this legislation.

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Universal Health Care and Medicare for All

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law by President Obama, did not go far enough in protecting the American people. Under the ACA, nearly 30 million Americans are still without health insurance, and for those who are covered, the premiums, deductibles and co-payments keep rising out of reach. The fact remains that our country is the only modern, industrialized country that does not offer some form of universal health coverage. Health care should be considered a human right. That’s what President Franklin Roosevelt proposed in his 1944 Economic Bill of Rights. My opponent Debbie Wasserman Schultz has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from private insurance giants and big pharmaceutical companies. No wonder she has still failed to support H.R. 676, Medicare For All, which when elected will be one of my first priorities.

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Empowering and Respecting Tribal Nations

As a professor years ago at the University of New Mexico and University of Arizona, I was fortunate to visit many Native American Indian reservations, pueblos, and festivals. I understand the difficulties faced by many tribal nations in our country. I support tribal sovereignty, upholding the trust responsibility, encouraging economic development, restoring tribal lands, protecting sacred places, protecting native children, fighting climate change and promoting environmental protection. Read more

Federal Reserve Reform

For many years as a law professor, I have studied and written about monetary policy and central bank reform. That’s why I was asked in 2010 by Senator Bernie Sanders to serve on a select advisory committee on reforming the Federal Reserve. Often we hear from our Libertarian friends that we should “End the Fed.” My view is we should “Mend the Fed” by making it more transparent and accountable to society’s diverse interests. I believe the Federal Reserve can play an important role in helping the Main Street economy, instead of constantly catering to Wall Street and Big Banks. The Fed could support workers’ pension funds, refinance or even forgive home mortgage and student debts, help Puerto Rico refinance its public debts and avoid massive privatizations, and invest in infrastructure through a new public infrastructure bank.

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