Create opportunity for all.
I stand for investments in future generations, a fair economy, a strong public health system, climate justice, racial justice, global peace and solidarity, and a stronger, stable, democracy.
Create a quality education system that invests in future generations from early childhood through high school and beyond.
Support teachers, parents and students. As the only candidate in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate with a public education, and the first high school student with a voice and vote on the Vermont State Board of Education, I have been a lifelong champion of public education. As a former middle school teacher and an adult education teacher to speakers of other languages, I have seen the difference that quality education can have for families.
Provide quality and free pre-k and child care options for working families. These past years of the pandemic have been hard for Vermonters and all Americans, including our young people, their parents and teachers. The level of stress has been through the roof. Students are experiencing tremendous social and mental health challenges. Many schools are becoming full-service centers on the backs of a very taxed staff, without the necessary funding or infrastructure. We need to support measures ensuring that all our young people have access to high quality education, and we need to support our educational workforce.
Invest in under-resourced public school systems, guaranteeing dignified salaries for teachers, support staff, and other school employees.
Guarantee free college tuition and vocational education. The median age of Vermonters is 43 years, which is 5 years above the national average. In addition to investing in our youth, we need policies that provide opportunities for adult education and on-the-job training.
Cancel the $1.3 trillion in federally owned student debt and return standard bankruptcy rights to all young people burdened with student debt.
Ensure wealthy individuals and American corporations pay their fair share in taxes so the burden does not fall on lower income Americans – Vermonters included.
Make billionaires pay their fair share. Right now, many middle-class Vermont families pay a higher tax rate than billionaires. That is not fair, and is not workable nor sustainable. I will work with Senator Sanders and others to change that.
Expand the Child Tax Credit to support hardworking Vermont families.
Return the Child Tax Credit to 2021 levels to help ensure our families can meet their basic needs. In 2021, the Child Tax Credit was one of the most impactful policies in the American Rescue Plan that helped lift millions of people out of poverty. An estimated 3.7 million children have fallen back into poverty since the tax credit expired.
Protect workers’ right to organize and build a strong economy.
Fight for workers’ rights as outlined in the Vermont AFL-CIO labor council’s 10-point program and the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act that removes barriers for workers to unionize. As the union representative for my community health center, I led over 300 union members from a network of over 10 health centers, from custodians to doctors, in building a consensus statement of demands for childcare, increased wages, and better working conditions for our teams, and I helped negotiate a contract that included childcare benefits for employees.
Pass legislation for $15/hour federal minimum wage for all workers and help farmers stay on the land.
For decades, the minimum wage has remained stagnant despite massive growth in the United States economy. The minimum wage should actually be around $23/hour if it had kept pace with workers’ increased productivity.
Include tipped workers, care workers, and farm workers. There should be no exemptions to receive a $15/hour minimum wage.
Enable farmers to stay on the land. Shift subsidies from large corporate farms to small-scale family farmers. Farming produces food for our communities and is a key part of the fabric of our communities in Vermont and across so much of the United States.
We need a new healthcare system in this country. One that puts the needs of people over the profits of the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and hospitals.
Make Medicare for All a reality. Working for years in Federally Qualified Health Centers, I saw the hard choices people had to make about whether or not to seek care, and I advocated at the state level for Medicare for All. A universal public healthcare system would guarantee that all Americans have quality healthcare. An illness or an injury should not condemn a family to bankruptcy, debt, and long nights of worrying about which procedures, providers, or treatments are covered by insurance and which are not.
Lower the cost of medication by taking on the pharmaceutical industry. We can do this by pushing for shortened patents on life-saving drugs and by allowing the import of cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. The federal government should be allowed to directly bargain with the pharmaceutical industry for dramatically lower costs for prescription drugs.
Reduce the influence of the health insurance and pharmaceutical industry lobbyists. Business as usual in Washington is upholding a healthcare system that puts the interests of for-profit companies above sensible public health systems and policies. And those companies invest in keeping the status quo. Private healthcare companies account for four of the top seven lobbyists in terms of spending year in and year out. Vermont’s congressional delegation must be free of this influence.
Ensure that our healthcare systems are inclusive and sensitive to the needs of those with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or who belong to marginalized communities.
Improve the quality of health care. As the quality coordinator of an LGBTQ+ community health center, I led the efforts to increase our cancer screening rates, improve the care for patients living with diseases like HIV and diabetes, and reduce wait time for care. The long waits for medical care in major Vermont hospitals, while hospital executives make millions and the hospitals get huge boosts from the federal government, are unacceptable.
Treat substance use disorder rather than punish people for their struggles.
Ensure access to affordable, stable housing for all. Stable housing is an important foundation for good health.
Protect reproductive rights and abortion access in the face of the increasing attacks that we have witnessed in recent years, including threats to Roe V. Wade.
Stand up for our LGBTQ+ neighbors, especially as trans rights and health care are being threatened by hateful legislation across the country.
The COVID pandemic is a global problem that requires global solutions and cooperation.
Push for additional global stimulus in response to the pandemic from the International Monetary Fund. As an activist, I led the Coalition for a Global COVID Response that secured the largest disbursement of such funds.
We saw time and time again communities in Vermont come together to protect each other from the COVID pandemic. While we should recognize our state’s strong response, we cannot forget the many Vermonters who lost their lives to COVID. We must continue to fight to prevent any further deaths from this dangerous virus with common sense public health policies that follow the science and protect our communities.
The highly unequal way in which COVID vaccines have been distributed — with wealthier countries being able to fully vaccinate their populations far sooner than the poorer countries of the world — makes the globe, and our communities, more vulnerable to new variants and needlessly prolongs the pandemic.
Fight to ensure that the U.S. promotes vaccine distribution, and manufacturing capacity, around the globe, and shares our technology with countries of the developing world.
It will take a major commitment of resources to properly address this crisis. From talking with people around the state, I know there is a desire to take action – especially among the youth whose futures are on the line.
Treat the climate crisis as the public health emergency that it is. I helped organize the historic People’s Climate March in New York City in September, 2014. This was the largest climate march in history and helped launch the People’s Climate Movement, a national coalition of hundreds of organizations working to stop the climate crisis.
Employ a WWII-scale approach to solving this crisis through massive subsidies and supports for broadly distributed renewable energy, an end to pollutants harming our air, water, land and bodies, and economic development that centers conservation. The climate crisis is already affecting life in Vermont. Lyme disease threatens our health. Our state bird is at risk of extinction. “Vermont is getting wetter and warmer,” a UVM climate change study reported in November, 2021. “The Green Mountain State has warmed nearly 2-degrees F with a 21% jump in precipitation.” The study predicts increased floods and droughts, and threats to our health.
Ensure that any approach benefits working families and our most vulnerable residents.
Denial, incrementalism, and operating within the current anti-democratic structures is not working. We need climate action. Fast.
Transition to 100% renewable energy through subsidies to homes and businesses and investments in publicly-owned renewable energy that prioritizes community needs and is not profit-driven. Not acting will have a far larger cost to all of us.
Move away from our dependence on fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. Keep these in the ground.
End fossil fuel subsidies, including stopping extraction (mining, etc.) on public lands.
Support zero human-made greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, including removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Include and empower the people and communities that are most vulnerable to climate impacts when making policies to foster a healthy and sustainable environment.
Climate justice requires cooperation at all levels, so we need local, national, and international action. Vermonters are in a particularly good position to determine the plans for renewable energy expansion through our Town Meeting structure.
Build a healthier financial sector that catalyzes projects that are conducive to a sustainable, thriving local economy.
Support quality employment programs that can strengthen public services, including jobs in sustainable construction, greener public transportation services and jobs in the care sector.
Invest in the care economy to help the U.S. build a resilient local economy. Solid care networks (schools, child-care, healthcare, elder care, transportation networks, healthier food production systems) are at the core of greener, fairer and healthier communities. Healthier communities are our first line of defense in a world threatened by the impacts of Climate Change.
Climate change, like the COVID pandemic, is a global crisis, and must be responded to as such.
The climate crisis is hitting the most vulnerable communities the hardest. There is no such thing as a partial response to Climate Change. Globally: the transition to a fairer, greener economy in the U.S. cannot come at the cost of those that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change elsewhere in the world. Nationally: we have to protect and build up our economies to make them more resilient to the effects of Climate Change, and protect vulnerable communities in the U.S. We have a duty to think about how to adapt our international system to better respond to global problems.
Support coalitions that are working on ‘greening the economy’ both in the U.S. and globally. Working together means supporting U.S. coalitions such as Green New Deal Champions and proponents of Ed Markey-AOC Green New Deal. These policies should center good paying union jobs that can provide for families and our communities to thrive.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports make it clear that we have to stick to the agreements we have made in existing Climate agreements. We need to meet our pledges, and go beyond what is being done. Climate change is a global phenomenon and needs to be tracked both domestically and globally. Wealthier nations such as ours need to provide support for sustainable development in nations in need.
The United States military has a carbon footprint greater than those of 140 entire countries. Cutting our military budget and investing those savings here at home is not only good for our communities, it is good for the environment.
I will work to address wealth disparities by investing in economic development and empowerment initiatives that uplift communities historically impacted by discriminatory policies.
The racial gap in home ownership is even greater than when housing discrimination was legal. I endorse housing affordability policies, such as the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2021 (S.1368), to reduce the cost of housing and to support homeownership among people of color previously excluded from home ownership.
Create small scale free or subsidized supportive housing for those who need it.
Expand voting rights and stop the advancement of voter suppression laws deliberately used to disenfranchise poor, Black, Indigenous, people of color and other marginalized groups.
Vermont’s protection of voting rights and expansion of access should be a model at the federal level.
I support federal legislation to protect voting rights around the country, including the passage of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Federal legislation is necessary to protect voters who are impacted by state gerrymandering and voter suppression laws.
We need to transform our criminal justice system to emphasize rehabilitation over punishment.
I support the ten-point platform, put forth by the ACLU of Vermont, VPIRG, the Vermont Human Rights Commission, Outright Vermont, Justice for All, and other organizations, that calls for reforms such as ending qualified immunity - which shields officers from accountability -, establishing community control over law enforcement, and increasing transparency.
I believe that investing in community-based restorative justice will make all Vermonters safer, especially for Black, Indigenous, and other people of color who are disproportionately impacted by negative encounters with law enforcement and whose members are imprisoned at higher rates.
I will work toward a foreign policy grounded in respect and cooperation – two values close to the heart of many Vermonters.
Support foreign policy that values mutual respect, diplomacy and peace, and economic development and cooperation — not oppression, threats, and economic domination.
Realize that America has to live its values to be taken seriously on the world stage and that Americans do not have the power to unilaterally solve all global problems, but that we can be a consistent, long-term, sensible partner when working on solutions.
Support more pandemic aid and climate sustainability assistance from the International Monetary Fund and a framework for debt relief — to help our neighbors around the world live happy, healthy, and secure lives and to create a liveable and peaceful planet in the future.
Endless war and confrontation weaken our communities and make Vermonters less safe.
Vermonters do not want endless war, but many of U.S. have lived our entire lives in an America at war. Endless war makes problems worse, diverts money away from our communities, and most importantly, has a catastrophic human toll on all sides — and it needs to stop. We need to cut military spending and invest in our communities — we know we have the resources to do so.
Reassert the constitutional role of Congress in declaring war, to keep the president from intervening abroad unilaterally.
Repeal broad-based economic sanctions — widely considered acts of war. These usually do not achieve their stated goals while they kill civilians and foster anti-American sentiment. Replace with targeted, time-bound sanctions that include clear criteria for being lifted.
Work towards the immediate end to the war in Ukraine, prioritizing a diplomatic end to the conflict, and accepting refugees displaced by the war.
End U.S. support and assistance for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, a disastrous years-long war that has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians — many of them children — and has led to the largest hunger crisis on earth.
Rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement and prioritize dialogue with Iran on other issues.
A just foreign policy needs to be grounded in Vermont values, follow international law and norms, and be held accountable for its effects.
Prioritize dialogue and diplomacy with all countries; Respect self-determination and commit to a world free of coercive foreign political and economic interference; Stop arming and giving financial support to governments that have a history of human rights abuses, including by strengthening the Leahy Law, which prohibits the U.S. government from “using funds for assistance to units of foreign security forces where there is credible information implicating that unit in the commission of gross violations of human rights.” (State Dept.)
Establish a U.S. guarantee that it will not use nuclear weapons in a “first-strike” situation; Work with all nuclear powers to dramatically limit the number of nuclear weapons in stockpiles. Support the new international law, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Give preference to accepting refugees from countries in which the United States has determined there are significant human rights violations, and from war-torn countries in which the United States has taken a side in the conflict; increase funding to support other countries in increasing their acceptance of displaced people from neighboring nations.
Connect U.S. foreign policy with other issues that involve national security, including climate change — the U.S. military has a larger carbon footprint than many countries entirely, and the climate crisis is a threat multiplier. We must push for a global reset of our posture toward a changing world, and we must build energy independence that is safe and renewable.
Commit to non-interference in the democratic processes of other nations. Too often we have seen the United States undermine democracy abroad and make allies of authoritarian regimes.
Our democracy is facing numerous threats: from politicians who work to subvert the right to vote, to extremists that undermine our elections, to big corporations who manipulate our democracy via Super PACs and lobbying. But it is not enough to just defend our democracy. We must also work to bring the voices of everyday people, and those of the next generation, to Washington.
Combat the influence of money in our politics.
Our democracy is not for sale, and we must overturn the Citizens United ruling that gives undue influence to corporations.
Abolish Super PACs (Political Action Committees) and replace them with public campaign funding that empowers the voter, grassroots organizations, and small donors over giant corporations.
Ban Congress from meeting with the lobbyists that work on behalf of dictators and serial human rights violators.
Demand that Vermont candidates for public office reject all corporate donations.
Protect the right to vote.
Strengthen voter protections and combat voter disenfranchisement. This includes stopping gerrymandering (changing voting districts for political gain) and returning the right to vote to individuals with felony convictions.
Make it easier to vote. We can achieve this by making election day a national holiday, expanding funding for mail-in and early voting, and by enacting automatic voter registration.
Check the power of individual U.S. senators.
Remove the Senate filibuster, which has time and time again allowed a small minority in Congress to block major, progressive and popular legislation from becoming a reality.
Enact term limits for U.S. Senators. Senators should be prohibited from serving more than three consecutive terms, or more than 18 years.