The People’s Platform for Eastern Kentucky

 

Economy

We live in a country in which the wealthiest 1% own 40% of household wealth. However, I believe in an economy that works for the many, not the few. Our government should be controlled by the public, not powerful campaign contributors who spend huge sums of money to influence policy and career politicians who protect their own interests. I will support economic policies that level the playing field and give a fair shake to the people living in the small communities up and down the creeks and hollers of Eastern Kentucky:

  • Introduce the Just Transition Program that offers our miners the opportunity to put their skills back to work as we build and retool our economy
  • Create a new manufacturing-based industry to put our people back to work
  • Fill our empty industrial parks to bring new manufacturing production to Eastern Kentucky
  • Create a fair tax system that ensures the wealthy and powerful to pay their fair share
  • Promote progressive trade policies that protect American jobs, grow the American economy, and maintain open trade
  • Honor our history in Eastern Kentucky by supporting workers who band together to unionize, recognizing that collective bargaining is an essential tool for improving the workplace and providing for our families
  • Raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour, which would stabilize our struggling economy and give 41 million Americans a raise
  • Reject Right-to-Work and Prevailing Wage legislation, which weakens unions, lowers wages, and serves the wealthy and powerful
  • Decriminalize marijuana in order to create a new economic industry, alleviate the pain of the addiction crisis, and end the harsh punishments and loss of rights that often accompany marijuana charges
  • Pass the Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act to combat wage theft, put an end to deferred compensation, and to ensure that workers receive a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work
  • Strengthen Dodd-Frank by holding financial institutions accountable and extending protections against predatory lending in order to prevent another Great Recession
  • Support the growth, development, and security of small businesses, which serve as the cornerstone of our rural communities
  • Overturn the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which allows unlimited sums of money to flow into our elections

 

Healthcare

America is dealing with a healthcare crisis; the United States is the only industrialized country that fails to guarantee universal healthcare to its citizens. Access to affordable healthcare is a basic right for every American. The Affordable Care Act has expanded coverage across Kentucky, but it’s time to talk about the real, concrete solution to the healthcare issue: Medicare-for-All. I support a universal program that will grant healthcare to all Americans. As your next congressman, I will fight for Medicare-for-All, which will:

  • Cover all Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions
  • Eliminate premiums, copayments, and deductibles, ensuring all Americans can get the healthcare they need
  • Lower costs and increase access to quality healthcare for every citizen
  • Ensure that Americans will not lose their healthcare if they lose their job or file for bankruptcy if they can’t pay their bills, just as hundreds of thousands of Americans have done over the last decade
  • Respect the reproductive rights of women and ensure that women in Eastern Kentucky have access to family planning
  • Push back against the attacks on Medicaid, which place undue pressure on low income families
  • Remove Pharmacy Benefit Managers and allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices, lowering costs for patients and ensuring everyone has access to the life-saving medication they need
  • Replace the profit-driven model of American healthcare with one that prioritizes patients and medical workers
  • Ensure that medical industry professionals are not left behind as we the transition to a modernized healthcare system

The addiction crisis has swept the country and nowhere has been hit harder than Eastern Kentucky. In 2016, there were 1,404 overdose deaths in our state. Clearly, we must respond to the addiction crisis with compassion and effective policy. I have a plan to address the drug crisis:

  • End the practice of using prisons to solve this problem — the War on Drugs has failed and we must embrace new ideas for handling the issue
  • Confront the drug industry, which has consistently made the problem worse by pumping pills into our communities and dodging accountability
  • Ensure that our first responders, rural hospitals, and medical facilities have enough resources to effectively treat patients
  • Ensure that medicinal marijuana is a viable alternative to schedule II prescriptions
  • Adopt a practice of harm reduction, which will lower the number of deaths while encouraging and assisting patients who seek treatment

 

Education

Decades of attacks on our public schools have left facilities underfunded and teachers organizing for better conditions. As a former educator, I believe that students and teachers in Eastern Kentucky deserve the best resources and opportunities available. I propose an education plan that will energize our schools and forge a better future for our children:

  • Protect and improve teacher pensions and benefits
  • Make public universities, community colleges, and vocational schools debt-free, giving every American the chance to continue their education and training without incurring a lifetime of student debt
  • Create a program to refinance existing student loans and strengthen public-service loan forgiveness policies
  • Shift focus away from standardized testing and toward more effective standards for measuring performance
  • Ensure that all teachers have the supplies and resources needed for public schools
  • Fund arts education, which teaches valuable critical thinking and soft skills
  • Eliminate “lunch debt” and strengthen school lunch programs, ensuring that all of our students are well-fed
  • Provide schools with the resources to develop anti-bullying programs so that our children have a safe and secure learning environment
  • Prevent private, for-profit charter schools from using public resources

 

Infrastructure

I am appalled by the water crisis unfolding in Martin County. I know what it’s like to see mud come out of my faucet and will fight to ensure that every single person in our district and across America has access to clean drinking water. I will bring the hearts of Eastern Kentucky with me to Washington to fight for expanded infrastructure spending. This will involve a number of goals for improving our infrastructure:

  • Modernize our water systems, ensuring everyone has access to clean and affordable water
  • Rebuild roads, bridges, and other transportation systems that serve as the backbone of our economy
  • Fill the empty industrial parks across Eastern Kentucky with new, innovative industries
  • Expand broadband to all Kentuckians, recognizing that access to the Internet is an essential utility for all Americans and plays a pivotal role in modernizing our economy
  • Strengthen hospitals and medical facilities in our rural communities so that we can more effectively serve those in need
  • Upgrade our rail systems in order to transport resources and people more efficiently
  • Reinstate the policy of net neutrality to ensure that consumers have equal and open access to the Internet
  • End felony disenfranchisement, ensuring that all voices are heard in our democracy
  • Support policies to increase access to the ballot, such as automatic voter registration

 

Energy

I have spent years working in energy development and understand the concerns of our friends and families who have been impacted by the loss of the coal industry. I am also very concerned about the rising electricity bills in our district — with some families seeing their energy bills doubling or even tripling. Eastern Kentucky needs to diversify its energy portfolio if we are to move our economy forward and provide a secure future for our children. My energy plan will lower costs for Kentuckians and open up new opportunities for clean, renewable energy:

  • Support new investments in wind, solar, and other forms of renewable energy
  • Introduce a Just Transition Program to put our miners—who have been idled because they no longer generate a profit for the coal companies—back to work
  • Create the economy of the future by using our skilled labor force to lead us into a new green energy economy
  • Work with the international community to combat climate change and ensure that we leave a healthy planet for our children
  • Strengthen our electric grid by investing in energy transmission and distribution systems
  • Protect tax incentives for commercial and residential renewable energy development
  • Ensure that homeowners are fairly compensated for the energy they produce if they have residential solar or wind systems
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