"Whole Life politics means that your worth is not determined by your value to the economy. I will work to make an economy that values life from conception until natural death, womb to tomb. In the end, we're better off making sure everyone has the best chance to succeed. No one is disposable. No one." - Shane Hoffman
LIST OF ISSUES
A reformed economy is the center of what must be done to create a more just society. Economics is at the heart of our ability provide for ourselves and our families. It determines access to opportunity. It determines the quality of our nutrition, our ability to access timely health care, and sleep in a warm place.
Our economy is completely upside down and expects the majority to do the most for the least compensation while executives and shareholders reap too far beyond what they've sown. We cannot continue down this path. We must take the prybar to "too big to fail" and to the mega-corporations siphoning money out of local communities. We must encourage business models that distribute fair, living wages. We will return "for the people" to the economy via the power of Congress and the power of you. Look for the hashtags:
#WholeLife and #OwnershipEconomy to join the discussion.
The Safety Net
America, the Land of Plenty. We ostensibly have a safety net in place to help those of us who run into trouble as we travel the highway of life. We have unemployment insurance. We have SNAP benefits. We have assistance with utilities and federal funding to ensure that school-age children eat during the school year and during the summer.
The problem with our "safety net" is that it often acts as more of a snare. Limitations on savings prevent families from saving up for emergencies or to purchase a home or car. Benefits often disappear faster than income can replace them, forcing people to forgo promotion or full time work in order to keep child care and food on the table. A safety net should quickly spring you back into action, not trap you and your family in poverty for generations to come.
Justice and Police Reform
For starters, we have too many people in prison for minor offenses. This creates big problems for people and families trying to escape poverty. Our justice system, including private prisons, serve to lock people into cycles of poverty. Federal sentencing guidelines should rely more on rehabilitation than on incarceration for minor crimes and a better combination of the two for bigger crimes.
Defunding the police is the wrong way to look at the issue. We will always need our officers, because we will always have people who seek to take the easy way out. What we need is to make sure that we are giving our officers the right tools for the right job. An armed police officer is not always the answer. Sometimes, a skilled social worker may be the answer. We can’t use our police as a Swiss-army-knife and expect perfect results every time. We ask too much of them. Instead of under- or over- utilizing them, let’s take the time to consider where they are the best option and where we should be investing in more specialized care. Let’s help communities build the right teams for their situation.
Right to Thrive
It all starts with the right to life. We must protect our unborn, the mothers who bear them, and the families they're raised in. This includes easy access to quality healthcare before and after birth. This includes a strong safety net and creating an economy that values mothers and families.
This also involves not criminalizing or stigmatizing women who miscarry or have impossible pregnancies such as ectopic pregnancies and other severe, life-threatening complications.
Laws that victimize women when they're at their most vulnerable or turn neighbors into bounty hunters are at best counterproductive. These kinds of laws destroy community and create division at a time when we need to be coming together to empower communities.
The mere fact that we have hunger in this great nation is an injustice that cries out for our attention. Hunger, especially in children, is a precursor to decreased educational, physical, and emotional outcomes. Children raised in hunger are far more likely to have poor health, increased absenteeism, see time in jail, and require public assistance. It's not just the right thing to do, it's an investment in our future and in theirs.
The Keep Kids Fed act was a good, bi-partisan step in the right direction. Let's build on that by giving serious attention to the Child Nutrition Reauthorization and modernizing how we tackle childhood hunger. Let's create a program that incentivizes the states to share the cost of providing free breakfast and lunch to every k-12 student. These, plus robust increases in funding to our food banks, SNAP, WIC and other programs are necessary, especially with the uncertain future we are facing right now. These are investments that can help pay for themselves over time.
Healthcare is fundamental to dignified existence. Without access to proper healthcare, we cannot feel safe as we go about our daily business knowing that we are one accident away from financial ruin. Without proper healthcare, many go without care until it is too late. Without access, many women may chose abortion over life.
This is not the time to be tearing down the Affordable Care Act. We should be taking a look at what has gone well with ObamaCare and and building on that. We should be pairing a stronger ACA with reforms in pharmaceuticals, pricing, and insurance. Without more scrutiny and regulation, we cannot make healthcare affordable.
We cannot keep kicking the can down the road. Much like the national debt, this is a problem that only gets worse the longer we do not attend. Whether you're on board with climate change or not, I think we should be able to agree that we do have an effect on the climate and that, while it may not be the whole cause, it is something we have control over. We do have a part to play.
Economic growth is a poor excuse to ignore this problem. We must actively look for ways to transition to cleaner energies while ensuring that communities built around fossil fuels are not left in the lurch. While we must work to save the Earth for our grandchildren, we will not do so at the expense of our brothers and sisters.