Issues

Jobs for Queens

Creating jobs for hardworking families in Queens will be my top priority when I get to Congress.  While we avoided plunging into a second Great Depression following the 2008 financial crisis, economic growth is still too slow and our unemployment rate is still too high. I have a clear vision and 4-point plan for bringing jobs back to Queens:

1.     Immediate federal aid to local and state governments to hire more teachers, police officers and firefighters.

2.     Federal transportation dollars – and transportation-related jobs – to Queens. I will seek appointment to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in order to achieve this objective.

3.     Tax credits for small businesses that hire new workers.

4.     Investment in technological advancement and initiatives that will help Queens thrive as a technology corridor.

If we pursue these objectives, we will create much needed jobs right now, and lay the foundation for great success in the long-term. I have a clear vision and a specific plan, and when I get to Washington I will hit the ground running in pursuit of these objectives.

Health Care and Social Security

As a Member of Congress, I will oppose the right-wing assault on the health care and senior citizen programs that are so crucial to the fabric of our society.  I believe that every citizen should have access to quality, affordable health care; that individuals with pre-existing conditions should not be denied coverage; and that young people should continue to be able to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26.

I will also fight tirelessly to protect Medicare and Social Security and ensure retirement security for our country’s senior citizens.  It is essential that we make prescription medication more affordable by allowing Medicare to use its purchasing power to bargain for better drug prices.  On Social Security, we cannot be tempted by quick-fixes or false promises that growth will solve the problem. On the other hand, it would be unwise to tax the middle-class now in order to solve the problem. We should protect the program’s long-term solvency through increased tax fairness on our wealthiest citizens.

Tax Fairness

Republicans in Washington insist on cutting spending for vital programs that provide relief to society’s most vulnerable citizens, while refusing to budge an inch on increasing revenue by requiring wealthy individuals and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes.  We must recapture lost revenue by ending subsidies to oil companies and corporations that ship jobs overseas, and implement tax reforms like the Buffet Rule so that those who have benefited most from society do their part to help improve it.

Civil Rights

The continuous right-wing assault on women’s rights in Congress should be cause for alarm for all American families.  Providing women with access to reproductive health care, passing legislation like the Paycheck Fairness Act to make sure that women are compensated at the same rate as their male counterparts in the workplace, and protecting women from sexual violence and domestic abuse are not Democratic or Republican priorities – they are American priorities.

Likewise, we continue to see efforts by right-wing extremists to restrict ballot access to people of color and deny members of the LGBT community basic civil rights. These tactics are antithetical to our nation’s core values of liberty and equality, and I will fight in Congress to make sure that all Americans – regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation – are afforded the same protections under the law.

National Security and Foreign Policy

In conducting our foreign policy, we must robustly defend our national security. In order to achieve this goal, we must stay on the offensive against Al Qaeda, prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, protect long-term allies such as Israel, and remain committed to global human rights. We cannot sacrifice any of these objectives for the sake of political expediency or short-term economic gain.

The Middle East provides a clear example of this. While our deals with autocrats proved untenable, our alliance with democratic Israel has been rock solid. It must remain so. My visit to Israel strengthened my belief in our shared values of democracy, human rights, and freedom of religion. Continuing to build and bolster our long-standing relationship with the State of Israel can only do more to fortify our own homeland security and protect us from the threat of terrorism. During this election year it is critical that this issue not be hijacked by partisan politics.

The potential of a nuclear-armed Iran poses a credible threat to the United States and the global community, and an existential threat to our ally Israel. We must stop Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons, and every option – including a military option – must be available to accomplish this goal.

As we bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, we must be sure to remain on the offensive against terrorism. I support the continued use of drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia as a means to gather intelligence and target terrorists. But we must also seek new partnerships and demand more from our NATO allies in combating global terrorism.

I am deeply saddened and repulsed by the daily images of Bashar Al-Assad’s slaughtering of his own people in Syria. American leadership is necessary in the face of this human rights crisis, and we must work to force Assad from power. Although doing so may upset some of the other global powers in the short-term, it will place us on the right side of history, a position from which America has always benefited.

 Public Safety

The recent spate of shootings in New York, coupled with the horrifying shooting in Colorado, underscore the importance of immediately addressing public safety concerns. In Congress, I will pursue a series of measures that will help law enforcement and take guns out of the hands of those who should not have them.

The simple fact is we need more policemen and firefighters on our streets – the NYPD and FDNY are stretched far too thin. I propose immediate federal stimulus to state and local governments to hire more policemen and firemen; this is a straightforward way to improve public safety and put people back to work.

We must also pass sensible, pro law enforcement gun legislation. In Congress I will fight for legislation:

  • Requiring all new semiautomatic pistols be capable of microstamping ammunition so that investigators can use bullet shell casings to identify perpetrators of gun violence;
  • Ensuring that all individuals prohibited from buying a firearm are uploaded to the national instant criminal background check system;
  • Requiring a background check for every firearm sale; and
  • Requiring employees of dealers in firearms submit to criminal background checks.

Education

It is imperative that we offer all our young people access to high quality, affordable education.

The costs of college have skyrocketed, and young people today face crushing student debt loads. In Congress, I will fight to lower interest rates of student debt, make it easier for students and graduates to pay off their loans, and incentivize colleges to lower tuition rates.

As a product of the New York City schools, I appreciate the value of a strong public education system. In Washington, I will oppose Republican attempts to marginalize our traditional public education system. I will fight for funding to keep schools open, save after-school and extracurricular programs, and hire more teachers in Queens.

Veterans

Queens has the largest population of veterans in New York City. With a varying and large population of veterans in Queens and the country generally, it is crucial that we improve veteran services. In Congress I will be a tireless fighter for our veterans. Four key areas that I will focus on are:

1)    Expansion of the Helmet to Hardhats program to help returning veterans transition to construction jobs;

2)    Development of more Veteran Service Centers in New York City;

3)    Much needed renovations to the St. Albans V.A.; and

4)    Support for existing incentives for hiring veterans, as well as more programs and guidance for veterans regarding their options upon returning to civilian life, particularly in the areas of health, education, employment, and housing.