The average United States Senator is 64 years old and has been in office for over a decade. Even more staggering, the net worth of every senator is far above the average net worth of working people. This has created a branch of government that needs to be more connected to the challenges facing New Jersey families.
We need a clean break and a new crop of leaders willing to bridge the gaps between our youngest voters, millennials, boomers, the greatest generation, and everything in between.
The Affordable Care Act is the most significant domestic social policy advancement of the 21st Century. We need to take it a step further, offering all Americans a public option for insurance that guarantees health care coverage regardless of employment status. It won’t be free, but it won’t cost an arm and a leg like private insurance. We can eliminate the health disparities that are so heavily dictated by income and racial inequity by establishing a fair, humane universal health care system.
It feels like “100-year storms” hit a different part of New Jersey each year. Climate change is real, and each day we delay addressing its impact makes it that much harder to slow its effects. We need a nationwide plan that moves us to a clean energy future faster. On the Senate floor, I’ll fight to keep beach replenishment funds coming back to New Jersey, while also working to restore wetlands and fund the remediation of Superfund sites and brownfields.
From daycare to higher education, tuition is too expensive. “Affordable” options, like county colleges and state schools, still force families into debt, and yet education is the only true guaranteed path to class mobility. We need to reduce the overall cost of public higher education and expand loan-free pathways for every New Jerseyan to get there. We also can’t lose sight of our future workforce needs, which means investing in trade schools and apprenticeships. For our youngest residents, we must ensure that daycare and pre-kindergarten programs don’t cost more than parents earn. We need to fully fund public, universal pre-kindergarten and provide opportunities for parents to stay in the workforce without forking over their full salaries for daycare.
Every time an economic disaster happens, the working people bail out the large corporations—this needs to end. I will join the progressive senators fighting to reinstate Glass-Steagall and help ensure no financial institution is too big to fail. For the mortgage companies that make billions off new homeowners, I’ll work to fund a public downpayment assistance program that utilizes corporate profits to subsidize the cost of a new home. And all those random fees from banks and credit cards - I’m entirely against them - whatever scheme wealthy corporations come up with to steal from working families, I’ll work to eliminate.
New Jersey consistently ranks among the states with the highest rate of political corruption. Laying a mile of train track in our region costs 250% more than anywhere else, not because of high wages paid to workers but because of private contractors who make millions off patronage. It has to stop. The federal government can step in and fight corruption in our state, ending the greed of a few that has prevented so many of us from having greater opportunities.
The rules governing how the Senate operates are broken. Too many members have been there too long and are afraid to eliminate the filibuster, and too many kowtow to special interest monsters they owe favors to. It has to end. Comprehensive gun control, immigration reform, infrastructure investment, and healthcare for 9/11 victims have all been stalled by archaic rules. New Jerseyans pay through the nose in federal taxes, only to beg for funding in return.