We want American commerce to succeed, but it should not be at the community’s cost. Experts cite the lack of regulations in the financial sector as one of the main causes of the financial collapse in 2008. Lauren firmly believes that this lack of regulations was caused by politicians who accepted corporate money for their campaigns which swayed their decisions, and these same politicians failed to protect the country from unstable markets.
Lauren also believes that the way that Amazon’s HQ2 played out in her district is evidence of corporate money in politics. Many politicians who offered unconditional tax incentives to Amazon have accepted campaign donations from Amazon. These politicians are now citing 25,000 jobs lost for the district. Lauren believes that this is a false narrative. We do not know that the 25,000 jobs would have been local hires, or if Amazon would have brought 25,000 people to Long Island City and the surrounding areas to add additional stress to the skyrocketing cost of housing and the crumbling subway system. Would Amazon hire at least 50% women in management roles? Would the type of labor complaints against Amazon that have been publicized in the last years be an issue in Long Island City? Lauren believes politicians should have pushed for more answers as part of the negotiation, but instead, they offered a one-sided deal which benefitted Amazon, possibly at the cost of the constituents. Lauren will negotiate on behalf of her constituents, not on behalf of her campaign bank account as she accepts no corporate PAC money.
In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down the Voting Acts Right requirement to have jurisdictions with significant histories of voter discrimination “pre clear” new voting practices or procedures, leaving voters vulnerable to discrimination at the polls. A bipartisan Voting Rights Advancement Act was introduced to the House and Senate and provides protections against discrimination to compensate for the 2013 edit to the Voting Rights Act. This piece of legislation now sits with Congress, and Lauren supports this and any legislation that protects every single citizen’s right to vote.
Lauren also supports initiatives to allow for easier voting such as protecting voting rights for all citizens over the age of 18 without exception, automatic voter registration at the age of 18, and unconditional absentee ballots mailed to all registered voters with paid postage for returning the ballots. In order to help reduce the cost of campaigning, brief information about each candidate and their stances should be included in these mailings.
Lauren also supports public matching funds for candidates who refuse to accept anything but small donations. This will decrease the amount of time and energy wasted on candidates wooing big money donations from Super PACs and donors outside of their constituency. Finally, Lauren supports a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United and fix the campaign finance issues which pre-date Citizens United. She believes the only influences to politicians should be their constituents and their needs.
Lauren supports criminal justice reform that ends arrest quotas, encourages the development of positive relationships between police forces and the communities they serve, and ends for-profit prisons and mass incarceration which has historically impacted People of Color at a much higher rate.
Lauren also supports federal legislation requiring an outside special prosecutor for cases involving killings by police to eliminate conflicts of interest.
Lauren believes the tax dollars saved by ending mass incarceration should be used to reintegrate those who have been incarcerated back into society.
Our healthcare system is broken, and much of our costs fund a middleman (private insurance companies) rather than actually helping save lives. The last thing someone who was laid off from a job should have to worry about is whether they will be able to pay their hospital bills. Receiving mental healthcare and addiction treatment should also be covered as part of this expanded Medicare. Research shows that the costs for receiving medical treatment will drop if more individuals have access to affordable, preventative treatment, and she believes our society will reap the benefits of addiction treatment through lowering demand for drug trafficking and decreasing instance of drug-related crime.
Lauren believes that the reason we have not developed a universal healthcare system is, again, that politicians accept campaign donations from pharmaceutical lobbies and private insurance companies. She supports the single-payer Medicare-for-All plan, as it removes the middleman of private health insurance companies.
Most of us are in this country as a result of immigration in our family. Lauren’s family is no different. Lauren stands with immigrants of all faiths, creeds and origins while supporting immigration reform with a path to citizenship, and endorses the Dream Act of 2017.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) was created in 2003 in the same legislation as the Patriot Act and the Iraq War. However, ICE operates outside of the scope of the Department of Justice and has not been held accountable for its actions. With thousands of reports of sexual abuse of children in detention facilities along the border, and due to the general inhumane treatment of those placed in those facilities for seeking a better life in our country, Lauren believes ICE should be defunded and replaced with a more responsible and humane safeguard for our border.
Acclaimed scientists are warning of catastrophic and irreversible effects of our irresponsible environmental policies. Given the urgency of this issue, Lauren supports proposals that meet the scope of this enormous problem (such as the Green New Deal) in order to counteract the damage done by humans to this earth. District 12 surrounds the East River and would bear the effects of the entire country’s choices regarding environmental policy. Lauren strongly supports reversing budget cuts to the EPA. She has worked in low-income energy research and is ready to be a vocal advocate for our environment and future.
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is not federally ratified. Paid parental leave is not a mandatory employer benefit by law. Childcare costs are prohibitive. The wage gap has not been closed, and Women of Color and transgender women have even higher wage gaps. Reproductive freedom is constantly under attack. The Violence Against Women Act has been allowed to expire amidst partisan disagreements. Rape kits go untested due to lack of funding. Congress has allowed women’s physical and economic security to remain a secondary priority, and as a vocal, pro-choice advocate for women’s rights, Lauren will fight for women as a top priority.
Lauren is a proud member of Middle Collegiate Church, which practices progressive, love-based activism throughout her community. With that said, Lauren believes that religion does not belong in politics other than informing the belief that all humans are equal and deserving of basic human rights and compassion.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed 29 years ago, and Lauren has only known a world where this life-changing act has helped better millions of lives. With 48,000+ individuals with disabilities in our district, it is inexcusable that anyone requiring an elevator may need to go 10 subway stops out of their way to exit the subway system. Ensuring the MTA becomes more accessible is in the best interest of everyone. People of all ages who are recovering from physical injuries, senior citizens, and parents with strollers will also benefit from increased accessibility. Lauren grew up understanding the struggles of those with physical disabilities, as her grandfather was a quadriplegic. She believes that the Americans with Disabilities Act needs to be protected, strengthened and updated so that transit systems and public establishments are held accountable for true and practical accessibility for all.
Lauren supports universal rent control. Over 150,000 New York City units were registered as “deregulated” since 1994, 70% of which are in Manhattan. Our housing prices are becoming less affordable while our laws protecting affordability are becoming weaker. Lauren has a professional background in creating and advocating for affordable housing. She endorses proposals such as Elizabeth Warren’s American Housing and Economic Mobility Act which strips away the zoning laws that makes developing housing so expensive, and funds programs that subsidize development in low and middle-income communities.
Mass shootings in public spaces like schools, concerts, restaurants, and banks have become far too regular of a topic in the news. The United States has the highest rate of mass shootings per capita in the world, and every year over 15,000 Americans die due to gun violence (as well as an additional 22,000 per year from firearm suicide). Lauren supports universal background checks for every single gun sale no matter the model or venue of the sale (close all loopholes).
When the Second Amendment was written in 1791, Lauren believes that the authors could not foresee the types of guns that would become available for purchase in this day and age. Assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks should be banned, as these weapons should have never been allowed in the civilian market after being designed for war. Lauren also believes that all domestic abusers, stalkers, and those who have been found guilty of violent crime should be forced to surrender their firearms.
Lauren believes that the reason we have not been able to pass reasonable gun safety laws is because gun lobby money is being used to sway politicians’ decisions. Protecting tens of thousands of lives per year should not be a political issue, but rather, a moral issue.
Given our expanding opioid crisis, it is evident that Americans are seeking ways to manage physical pain. Many studies have shown that marijuana is extremely effective in treating pain, but without the same risks for addiction.
Closely related is our issue with mass incarceration. 52% of drug arrests in 2010 were due to marijuana. Black and white people use marijuana at approximately the same rate. However, black people are 4x more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. Legalizing marijuana federally to allow for both medical and recreational use (albeit with restrictions similar to alcohol), and releasing those who have been incarcerated for marijuana-related crimes would begin to undo this injustice in our society. The taxes from marijuana sales should be used first and foremost to assist those who have been incarcerated for marijuana-related crimes to help them reintegrate into society, and all marijuana-related crimes should be erased from criminal records.
Lauren believes, particularly given the tax benefits of marijuana legalization, that the primary reason it is still illegal is because Big Pharma’s profits for opioid sales would decrease, and many politicians (both Republican and Democrat) accept donations from these same companies. At the same time, marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 drug (the same as LSD, heroin and methamphetamines) which means even basic medical studies cannot be conducted to understand its benefits. Private prison lobbies also have a monetary interest in mass incarceration, as having full prisons creates more profit for them. Private prison lobbies benefit from mass incarceration related to marijuana use and donate to politicians who vote against its legalization.
Our society has inherited systemic ways in which it prevents people from improving their economic stances. For example, university is unaffordable and many students graduate with loans that they may never pay off. Minimum wage at 40 hours per week does not cover a 1-bedroom apartment or even a studio apartment in Lauren’s district. One trip to the hospital can bankrupt a family, with 4 out of 10 Americans unable to afford even a $400 emergency expense. Our system is failing our citizens.
Multiple members of Lauren’s family have survived from small Social Security checks after unforeseeable tragedies, and she strongly supports expanding Social Security benefits to keep up with inflation and rising costs of housing and to compensate for falling corporate pensions. Lauren will also fight so that students can attend a public university and graduate debt free. She supports Elizabeth Warren’s proposal for universal child care which will remove one of the major burdens of becoming a parent, and she supports increasing the minimum wage so that anyone working full-time can afford to pay for basic living costs.
Lauren supports bills like the Equality Act which would expand existing law to make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Unfortunately, many Republican lawmakers still support legislation that further takes away the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. Protecting this community by explicitly making illegal any discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation also means that no individual can be denied health coverage for gender-affirming medical care. Lauren’s true passion is fighting for equality across all genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, ages, religions and ability, and she will never stop fighting until everyone’s rights are equal by law.
Lauren believes that one major factor which has caused our system to be broken is that some members of Congress have spent their entire careers in office becomingly increasingly disconnected from their constituents. Paired with accepting corporate PAC money, many members of Congress can no longer in good faith claim that they represent the people in their districts. Lauren believes that adding term limits in both the House and Senate would ensure that our representatives bring their best energy to serve their constituents for their entire tenure prior to moving on and serving their communities in alternative ways. Ideally, representatives will understand, empathize with and even face the same struggles as their constituents so that they fight for legislation with the same veracity as they fight to win their campaign. Finally, Congress should not receive pay when other federal workers do not (e.g. during a shutdown).
A strong supporter of net neutrality, Lauren believes that open access to the internet should be a government-regulated utility rather than a corporate profit center. She understands that economic success is closely tied to internet access, and monopolizing the internet is yet another barrier preventing disenfranchised individuals from achieving success.
Lauren strongly supports the legalization, destigmatization, and decarceration of sex work, which would increase the safety of all involved. She is also against FOSTA-SESTA (a new law intended to curb sex trafficking), as she feels it limits free speech and also limits workers’ ability to work safely and independently.