Lauren’s vision is for every single person in NY-12 to have equal and full representation. Lauren’s 100% grassroots, people-powered campaign gives voice to those who have gone unrepresented.
The Climate Crisis
Acclaimed scientists are warning of catastrophic and irreversible effects from our inadequate environmental policies and dependence on fossil fuels. Given the urgency of this issue, Lauren supports the Green New Deal, an agenda that meets the scope of this enormous problem in order to counteract the damage done by humans to our earth. She wants to emphasize the importance of ending subsidies such as those to factory farming (one of the main contributors to greenhouse gases) and instead promote regenerative agriculture practices. Lauren also supports a national Single Use Plastics Ban by 2030. District 12 surrounds the East River and directly bears the effects of rising sea levels and environmental injustice which disproportionately affects marginalized communities. In combination with the Green New Deal, Lauren also supports nationalizing and upgrading all public transit and making public transit usage free for all. We need to incentivize using the greenest method of transportation possible, but also ensure that it meets the needs of those who need to use it and is accessible for all.
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. Mental healthcare and substance abuse disorder treatment should also be fully covered. Lauren believes that the reason we have not developed a universal healthcare system is 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. In addition, she supports medical debt forgiveness, vision, dental and hearing coverage as part of this plan. Healthcare should not be for profit. Lauren supports free prescription drug coverage (on all lifesaving medications) including immediate provision of free PrEP for anyone who requests it. If everyone has free access, we can eradicate HIV in the United States.
Criminal Justice Reform
We are living the effects of a broken and failed criminal justice system. We must immediately stop providing military equipment to local police forces. We must strip immunity from police and hold police officers criminally liable for misconduct and civil rights violations. Every single time someone is killed by a police officer we must conduct a U. S. Attorney General’s investigation. Active body cameras should be required on every police officer while on duty. If these cameras are purposely obstructed, criminal charges must follow. There must be strict guidelines with independent oversight for all federal funding of police departments with immediate stripping of all federal funding in response to violations. We must create a federally-managed database of police use of deadly force. Federal funding should be provided to states for cities to establish civilian oversight agencies. Police officers should be hired from and live within the neighborhoods they will serve. We must ban for-profit prisons and end cash bail. We cannot keep criminalizing poverty. We must legalize cannabis and decriminalize the usage of all drugs. We must decriminalize skin color. Lauren has also proudly signed Anthony Clark and Cori Bush’s Pledge to #EndPoliceViolence.
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. It also needs to be expanded so that the burden of enforcement is carried by the federal government, not by those who cannot access spaces. Also, Social Security Disability benefits are NOT sufficient to cover the costs of living. Lauren advocates for expanding and increasing these benefits so that nobody relying on them is struggling to survive and provide for their families.
Save our United States Postal Service and Unbanked or Underbanked Community
Lauren’s proposal for the PRE-PARED Act (Postal Restoration and Enhancement-Public banking and Refund Excess Downpayment Act). We cannot allow another public institution to be further eroded through the privatization of the Postal Service. We must act to keep USPS operational, fully funded, and expand its role into providing financial services in the public interest through a postal banking system. Post offices can successfully be expanded to provide financial services. There are over 30,000 locations (by comparison, JPMorgan Chase has only 5,000 locations). Post offices are built like banks with heavy brick walls, steel screens, vaults, ATMs, and armored trucks. They are respected by the public and up to the task of serving the underbanked and unbanked. Policy Recommendations Include: Issuing $89 billion in Congressional stimulus appropriations to be immediately disbursed to USPS to address the pandemic-induced crisis and previous undermining of the institution Repealing of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act Amending the Postal Reorganization Act and placing the USPS back under Congressional purview Re-introducing a nationwide Public Postal Banking System that will provide individuals with several financial services such as prepaid debit cards, mobile transactions, new check cashing services, savings accounts, and access to credit. All provided in the same locations as postal services
How Will We Pay for It?
Simple. We will pay for our bold progressive goals the same way we already pay for everything else, including disastrous wars. Congress will appropriate a spending budget and we will mobilize the necessary resources to produce what we need. For several decades, the scope of political possibilities and debate in our public discourse has been mediated by the ever looming question “But how are you going to pay for it?”. Rather coincidentally, it seems as though this question is only taken seriously when it concerns the public good such as with healthcare, education, infrastructure, the arts, and urgent climate policy. While establishment politicians are silent on the endless and seamless spending for war, tax cuts for the ultra rich, and corporate subsidies, it begs the question as to whether we the public have been misled about the operations of money in a modern economy and a Government’s capacity to use its fiscal and monetary authority. In fact, Millions in lobbyist money has been spent in bipartisan efforts to spread ideological misinformation and create panic on concepts such as the Federal deficit and debt. The reality is that the United States is the ultimate legal authority over the issuing of U.S. Dollars and as such, all public spending means the generation of new money into the economy with taxes serving as its removal. What is left over is equal to what we call the Government deficit, or a non-government surplus. Contrary to a currency user like you as a working person, a household, a business, or a local or state government which needs to raise revenue or borrow in order to spend, a currency issuer like the United States Government must first spend its chosen unit of account (US Dollars) into an economy before there is anything to tax back out. The obvious conclusion to this understanding of the operational reality of Federal finance is that we need not “find” the money to pay for our social objectives dollar per dollar, something that those in the establishment have already understood when it comes to the priorities of powerful interests. This does not in any way suggest that the government should be spending without a limit. Our government’s responsibility is to consider the effects on the economy as a whole and avoid the destabilizing of prices. This means it must evaluate its spending not on a requirement to balance its budget but on constraints based on the availability of real resources including labor, technology, raw materials, and productive capacity for a particular agenda and the industry it involves in order to avoid shortages and inflation. Therefore, while we as a nation have people able and willing to produce things and while we have the capacity to invest in what we urgently need, there is absolutely no excuse not to act with the well being of communities and our environment at stake. Failing to act and allowing our government to abdicate from its responsibility to invest in the public good has fostered an economy addicted to private debt and credit in the grip of the private banking system which through financial speculation and its predatory behavior has been responsible for the generation of ongoing bubbles, market crashes, and recessions. What we really need is the political will to do what’s right and invest in our people over the powerful!
Education as a Human Right/Student Debt Forgiveness
As someone who has lived and studied abroad, Lauren has experienced and appreciated the high quality tuition-free universities available in other countries. Lauren supports Bernie Sanders’ plan to make college free and to forgive all student debt. She also believes that everyone who has paid their student debt should receive a credit for what they have paid so they can invest their money in their futures and families. Lauren believes that education is a human right, and that nobody should be burdened financially for the rest of their life for wanting to learn.
Ending American Imperialism
As someone who studied International Relations, Lauren learned about the countless times throughout United States history in which our military interventions have cost human life (both American and abroad), money , have destabilized multiple entire regions, supported dictators, and inadvertently armed our enemies. Lauren believes in 2019/2020, our foreign policy needs to be focused on peace, relationship-building, diplomacy, and leading by example. Unlike her opponent, Lauren will not vote for any kind of military intervention unless it is to defend ourselves or allies against active military attacks. Lauren will also not vote to increase our military budget.
Expanding Union Rights
Lauren believes that corporate influence (big money in politics), lobbies, and partisan fighting in Washington have allowed employers to attack the organizing rights of their employees. NOT allowing workers to unionize benefits the CEOs and its shareholders while average workers lose their rights and power. Lauren believes that all workers in any workplace, profession, or sector should be allowed to and encouraged to organize for their rights, and nobody should be exempt from protection under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Act, or other federal labor laws. Examples of legislation Lauren supports includes Bernie Sanders’ Workplace Democracy Act, H.R. 2474, repealing Section 14(b) of Taft-Hartley, H.R. 582, ending two-stage elections in favor of card check elections, ending at-will employment and noncompete clauses, enacting fair scheduling requirements, codetermindation on corporate boards (40% representation in all publicly traded companies), and a maximum wage for CEOs (30x the lowest salary in the company including that of foreign workers).
Federal Jobs Guarantee
In 2018, huge corporations received record tax cuts. We have not seen that money being used to hire new employees at record rates. In fact, many companies are still laying off large numbers of employees and re-hiring outside of the country while senior executives gave themselves raises and record bonuses. While the media points to record low unemployment rates, they fail to acknowledge the job insecurity, lack of quality and low pay that most Americans face, commonly known as underemployment. If we want to secure dignity and a quality job as a human right and prepare for a future recession and/or market crash, then we must support a Federal Jobs Guarantee. A Federal Jobs Guarantee is federally funded but locally implemented and thus allows for communities to design green job projects that meet local and regional social and environmental needs.
Decriminalization of Sex Work
Lauren strongly supports the decriminalization, 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.
Net Neutrality/Internet Protection
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.
Voting Rights and Fair Elections Free of Big 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. 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. Finally, Lauren supports ranked-choice voting at the federal level, as this expands a voter’s choice and encourages competitive primaries and a healthy democracy.
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.
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, and those who have paid off their student debt should receive a credit for the money they should have never lost. She supports universal child care which will remove one of the major burdens of becoming a parent, and she supports increasing the minimum wage to what is truly livable in each locality so that anyone working full-time can afford to pay for basic living costs. Lauren also supports switching to a residency based tax system to help end double taxation and double filing for working class Americans living abroad. Lauren supports increasing taxes on the wealthiest individuals in our society, as she believes that we have allowed a system in which the divide between the top 1% and the rest of us has widened while many are struggling to survive.
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 the racism-based war on drugs 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 supports universal background checks for every single gun sale no matter the model or venue of the sale (close all loopholes) and also for ammunition. 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 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. Lauren believes our current immigration laws are tied to xenophobia, and that crossing our border should be decriminalized while legal immigration should be made easy and cost-free. ICE should be abolished immediately, and Lauren will not sign any bill further authorizing any funds for ICE until they are gone.
People Over Corporations
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 market crashes and corporate monopolies. 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. Lauren advocates for ending corporate welfare, ensuring that workers are represented on corporate boards and requiring federal stakeholder charters for large companies. Lauren will negotiate on behalf of her constituents, not corporations.
Housing as a Human Right
Lauren fully endorses the Homes Guarantee (HomesGuarantee.com) which boldly champions housing as a human right. Universal rent control, a social housing zoning law, proactive protections of public housing are all included in this comprehensive plan. Lauren also specifically supports the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders) which will further secure that we meet our goal of becoming a carbon-neutral society while enhancing the quality of life and dignity of those who live in public housing.
The Equal Rights Amendment is not federally ratified. Paid parental leave is not a mandatory employer benefit by law. The wage gap has not been closed. Reproductive freedom and our bodily autonomy are 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.