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. She wants to emphasize the importance of ending subsidies to factory farming (one of the main contributors to greenhouse gases) and instead promote small and medium-sized family-owned farms. Lauren also supports a national Single Use Plastics Ban by 2030. District 12 surrounds the East River and bears 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 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.
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.
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 as more individuals have access to affordable, preventative treatment, and she believes our society will reap the benefits of substance abuse disorder 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. In addition, she supports medical debt forgiveness and national drug price caps of lifesaving medications.
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.
Lauren supports ending arrest quotas, ending cash bail, decriminalizing poverty, encouraging the development of positive relationships between police forces and the communities they serve, and ending 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.
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.
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 workers in any workplace should be allowed to and encouraged to organize for their rights. She believes we would see increased wages, much more generous and equitable paid parental leave, increased worker safety, less layoffs and improved benefits.