First elected to House of Delegates in 2002, served on the House Judiciary Committee until 2016.
Director of the Baltimore Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement, 2017-2018. Elected as State Senator, D41, in 2018. Current member of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
Why are you running for office?
My goal for this office is to address the shared issues of the 7th Congressional District. We have great diversity in the district, but many of our problems are the same: Rising healthcare costs, violent crime, troubled schools, lead contamination, a lack of jobs and opportunities for the young, an impending climate crisis, and crumbling infrastructure. We need a proactive Congresswoman who is ready to focus on the issues and propose bold, ambitious solutions. That’s who I pledge to be.
How do you assess the Trump administration so far? Name at least one positive and one negative.
I gave the Trump Administration an F in delivering results for the people of the 7th Congressional District. His blatant disregard for the human rights of Black and Brown communities, support of white supremacist policies, massive conflict of interests, and corruption are absolutely unacceptable. The only “positive” of this Administration has been unmasking the cruelty and greed of so many people.
2017 TAX CUTS
What effect do you believe the federal tax cuts of 2017 have had on the economy thus far or will have in the future and why? Do you support the cuts?
These tax cuts have worsened inequality and caused working and middle class families to pay higher tax rates than major corporations and Wall Street gamblers. I do not support the cut, and I will propose legislation to transition the United States to a more progressive income tax system.
Is the level of economic inequality in the United States a problem, and why or why not? What, if anything, should the federal government do to address it?
It is a severe problem that threatens not only the wellbeing of many families and young people across this country, but that also threatens our democracy itself. Most acutely, this problem builds upon generations of systemic racism in disproportionately harming Black, brown, and new Americans. I will work for progressive taxation that makes the super-rich and corporations pay their fair share, a wealth tax to address rampant wealth inequality, as well as Medicare for All and student debt relief to bring greater balance to the economy and unburden everyday people.
Should federal gun laws be changed, and if so, how and why?
In the immediate short term, we must as a country adopt universal background checks, a national gun registry and an assault weapons ban at the federal level. It’s imperative that we keep lethal weapons out of the hands of abusers and weapons of war off our streets. These measures would yield demonstrable positive results, but they also would not address the underlying causes of violence: poverty and trauma. By lifting Americans out of poverty and addressing the trauma endured by Americans who live and who havebeen raised in ZIP codes with an intolerable level of violence, we can in most cases end gun violence before it begins, save lives, and improve the quality of life for all Americans.
What should Congress do with respect to the Affordable Care Act, how and why? If you believe it should be scrapped, what, if anything, should replace it?
I would build on the Affordable Care Act, expanding rights and benefits until we have true universal coverage under Medicare for All. Whether the process takes one piece of legislation or several, we need to move toward a just and logical system in which all Americans can count on their healthcare coverage. With Medicare for All, we can end premiums, co-pays, and deductibles, ensuring complete coverage for all while slashing out-of-pocket costs per family and driving down the national cost of healthcare.
What role should the federal government play in helping cities? What, if anything, would you do for Baltimore, specifically?
The federal government should have a big role in helping cities. I propose an end to Opportunity Zones that give tax cuts to billionaires and would work instead on directly investing into the education systems, infrastructure, housing stock and public health systems of Baltimore. By investing directly in the people and the neighborhoods of our city, we can address need where it is most urgently felt and build real opportunities – in school, in jobs, and in the wider community. Federal investment in these community pillars can help bring peace and opportunity to neighborhoods, building from the ground up.
Do you back Elijah Cummings’ bill -- which Republicans say is too expensive -- to provide $100 billion over 10 years to fight the opioid epidemic? Why or why not?
I do support this bill, because we need to fight the opioid epidemic head on. We must also address the root causes of addiction: poverty and trauma, as part of any legislation intended to address addiction. While the federal government will need to take the lead, there is no reason to believe the Republican critique of Elijah’s bill. Governments at all levels are taking the drug companies that manufactured this crisis to court to seek reimbursement for the public expense of addressing the opioid crisis – and winning. That process is only just beginning, and governments from cities up to the federal governmentshould continue to bring suit against unethical drug makers and distributors tocompensate taxpayers.
What changes, if any, should Congress make to our immigration and deportation laws and policies? Should the DACA program be preserved? Why or why not?
I would immediately work to end this administration’s cruel and inhumane policies at the southern border and would further work to investigate and hold accountable any and all persons who have been involved in the outrageous human rights violations this administration has committed. I would then join with my colleagues in Congress to implement a moratorium on deportations for anyone without a history of violent criminal activity, protect the DREAMers, and create a pathway to citizenship.
How would you rate the Trump administration’s trade stance with China and why?
I rate their trade stance as an F. Prices are rising for consumers as a result of tariffs, while farmers can’t export their crops. His trade policy is a disaster and we need to work with international markets to sell our national products, but we need to protect environmental and labor regulations to the maximum degree possible.
Do you support the president’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal? Why or why not?
I do not. The Iran nuclear deal is the best chance of building good will with Iran, and was built with years of international cooperation under the leadership of the Obama Administration. We must follow the framework laid down by President Obama’s professional negotiators and our allies from around the world and build upon their work to stabilize cooperation with Iran and prevent it from developing nuclear weapons that would directly threaten innocent people across the region.
How should the United States address the rise of North Korea’s nuclear program?
The United States should work with regional partners, such as China, Japan, and South Korea to deescalate conflict with North Korea and improve human rights for North Koreans. By combining pressure from regional partners with greater bargaining positions toward the regime along with the proper incentives, we can forestall conflict anddeescalate the tense and dangerous situation.
How should the United States address climate change?
We need a Green New Deal that can move our society to 100% renewable energy as soon as possible. We need to expand public transit, plant billions of trees, improve water and air quality, and mobilize immediately to address the impending climate crisis head on. The federal government, in coordination with other sovereign nations, international agencies, and NGOs, must take a lead role and do everything in its power to effectuate policy changes that will address national and global environmental concerns.
GREEN NEW DEAL
Do you support the Green New Deal? Why or why not?
I will be a day one supporter of the Green New Deal, because we need to address the impending climate crisis immediately. We cannot wait when the air quality in Black Baltimore is among the worst on the East Coast, or when water levels are rising in the Inner Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay. We cannot wait when the future of humanity is at stake, so I will be a sponsor and advocate for the Green New Deal in the Congress.