(A) founder of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus, volunteer (and then employee) of Progressive Maryland. Served as Eastern Shore Organizer, Baltimore City/County Organizer, Training and Leadership Development Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator for Independent Expenditure campaign(s) on behalf of Mary Washington, Jill P Carter, Aletheia McCaskill, Cory McCray, Antonio Hayes, and Ben Jealous, and the Fight for Fair Elections Campaign (Prop H).
Why are you running for office?
I’m running for office because we need more working class people in positions of power and I have the experience, perseverance, and determination to take on anyone that stands in the way of progress for working families. While Congress gives out trillions of dollars to Wall Street and cruise companies we’re told to manage on $1,200 as jobless claims cruise towards 33 million. We’re told to weather a pandemic while many are struggling to put food on the table, and losing our insurance coverage. It’s time to take back the people’s house and put it to work for the working and middle class families of this country and that’s why I’m running for the 2nd Disctrict.
How do you assess the Trump administration so far? Name at least one positive and one negative.
Almost everything the Trump administration has done has been a travesty. From the proposed muslim ban, the botched Iran Deal, pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, and the expansion of private prison and immigration detention centers, to the rise of white supremacist terrorism, tax breaks for billionaires, and the trade war with China.
One positive: commuting the sentence of Alice Johnson.
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?
The only effect they had was to make millionaires and billionaires like Trump richer. Much of the money was spent on stock buybacks, dividends, and executive pay/bonuses while almost nothing “trickled down” to the working and middle class people of this country. The cuts should be repealed immediately and we should pass tax cuts for the people who actually need them, working and middle class America.
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 absolutely a problem. In the richest country in the history of the world 40% of our population should not be living paycheck to paycheck. Federal minimum wage should not be a poverty wage of $7.25 an hour. Families should not have to choose between a roof over their heads, food on the table, or which bill they’re going to pay in which order. It is time for the wealthy in this country to pay their fair share and pass progressive tax legislation that ensures they do. The top tax rate under Democratic and Republican presidents through Eisenhower were up to 93% so we can sure as hell make sure that the average American is paying a lower effective tax rate than Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Donald Trump.
Should federal gun laws be changed, and if so, how and why?
Yes. It makes no sense to me that I need more documentation and testing to drive a car than I do to own a gun. Background checks are supported by a majority of Americans and I see no reason or excuse for that not to be the case.
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?
Congress should immediately pass Medicare for All. No one should have to choose between going to the doctor or paying their rent or mortgage. This is even more critical when we are fighting to stem the tide of a global pandemic, as getting the care we need is vital to flattening the curve.
Medicare for All will save us money that we can use on education and infrastructure. According to the recent study published in The Lancet, “a single-payer, universal health-care system is likely to lead to a 13% savings in national health-care expenditure, equivalent to more than US$450 billion annually (based on the value of the US$ in 2017).”
And let’s face it. What we’re doing is not working. More and more Americans are losing their healthcare and premiums are rising. While we can talk about compromise and what that looks like (a public option phase in period) it is time that in the richest country in the history of the world that every American can get the healthcare they need without exorbitant premiums, copays, and deductibles.
What role should the federal government play in helping cities? What, if anything, would you do for Baltimore, specifically?
We should be expanding federal spending on education, infrastructure, and jobs programs. We should be regulating companies to provide their goods more equitably. It should not be impossible to get a grocery store in communities without, and if companies want prime locations in higher socioeconomic parts of town we should be obligating them to operating in every community that needs them, not just the ones that make the line item on their stock portfolio turn green,
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?
Yes, and we have much further to go. Not only do we need prevention, intervention, and recovery services but we should be holding the pharmaceutical companies accountable for their greed. We need to regulate price gouging and make sure that the consequences are severe. Pharmaceutical companies should be investigated, and if wrong doing is found be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
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?
We should roll every single thing that Trump has done. No muslim bans. No Office of Denaturalization. No private prisons where children are taken from their families and people are deported to countries many have never known. Abolish ICE. Use the funds currently allocated to ICE for the immigration court system and attorneys and judges to expedite the immigration process. DACA should be preserved and expanded. Immigrants are critical to our advances in medicine, technology, and science, and serve as essential workers on the front line in our hospitals, our agriculture, and every place of business and it is long past time that we make true, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
How would you rate the Trump administration’s trade stance with China and why?
It’s terrible. This effort in strongman diplomacy fell flat on its face, devastating our farmers and forcing bailouts for problems the trade war itself created.
Do you support the president’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal? Why or why not?
No. Our policy towards Iran should be one of diplomacy and seeking to understand, not of xenophobia and fear mongering. There was absolutely no reason to leave the Iran Nuclear deal and as your congressmen I would work to ensure it was reinstated, with a focus on collaboration instead of sanctions that affect the poorest living in Iran.
How should the United States address the rise of North Korea’s nuclear program?
“Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Again, our focus should be on diplomacy and opening up negotiations with North Korea and we have to be willing to make a real effort to have those hard conversations while holding fast to our expectations on human rights and eventual denuclearization.
How should the United States address climate change?
The Green New Deal. It is time we invested in our country and our people with a job guarantee funded by an extensive infrastructure program that not only brings our bridges and electrical grids into the 21st century, but heavily invests in green technology and jobs.
GREEN NEW DEAL
Do you support the Green New Deal? Why or why not?