Voter guide: Jennifer Pingley, Congress, District 1

Jennifer Pingley

Democratic candidate for Congress, D1

Age 38

Residence Elkton, Cecil County, Maryland

Occupation Nurse, Small business owner, Advocate, Mother

Education Early Intervention Specialist, Certified; Observation Specialist, Certified; Occupational Hearing; Conservationist, Certified; Workers’ Compensation Case Manager; Breath Alcohol Technician, Trainer; Pharmacy Technician Certificate; Pre-Hospital for Nurses Certificate; Associate of Science, General Studies; Associate of Science, Nursing; Bachelor of Science, Nursing; Master of Science, Nursing (in progress)

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Previous political experience

Local, state, and congressional advocate for first responders, nurses, and patients regarding care, health, and safety.

Why are you running for office?

I see the healthcare situation in this country, and it needs to change. I see how my first responders had to fight for their 9-11 benefits that should have been automatically given. I see tax cuts and bailouts for large businesses that don’t trickle down to the common people. I see the rights and protection of our workers being stripped away. I see the squandering of our natural resources, while wind and solar go untapped. I see hate becoming acceptable. This is intolerable. We need a change of leadership in District 1 that doesn’t waiver in crisis. Leadership that puts people before profits and personal gain. From hands on in the community, to front line during the COVID-19 crisis, and advocating for what is right all the way up to Capitol Hill; I am that leadership.


How do you assess the Trump administration so far? Name at least one positive and one negative.

The Trump administration’s gutting of essential offices related to science and crisis mitigation have been a large contributor to the very poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I appreciate that President Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I also appreciate that he donates his salary.


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?

I did not see the economic growth intended by the 2017 tax cuts. I feel like any extra revenue achieved was pocketed instead of reinvested. I think all businesses should have a minimum tax rate they cannot drop below. Tax cuts should be focused for small business and individuals for true economic growth.


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?

Income inequality is a huge problem. Constitutionalizing equal rights amendments is the first step to being able to address the problem. This would give the right for individuals to challenge the discrimination of being paid differently for the same work.


Should federal gun laws be changed, and if so, how and why?

As a registered deadly weapon, myself, I agree with mandatory background checks. I think that current, full background check such as for nurses, doctors, military, government contractors, etc. should count toward the requirement. I believe in the establishment of an independent business for the background checks and additional services such as private gun vaulting for domestic issues. This would provide an extra layer of protection and require meeting the evidential level of a warrant before data was exchanged outside of required reporting related to gross non-compliance.


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?

While Universal healthcare is the ultimate goal, it is unlikely to pass, even in this crisis scenario. I suggest keeping the ACA as is but adding a slow roll out of ‘Primary care for All.’ Begin by adding free primary care to Medicare part A. Just this alone can save and extend the Medicare trust by emphasizing self-care and self- responsibility through proactive medicine. Proactive medicine is cheaper, yet people are healthier and happier about their care compared to reactive model medicine. We need to shift away from reactive medicine. If you’re coming to the hospital for life saving care, you’re already sick enough to where it is shortening your life. We need to do better in lowering medication prices so people can afford to better manage their care. This includes providing certain insulins for free.


What role should the federal government play in helping cities? What, if anything, would you do for Baltimore, specifically?

Urban community reinvestment is key. Free or low interest loans for small business, non-profits, and residents to maintain and/or improve building and environmental conditions. Support the small business growth to keep jobs in neighborhoods. Continue to and increase support for public transportation. The more we invest to keep up the neighborhoods and keep them from running down, the less crime and unemployment they will experience.


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 support Elijah Cummings’ bill to fight the opioid epidemic. Every single nurse is now a mental health and opioid/addictions interventionalist. The federal cuts to nurse education and reinvestment money limit the success of nurses at identifying and intervening in opioid addiction. I can only imagine how funding cuts have affected addictions counselors, social workers, doctors, pharmacists, and other mental health professionals. $100billion probably only replaces the money cut from these professionals over the past several years. We must be more proactive. Reactive is less effective and costs considerably more.


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?

DACA is only fair to the good people who are marked by the mistakes of their parents. That mark need not be forever. DACA is how we get these people on the right path to citizenship. I would pause ICE for 6 months to allow undocumented persons to get on the right path to citizenship. After that, you are violating the law and should be removed. Not everyone qualifies to be here. We have rules for a reason. However, I agree with ankle monitors instead of holding cells. Family is the best support we have. I believe that the chain migration is a benefit that encourages people to maintain their civic responsibilities and behave better overall.


How would you rate the Trump administration’s trade stance with China and why?

Trump’s stance waivers, so I would give it a 3 out of 10 stars. We need to maintain a good working relationship with China. They provide goods and services that would be to difficult, impossible, or too expensive to process here in the United States. However, we need to lead by example and use our trade agreements to be environmentally beneficial for both countries. Imagine the green energy powerhouse China could be. They could produce significant amounts of power.


Do you support the president’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal? Why or why not?

We fight so hard to prevent other nations from becoming nuclear weapons capable for the safety of the world at large. However, nuclear power is considered a ‘clean’ energy. We need to identify a way to have nuclear energy for electrical power, but not for weaponry. I think Iran can be reasonable on this. Though it will require coming back to the table to negotiate.


How should the United States address the rise of North Korea’s nuclear program?

We fight so hard to prevent other nations from becoming nuclear weapons capable for the safety of the world at large. However, nuclear power is considered a ‘clean’ energy. We need to identify a way to have nuclear energy for electrical power, but not for weaponry. This needs to be a hardline stance.


How should the United States address climate change?

Re-enter the Paris Climate Change Agreement. We need to lead by example. We see ourselves as the #1 nation in the world. We need to show up and start acting like it.


Do you support the Green New Deal? Why or why not?

We need a new green deal to stop squandering our natural resources and take advantage of our more abundant and easily sourced wind and solar energies.

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