- The average student-loan in 2014 was $28,950, representing a 56 percent increase from the 2004 average of $18,550. During that same decade, state funding for public colleges dropped from 62 percent to 51 percent. College is free in Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, while in France, public universities are free for students from lower-income families, and those from higher-income families pay about $200 a year. What would you do or support to reduce the cost of going to college or make it tuition free as it is in many nations? Answer: I support the legislation across Europe that creates a path for a necessary education in today’s global economy. Today’s college degree is practically required for most jobs, and everyone should have that access. I will support bills to decrease the cost of a college education and lessen the burden on students, and I believe we should be work to pass tuition-free public college education for all, along with cancelling outstanding student debt that financially cripples millions of Americans.
- The Republican-controlled Congress appears to be fighting for corporations, insurance companies, and for-profit hospitals in their effort to repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Repeal would mean that 57 million senior citizens and disabled Americans with Medicare would see higher premiums and deductibles. Repeal would increase Medicare spending by $802 billion over the next ten years, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office. Repeal would also take Medicaid away from nearly 17 million people. I am one of the Americans who benefit from the ACA because I live with a pre-existing condition, cystinosis. The disease is a rare orphan disease that causes the amino acid cystine to accumulate in the cells, and it slowly damages my organs including the kidneys, liver, thyroid, eyes, lungs muscles, and brain. Do you support keeping the ACA? Answer: I support the ACA as a step in the right direction, but until every American is covered we still have work to do on America’s healthcare situation.
- The ACA is a significant step forward, and we must fight to protect it. However, even with it one of my medications, Procysbi costs over $75,000 for a 30-day supply. That is just one medication not including the 24 other medications I am taking. What do you propose which would correct the errors in the ACA? Right now, millions of Americans still do not have access to healthcare. I propose that Congress pass a single-payer, universal healthcare bill so that every American can get the healthcare they need.
- In 2017, many transgender and intersex individuals still do not have access to high-quality comprehensive health care. Even when transgender and intersex individuals do access health care they are often faced with harassment and discrimination. Some of the issues that transgender and intersex individuals face include but are not limited to the follow, physicians and medical staff refusing to identify the individual by their preferred name and pronouns (for many individuals it is difficult and sometimes even impossible for transgender and intersex individuals to correct their government documents to reflect their identities because of the cost and in some states a confusing process), insurance companies (including Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, and VA) refuse to cover gender conforming treatments including surgery, sometimes transgender and intersex individuals are even refused care by physicians and medical staff. What would you propose to correct these wrongs? Answer: Discrimination against transgender individuals is a pervasive problem in society today and we must address it not only with government programs to subsidize the costs of gender reassignment therapy but also with public initiatives to educate Americans about discrimination faced by transgender individuals and those who do not fall on one end or the other of the gender binary.
- Over eight in 10 (85 percent) LGBTQIA students experienced verbal harassment based on a personal characteristic, and nearly two-thirds (66 percent) experienced LGBTQ-related discrimination at school (GLSEN School Climate Survey 2015). Most LGBTQ students report that they’ve heard homophobic remarks (56 percent) and negative remarks about gender expression (64 percent) from school staff (GLSEN School Climate Survey 2015). LGBTQ students who experienced high levels of anti-LGBTQ victimization were twice as likely to report they do not plan to pursue post-secondary education. Also, LGBTQ students who experienced high levels of anti-LGBTQ victimization and discrimination had lower GPAs, lower self-esteem and higher levels of depression (GLSEN School Climate Survey 2015). What would you do to protect LGBTQIA students? Answer: Protecting LGBTQ+ students is a difficult thing to do because there is not a one-size-fits-all answer, but I believe that with education initiatives in schools across the nation, similar to the programs that led to the fade of things like smoking from younger popular culture, LGBTQ+ students can be protected in our schools.
- In 20 states and DC prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In two other states, they include sexual orientation but not gender identity. In 19 states and DC prohibit discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In two other states, they include sexual orientation but not gender identity. In 20 states and DC, they prohibit discrimination in housing based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In two other states, the include sexual orientation but not gender identity. What will you do to ensure full federal civil rights for LGBTQIA individuals? Discrimination based on sexual orientation is inexcusable and I swear to fight against discriminatory legislation around the nation to protect my LGBTQ+ siblings and allies. I seek to outlaw any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation.
- Since 2013, there have been over 200 school shootings in America — an average of nearly one a week (https://everytownresearch.org/school-shootings/). Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that on an average day, 93 Americans are killed with guns. What gun laws and or reforms do you support? Answer: School shootings are a tragedy and we must find a way to end these terrible instances of gun violence without stripping Americans of their second amendment rights. I believe responsible Americans should be able to own firearms, but we must have a system of background checks and rigorous licensing to make sure that dangerous weapons do not fall into the wrong hands.
- Do you support comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship? Answer: Absolutely. America is a country founded on immigration and anyone who seeks to start a new life in America should be able to do so. Conservative attacks on immigration reform on the basis of national security are unfounded and only serve to damage the public perception of the wonderful community of those seeking to become Americans.
- Do you support the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors), DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans), DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), TVDL (Temporary Visitor’s Driver’s License), and UAFA (Uniting American Families Act)? I support measures to make immigration to the US a less arduous process, though I believe the complicated bureaucracy should be lessened and I will support legislation to make the immigration process simple, fast, and effective.
- Do you support replacing the minimum wage with a “living wage”? Answer: The current minimum wage is a starvation wage and must be immediately increased to $15/hour and set to adjust for inflation annually. I am acquainted with local business owners who do not support the current movement to increase the minimum wage as they cannot afford to pay prospective workers a higher wage, so I am proposing cutting and shifting the subsidies and tax cuts given to large corporations to those who work for local businesses, giving them the wage they deserve while not placing a burden on local entrepreneurs and business owners.
- What is your stance on the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Answer: I am against it, as I am all “free trade” agreements that hurt the American job market and abuse foreign workers.
- Do you support “too-big-to-fail” legislation? Answer: Banks that are “too big to fail” are too big to exist and must be broken up before leading to another 2008 market crash and ruining the lives of millions in the name of corporate profits.
- Do you support a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act? Answer: I support the reintroduction of the Glass-Steagall Act to protect America from another economic blunder like what happened in 2008. It’s time for major reform to our banking system and time to imprison robber barons who made off with our tax dollars that went to the disaster of a bailout to the banks and not the people.
Mr. Gaff is the progressive that we need in Congress. Please consider joining me in supporting Mr. Gaff for Congress! Go here to join his campaign: http://www.henrygaff.com/
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