I want your vote, so let me explain how I would serve you.
From the start, I want to be clear about what I will do as the 11th district's congressman. I'm not a politician, so I don't think in "issues" or "priorities". My career has been in business, and in that world we set out clear goals. Here are the five goals I'll be pursuing from day one, and that my tenure in Congress should be judged by:
- Put more money in your pocket. It's simple, and Democrats have many great ideas for how to do it, but often lack the right messenger. Higher minimum wage? Yes. Reinforcing labor laws? Yes. Universal healthcare? Yes, that too will raise wages, as employees will no longer be hostage to dismal jobs solely for an insurance card.
- Put a healthcare card in every wallet. Look, even Trump and the GOP Congress say everyone deserves health insurance, they're just either too cheap or duplicitous to do it. Look at them: there is the stink of weakness about their position, and they know it. 2018 will be the year that progressives run on the simple, moral, and economically smart plan to arm every single American with a health insurance card. Period.
- Put even more money in your pocket. Maybe it's the MIT engineer in me, but pocketbook issues are so important they deserve two mentions. Strengthen Social Security? Yes, because it's good for our seniors and, to the extent more retirements open up more chances for promotion, it helps our non-seniors. How about a corporate tax cut only available to companies whose CEOs don't make crazy multiples of their workers' salary? Yes. What about the coming wave of self-driving longhaul trucks, that could jeopardize millions of jobs? Tax the "autonomous drivers" to pay for our out of work neighbors to retrain and retool. The Republican answer to every problem is "cut taxes for the millionaires"; my answer is a smart, systematic realignment that prioritizes workers and salaries over moguls and corporations.
- Put opioid-pushing CEOs in jail. If the police pull over a motorist, and catch even a whiff of marijuana, they can seize their car, money, and belongings on the spot through civil forfeiture laws. Yet some of America's largest pharmaceuticals have knowingly flooded our small towns with millions of these pills, triggering the deadliest drug epidemic in my lifetime. Why haven't those corporate offices been raided, the computers seized, bank accounts frozen, board members handcuffed? Trust me, if the Feds hit just one pharmaceutical company half as hard as they hit the pushers on the street corner, the very next day the spigot of cheap pills would stop 100%.
- Put democracy first. As we've learned over the past two years, our liberal democratic institutions are not invulnerable. Republicans in North Carolina curtail voting rights to minorities, the White House now spends more time denigrating the free press than it does staffing its administration, and our own Congressman refuses to hold a public townhall because, well, cowardice. Revitalizing the lifeblood of our democracy is critical. Making election day a national holiday? Yes. Engaging the press, whether it be conservative or liberal leaning? Yes. Protecting our elections from Russian hacking? Yes. And, for goodness sake, speaking to the people: As your Representative, I pledge to twelve townhalls per year, split evenly across Brooklyn and the three Staten Island Assembly Districts.
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Leveraging the changing climate situation to launch a "green economy" revolution? Yes. Protecting women's right to make their own medical decisions with their own doctors? For goodness sake, yes. Not just respecting, but embracing our LGBTQ brothers and sisters? Of course (for my fellow Christians, I hearken to Mark 12:28-30, where Jesus teaches that after loving God, the next highest commandment is loving thy neighbor). First amendment? I'm a very strong supporter, and think it's weak sauce to shudder in the face of opposing views. Immigration? I spent eight years of my life wrangling with the INS to complete an orphan immigration adoption from Japan, and the experience left me with limitless compassion for those brave souls who've risked it all to come to America, as my ancestors did from Italy, Sicily, Germany, and Russia.
There are many, many issues that our country faces, which I'm happy to discuss in person, and 77 more weeks to discuss them. I welcome all questions, fear no disagreements, and see every conversation as an opportunity to advance the progressive agenda. Bring it on.