Click here for the entire 30 page PDF of The Narrows Agenda.
After months of meeting voters, discussing issues, researching, writing, and editing, I have just published The Narrows Agenda, my roadmap for Staten Island, Brooklyn, and America's future. I lay out not only the five key goals for 2018 and beyond, but detailed policy solutions for all of them. And, because it's 2017 and not 1987, I include dozens of links to the data and research to back them up.
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:
- 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. Protect unionization rights, fight "right to work"? Yes. Busting up monopolies? Yes, since they limit innovation, competition, and job opportunities.
- Health insurance in your wallet. Look, even Trump and the GOP Congress say everyone deserves health insurance, they're just either too cheap or duplicitous to achieve it. Look at them: there is the stench 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.
- Money out of politics. Voter after voter, Democrat and Republican, bring this up with me. "Congressmen just do what the donors want." "Corporations have to much power." There's such a sense of hopelessness on this topic, but it is not hopeless. The Narrows Agenda spells out three policies that would disrupt the corruption chain: a smart, campaign matching fund system; term limits; and impeachment of corporate lackey judges.
- Opioid CEOs in handcuffs. 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%.
- Communities over corporations. 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.
I just touch on the details above, but I encourage all of you to read The Narrows Agenda PDF for the full scoop on how to achieve this ambitious agenda.
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 only 15 more months 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.
I love questions. But more importantly, you should love questions too, because our democratic republic needs an engaged, thinking, critical public to keep it from slipping into tyranny. And for at least the last 24 months, our public figures have done a piss-poor job of fostering a healthy environment for critical dialogue.