The full platform
Many low and middle income Americans never recovered from the 2008 financial crash. The Great Recession erased trillions of dollars in wealth and caused millions of Americans to lose their housing. And as rents have spiked in populations centers such as the D.C. metro area, authentically affordable housing has become, for many Americans, nothing more than a myth. Those most affected by this country's affordable housing crisis are the same communities — especially African Americans — that were historically excluded from federal housing assistance. The status quo is unsustainable. We need transformative programs that end the housing shortage, crack down on abusive landlords, and repair the historical injustices of American housing policy.
Providing federal loans and grants to municipalities and counties for the construction of seven million new units of publicly owned social housing over the next decade. Municipal social housing would include both mid-range and affordable housing and be available to all city or county residents.
Providing federal assistance, through the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund, for states to construct three million new units of housing for extremely low-income households.
Targeted homeownership assistance for communities impacted by housing discrimination and unjust federal policies such as "redlining."
Expanding Fair Housing Act protections to better cover several marginalized groups, such as LGBT individuals, Native Americans, and Section 8 recipients.
Providing federal rewards for localities that lift zoning restrictions on the construction of apartments.
mEDICARE FOR ALL
It's time to stop playing political games with the health of the American people. As establishment politicians propose tepid health reform plans, insurance companies and Big Pharma continue to run thousands of desperate American families into bankruptcy. Compared to the rest of the industrialized world, America's health insurance regime is one of our greatest national embarrassments. Let's learn from Obamacare: Expanding public health insurance works, trying to accommodate the greed of the health industry doesn't. A Medicare For All program would insure every single American, no matter their economic status, restore justice to health care delivery, and even save us money over the long run. We need to elect politicians, like Mckayla, who share a simple moral conviction: When you go to the doctor, it should be free.
Transitioning every American uncovered by the Veterans Health Administration or Indian Health Service onto one public Medicare insurance plan over the course of two years.
Mandating that Medicare cover prescription drugs, primary care, maternity care, vision and dental care, reproductive healthcare, doctors' visits, and lab services.
Eliminating premiums, deductibles, and copays.
Capping the amount an individual could pay for prescription drugs at $200.
Authorizing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies.
green new deal
Climate change is an existential threat. It's no longer a problem for the future — it's a problem for the here and now. Wildfires consume much of the West Coast and hurricanes pummel some of America's largest coastal cities. Sea-level rise threatens population centers around the world, and states such as Maryland with long coastlines are particularly at risk. The defining issue of our times demands transformational action.
A Green New Deal can tackle two pressing — and deeply intertwined — crises: an environmental crisis of rising global temperatures, and an economic crisis of gross inequality and stagnant wages. We need a ten-year national economic mobilization that would decarbonize the economy, put millions of Americans to work building the energy infrastructure of the future, and ensure equity and fairness. Powerful officials, like Steny Hoyer, who attempt to put a brake on aggressive climate efforts need to get out of the way.
Mobilizing on a national scale to ensure that, in the next ten years, 100 percent of domestic electricity demand will be supplied by clean, renewable and zero-emission sources.
Guaranteeing a job with livable wages and comprehensive protections for everyone in the United States.
Upgrading every building in the United States with state-of-the-art green technology to maximize energy efficiency.
Guaranteeing access to clean air, clean water, and other natural resources for all Americans.
Ensuring that those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change — racial minorities, the poor, indigenous communities, the disabled — are intimately involved in the development and implementation of the Green New Deal.
The inequities that define America's criminal justice system are not there by accident. The over-policing and disproportionate incarceration of black and brown Americans is an extension of a legacy of white supremacy. The United States' broken justice system ravages our most vulnerable communities, while for-profit prison executives get rich off cheap prison labor. Families are driven to financial ruin by exorbitant cash bail requirements, and many low-income Americans are pressured into taking unjust plea deals because they don't have the resources to adequately defend themselves in court.
Our criminal justice system must be one of rehabilitation, not punishment. It must stop going after people of color for low-level drug offenses and make it easier for low-income individuals to defend themselves. Mass incarceration and the "War on Drugs" has been a failure; it's time for a new era in American criminal justice.
Ending the federal prohibition on marijuana.
Expunging the records of people convicted of federal marijuana crimes.
Investing in treatment programs for individuals struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues.
Prohibiting government contracts with private prison companies.
Abolishing the federal death penalty.
Ending the use of cash bail.
Directing the FCC to prohibit the use of predatory prison phone rates, freeing individuals to call family members in prison without severe economic costs.
Federally banning the box that requires job applicants to disclose criminal records.
Ending the exploitation of prison work and modern-day slavery by expanding federal minimum wage laws to those who are incarcerated.
healing our democracy
The Trump Administration has made it brutally obvious: Our democracy is in desperate need of repair. Members of Congress roll out of office and into lucrative lobbying and consulting groups. Right-wing ideologues systematically disenfranchise African Americans, immigrants, and the poor, and the Supreme Court levels attack after attack on voting rights. Representatives like Steny Hoyer pocket massive checks from private interests like Big Pharma, defense contractors, and fossil fuel companies to do their bidding in Congress. It's no wonder why millions of Americans stay home on election day. Mckayla believes that an aggressive reform agenda is necessary if the United States is to realize its democratic potential.
Implementing an automatic voter registration system, in which any qualified individual who interacts with their state DMV is automatically added to the voter rolls and given the choice to opt out.
Legislating to revive the Voting Rights Act following the disastrous Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder. Mckayla supports authorizing the Department of Justice to apply renewed scrutiny over states and districts with histories of voter disenfranchisement and suppression.
Introducing a constitutional amendment to repeal the Citizens United decision, which allowed corporations to pour unlimited cash into political campaigns through highly secretive SuperPACs.
Permitting currently incarcerated citizens to exercise their right to vote, as is government policy in numerous industrialized nations.
Enacting a lifetime ban on members of Congress and the Cabinet becoming lobbyists.
families with children
The United States' lack of material support for families with children is a moral disgrace. America falls far behind most other industrialized countries in securing for its citizens the tools necessary to raise a child without fear of economic ruin. Many parents are forced to continue working during the weeks after their child's birth. Costs for pre-K and child care are allowed to spiral out of control. In the United States, the natural stress of parenthood is compounded by significant — and preventable — economic risk. Mckayla believes in reducing that economic risk and making child-rearing affordable for all families.
Creating a universal monthly child allowance. Every family would receive $300 to support each child under the age of 18.
Mandating 40 weeks of guaranteed parental leave, with a government benefit that replaces 100 percent of all earnings up to the minimum wage and 70 percent of all earnings over the minimum wage.
Providing free child care for children aged six months to three years. Facilities would be run by local school districts, and paid for and overseen by the federal government. Parents who want to care for their child at home would receive a home child care benefit from the Social Security Administration.
Providing free pre-K, funded by the federal government and administered by local school districts, for all children between three and five years old.
Offering free school lunch for all kids attending public school, pre-K and child care.
Immigrant communities should be able to live, work, and attend school free of fear. That reality is impossible so long as ICE roams our communities tearing families apart, border officials put young children in cages, and millions of undocumented Americans are forced to live in the shadows. The Trump administration's immigration enforcement policies have rightly been derided as cruel and inhumane. But callousness toward immigrants has been a matter of bipartisan consensus long before 2017. That consensus must end. We need to dismantle institutions like Immigration and Customs Enforcement that terrorize immigrant communities, and work to bring our undocumented neighbors out from the shadows.
A path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.
A path to citizenship for holders of Temporary Protected Service.
Legislation to expand acceptable justifications for seeking asylum to include gang and domestic violence.
Increasing funding for legal services for undocumented individuals and individuals seeking asylum in the United States.
building worker power
American workers are under attack — from wealthy corporate owners, from the politicians they bankroll, and from reactionary judges. So-called "Right to Work" laws sweep the country and the Supreme Court methodically dismantles what remains of New Deal-era labor protections. Workers have seen decades of stagnant wages and declining union density. Companies use the vast majority of profits on stock buybacks instead of wage increases. Today, it's far too common for a primary breadwinner to take several jobs just to meet their family's basic needs. The gig economy has been a failure. We need an economy of humane, well-paying union jobs with extensive benefits. Building worker power requires electing bold fighters like Mckayla to Congress.
Increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 for all workers, including tipped employees.
Repealing so-called "Right to Work" laws through federal legislation.
Creating a worker co-determination regime that would require boards of companies making over $1 billion in revenue to set aside 40 percent of its seats for workers or elected worker representatives.
Mandating that publicly traded companies using profits for stock buybacks direct a commensurate sum toward wage increases.
Writing legislation to encourage sectoral bargaining mechanisms like wage boards, which bring together employees and employers to set wages and benefits for an entire industry. New York's fast-food wage board, created in response to the "Fight for $15" movement, secured significant benefits for the state's fast food workers.
America's aggressive military adventurism has been a complete failure. From the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to more recent interventions in Libya, the United States' military engagements have both failed to meet our stated geopolitical objectives and caused massive human misery. The victims of American militarism are always the same: the poor and marginalized. Abroad, families are forced to flee their homeland for fear of violence; at home, folks are deprived of needed benefits as the military swallows ever larger portions of the federal budget.
The United States needs an anti-imperialist foreign policy of peace and cooperation. Two decades after the end of the Cold War, we cannot continue to subsidize the military industrial complex while starving the Department of State. American foreign policy must support trade arrangements and international institutions that work for everyone's benefit — not just multinational corporations. And the U.S. Congress must stand up to the Executive Branch when it funnels weapons to dictators in Saudi Arabia or orchestrates a coup in Venezuela.
Invoking the War Powers Resolution to end American support for the Saudi Arabia-led military campaign in Yemen, which has costs the lives of tens of thousands of children and caused the largest cholera outbreak in history.
Passing a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that severely curtails the Executive's ability to start military engagements without congressional approval.
Requiring American-based companies to pay livable wages and observe safety protections when operating abroad.
Cutting at least $200 billion in wasteful defense spending.
Massively increasing funding for foreign aid programs, especially in regions victimized by unjust American military interventions.
Wealthy Americans do not pay their fair share in taxes. The past several decades have seen tax cut after tax cut for the rich, accompanied by devastating cuts to benefits working families need. It's no wonder the fruits of economic growth have mostly flowed to the uber-wealthy, leaving everyone else with stagnant wages and economic precarity. The Trump tax cut was an instrument of class warfare: a massive wealth transfer from the poor and middle class to the rich. Steny Hoyer has shown himself incapable of standing up to his donors and tackling the injustices embedded in our tax code. Mckayla believes creating an equitable tax regime requires new leadership.
Taxing the value of estates over $1 billion at an 80 percent rate.
A financial transactions tax of 0.1 percent on all trades of shares, bonds or derivatives.
A wealth tax of 2 percent on assets greater than $50 million and a wealth tax of 3 percent on assets greater than $1 billion.
Taxing all income over $10 million at 70 percent.
It's become a cliche for politicians to say that education is the great equalizer, but most of them have no interest in making that a reality. Education funding, largely tied to local property taxes, is terribly inequitable: The average poor school district receives roughly 15 percent less state and local funding per pupil than the average rich school district. Educational outcomes should not depend on one's zip code, but so long as educational funding is chained to the property tax we cannot hope to give most poor kids a decent lot in life. In low-income districts, class sizes balloon, teachers spend money out of pocket for basic supplies, and buildings fall into disrepair. Reversing these trends means empowering teachers, investing in infrastructure, and federalizing education funding. Education can be the great equalizer — we just need the political will.
Reforms to federalize education funding and reduce school districts' reliance on local property taxes.
Establishing a $3 billion grant program for public elementary schools to reduce classes sizes to 18 students or fewer. High-poverty districts, and districts currently suffering from extraordinarily high class sizes would be first priority.
Appropriating $70 billion in direct federal spending and $30 billion in bonds toward school renovations and repairs. The school districts with the highest rates of poverty would be first priority for funding, and for-profit charters would be exempt.
Requiring school districts that receive funding through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to explicitly prohibit bullying, including based on sex, race, color, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.
Creating a Strength in Diversity Program, through the Department of Education, that awards grants to school districts that develop effective plans to improve diversity and remove racial and class tensions from the school environment.
American higher education is supposed to be transformative: exposing young people to the best scholarship the world has to offer while acting as an engine of economic mobility. In reality, it entrenches existing racial and class disparities. The uber wealthy commit fraud to get their children into elite private schools, middle class families are crushed under massive debt bills, and most low-income folks are kept out of higher education altogether.
The United States has some of the best colleges and universities in the world, but they close their gates to those who can't pay. This campaign endorses a fundamental moral principle: Access to higher learning should not be contingent on the economic situation of one's family. Nobody should face decades of financial strain paying loans they took out when they were 18. Restoring higher education's transformative promise requires sweeping reforms.
Debt-free public college. The federal government should provide matching funds for state higher education appropriations, directed toward ensuring all students can graduate without taking on debt. Unlike tuition-free public college, the debt-free college commitment would cover student spending on fees, room and board, in addition to tuition.
Freeing millions of Americans from the burden of student debt. A one-time cancelation of all outstanding student debt is expected to increase GDP by between $861 billion and $1.083 trillion over the next ten years.
Prohibiting the federal government from profiting off its student loan program.
Spending $2 billion to reduce tuition and fees at private institutions that educate historically marginalized groups. HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions have long been pillars of our communities. HBCUs and MSIs whose student bodies are at least 35 percent low-income would be eligible for this funding.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a devastating toll on America's service members. Many come back with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health challenges. A staggering proportion of service members show signs of a diagnosable mental health condition — one in four, according to one study — and the epidemic of veteran suicide is a national shame. Additionally, our veterans policy doesn't do enough to help transition service members into civilian life, and our failure to fully fund the Veterans Health Administration has led to long wait times and broad inefficiencies.
The solution is twofold: ensuring we never needlessly put our soldiers in harm's way through military campaigns like the war in Iraq, and giving veterans of these conflicts the care and respect they deserve. Those who risk their lives in service should never find themselves cast aside when they return home.
Defending the VA from right-wing attempts to privatize it. Corporate lobbyists, Republican lawmakers, and Koch-funded advocacy groups that want to end the VA as we know it need to be stopped.
Multi-billion dollar investments to fill staff vacancies at the VA, especially nurses, doctors and other medical professionals. Currently, more than 45,000 full-time VA jobs are left open, 40,456 of which are in the Veterans Health Administration.
Legislation to authorize VA doctors to prescribe medical cannabis to veterans suffering from chronic pain and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Aggressive congressional oversight of the implementation of the VA MISSION Act to ensure high quality of care standards. The VA's draft standards for community care are insufficient and must be revised, with congressional input, to maintain the best care possible.
A pilot program of 100,000 veterans to explore whether dental care could be expanded to all people receiving care from the Veterans Health Administration.
Legislation to place prosecution for sexual assault and other sex crimes in the military outside the chain of command.
the black agenda
The ever-growing ranks of African-American members of Congress contribute to the continued creation of a more representative government and a more perfect Union. These Congress members stand on the shoulders of giants who precede them — Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Lee, John Lewis, and so many more — and who remind them that the responsibilities of a black representative is to not only serve the people of the United States en masse but also strengthen and uplift the black community. To this end, our campaign will focus on the issues that predominantly impact African-Americans, especially in the face of an emboldened white supremacist/nationalist movement in our country.
We will reinforce voting access to ensure no citizen — not black nor low-income nor incarcerated — is denied the ballot. We will commit to restorative justice for descendants of slaves. We will fight for the reform of a broken criminal justice system that targets African-Americans and refuse to be silenced or censured for speaking against the deep injustices of environmental racism and police brutality.
Reparations for the descendants of slaves. This starts with H.R. 40, Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. Our government must officially address reconciliation for the violent legacy of chattel slavery, and H.R. 40 is a means to not only inform the public about congenital effects of slavery that affect the African-American community even today but also prescribe measures of restorative and rehabilitative justice.
Strengthening voting rights in our community, especially through support of H.R. 1, For the People Act. This bill encapsulates automatic voter registration, designation of Election Day as a federal holiday, redistricting reform, and expanding public financing of elections.
An end to the “War on Drugs” as it has existed for 40 years; the abolition of the death penalty, cash bail, and the private prison system, each of which disproportionately impact black men.
Ensuring that the Green New Deal achieves equal economic and environmental outcomes for black communities.
Ensuring that African-American cultural traditions, such as certain hairstyles, are embraced rather than policed in schools and the workplace, as seen in the California Senate CROWN (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair) Act.
Achieving improved health outcomes, including maternal health, for the African-American community through a Medicare-for-all single-payer scheme.
Combatting the school-to-prison pipeline by targeting increases in funding for public schooling toward underserved communities — particularly in counseling and mental health resources in order to address the disproportionate rate of suspension and expulsion for black students.
Spending $2 billion to reduce tuition and fees at private institutions that educate historically marginalized groups. HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions have long been pillars of our communities. HBCUs and MSIs whose student bodies are at least 35 percent low-income would be eligible for this funding.
The LGBTQ+ community has seen tremendous victories and upsets in recent history. The community has endured the AIDS crisis, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Trump Administration's transgender military ban that was upheld by the Supreme Court, and over two dozen states that allow for the discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals in foster care and adoptions, health care, and service in private establishments.
Through relentless activism and endless courage from the community, we have seen the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and the federal guarantee right to same-sex marriage in Obergefell v Hodges (2015). A record number of LGBTQ+ members serve in local, state, and national elected offices. While these are tremendous milestones, there is still progress that needs to be made so that the LGBTQ+ community can have equal dignity and protection under the law.
Passing the Equality Act which would include sexual orientation and gender identity under federal non-discrimination statutes.
Including a third gender option on federal ID cards and documents and asking questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in the U.S. census.
Requiring that (public) health insurance programs cover the costs of sex reassignment surgery.
Reversing the Trump administration's ban on trans military service.
Ending the CDC’s ban on MSM blood donations.
Banning the practice of conversion therapy.
Requiring gender neutral bathrooms in new buildings and retrofitting them for older buildings.
Ending sex reassignment surgery on intersex newborns.
Including information on LGBTQ+ identity in school sexual health education programs.
Women have made incredible advancements in society, law, medicine, science, and the humanities and arts. Women have seen themselves become Supreme Court Justices, Secretaries of State, and Speaker of the House as well as record levels of representation at the local, state, and national levels of elected office. They have seen the constitutional guarantee to an abortion and its protection in Roe and Casey.
Women also experience sexual harassment and assault, hiring and pay discrimination in the workplace, threats to their reproductive rights, exclusion from male-dominated professions and high ranking positions, and inadequate representation in media. Through activism, advocacy, and powerful testimony, women have been speaking truth to power in order to bring meaningful change to their daily lived experiences.
Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act for Equal Pay for Equal Work.
Passing the BE HEARD Act (Bringing an End to Harassment by Enhancing Accountability in the Workplace Act).
Providing federally-funded, free birth control for all.
Ensuring the NIH increases underrepresented women’s participation in clinical trials.
Making sanitary products free to all.
Appropriating federal funding to clear the backlog of untested rape kits.
Ensuring that the constitutional right to an abortion is accessible regardless of income or geography.
Passing and funding the Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights at the federal level and reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.
Amending the constitution to include the Equal Rights Amendment.
Repealing the Hyde Amendment and reversing the Trump administration's gag rule for Title X program and the global gag rule.
Making non-consensual distribution of pornography (revenge pornography) a federal crime.
Addressing women’s conditions in prison including sexual assault and denial of proper medical care.
The United States’ historical and present-day treatment of indigenous peoples is a deeply morally shameful one. From centuries of genocide to the 2016-17 construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the U.S. government has continually violated the human rights of Native American communities. The issues of sovereignty, land, voting rights, police brutality, and environmental violence surrounding Native Americans must be centered in Democrats’ national platform. Even in progressive circles, this is an extremely pressing issue that is consistently marginalized. It is especially important for the congressmember of Maryland District 5 to push for fundamental change in United States’ policy, as the representative of the Piscataway Indian Nation and the Piscataway Conoy Tribe. Steny Hoyer has failed to do so.
Ending the construction of pipelines that could potentially negatively impact indigenous communities.
Prohibiting states from requiring a physical street address as a prerequisite for voting
Ensuring the uncompromised sovereignty of Native American tribes is respected by the United States government.
Working to pursue a redistribution of uninhabited federal land to Native American tribes.
accessibility + mental health
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was a landmark piece of legislation that furthered the process of creating a more inclusive society. Progress has slowed since the ADA, however, and proposed bills such as H.R. 620 attempt to undermine it. We have an obligation to create the political, economic, and social conditions for everyone to thrive. This means protecting the ADA, but also building on it: in housing, in healthcare, in labeling, and elsewhere.
Mental health and substance abuse are critical issues that must be tackled with compassion. For too long, the United States has criminalized mental illness and addiction, stripping away rights instead of providing avenues of support. Our approach to mental health and substance abuse must be comprehensive and multifaceted, including investment in prevention, recovery, and rights protection.
Protecting the Americans with Disabilities Act, including the enforcement mechanism in Title III which ensures that there is an opportunity for redress if discrimination on the basis of disability has occurred.
Requiring a minimum standard of visitability in newly-constructed housing units, through legislation like the proposed Eleanor Smith Inclusive Home Design Act of 2018.
Passing the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act proposed by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Elijah Cummings.
Removing the subminimum wage exemption which allows the exploitation of American workers with disabilities.
Working to increase funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Ensuring that mental health is covered under Medicare for All.
Expanding the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 to require allergen labeling in restaurants, in addition to prepackaged food. Celery, mustard, lupin, sesame, and gluten should simultaneously be added to the current allergen list of milk, eggs, fish, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat.
the Teeming shore promise
We must take aggressive action to lower our carbon emissions to mitigate the effects of climate change. Regardless of the action we take, however, the impact of climate change will be felt – and in some places, it already is. Rising sea levels and intensified natural disasters will continue to affect those living inside and outside the United States. Maryland, the state with the highest coastline-to-area ratio in the entire country, will be particularly severely affected. Globally, low-lying island countries face the potential of complete annihilation. Often times, the people hurt the most are those who have contributed to the causes of climate change the least.
We have a dual obligation to respond proactively to this looming crisis. Climate efforts must include helping coastal areas in the United States prepare and respond to rising sea levels and intensified natural disasters. Additionally, there will be people around the globe whose homes, communities, and nations are destroyed by climate change. We must expand the legal definition of refugee to include those who have been displaced by climate change, and create a program to admit them. Finally, we must provide countries in the Global South with the climate aid necessary to help prevent and prepare for the catastrophes that will create climate refugees in the first place.
Centering Coastal Resiliency as a key provision of the Green New Deal through proactive investment to fight both the causes and effects of climate change on coastal communities.
Expanding the legal definition of “refugee” to include those displaced by climate change.
Creating a program to accept climate refugees with no cap on the number admitted.
Ensuring that the Global North is meeting its commitment to provide $100b in annual climate aid to countries in the Global South to fight both the causes and effects of climate change.
Democracy wins when we each do our part to ensure our voices are heard.