Priorities

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Equality and Justice

I have spent my career fighting for equality, justice, and progress. I came to North Carolina to attend law school, later becoming an attorney, civil rights advocate, and state legislator. As a progressive leader in Raleigh, I worked to pass the South’s first anti-racial profiling bill, fought to reform juvenile justice programs, passed laws to expand voting rights, and opposed laws that would take our state backward, including Amendment One. In Congress, I will continue to fight for justice and the rights of all people.

Access to Affordable Health Care

In the wake of a global pandemic, our fight for affordable, accessible health care is more important than ever. Coronavirus’ disproportionate impact on minority and poor communities reminds us that our current healthcare system does not serve all Americans. No one should ever have to decide between life-saving care or paying household bills, yet many North Carolinians face this choice every day. We need leaders who will step up and put the health of our citizens first.

That’s why I support creating a comprehensive public option for health insurance, ensuring that all people have affordable and equitable access to care. We cannot go back to the days when insurance companies ran the show. I have worked successfully to require health care companies to cover basic services like contraception, mental health, and autism treatment. I helped expand coverage for children’s health care, and I fought to expand Medicaid coverage for over 500,000 uninsured North Carolinians and provide relief for our rural hospitals facing closures.

In Congress, I will continue to prioritize health care by protecting coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, expand access to care, and lower the cost of prescription drugs. Paying for the medicine and care you need should not be a partisan issue.

Education & Opportunity

K-12

I believe that a quality education is the key to success. That’s why as both an attorney and a state legislator, I fought for quality public education for all students, working to reduce class sizes, raise teacher pay, and increase investment in early childhood education. The federal government plays an important role to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality public education. While states may fund public education at various levels, the federal government provides critical funding to low-income schools to ensure that not only wealthy students receive a high-quality public education, but especially Title I schools and students served by the Free and Reduced Lunch program. The federal government must do more, however. Whether encouraging states to provide greater education appropriations through increased matching grants or through direct funding, an investment in our students is an investment in our future.

In Congress, I’ll prioritize investing in teachers and the classroom, ensuring funding for school infrastructure and technology. We must make sure every child has the opportunity to succeed.

College Affordability

Many North Carolinians are faced with crippling student loan debt just as they are entering the workforce. We live in a global and changing economy and North Carolinians need the skills to compete so we can continue to move our economy forward. That’s why I fought for and won changes to our tax code that made it easier for families to save for college when I was a state legislator.

In Congress, I’ll prioritize common-sense proposals to address college affordability, including an increase to the maximum Pell Grant award, providing access for graduate and professional students to access subsidized loans, placing a cap on collection fees charged to borrowers who have defaulted on their loans, and loan forgiveness. I also will fight against lenders and institutions who make false promises and defraud our students.

Retiring with Dignity

Our seniors have earned Social Security and Medicare over their lifetime of hard work, and I will work to protect the economic security so many North Carolinians depend on. In Congress, I’ll prioritize strengthening Social Security and will fight any attempt to turn Medicare into a voucher program. The next generation has many competing financial obligations and will benefit from stabilizing Medicare and Social Security. Tax cuts skewed to millionaires irresponsibly increases the deficit at a time when we need investments in retirement security for our seniors, health care, education, and infrastructure. I’ll pursue a responsible budget in Congress that meets the needs of North Carolinians of every age and helps ensure a secure retirement for us all.

Supporting Our Economy & Workers

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how important it is for small businesses and workers who have lost their jobs or hours to receive help to make it through these tough times. As a state legislator during the Great Recession, I advocated for an earned income tax credit aimed at returning tax dollars to working families, supported raising the minimum wage, and sponsored paid sick leave legislation. I also supported tax breaks to small businesses and passed legislation spurring economic development in Raleigh. I always have been a champion for working people and I am proud to have the support of workers and unions. We must prioritize our workers and small businesses as we rebuild our economy, making sure that relief dollars go to the small businesses and working families that need it most.

Combating Climate Change

Climate change is one of the most imminent threats facing our country, and we must take immediate action to address it. I have been a champion on environmental and climate issues, voting repeatedly to protect our land and water for future generations. As a state legislator, I voted to support clean energy, oppose fracking, and address climate change in North Carolina. We must modernize our electric grid to increase the distribution of renewable energy and we need to create incentives to expedite battery storage for intermittent renewable resources. These measures will reduce our need to use fossil fuels for energy. I helped grow the state’s clean energy sector, creating tens of thousands of jobs in our state, and in Congress, I will continue to prioritize and combat what has become an international crisis and move us forward.

Women’s Rights & Reproductive Health

All too often, women are paid less than men for the same work. As a state representative, I co-sponsored the 2013 Equal Pay Act that called for equal pay for women in North Carolina. The bill would have allowed women in the workforce to receive retroactive pay for up to two years and prohibited retaliation against employees seeking equal pay. These kinds of protections must be prioritized in Congress, and I will work to see them passed.

Additionally, no politician should come between medical providers and their patients. That’s why I have worked for decades to protect access to abortion, as a lawyer and a legislator, and in Congress, I will prioritize fighting for access to quality health and reproductive care.

Infrastructure

Many of our communities struggle with connection. We have roads and bridges in disrepair and too many people have been left off of the information superhighway without access to broadband. One of the fastest ways to help our economy recover, increase opportunity, and create jobs is to invest in infrastructure projects. When I first started as an attorney, I specialized in municipal bond law to help local governments fund critical infrastructure and public work programs. I went on to work for our regional transit agency with a mission of improving public transportation options in a region that is experiencing rapid growth and demographic change. In Congress, I will work to help drive investment in the transportation and infrastructure projects of the future and increase renewable energy options in pursuit of a more carbon-free future. These investments will make it easier for consumers of energy and transportation to make better choices for clean air and clean water.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Nothing is more important to me than keeping all families safe and secure. I am willing to consider any common sense proposal on how to make our country safer, but border enforcement does not require a physical wall. Demonizing immigrants and turning to the politics of fear-mongering does nothing to keep us safe and only serves to divide us. Those who cross our borders must be treated with humanity.

In Congress, we must put aside partisan differences to reform our immigration system in a way that protects our border and meets our country’s economic needs, while providing a fair pathway to citizenship and keeping families together.