Healthcare is a right and all American's should have access to quality, affordable healthcare. Our healthcare system needs a fundamental change and we need to look at all options, including Medicare for All, Single Payer, the Public Option and improving the Affordable Care Act as we work to find the best solution and we figure out how to get there politically.
What I do know, is that we can't repeal the Affordable Care Act without an alternative like Lee Zeldin and his Republican House colleagues did last year. Their proposal would have cost 23 million hard-working American's their coverage and almost 30,000 American's here in the 1st Congressional District. It would have meant higher costs with limited coverage and it would have eliminated guaranteed protections for people with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, asthma or cancer.
This would crush so many seniors, children and low-income families. As a former school bus driver and steward with our union, I know firsthand how difficult it was to negotiate healthcare for my colleagues. A lot of them relied on CHIP which the Republicans let expire over 100 days ago and they continue to play politics with our children's health. This is just wrong.
We need to get insurance companies out of the equation. One way to do that would be to require audits of insurance companies to ensure they are not inflating administrative costs and passing them on to consumers or to allow the federal government to negotiate with drug companies to get a lower price on medications.
As a Suffolk County legislator, the safety and preservation of our environment was a top priority. I worked to preserve over 1,000 acres of open space and farmland in my district. I led the fight to reconstruct critical wastewater infrastructure helping to secure nearly $200 million in federal and state aid to build a new sewer district In Mastic and Shirley I know how to fight for the health and security of Long Island families.
We must ensure our environment remains a bedrock of our community’s economy and a source of expanded economic opportunity. My efforts as a Suffolk County Legislator to secure farmland rights went far in ensuring the significant role agriculture plays in our economy and community. In congress, I will lead the fight to protect our coasts that are so important to our communities and the lifestyle’s of our families.
Unfortunately, Lee Zeldin has taken a number of votes that endanger the health and economic stability of the 1st Congressional District.
He voted to dismantle protections for the environment and public health. He also voted to open protected lands off the Arctic coast to drilling. Imagine the message oil rigs off the south shore would send to our children. And, just like the members of Congress who voted against the restoration of Long Island after Sandy, Lee Zeldin voted against funding to replace the water infrastructure that poisoned the residents of Flint, Michigan and against funding for the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
As legislator, I protected and improved our water. In Congress, Lee Zeldin attempted to block clean water infrastructure from the 8,000 children in Flint.
In Congress, I will continue to fight to protect every 1st District child to clean air and water, every struggling family to economic opportunity, and every Long Islander to our shared environment.
Women and Families
Decisions about your health should be made by you and your doctor, not corporate executives or politicians. I have always been 100% pro-choice and will never compromise on women’s health. We need to reduce the barriers and fear tactics that are currently being employed by Republicans in Congress and increase health education.
We must stand up and fight back against attacks on Planned Parenthood - the nation’s leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men and young people, and the nation’s largest provider of sex education. Defunding Planned Parenthood disproportionately people with low incomes, people of color and our LGBT communities. #IStandWithPP
I stood with Governor Cuomo as he announced the Nation’s Strongest Paid Family Leave Policy. No family should have to choose between caring for their loved ones and risking their economic security. This was a great step but we need to expand this program nationally.
I am a proud, first-generation immigrant. I was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I left war-torn Northern Ireland to find a better life, met an American soldier named Steven Browning and ended up in Shirley where we raised our family. People come here because America is known as a place of hope and opportunity, where you can work hard and support your family. But there is no question our immigration system is broken. I believe we should allow law-abiding immigrant families to come out of the shadows, pay taxes, play by the rules, and earn citizenship.
We need to make sure we are protecting the 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“Dreamers”). Unlike Lee Zeldin, I will vote for an immediate, clean bill that allows these young men and women to stay in this nation and provides them with a pathway to earn their citizenship.
Gun Safety Legislation
Every day, we lose an average of more than 90 mothers, fathers, sons and daughters to senseless gun violence. Enough is enough. This can be prevented. We need commonsense gun safety legislation that keeps deadly weapons out of the hands of violent criminals, domestic abusers, and potential terrorists.
I support expanding the criminal background check system to cover all commercial firearm sales, including those at gun shows and over the internet; I support the “No Fly / No Buy” bill which would prevent anyone on the FBI’s “No Fly” list from purchasing a deadly weapon; I support investing in mental health and making sure that mentally impaired individuals cannot get their hands on military-style assault weapons.
Lee Zeldin cosponsored the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which infringes on New York’s laws by allowing residents from other states to carry concealed weapons in our communities; opposes any ban on semi-automatic weapons, like the ones used in Sandy Hook and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School; voted to make it easier for people with mental illness to purchase weapons, including military-style assault rifles.
We can do better.
Access to quality education and supporting our educators needs to be a priority. We need to be addressing the rising cost of tuition and the crippling student loan debt. We also need to make sure our schools are providing our children with the skills they need to succeed, whether that’s putting them on path to a four year degree or providing them with the technical education to thrive in our current economy.
We should be making significant investments in preschool programs, increasing local control to eliminate unnecessary testing requirements and taking meaningful steps to close the achievement gap that exists in too many communities.