Black Lives Matter. It is shameful and embarrassing that it is controversial, but we have to say it because Black lives have been undervalued for far too long. In the 17th and 18th centuries, when Black people were brought against their wills to the United States, they were forced to perform labor for their cruel “masters.” Heroes like Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, and John Brown fought against the evil laws that required Americans to stay in bondage just because of the color of their skin and where they were born. We owe a debt of gratitude to these American heroes, but the work of civil rights leaders is still not done. The 13th Amendment prohibited slavery, except as punishment for a crime. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 made noble attempts to fight racism. The mass protests in the summer of 2020 brought much-needed attention to the brutality that people of color face from police and armed vigilantes. Too often, when we make advancements in race relations, there is a backlash. We must make sure that, despite any backlash to anti-racism activism, we fight to end mass incarceration, police brutality, segregation, and all other forms of institutional racism.
In recent years, harassment and hate crimes against immigrants and other minorities has increased significantly. This is due in part to hateful rhetoric and policies coming from conservative leaders. The U.S. is a nation of immigrants, and diversity makes our country, and our district, stronger. I will stand up against xenophobia and will vote against any legislation that demonizes immigrants. My grandparents were immigrants, and I believe that it is unacceptable for politicians to try to turn voters against immigrants.
Gender equality is an important issue. For too long, laws have been stacked against people working to make sure that they are treated fairly on the basis of gender. Under current law, it is too difficult to challenge pay discrimination. Sexual harassment is too difficult to fight, and too many Ohioans fear they will lose their jobs if they stand up against harassment. I will fight to make Ohio the state with the strongest laws to ensure that gender discrimination is not tolerated and all people are paid fairly. I support legislation to make sure that employers cannot get away with pay discrimination just by keeping their employees in the dark on what their coworkers are paid.
I support reproductive freedom. I support amending the Ohio Constitution to guarantee the right to abortion.
I will always fight for the rights of LGBTQ+ Ohioans. For too long, Ohio legislators have been fighting to weaken anti-discrimination laws and have not done anything to ensure that Ohio law protects the rights of LGBTQ+ Ohioans. I support updating Ohio law to guarantee protection for LGBTQ+ Ohioans in housing, employment, and public accommodations. Check out the guest column I wrote in the Columbus Dispatch about LGBTQ+ rights: https://www.dispatch.com/story/opinion/columns/guest/2022/06/24/opinion-fairness-act-would-protect-lgbtq-discrimination-ohio/7710329001/ No matter who you are, whom you love, and what your gender identity is, I will be always be a fierce advocate for you.
Over the past 11 years of absolute Republican control of Ohio, Republicans have worked hard to take rights away from Ohio workers. It started in 2011, when Republicans in the General Assembly and then-Governor John Kasich passed Senate Bill 5, which would have taken away public employees’ right to collective bargaining. Fortunately, Ohio voters stopped that bill by collecting signatures for a citizens’ veto, then defeating the bill on the ballot. I oppose so-called “right-to-work” laws and believe Ohio should have more good-paying union jobs. I support tax credits for union dues and want to guarantee that all state contracts go to union shops. I believe that Congress should pass the PRO Act and make federal law a floor instead of a ceiling for union rights.
Since 2011, Republicans have continued their crusade against working-class people. Ohio’s minimum wage has not increased, beyond the constitutionally-mandated adjustments for inflation, since 2006. I support raising the minimum wage.
In 2021, Ohio Republicans passed a bill, House Bill 352, to make it more difficult for victims of discrimination and harassment in the workplace to sue the people who discriminated against them. This odious bill created unnecessary red tape for people who only want justice for the discrimination they experience. At the same time, Ohio Republicans refused to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ Ohioans. I will oppose any efforts to weaken anti-discrimination law, and I will be a strong voice for strengthening laws against discrimination and harassment. I will work to make Ohio a leader in the fight against pay discrimination by promoting pay transparency and ensuring that workers can recover all of the wages they lost due to pay discrimination.
Since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, too many Ohio workers have been forced into workplaces with inadequate safety precautions. Workers should not be forced to choose between their health and their jobs. I support legislation to clarify that Ohio law prohibits employers from firing employees for reporting health and safety issues at work.
Ohio needs to guarantee paid family and medical leave for all workers.
Scientists have been warning about climate change for decades, and it is here. We have seen warming global temperatures, more extreme weather events, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and more. There is no doubt on the science. Human activity causes climate change. We know, on a molecular level, how greenhouse gases cause climate change. We know which gases cause climate change and can quantify how much warming each greenhouse gas causes. It is past time to stop pretending there is a debate about the science and start solving the problem humans have created.
I support replacing all fossil fuels with renewable fuels. Ohio should be a leader in renewable technologies. I support strict standards for energy efficiency, limits on businesses’ greenhouse gas emissions, and incentives for clean energy. Ohio politicians took bribes to pass H.B. 6, the worst energy legislation in living memory. I support repealing H.B. 6, and I will not take any campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies.
State law penalizes Ohioans for choosing renewable energy and energy efficiency. I support ending tax penalties for responsible energy choices, and I support tax incentives to promote the use of renewable energy.
Clean air and clean water are necessary to maintain a good quality of life. I will stand up against pollution and ensure that all our communities have clean air and clean water.
An issue that is too often ignored is environmental justice. Pollution and environmental degradation hit our poorest and most underrepresented communities hardest. I will work to make sure that all Ohioans have a healthy ecosystem, regardless of socioeconomic status.
I am a strong supporter of public education. I believe that we should replace the unconstitutional model of using property taxes to fund education, and make sure that every Ohioan has access to excellent public education, no matter their ZIP code. I oppose defunding public schools to send public funding to private schools.
If you are like me, you remember the great teachers and librarians who inspired you and instilled in you a lifelong love of learning. They are American heroes and keep our state and our country strong. Teachers and librarians are underpaid for the work that they do, and we should give all Ohio educators a pay raise.
Post-secondary education is too expensive. I support free 2-year and 4-year post-secondary education.
I will oppose all efforts by conservatives to ban books, prohibit the teaching of ideas they dislike, and stigmatize LGBTQ+ children. Freedom of speech is important. The lives and well-being of LGBTQ+ children are important.
Poverty and homelessness are policy choices. I believe that we should eradicate poverty and homelessness. Part of this is building affordable housing, and I will work tirelessly to increase the amount of affordable housing in Columbus. The federal government has failed on Section 8 housing. Section 8 vouchers take too long to acquire, and the federal government does not guarantee that everyone who needs these vouchers can get them. Ohio needs to fill the gap. Ohio needs to guarantee that everyone in the state will have shelter. We need a top-to-bottom program to guarantee housing and food for every Ohioan. I believe that it is immoral to live in a place where anyone has no shelter. If homelessness exists, it is a failure of policy. I will always fight to end poverty and homelessness, whatever the cost. I support cutting red tape and expanding eligibility for people applying for public assistance. I support legislation to crack down on abusive landlords who violate their tenants' rights. I support a right to cure for tenants, so that more people can stay in their homes.
Another major cause of poverty is the cost of child care. Ohio needs universal pre-K and should guarantee that all Ohioans have access to affordable child care.
I oppose zoning laws that limit development to single-family homes.
I am a strong supporter of voting rights, and I believe in making sure everyone should be able to vote. The right to vote is sacred, and it is the right that protects all of our other rights. This issue has been vital to me for as long as I can remember. When I was in high school, I carried around voter registration forms at all times. The school’s morning announcements said which people had birthdays that day, and I handed out a voter registration form to anyone who turned 18. I will work to make Ohio a model for the nation on voting rights, including automatic voter registration, same-day registration, promoting vote-by-mail and in-person early voting, and ensuring that lines on Election Day are short and move fast. I will oppose all efforts to make voting more difficult and efforts to create additional hurdles for voters to cast their ballots. I oppose gerrymandering and will fight for legislation to ensure that Ohio fairly draws districts for the General Assembly and Congress.
Election systems that rely on single-member-plurality voting are fundamentally undemocratic. I support reform to the system to make it more democratic. My preference would be a blend of ranked-choice-voting, single-member-transferable voting, and mixed-member-plurality voting. I am open to any voting system that increases the ability of voters to have a say in election and makes Ohio's system more representative of the preferences of voters.
The Columbus Metropolitan Area is growing rapidly. That is a testament to local leadership, but it is also a challenge that needs to be met by the state government. As of the 2020 Census, Columbus is the 14th-most-populous city in the United States. Cities much smaller than ours have much better public transportation. As Columbus’s influence spreads more and more into surrounding counties, it only becomes more crucial that we develop a transportation system that works for the people of Columbus and Central Ohio. I support dramatic increases in funding of rail and bus service to ensure that Columbus can compete with any and every other city in the country.
Health care is a right, not a privilege. I support universal single-payer health care. Until Congress passes Medicare For All, we can expand access to Medicaid on the state level. I support increasing eligibility for Medicaid. I will oppose all efforts to add red tape or reduce eligibility for Medicaid. Too many Ohioans are struck unexpectedly by so-called "Medicaid recovery," which is a bureaucratic term for when the state takes assets from Medicaid recipients' estates after they die in order to punish their family for having a relative who received Medicaid benefits.
Mental health and addiction are health care issues, not criminal issues. We should ensure that all Ohioans have access to mental health care and addiction treatment. This must include protections against employment discrimination targeting people with mental illness and/or addiction. Ohioans struggling with their mental health or addiction should not get caught up in the criminal justice system, but instead should be treated with the compassion they deserve. We should stand steadfastly against stigmatization of mental illness and addiction.
Abortion is basic health care. All health care plans, including Medicaid, should cover reproductive health care. I will be a stalwart opponent of all abortion restrictions and targeted restrictions on abortion providers.
Multiple voters have asked me about whether I support marijuana legalization, so I am making a whole section on it.
Yes. I strongly support legalization.
I support expunging past convictions for non-violent offenses. Prohibition laws have been disproportionately used to punish Black, brown, and poor communities, and I will work to make sure that legalization benefits those communities and does not only result in profits for people who are already wealthy.
We have seen far too many deaths from gun violence. We need to take common-sense action to reduce gun deaths. We need universal background checks and red-flag laws for purchases of guns and ammunition. People with a history of domestic violence should not have guns. Everyone who possesses a gun should be required to carry liability insurance to cover the costs of any injuries they cause with their guns. Weapons of war do not belong on American streets.
Although mental illness is not the driving cause of most U.S. gun violence, we need to improve access to affordable mental health care to make sure that everyone has the care needed.
I have been designated as a "Gun Sense Candidate" by Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety.