Our country is a world leader thanks to the diversity of its people and the talents they bring. When many of our ancestors immigrated, there were no laws to limit who was accepted. But over the years, our immigration laws have become confusing, complicated, expensive and unfair. Barring refugees based solely on the religion of their native country is illegal and returning people to a country that is foreign to them is unjust. Congress recognizes the problem, but has refused to act. I will work with leadership to make our immigration laws more reflective of our country’s interests and ethical values, which must include protecting our DACA and DREAMers with definite path to citizenship.
I remember air, land and water pollution in my hometown when I was a child, before EPA regulations. Many people are too young or perhaps have forgotten how polluted even a relatively rural area in northwest Georgia can get without controls on how businesses operate. We have come a long way in getting businesses and industries to comply and support sustainable practices to protect our environment. Protection and preservation need to be the guidelines we follow in considering environmental regulations. I will fight hard to ensure our environmental protections remain strong and our wild spaces are preserved and remain intact.
Climate change is an indisputable scientific fact. Left unchecked, it threatens the future liberty, pursuit of happiness and existence of all life on our planet. But in reality, we cannot simply switch off the fossil fuel economy; it must be an intelligent transition. I advocate conversion of older inefficient power plants to natural gas. I will support legislation to stimulate a sustainable, green energy economy (and their high-wage jobs) including widespread solar, wind, smart grids, electric vehicles, efficient transportation and modernized public transit, increased energy efficiency, and energy storage technology. This thinking must be part of our nations infrastructure re-boot.
Long ago, our lawmakers realized that there were certain industries that needed to be protected from the pressures of the free market for the protection of our citizens. Water, power and electricity are all closely regulated to provide such protection. Congress, however, has moved to eliminate “net neutrality”, opening the door for those industries with money and power to control access to the internet. I believe that everyone should have equal access. I would support reinstating the laws and policies of net neutrality.
The Second Amendment grants us the right to bear arms, but the courts have held that it is entirely within the right of the government to place certain restrictions on this right. Universal criminal background checks and prohibitions against certain criminal offenders possessing guns are just a couple of examples of restrictions that already exist in many states. In addition, I would support those who are seeking to re-impose gun purchase prohibitions on persons who are severely mentally ill.
We need to prioritize and work with the states to maintain existing infrastructure and developing improvements. Throughout the country, bridges are unsafe, sewer systems are falling apart, water supplies are threatened, and our carbon-economy energy systems are unsustainable. All of our utilities that operate with computers must be protected from the interference of hackers, either foreign or domestic that could threaten their operation. Focusing on our failing and vulnerable infrastructures will also stimulate job growth and economic vitality. I will work to find ways to partner with states and utilities to secure, develop and improve these all important support systems.