Issues - Cenk 2020

Issues

Corruption in Politics

Corruption in politics is the root of all of our issues; it’s why we don’t have universal healthcare, affordable housing, or living wages. Ending corruption in politics is my top priority. In order to end it, we must keep pointing out that privately financed elections lead to politicians working for private interests. That applies to the entire Republican Party, but also, unfortunately, a huge chunk of the Democratic Party. The entire country knows about the corruption in both parties and it is the leading reason why most Americans can’t stand politicians. I’m going to be one of the first representatives to actually represent you and show you how we can end the corruption together!

It’s the corruption in politics that has led to lower wages for everyone in the country and CA-25. Over the last 40 years American productivity has been sky high but wages have flatlined. The wealthy redistributed $12 TRILLION to themselves that was made from the hard work of the average American worker. It’s the Great American Robbery. And it was the corrupt politicians who helped the wealthy donor class rob you. I’m not going to cater to corporate power; I’m going to fight it on your behalf. When we take on corruption in politics, we can finally increase wages, guarantee healthcare for our families, address homelessness, and put out the fire of climate change. Big companies have plenty of people to represent them, people in government are supposed to represent you. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do - fight for and represent you!

Higher Wages

The one thing that everyone can agree on, regardless of political party, is that wages are too low. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, is blocking a bill that would increase the minimum wage - and corporate Democrats are letting him get away with it. There should be a press conference every day about how McConnell is taking money out of your pocket and giving it to his wealthy corporate donors. If corporate Democrats don’t want to fight for you, then they should step out of the way and let us do it.

In CA-25, if we push for solar and wind energy jobs we can not only create higher paying jobs but we can also begin to alleviate the enormous traffic on Route 14. We also need a four-year college and VA Hospital in the Antelope Valley.

Lobbyists fight to keep your wages low so that the corporations they represent make bigger profits. I will fight for higher wages for you!

Healthcare

I’m the only major candidate in this race who is in favor of Medicare for All. Every single person is covered under Medicare for All - it is the only way to guarantee universal healthcare! When career politicians say they support a public option, that means they want to maintain our current system of co-pays, deductibles, and premiums. Under a public option, costs of healthcare will still rise and families who can’t afford insurance will still be bankrupted.

Imagine a country where no one dies because they don’t have insurance or goes bankrupt when they run into a serious medical problem. That’s what every developed country in the world has - except us. And on average they pay half of what we do! The question isn’t how we’re going to pay for Medicare for All. The question is how can we afford to keep paying for our current, broken system!

Don’t let anyone - Republican or Democrat - deceive you about Medicare for All. You wouldn’t need private insurance anymore because you would have better insurance! Even it’s critics agree Medicare for All is “the Cadillac plan” and has “awesome” coverage. It expands the coverage you have now and gives you the choice to go to any doctor, hospital, or provider! The only reason other politicians oppose it is because they get campaign contributions from private insurance companies to keep the old, expensive, ineffective system we have now. Simply put, Medicare for All will save lives, and while others are taking orders from their donors, I will always fight for you.

Housing

You know how you address homelessness? You build homes. We know this works because Utah actually tried it and decreased homelessness by 91%! They built government-subsidized housing so that everyone could have safety and shelter - and it worked. We can do the same, but we must make sure your money doesn’t get diverted to real estate interest who donated to local politicians.

There is a common misconception that those experiencing homelessness don't want shelter. That is not remotely true, especially in LA. In LA county, 42% of the homeless have mental health or addiction issues (and the great majority of them also want shelter). But a whopping 58% just can't afford housing. We're all getting priced out of housing in LA.

Over the last twenty years, rent has gone up by 32% in Los Angeles but wages have gone down by 3%! Yet my Democratic opponent voted against rent caps and other affordable housing measures.

Additionally, the Republican Mayor of Lancaster has been vicious to the homeless. He supports legislation that makes it illegal to give food to the homeless. He would have arrested Jesus if he lived in Lancaster. He also told Lancaster residents to carry firearms to potentially use against the homeless. I’m pretty sure Jesus said to help those in need, not to shoot them.

The good news is that we have passed several ballot measures in Los Angeles to help the homeless and to build more homes. The problem is that almost all of our politicians take money from real estate and construction interests and so our hard earned money - which is supposed to help the needy - gets diverted into projects that enrich political donors. We must fight for and demand affordable housing in LA. We can achieve this if we have accountability in our government.

Immigration

Dreamers are kids who came to America when they were young, graduated high school or signed up for our Armed Forces, started families here and had fulfilling careers. They are the best of us, not the worst of us. I’m disgusted by how Republicans demagogue against them. I will do everything in my power to make sure that those in office who support Donald Trump calling Latino immigrants “criminals and rapists” are never elected again. It’s time to get up and fight back. Republicans are literally coming after our families, separating children from their parents, and caging human beings at the border. It’s not going to happen – not on my watch. Immigrants built this country - if you attack them, you attack all of us.

I’m an immigrant. You know why we came to this country? Because we love it! For us, citizenship is not an accident of birth, it is a choice. We chose to believe in the American Dream and American ideals. While this country has obviously not always been perfect, it has delivered on that promise for my family. And I want to make sure others have the same opportunity that I did.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump, the Republican Party, and some parts of the media spread hateful lies about immigrants. Immigrants actually commit crime at half the rate of natural born citizens, so areas with more immigrants are safer! That’s a fact. Undocumented immigrants also pay more in taxes than they take out in services. They are a net positive for the economy and the government budget!

We must provide a pathway to citizenship for those that are laboring in jobs that are hard to fill and for those that live in fear of family separation and deportation. We must get on a path to rational immigration reform that protects American workers, undocumented immigrants, our economy, and our ideals!

Environmental Justice and Climate Change

The planet and our district are on fire.. Meanwhile, politicians twiddle their thumbs while we burn, calling for more panels to discuss climate change and for more think tanks to propose solutions. We already know how dangerous climate change is and we know what the solutions are; we must take action right now. Oil companies make profits by extracting natural resources, but we are expected to pay the costs of their reckless actions. A primary cause of climate change is the continued production of oil and gas, but when Simi Valley is on fire we have to pay for it! That’s outrageous. Do you get any part of ExxonMobil’s profits? No, neither did I. But when your house burns down, they are nowhere to be found. They privatize the gains and socialize the losses. 16 out of the last 17 years have been the hottest on record and if we don’t act soon, we can’t reverse it. I’m not going to let our district burn so corporations can profit.

A Green New Deal will create millions of new high-paying jobs! It will rebuild the energy infrastructure of this country in the same way that Dwight Eisenhower built highways and bridges across the country. Likewise, this will greatly stimulate the economy and begin to save the planet in the process.

We must also address other massive environmental issues in the district. Boeing must clean up the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, which it has promised to do for over a dozen years and has never done because our politicians don’t hold them accountable Steve Knight took $20,000 from Boeing when he represented the district - and did nothing to help. The disaster at Aliso Canyon was the biggest gas leak in American history. Again, Steve Knight stood up for his donors - the parent company, Sempra, has given him $16,000 - rather than fight for his voters. It’s our job to represent our voters, not the lobbyists!

Criminal Justice Reform

Millions of our fellow Americans have been wrongly imprisoned by an unjust criminal justice system. The War on Drugs has been a disaster that has systematically targeted people of color. Marijuana must be legalized across the country immediately. We must stop putting people in prison for having the equivalent of a beer. So many of our fellow Americans have had to suffer this arbitrary injustice. People of color are even more likely to be punished for marijuana use, adding another layer of injustice to this nightmare. We must decriminalize drug possession and use our resources to provide free substance use treatment and mental healthcare, rather than locking people away for years in prison.

We must also end cash bail because it criminalizes poverty. It is unconscionable that some people spend months or years stuck in jail--not because they pose a threat to the public, but because they cannot pay to get out. We must also end all private prisons. If you give someone a profit motive to imprison our fellow Americans, they will imprison as many of us as possible.

The death penalty is unacceptable. We have now freed dozens of people who were wrongly placed on death row and were later exonerated. We were going to kill all of those innocent people. How can anyone still think that’s a good idea?

We must also end solitary confinement, improve prison conditions, and provide meaningful opportunities for release.Treating prisoners with cruelty has no point other than to inflict suffering. How we treat prisoners doesn’t just say something about them, it also says something about us.

Policing Policy

Police shootings must be investigated by federal prosecutors, not local prosecutors who have to work with the same police departments everyday and might be affected by their previous relationships with them. The job of law enforcement is to serve and protect everyone in the community, not just the powerful.

We also have to improve police training so that they use lethal force only as an option of last resort, not if they feel any sense of personal danger. We give police guns and badges - and that comes with a heavy responsibility. It's a risky and deeply courageous job if you do it right. If you shoot at the slightest threat, then it is not at all risky and winds up killing far too many civilians, especially people of color.

In a lot of cases, we should shift first responder responsibilities from law enforcement to health care professionals and social workers. When someone is having a mental health crisis or needs help, we should be able to call those who are best-equipped to handle this situation in a professional and humane way.

Gun Control

97% of Americans want federal background checks. Yet we don't have them! Why? If we had a functioning democracy, this would pass immediately. The NRA has bought off Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Steve Knight and the entirety of the Republican Party. Our kids get shot because of these corrupt politicians!

We need to ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and close the gun show loophole. We must also fund research on gun violence prevention-- something that Trump and Republicans refuse to do! The only people who are against research and facts are people who are afraid of what we will find out.

We must also end the NRA's insane insistence on selling cop-killer bullets. Armor piercing bullets have only one function - to murder police officers. As long as the NRA continues its position of protecting the profits of gun manufacturers instead of protecting our officers, anyone who takes political contributions from them is taking blood money.

End the corruption and you'll end the shootings.

Women's Rights

70% of the country is pro-choice but not enough people vote based on this issue. That's wrong. Vote like your bodies, freedom and lives depend on it - because they do! Republican legislators want to take a woman’s right to choose away. They want to have big government bureaucrats tell women what to do with their bodies and control their most personal, private decisions. Not on our watch! We must pass Medicare for All, which expands abortion access to all women and allows women to make choices based on what they want, not what they can afford. We're going to fight Republicans, defeat them, and protect women's freedoms!

Women being paid less than men for the same job is completely unacceptable. A legacy of discrimination still haunts us and continues to target women to this day, especially women of color. We must affirmatively fight to make sure that all women have pay parity.

Universal healthcare is a women's issue. Not only should we make sure that every person in America has healthcare but we should also acknowledge that women have historically suffered more discrimination in this current system. Private insurance has even charged more to women because of childbirth. That's outrageous. We cannot leave women to the mercy of private insurance companies trying to maximize profit at their expense.

Supporting Small Businesses

I started a media company from my living room. We started with absolutely nothing and built ourselves up from the ground. Now, it is the largest online news network in the country. I know how to run a real business and I’ve hired hundreds of people. My proudest moments are when I can give my employees a raise. A real business is supposed to provide value for the community and take care of its employees. Big business interests will say I oppose the business community but in reality I oppose corporations buying politicians. If you’re a small business owner, I’m not going to let big business run you over anymore.

When Walmart opened up a mega store in Lancaster, they drove all of the nearby local shops out of business. Their workers often have to get government subsidies because of how low their wages are. That’s unfair competition. If we fight crony capitalism, we can empower our local business leaders to create more jobs here and grow our economy.

Trump

Trump is a policy issue. The policy is democracy, and he doesn't believe in it. He has said many times that he would like to lock up his political opponents. He has said that perhaps working with law enforcement should be made illegal (every mobster in the country agrees). He has even said we don't need judges. He has often complimented brutal dictators and commented that he admires how they can get their people to obey unquestioningly.

If you believe in and cherish our form of government, then we must defeat Donald Trump. We cannot pass any of these other laws if we don't have a functioning government anymore.

No one will fight Trump harder than me. Not only do I talk about what a monster he is but I also point out how ineffective, incompetent, and buffoonish he is. If people understand that he has had six bankruptcies and hides his college grades, that will undermine his one perceived strength - that he is a smart, competent businessman that knows how to get things done. The reality is the opposite. He is the least intelligent, least competent person we have ever had in office.

Fighting for Change

How is this a policy? It isn't but it affects our ability to pass the legislation that people need. The point of being aggressive in politics is not to vent and feel good, it is to be more pragmatic about how you get change. If entrenched political interests do not want to pass these laws - and they clearly don't, since none of these laws have passed - then you must move them politically. Asking nicely has not worked and is not a practical theory of change. The correct method is to create public pressure.

Lyndon Johnson would have never passed The Civil Rights Act or The Voting Rights Act if it wasn't for the enormous public pressure created by Martin Luther King and the entire civil rights movement. If MLK had asked politely, we would have never gotten change. Instead he called for civil disobedience! The suffragette movement would have never gotten women the right to vote if they had asked politely. They were much smarter than that; they created unstoppable momentum through public pressure.

This is our government - we must act like it! Politicians don't own this government, nor do the donors. It is ours. We are perfectly within our rights to demand change, to demand laws that benefit us and not the powerful. This is what democracy looks like!