Copyright Jen Perelman 2020

My PLATFORM

“The only title in our democracy superior to that of President

is the title of citizen.”

-- Louis Brandeis

 

“What I want is to get done what the people desire to have done,

and the question for me is how to find that out exactly.”

-- Abraham Lincoln

 

 

Dear Fellow District 23 Constituents:

In a Representative Democracy, an elected representative is chosen by members of their community to act, vote, speak, and fight on their behalf. I am a firm believer that our representatives WORK FOR US. It is our representative’s JOB to find out what WE want and fight to get it done. Our representative’s votes in Congress should directly correlate to the desires of the MAJORITY of our district. This is how the “majority rule” concept is works: 

 

  1. Our Congressperson goes to Washington D.C.

  2. Our Congressperson comes back to the District to educate and inform us about important issues and pending legislation.

  3. Our Congressperson spends time in the District, meets with as many people as possible, holds public forums, conducts surveys, and does everything possible to understand the desires of the people.

  4. Our Congressperson returns to Washington D.C. and votes in accordance with the wishes of the MAJORITY of our District.

 

The same is true for the origination of legislation. It is also our representative’s job to suggest, write and sponsor legislation that serves the best interest of our District and the country.

A representative cannot properly serve the District in this manner while taking money from corporations, special interests, or their law firms. It is a conflict of interest, plain and simple. We all know the unlikelihood of being able to satisfy the needs of corporate sponsors and constituents simultaneously. This is why it is so important to know that our representatives are only on OUR payroll and nobody else’s.

The way we can do that is to elect people to Congress that ONLY work for YOU. I feel fortunate and privileged to be part of a Campaign wherein I can offer that to all of you. Our Campaign is purely people-funded. We do not accept corporate or corporate PAC money. We do not accept money from corporate interests hidden under the guise of law firms. We do not have “strings” of any kind. When our Campaign is over, the only “favors” I will owe will be to you, as constituents.

I strongly concur with Lincoln, inasmuch as my job as a representative is to find out what my constituents desire and find a way to make it happen. My votes on policy and legislation will reflect the opinion of the majority of our District and NOT my own personal views or agenda. However, I believe that part of the job is to educate and inform the District about important issues and prospective solutions. With that in mind, these are my policy ideas.

 

But remember: I only work for YOU; I only answer to YOU.

In reason, passion, and justice,

 

Jen

 

 

HEALTHCARE

Nearly 30 million Americans are uninsured. An additional 40 million are “underinsured,” meaning that they cannot afford their premiums, deductibles, and copays. And while the United States spends more money for healthcare than any other developed country, we have significantly worse health outcomes. In fact, the United States has the lowest life expectancy among comparable countries. We also have the highest maternal and infant mortality rates among the developed world. 

Why is it that we spend so much, and yet get so little? It’s simple. In the United States, there is an unnecessary middleman (private insurance companies) standing in between healthcare providers and patients, that causes our exorbitant costs. This for-profit system allows wealth inequality to equal health inequality.

We are capable of doing better than that. We are capable of having a system wherein we spend less money and EVERYONE has healthcare. 

Transitioning to a single-payer (i.e. Medicare for All) system will eliminate the middleman, allowing doctors to treat their patients without requiring the approval of a bean-counter in a corporate office across the country. In addition, a single-payer system will reduce the hundreds of billions of dollars that are wasted on the profits and administrative costs of private insurance companies. It is important to note that any acceptable system would allow people to retain their current health care providers and hospitals. Private insurance companies can exist to supplement universal coverage for people that want additional services.

 

Jen supports:

  • The guarantee of healthcare to all people as a right, not a privilege, through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer program.

  • Mandating that Medicare cover prescription drugs, primary care, maternity care, vision, dental, reproductive healthcare, preventative care, and lab services.

  • Eliminating premiums, deductibles, and copays.

  • Authorizing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies.

  • Allowing patients, pharmacists, and wholesalers to buy low-cost prescription drugs from Canada and other industrialized countries.

  • Ending the gun violence epidemic by allowing the CDC to study gun violence and passing legislation based on the empirical data.

  • Investing $100 billion dollars to end the opioid epidemic and prosecuting corporations who illegally marketed the drugs.

 

ENVIRONMENT

Climate change is the single greatest threat facing our planet. The recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has made it clear that unless we substantially cut the amount of carbon in our atmosphere in under 11 years, the human, environmental, and economic costs will be severe and irreversible. Yet, despite the abundance of scientific evidence, multi-national fossil fuel corporations continue to profit at the expense of our environment. In the interest of profit maximization, we also allow industrial polluters to continue to pollute our water. Between lax regulations and our crumbling infrastructure, there are communities in this country that have not had clean water in more than five years. In Florida, industrial polluters have contributed to unprecedented blue-green algae contamination and red tide, which is detrimental to the tourism industry, and will ultimately affect our drinking water.

 

Jen supports:

  • A Green New Deal that transforms our energy system away from fossil fuels to 100% energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

  • Mobilization on a national scale to ensure that, in the next 10 years, 100% of domestic electricity demand will be supplied by clean, renewable, and zero-emission sources.

  • Investing in infrastructure and programs to protect the communities in this country that are most vulnerable to the impact of the climate crisis. This is especially critical in South Florida where we are “ground zero” for the climate effect of sea-level rise.

  • Reducing carbon pollution emissions from our transportation system by investing in high-speed passenger rail, electric vehicles, and public transit.

  • Banning fracking. 

  • Banning fossil fuel leases on public lands in order to keep oil, gas, and coal in the ground.

  • Ending exports of coal, natural gas, and crude oil.

  • Protecting and growing America’s public lands and waters, and natural monuments, for future generations.

  • Ensuring clean water for our citizens by holding industrial polluters accountable and retrofitting our outdated water infrastructure. This should be done starting with the most vulnerable and neglected communities.

  • Investing in a solar initiative in Florida, as well as nationwide, for economic benefit and environmental protection.

 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

We have a two-tiered “justice” system in this country. The likelihood that a person will be indicted, prosecuted, and sentenced too often depends on factors such as race, gender identity, and socio-economic status.  Not one banker was prosecuted after Wall Street greed crashed our economy, while millions of black men have had their lives ruined over non-violent drug offenses. It is long past time that this country lives up to its motto, “and justice FOR ALL.” America was built on the subjugation of people of color, and racial oppression still exist within every aspect of our society, especially in our criminal justice system.  We must address the systemic racism and create a system of justice that doesn’t favor the rich and criminalize poverty.

 

Jen supports:

  • Abolishing for-profit prisons

  • Ending the federal prohibition on marijuana

  • Commuting sentences, expunging records, and releasing all people currently incarcerated, paroled, or on probation for nonviolent drug offenses.

  • Reducing our incarcerated population by eliminating mandatory minimums and excessive sentences.

  • Investing in treatment programs for people who are struggling with mental health, and substance abuse issues.

  • Prohibiting the exploitation of prison labor by applying the federal minimum wage laws to incarcerated individuals.

  • Prohibiting the use of predatory prison phone rates.

  • “Banning the Box” that requires job applicants to disclose their criminal records for employment.

  • Banning the prosecution of children (under 18) in adult courts.

  • Mandating criminal liability for civil rights violations resulting from police misconduct.

  • Demilitarizing municipal law enforcement agencies by ending federal programs that provide military equipment to local police forces.

  • Restricting the use of deadly force.

  • Renegotiating police contracts to establish responsible accountability and transparency measures.

  • Supporting the establishment of local civilian oversight boards of law enforcement.

 

ECONOMIC REFORM

The United States currently has the greatest level of wealth inequality since the “Gilded Era.” The three richest people in this country have more wealth than the bottom 50% of the population. In addition, there is nowhere in this country where a person who works full-time at minimum wage can afford to live. People should not have to work three jobs and drive an Uber in order to make ends meet, especially when their employers are making record profits. Furthermore, we cannot expect to have a thriving economy when our “consumers” do not have any disposable income. We need to strive for an economy that values and respects its labor force by treating workers fairly and participating in trade agreements that are in their best interest.

 

Jen supports:

  • Closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy and large corporations.

  • Eliminating the income cap on Social Security so that millionaires and billionaires pay more into the system.

  • Substantially increasing the top marginal tax rate on incomes above $10 million.

  • Raising the minimum wage to a “living wage” (at least $15/hour)

  • Capping interest rates at 15% to curb exploitative lending practices that cripple working people and disproportionately affect communities of color.

  • Offering basic and affordable banking services through the postal system to curb the racial and socioeconomic disparities regarding access to banking.

  • Providing federal loans and grants to municipalities and counties for the construction of affordable housing.

  • Providing all workers paid family and medical leave, paid sick leave and paid vacation.

  • Providing free childcare for children aged six months to three years that would be run by local school districts and overseen by the federal government.

  • Providing a Social Security child-care benefit to parents who choose to care for their children at home.

  • Repealing “Right to Work” laws through federal legislation.

  • Strengthening the power of labor by making it easier for workers to join unions, and supporting policy that requires labor representation on corporate boards.

  • Eliminating the provisions in our current trade and tax agreements that make it easier for multinational corporations to ship jobs overseas.

  • Making sure that strong and binding labor, environmental, and human rights standards are written into the core text of all trade agreements.

EDUCATION

A critical component of a sound economy is an educated and skilled citizenry. By allowing for-profit companies to siphon money from our public schools, we have failed our teachers and our students. There is no way to prioritize education if we do not value and properly compensate our educators. Regarding the expansion of our current K-12 system to include both pre-K and 4-year college (or trade school), we need to understand that education is not a “privilege,” but rather an “investment” in our economy.

 

Jen supports:

  • Providing tuition-free four-year free public university or trade school.

  • Canceling the $1.6 trillion of student debt.

  • Increasing pay for public school teachers so that their salary is commensurate with their importance to society.

  • Providing free pre-Kindergarten for all children between the ages of three and five years old.

  • Offering free school lunch and breakfast for all children attending public school and pre-K.

  • Prohibiting the use of public funding for for-profit education institutions.

 

MILITARY/FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Despite a military budget of just under $1 trillion, America’s pattern of military imperialism has been a complete failure. The entire world, from Central America to the Middle East, to Southeast Asia bears scars of U.S. imperialism. Without provocation, and without formal declarations of war, the United States has been on a global warpath since the end of the Cold War. These wars have not been for the defense of our nation and our people. They have been for profit. Although we spend more money on our military than the next nine countries combined, it will never be enough. Afghanistan was not enough. Iraq was not enough. Libya was not enough. Somalia was not enough. Yemen was not enough. Syria was not enough. It is time for us to realize that what we are doing is only serving to benefit the wallet of the military industrial complex. 

 

Jen supports:

  • Invoking the War Powers Act to end our support for the Saudi Arabia-led war in Yemen.

  • Passing a new “Authorization for the Use of Military Force,” (AUMF) that severely limits the power of the Executive branch to engage in military action without congressional approval.

  • Significantly cutting the military budget (at least 50%), and reallocating resources toward rehabilitating and retrofitting our national infrastructure.

  • Increasing funding for foreign aid programs in areas that have been ravaged by U.S. imperialism.

 

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING

THE STATE OF ISRAEL

I want Israel to be a secure, democratic country that can be a national homeland for the Jewish people. Unfortunately, the occupation of the West Bank threatens that.  The majority of American Jews support the state of Israel, and have a deep personal connection to it, but wish that its government would change its policies towards Palestinians.  As Jews, we have a strong sense of social justice and a belief in the general humanitarian welfare of all people. We are compelled to be peacemakers through Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.  This requires us to always be advocates for peace, even when it’s hard.  

Israel and Palestine both deserve peace, stability, and security, and I firmly believe that the only way to make that happen is through a two-state solution in which Palestinians have a state of their own including the occupied West Bank.  The UN does not recognize the West Bank as part of Israel because it was seized as the spoils of war in violation of international law. Right-wing parties in Israel have been pushing towards annexation of the entire territory, and I oppose that wholeheartedly. However, the status quo is unsustainable as well.  Palestinian villages are being destroyed. Moreover, Palestinians cannot vote in Israeli elections or participate in Israeli government services, while Israeli settlers readily enjoy those freedoms. Economic opportunity has hollowed out, and life under the military occupation is demoralizing and dehumanizing.  

It’s important to note that right-wing Israeli policies weren’t born in a vacuum. They were the results of a Palestinian leadership that has supported terrorism, rejected peace negotiations, and refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist.  When Israel returned Gaza to Palestinians, they elected Hamas, a terrorist organization, as their government. Hamas in coordination with the Palestinian government in the West Bank funnels money to the families of terrorists through a program known as the Palestinian Authority Martyr Fund.  There will never be peace when the Palestinian government subsidizes terrorism nor will there be justice when Israelis illegally occupy the West Bank. It’s time America leverages its power to provide a pathway for peace and justice for all Israelis and Palestinians.

 

Jen supports:

  • Promoting an Israeli state that reflects our values of democracy, justice, and inclusion.

  • Encouraging and supporting the state of Israel to adopt and transition to a two-state solution.

  • Leveraging our aid to force the Israeli government to comply with international law, and be accountable for human rights violations

 

CIVIL RIGHTS & LIBERTIES

It is long past time for us to take a long hard look in the mirror and acknowledge that “liberty and justice for all” is more of a catch phrase than a reality. Although we have made significant strides over the past few decades, there is still much progress to be made. It has been 100 years since women were given the right to vote, and yet we are still fighting for control over our own bodies. It has been 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation and yet the disparity in our criminal justice system against people of color is blatant. We have been lying to, and cheating our native brothers and sisters since we arrived to their continent. We finally granted the LGBTQIA community the right to get married, but yet the transgender community has been subjected to unprecedented levels of violence. Finally, we are a country of immigrants, and yet we turn our backs on immigrants and asylum-seekers. We need to ensure that the protections and rights afforded by our Constitution are applied to everyone.

 

Jen supports:

  • Opposing any and all efforts to undermine or overturn Roe V. Wade, and supporting the appointment of federal judges that will uphold women’s fundamental rights.

  • Repealing the Hyde Amendment.

  • Fighting for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

  • Appropriating federal funding to clear the backlog of untested rape kits.

  • Ensuring that African-American cultural traditions, such as hairstyles, are embraced, rather than policed in schools and the workplace.

  • Combating the school-to-prison pipeline by targeting federal funding increases for public schools in underserved communities.

  • Protecting and fighting for the rights of the LGBTQIA community in regards to employment, housing, health insurance, banking, education, and the criminal justice system.

  • Reversing the Trump administration ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.

  • Banning the practice of conversion therapy.

  • Protecting the treaty/sovereign rights of Native American nations, and support a transition from a system of paternalism to a system of deference and support.

  • Prohibiting the construction of pipelines that could negatively impact indigenous communities.

  • Expanding the Fair Housing Act to protect marginalized groups including LGBTQIA, Native Americans, and Section 8 recipients.

  • Enacting comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path towards citizenship.

  • Abolishing for-profit immigrant detention centers.

  • Increasing funding for legal services and translators for undocumented individuals and asylum-seekers.

 

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING REPARATIONS

Approximately 4 million Africans and descendants thereof were enslaved in colonial America and the United States from 1619 to 1865. From 1789 through 1865, the institution of slavery was constitutionally and statutorily sanctioned by the United States government. Although slavery ended in 1865, federal, state, and local governments continued to perpetuate, condone, and profit from the systemic, institutionalized disenfranchisement of African-Americans. In the years following abolition, African-Americans have continuously suffered from racist policies, including, but not limited to: share-cropping, Jim Crow laws, “separate but equal” education and public services, redlining, and disproportionate treatment in our criminal justice system.

As a result of such continued discrimination, the African-American community continues to suffer debilitating hardships at a disproportionate rate to that of the white population. For example, the unemployment rate of African-Americans is more than twice that of the White unemployment rate. The disparities in the areas of economics, education, and health are equally unjust.

 

Jen supports:

  • Enacting H.R. 40, which establishes a commission to “study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparation.”

  • Any other legislation that calls for social, civic, economic, and educational improvement for underserved communities in an effort to repair the damage caused by systemic racism.

 

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND

ELECTION INTEGRITY

In order for us to be able to implement ANY legislation that will benefit the American people, we must acknowledge that our campaign and electoral systems are in a state of severe disrepair. There is a reason that while most Americans want single-payer healthcare, it can’t seem to get passed. There is a reason why most Americans support the decriminalization of marijuana, and yet it is still classified as a schedule 1 drug. There is a reason why fossil fuel companies are still drilling for oil while most of us want to transition to renewable energy sources. The bottom line is that our government has been purchased by corporate interests. In order for us to reclaim our country from the hands of corporations, we must ensure a level playing field for political candidates, and demand election integrity.

 

Jen supports:

  • Ensuring automatic voter registration for every citizen over 18.

  • Introducing a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.

  • Reviving the Voting Rights Act to authorize the Department of Justice to apply renewed scrutiny over states and districts with histories of voter suppression and disenfranchisement.

  • Abolishing Super PACs.

  • Imposing congressional term limits.

  • Ending the revolving door between Congress and lobbying organizations by prohibiting members of Congress, and the President’s cabinet, from becoming lobbyists.

  • Transitioning to publicly-financed elections.

  • Redrawing gerrymandered political maps.

  • Restoring the voting rights of the more than 6 million Americans who have lost the right because of felony convictions.

  • Abolishing the use of proprietary election software/machines that are not subject to public oversight.