platform_dev - Tom Prigg for Congress

I support equal rights for all human beings.

  • No one in America should be discriminated against based on their race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation.
  • America continues to suffer from racial inequity exacerbated by economic and socially constructed divides.
    • African-American students are more harshly punished than their white peers: they are 3X more likely to be suspended out-of-school than white students 1, which feeds into the school-to-prison pipeline.2
    • Stop-and-frisk policies disproportionately target Black and Hispanic men 3, which has led to unequal incarceration. For example, Black Americans comprise 40% of prisoners despite being only 13% of the population.4
    • In the job force, persistent inequality leads to an on-average racial pay gap of 25%.5
  • The civil rights of the LGBQT community have been under attack for decades, and legislation to officially limit their rights has dramatically risen in recent years.6
    • Marriage equality reduced suicide attempts of LGBTQ teens by 7%.7
  • I will vote against any law that attempts to legalize discrimination.

I support freedom of speech in all its forms.

  • Free speech is so fundamental to our Constitution and our nation that it was proclaimed to be the First Amendment. Any attack on our freedom of speech or press is a direct attack to our Constitution and democracy.8
  • The freedom of the press is our fourth estate; it’s the final watch dog over our government and understanding of the world around us. When the press is censored in any way, our perceptions and knowledge are censored, our realities filtered by the censors.
  • As your representative, I will fight to uphold the First Amendment and oppose any law that threatens this Constitutional right.

I support gender equality in the workplace.

  • Gender discrimination has no place in America; women deserve equal pay for equal work. While much has improved since the 1963 Equal Pay Act, there is still work to be done.
  • On average, American women earn ~80% of what men earn.9 And, while some industries do indeed pay evenly, there are still industries (e.g. legal industries) in which women make as little as ~57% as their male counterparts.10

  • As your Representative, I will fight for equal pay and oppose any legislation that seeks to undermine women in the workforce.

I support both paid maternity and paternity leave.

  • America has fallen behind: Of 41 developed countries, the US is the only one that does not federally guarantee paid time off to new moms, and 31 of these countries also allow for paid time off for new dads.11
    • Research has shown that maternity leave benefits society and economic growth, and it is economically feasible even in poor countries.12
  • Babies are healthier, parents are happier, and employers report positive effects on profit, turnover, and morale.13

  • As your Representative, I will draft legislation to strengthen the financial security of our families14 by guaranteeing paid leave for both parents

I pledge to never accept Wall Street money, or hold any investments or stocks in any company, while serving as a Congressman.

  • Campaign donations from corporations are business investments. US Representatives who accept corporate money are pressured to vote in their donors’ (not the voters’) best interests. That isn’t Democracy; that’s called a “plutocracy” - when the wealthiest control the government. Here are some real-life examples:
    • The August Kaiser Health Tracking Poll (2015) found that 72% of Americans think prescription drug prices are too high.15 And yet, we still have a 2003 law preventing our government from negotiating drug prices on our behalf despite many attempts to reverse it. Why? Maybe because the pharmaceutical industry has spent the most (>$3.5 billion) lobbying for the last two decades.16
    • The unpopular “individual mandate” of the ACA was lobbied for by insurance companies 17, which have spent the second most ($2.4 million) on lobbying from 1998-2016.18

    • As your Congressman, I will support legislation to overturn Citizens United.

I support the development of renewable energy industries.

  • Unlike fossil fuels, these renewable energy industries aren’t going away. The sun will not stop shining, the wind will not stop blowing, and the water will keep flowing. These industries will provide a sustainable economy and provide jobs far into our country’s future. One important first step towards this initiative, to ensure efficient distribution of power to our homes and industries, would be to upgrade the existing power grid. Not only would this improve our environment 19 20, but boost our economy as well.21
    • More jobs. More job security - The industries of wind, solar, enzyme, and wave turbine would create millions of manufacturing, engineering, sales, technical support, and service repair jobs. Unlike fossil fuel jobs that often disappear when the fossil fuel is depleted, renewable energy jobs provide good-paying work with job security.22
    • Lower cost to consumers - the economy is stimulated when consumers have more to spend.
    • Energy Independence - Save billions of dollars of government spending on importing fossil fuels.
  • As your Representative, I will vote in support of programs and initiatives that seek to develop, improve and implement Green Energy alternatives, which will in turn create stable jobs, revitalize the economy and protect our environment.

I support minimum wage initiatives to establish a living wage for all.

  • A livable wage allows Americans to meet basic needs, and better maintain a normal standard of living for the benefit of themselves and their families
  • No American working full time should live in poverty.
    • A full-time minimum wage worker ($7.50/hr) earns only $15,600/year.23
    • Establishment of a living wage has shown improved turnover and productivity in the job market, minimal impact on municipal budgets, and little to no employment loss.24
  • As your Congressman, I will work to raise the minimum wage to a Living Wage, and I will support laws that will further strengthen overtime rules for workers.

I am in full support of unions.

  • Right-to-work laws hurt American workers.Unions helped to build the middle class. Unions allow members to negotiate for better pay and other benefits. It is because of unions that we now have the 40-hour work week, weekends off, lunch breaks, paid vacation, paid holidays, and sick leave.25
  • Unionized workers typically receive higher pay, more generous fringe and health care benefits, better pension plans, and more total paid leave.
  • Strong unions set wage standards that non-unions follow.26 Unions fight to raise compensation and benefits, reduce the inequality gap, and work to secure legislated labor protections and rights. And yet, the US has the second-lowest unionization rate in the developed world.27 28
  • America ranks #1 for low-paying jobs; that’s not something to be proud of.29 30

  • As your Representative, I will strive to abolish Right-to-Work laws, and will work with and support local Labor Unions in order to restore collective bargaining rights back to the American worker.

I support the establishment of a universal healthcare system.

  • Americans should have access to quality medical care regardless of income.
    • In 2014, a report from the Commonwealth Fund ranked US healthcare worst in the developed world. In this report, the US “ranked last overall among 11 industrialized countries on measures of health system quality, efficiency, access to care, equity and healthy lives.” Significantly, the US was found to have vastly higher costs while also displaying the lowest performance.31
  • Universal healthcare isn’t simply economically sound, it’s a right.
    • H.R.676 Medicare For All Act 32 works towards this goal of providing free universal healthcare, and proposes to cover:
      • medically necessary care, including primary care and prevention
      • dietary and nutritional therapies
      • prescription drugs
      • emergency and long term care
      • mental health services
      • dental services and vision care

    • As your Representative, I will vote against legislation that would cut funding or limit access to rural, community, or women’s centers. I will fight to reduce out-of-pocket expenses and prescription costs, and seek to abolish annual and lifetime caps on coverage. I will fight to ensure coverage cannot be denied or cost more due to pre-existing conditions.

I support the establishment of better programs and services to help active servicemembers and veterans when they come home after serving their country.

  • Active servicemembers and veterans are often exposed to traumatic events, which can have a devastating emotional toll on military personnel, their families, and even their communities. Therefore, programs to help struggling servicemembers and veterans cope with traumatic issues are crucial.
  • According to statistics reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), veterans comprise 20% of all suicides, and 3 out of 5 were diagnosed as having a mental health disorder.33
    • SAMHSA also reports that 10% of all homeless are veterans, and of those, one fifth were in substance abuse programs.34
  • VA hospitals are under-stocked, under-staffed, and underfunded resulting in long delays in scheduling, evaluation, and follow-up care. Further stressing this overburdened healthcare system, we are at perpetual war. This means a continual stream of veterans relying on the VA to receive timely, quality care.
  • 20% of veterans needed food assistance such as food stamps in 2014.35
  • 1.5 million American veterans live in poverty.36
  • My second main initiative, the establishment of free technical schools, would greatly benefit veterans by teaching a valuable skill towards a meaningful career after military service.

I support eliminating student debt and creating a free college infrastructure in the future.

  • American student debt is 1.3 trillion dollars 37, and is a huge burden for people straight out of college trying to create a new life.
  • 11.0% of student loan were 90+ days delinquent or in default at the end of 2016.38 As a nation, we put young people in debt that would normally be reserved for buying a house.
  • Elimination of this debt could drastically improve our economy, especially local economies, by strengthening the future middle class.
  • As your Congressman, I will work to provide necessary debt relief to students, and ultimately towards restructuring higher education to allow for tuition-free options for students in the future.

I support investigations into manipulations of market funds and abusive short selling.

I support common sense banking regulations that protects consumers.

  • In the 50 years since the Great Depression and the implementation of the Glass-Steagall Act, our country didn’t have a single crash.39 Sadly, repeal of this act in 1999 and deregulation led to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.40
  • As your Representative, I will support legislation to increase transparency and accountability for any and all financial firms that pose a high risk to consumers, and ensure that corporations and individuals found guilty of breaking laws are prosecuted.

I’m against shipping manufacturing jobs overseas.

  • Corporations choose near slave labor in other countries to avoid paying Americans fair wages.41 Globalization is not an excuse for outsourcing. Companies need to create jobs here. End the race to the bottom. Profit over people must stop.

  • As your Representative, I will introduce legislation that will reward corporations who invest in their workers and penalize those that move profits and jobs overseas.

I support reinvesting in less costly rehabilitation and treatments for drug abuse and mental illness. The for-profit prison system values profit over people, and this must stop.

  • The US imprisons 4X more people than any other country in the world 42...even though violent crime rates have been decreasing for 20 years.43 Why is that?
  • Persistent racial inequality is one underlying cause.
    • African-American students are more harshly punished than their white peers: they are 3X more likely to be suspended out-of-school than white students 44, which feeds into the school-to-prison pipeline.45
    • Stop-and-frisk policies disproportionately target Black and Hispanic men 46, which has led to unequal incarceration. For example, Black Americans comprise 40% of prisoners despite being only 13% of the population.47
  • Prisons were estimated to cost taxpayers $39 billion in fiscal year 2010; this equates to $31,286 / inmate / year.48
  • Many private prisons have negotiated “lockup quotas”, which requires law enforcement to arrest enough people or WE pay the difference.49
    • This guarantees prisons profit from our hard-earned tax money no matter what. Provisions must be established to discourage and eliminate the for-profit prison system.
  • Mandatory minimum sentences continue the cycle of poverty. In 2015, 13.8% of all arrests were drug-related, non-violent offenses. We have over half a million people in prison for marijuana possession.50 After release, many are ineligible for federal loans for education without attending costly rehab programs, and it takes many years to restore voter rights.
  • An estimated 15-20% of inmates in jails and state prisons have a serious mental illness, or ~356,000 inmates.51 This is 10 times more than the ~35,000 individuals with serious mental illness remaining in state hospitals.
  • As your Congressman, I will support legislation to increase funding and invest in rehabilitation and treatment programs for prisoners, and am in favor of substance abuse treatment, in lieu of prison, for first time, nonviolent offenders. I also pledge to work hard towards ultimately reducing our reliance on the for-profit private prison syste

I support the expansion of Social Security, social programs, and Medicare to benefit older adults, disabled workers, and their families.

  • The Social Security Act, signed into law in 1935, was to ensure that hardworking citizens could provide for their basic needs, continue to be self-sufficient, and live a life of dignity after they retire. 52 Today, 61% of older adults rely on Social Security for half or more of their income, and for some it may be their only means of income.
    • >60 million older adults, disabled workers, and their families rely on Social Security to make ends meet.
    • 22 million people rely on Social Security to stay out of poverty each year.
  • Despite Social Security’s success, the current program needs to be updated and expanded to account for cost of living increases and new issues relevant to today’s society. The Social Security 2100 Act does just this by proposing the following: 53
    • Increases benefits to low wage workers; proposes a 2% benefits increase; provides more fair and accurate annual cost of living increases; tax-free social security benefits for income <$50K; extends the Social Security Trust Fund through this century; correct pay inequality - currently individuals with incomes <$127K pay tax on 100% of income while those over the threshold pay tax on only a portion of their income.
  • Improving Social Security is one good step forward, but additional improvements must also be made to help with growing expenses confronting older adults related to housing, housing costs, and healthcare.
    • A few examples of social programs that help support older adults and disabled workers, some of whom may be homebound, and must be strengthened and expanded are: Meals on Wheels, home heating assistance, and utility adjustment.
  • Healthcare needs to be improved, particularly for older adults, and one proposed way to accomplish this is through the Medicare for All Act 54, which expands Medicare to all Americans. In addition to regular care, it will also provide coverage for services seniors need most, such as prescription drugs, and long term and emergency care.
    • To help ease the financial burden of the rising cost of prescription drugs and allow people to acquire the medicines they need, Medicare should be given the authority to negotiate on the patient’s behalf with pharmaceutical companies.
    • In situations where Medicare/Medicaid coverage is unavailable, eligibility criteria for dependent status on a child’s (or primary caregiver’s) health insurance policy needs to be widened.

    • As your Congressman, I will support legislation, such as the Medicare for All Act and the Social Security 2100 Act, as well as the expansion of social programs, so that older Americans can maintain financial security while also meeting their home and health needs.