Everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health care. As a cancer survivor and mother of two, I know what it’s like to have a diagnosis upend one’s life and to have one’s very survival dependent on access to health care. It’s an incredibly humbling and vulnerable feeling, and something I will never forget.
Healthcare is the reason I decided to run for office. Steve Chabot has voted over 50+ times to take healthcare coverage away from people — without any alternative plan. He’s voted against protecting pre-existing conditions multiple times. I live with a pre-existing condition, as do 300,000 other people in Ohio’s first district. It’s not okay to play politics with people’s lives.
Important gains have been made in recent years: Insurance companies can no longer discriminate based on pre-existing conditions, young people can stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, and the number of uninsured Americans has dramatically decreased. But much more work is needed. People in Ohio are still paying too much for insurance that is not good enough, and too many people cannot access the coverage they need at affordable prices. If elected, I will fight to improve access to affordable, quality health care, including Medicaid expansion, continued coverage of pre-existing conditions, improved mental health services, and lower drug costs.
I’ll also work to reduce disparities in health outcomes. For the past 12 years, I’ve worked in global health to reduce the number of children dying from preventable causes like diarrhea and pneumonia. I’m proud that the program I led helped to increase the number of kids with diarrhea receiving the correct treatment from 1.2M to 55M – saving an estimated 76,000 children’s lives. Similar efforts are needed here at home, especially to address the disparities in infant and maternal mortality rates between white mothers and mothers of color. If elected, I will join the Black Maternal Health Caucus and support the pending legislation aimed at reducing this gap. Whether it’s half a world away, or right in our own backyard, I’m motivated by working solving problems and making care more affordable and accessible..
JOBS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
In Congress, I will prioritize infrastructure investments to rebuild our roads, highways, and bridges and to increase access to high-speed Internet – especially in rural areas. Investment in infrastructure not only creates jobs, but it also helps to facilitate growth in small businesses and companies that benefit from these projects. Right here in our own backyard, the Brent Spence Bridge and the Western Hills Viaduct (among others) are crumbling and have been neglected for years. We need strong leaders who will proactively engage local, state, and federal stakeholders to facilitate bi-partisan solutions to our urgent infrastructure projects. We especially need leaders and who can build consensus across diverse partners and put ego and “credit” on the back burner in the interest of getting a project done.
Every day, 100 Americans die from gun violence and hundreds more are injured. American women are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other developed countries. The growing rates of gun violence are a national security and public health issue. It should not be “normal” for my four-year old to have active shooter drills at his preschool. As a country, we can do better than this.
I firmly believe that we can support the second amendment, while also promoting responsible gun ownership and supporting common-sense efforts to reduce gun violence. I support mandatory background checks on all gun purchases, banning the sale of military style weapons, and pushing for ‘red flag’ laws that keep guns away from the most violent in our community. Finally, I will push Congress to restore funding to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to begin research into the causes and patterns around gun violence so that we will have the data on other ways to improve gun safety.
I was fortunate to be educated by phenomenal teachers at quality schools my entire life, and I’m proud that my children are attending an excellent Cincinnati public school. Every child deserves access to a quality education, and I will advocate for and work to strengthen our public education system. I support universal preschool access for three and four year olds, better pay for teachers, more access to Pell grants, and a cap on student loan interest rates so that college is more affordable to those who want the opportunity to pursue it. I also support expanding access to skills/career training and apprenticeship programs for those whose path to employment does not include a four-year degree.
Our climate is a period of rapid change – changes that we see and feel every day – and we need to trust the science. Every American’s health and safety will continue to be at risk if we fail to address these problems. I support encouraging private sector growth in renewable energy and the building of infrastructure that is less dependent on fossil fuels. Cities like Cincinnati are helping to lead on this issue; Cincinnati’s recent Bloomberg Climate Challenge Award aims to show that carbon reduction can be done responsibly, while still benefiting the economy. A river city like Cincinnati, with our ample water resources, can help lead the way on this issue going forward. At the national level, Congress can also make substantive impacts in the fight against climate change while also creating high-paying green jobs that will help create the industries and technologies of the future.
One of the largest public health crises of our generation has impacted our region among the hardest in the country and now claims more lives than car accidents every year. I spent my whole career in public health, finding solutions to some of the toughest global health problems, and I know that we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. We must support bipartisan proposals that expand funding for treatment, prevention, rehabilitation, and aiding our first responders who are on the front lines fighting this battle every day in our neighborhoods. On the Cincinnati Board of Health, I see firsthand how our system is overwhelmed and it is critical that our leaders in Washington listen to local leaders who know what works and what doesn’t.
Strong women build strong families. I want to help create a world in which my daughter, Josie, and girls everywhere, have an equal voice and equal opportunity. I believe in equal pay for equal work, and also support policies that encourage more women to choose careers in STEM fields. I trust women to make the best decisions about their bodies, in consultation with their doctors and families. I believe we should work in a bipartisan manner to reduce unwanted pregnancies, particularly by expanding access to family planning, which is proven to be highly effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies. I support Planned Parenthood and will be a vocal advocate to protect their funding so that families from Springboro to Price Hill have access to the healthcare services they need.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
I support meaningful reforms to our criminal justice system that remove bias and ensure everyone is treated fairly. We do this by working with disproportionately affected communities and bringing together the judicial system, law enforcement, and community leaders to bridge the divide and work to build trust. Congress should move to enact legislation that outlaws private prisons, removes cash bail, allows judges to use their discretion in each case, fund police body cameras for law enforcement across the country, and abolish the death penalty.
We have made a promise to generations of workers and families that if they play by the rules and pay into the system, Medicare and Social Security would be there for them later in life. I will fight to fully fund and stabilize these programs so that we can keep our word to those that have helped build our economy and will oppose any attempts to reduce benefits.
We have a solemn moral obligation to care for those who bravely defend our freedoms overseas. Among our veterans, we have intolerably high rates of unemployment, homelessness, and I will support bipartisan legislation to ease the process of transitioning from active duty to civilian for our veterans. I will also support a well-funded, high-quality VA system that allows veterans to get the care they need, when they need it, in an accessible way. In Cincinnati, we are fortunate to have a well-resourced VA facility and I will work diligently with them, and Department of Veterans Affairs staff to make sure that the needs of our veterans always come first.