For many working families, the American dream is no longer within reach due to only modest increases in the average American family’s income and the skyrocketing costs of healthcare, housing, higher education and even basic needs such as groceries. Those families who earn minimum wage must choose between whether they can pay their rent or eat. Between the years of 2009 and 2014, 58% of all new income went to the top 1% of Americans while one of in five children in America live below the poverty line. I was one of those kids.
A democracy means a chance for all of us to improve our lives, not just the lives of the wealthiest Americans. Yet, since the 1980’s, the lion’s share of opportunities in our nation are in the hands of the billionaires and multimillionaires, not working families. To level the playing field and make America the land of opportunity, we must provide a living wage of at least $15 per hour to all workers and provide our students with access to free public university education and vocational training which would benefit many in our rural district where over 50% of households in the district live on less than $50,000 per year and over 25% of households live on less than $25,000 per year.
We must also close the tax loopholes and low rates which corporations, real estate and passive investors have taken advantage of to the detriment of those who must work for a living. We are also the only developed country which does not provide universal healthcare to its citizens primarily because of the lobbying power of insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Healthcare is a right and not a privilege of only those who can afford it. We must elect members of Congress who place the needs of their voters ahead of large corporations.
Roosevelt envisioned four key freedoms for America: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. I would add to these freedoms the right to know each of our votes in our democracy counts by taking dark money out of our political process. Let’s take American back for the people!
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