Christine on the Issues
Economic Justice for Working Families
COVID-19 has made a bad situation worse. The middle class has been shrinking for a long time. Now more businesses are closing and a massive amount of Americans are out of work. People are chained to debt at inhumane rates. Some large companies hire employees at below living wages and restrict hours so full benefits are not achieved. Those same companies expect us to give them corporate welfare through government subsidies - and too often, we do - while they do not pay their fair share of taxes. Small businesses and working people are the lifeblood of our economy, and both are under attack by predatory practices that our government has done nothing to stop. Large corporations that purposely reduce hours so as not to pay for benefits need to reimburse the state for supplemental welfare costs. Local businesses need to be protected from monopolies.
Interest rates for loans, credit cards and personal loans need to be tied to a percentage of the prime rate, not to a strangling rate of the "what the market can bear" model.
No one should have to work more than one full-time job just to feed themselves and keep a roof over their head. $15 dollars per hour is ~$30k a year. Subtract taxes, rent, food, insurance, bills, etc., and there is nothing left. It is not a liveable wage, especially if you factor in a lack of healthcare, student or credit card debt, and no public transportation. A slightly higher, universal minimum wage puts no one company at a disadvantage, and raises the quality of life for millions and millions of people struggling every day.
Finally, childcare needs to be affordable. Working parents need to be able to work and not worry about the daily well-being of their children. Businesses need to be able to count on their employees, and employees need to be able to count on their children being well cared for.
If COVID taught us anything it is that a system that relies on employer health insurance is a flawed system. How are we the richest country in the history of the world, and yet the vast majority of our population is one ambulance ride or doctor's visit away from financial ruin? How are we the ONLY industrial country that does not have universal healthcare? This is an area where we are embarrassingly behind the rest of the world.
In business, for instance, one looks to eliminate the middleman. In our system the middleman not only adds to the cost, but confounds the system. Each insurance company has their own procedures, causing your doctor to hire more staff just to dance to insurance company tunes. Meanwhile insurance company executives lay awake at night scheming how to put a sick child’s family into a bottomless pit of debt.
The bottom line is this: eliminate the middleman. Your health should not be a profit venture.
Climate Change & the Environment
Climate change has been proven to be at a critical point in our society. With less than a decade to make significant changes, we have a responsibility to do whatever we can to slow down the effects of our carbon footprint to insure a healthy planet for all of us and our future generations.
I have fought to make the State Retirement divest from fossil fuels. I have worked to stop the gas pipeline from being built. I believe there is much more work to be done and I promise you to do my part as a State Senator to move our communities towards more clean, and green sources of energy. I believe by doing so it will also help our communities to bring much needed jobs and resources.
I look forward to being an advocate to address the effects of climate change, and am proud to be endorsed by multiple climate action and environmental protection organizations.
Women should have the freedom to make decisions about every aspect of their health care without interference.
Reproductive rights should not be a political bargaining chip.
It is that simple.
Policing & Criminal Justice
Over the course of my career I have worked with police from different departments on many occasions. I have found the officers who I dealt with to be professional and very supportive. As with any work environment there are those whose behavior compromises the reputation of their coworkers. When an officer uses excessive force, and treats an individual in a way that violates their rights in any way, this officer should be held accountable.
Unions protect worker’s rights. This does not mean protecting bad behavior. It means making sure workers are treated fairly and that due process is followed. As a union member and steward, I’ve made sure the workers were treated fairly. This does not mean that they are not held accountable for inappropriate or illegal behavior.
When the system is fair, it plays out the same for everyone. This is what social justice should look like. This is what the Black Lives Matter movement is about. The system is not even handed, especially for people of color, and so we must work toward the goal of achieving a more equitable society for all.
Our children are our future. We need to invest in them by investing in our public schools. For far too long, especially in the communities of the Worcester & Norfolk District, our public schools have been underfunded and left to crumble by our state leadership. Meanwhile, we have a parallel system with charter schools, with no additional resources to go around. That needs to be reeled in.
When I was with the Department of Children and Families, we too were often subjected to defunding. The systems that need it most have always been the first to lose out. If elected, that will no longer be the case. I will put the repair and reinforcement of our public education system at the top of my list of priorities, and keep it there.