My campaign represents a new kind of politics in which congressional candidates do not have to devote thirty hours a week in call centers to ask wealthy people for contributions. I vowed that I would not take a penny from corporate interests, their PACs or SuperPACs. When elected, I will not owe any favors to any special interests. I am for the people of South Florida, not for special interests.
I completed my undergraduate studies in government and economics at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, earned a law degree, with honors, at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. In the early 1980s, I served as a legislative aide to the late U.S. Senator Paul Tsongas, a Democrat from Massachusetts. While working on Capitol Hill, I began warning about the rise of Wall Street special interests and the assault on working families. I published critical articles on the deregulation of interest rates and lending standards and the rise of subprime and predatory lending.
I practiced law in New York City with two prominent law firms in the early 1990s, and then moved to South Florida for a visiting professor position at the University of Miami School of Law. I became a leading critic in the legal academy of Wall Street deregulation. I opposed efforts to weaken the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act firewalls that had separated commercial banking from the risky securities markets. I cautioned about the rise of complex derivative financial instruments that were turning the United States into a “casino” economy. In the early 2000s, I warned about the growing bubble in housing prices and called for increased supervision of Wall Street banks and financial markets.
In 2011 I was selected by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders to serve on an advisory committee on Federal Reserve reform along with such leading economists as James Galbraith, Robert Reich, Jeffrey Sachs, and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz.
I am currently at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law where I am a tenured Professor of Law and Public Finance, and where I have taught Business Entities, a required class for second year law students, and Regulation of Financial Institutions and seminars on the Wall Street crisis. During this time, I have taught hundreds of young men and women from South Florida and I have learned a great deal about the problems they and their families face every day.
Today in America – through either our negligence or willful inaction – we have created a culture of fear; the fear that anywhere and at any moment we can be the victim of senseless gun violence. I do not want to live in a culture of fear that threatens our freedom, our liberty or our happiness. That is why when I am elected to Congress I will make every effort to end this culture of fear.
For these reasons I would support overturning the federal ban on researching gun violence because I strongly believe that the best way to address any problem is to try understand what is causing the problem. Using federal resources to identify the true drivers of gun violence will allow us to craft the most finely turned legislation to tackle this epidemic.
Furthermore, our country’s founders could not have possibly imagined a world where guns are have become such casual instruments of death and therefore we must work to create reasonable limits on our Second Amendment rights, such as:
1. Banning assault weapons;
2. Requiring instant background checks, and closing background-check loopholes such as for gun shows;
3. Prohibiting individuals on the terrorist watch list and from acquiring guns;
4. Requiring that gun-owners notify the police when their guns are stolen;
5. Prohibiting perpetrators of violent misdemeanors, those arrested for domestic violence and anyone under the age of 21, from qualifying for concealed carry permits, and requiring those who qualify for a concealed carry permit to successfully complete a safety training course;
6. Requiring criminal background checks on gun owners and gun shop/gun show employees;
7. Requiring reasonable liability insurance for gun owners.
AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE ACT
The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a monumental achievement. Through the ACA, millions of Americans have gained access to health insurance that was previously too expensive or otherwise unattainable. It is because of the ACA that insurers can no longer deny coverage because of preexisting conditions, drop policyholders when they get sick, or issue policies with lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits. The ACA was a transformational piece of legislation, but I know we can do better.
The United States remains the only major developed country that does not provide universal health care to all its citizens. Despite the reforms of the ACA, tens of millions of Americans still do not have health insurance. Millions more are underinsured, cannot afford high priced deductibles and co-payments, or are forced to declare bankruptcy because they simply cannot pay their medical bills. This should not happen in a fair and just America. I firmly believe that healthcare is a universal human right and it is because of this that I want to improve upon the Affordable Care Act, by moving to a “Medicare for all” single-payer health care system that would guarantee every citizen health care as a basic right.
That said, on the road to creating a universal health care system for all Americans, we must not ignore improving Medicare in its current form. Currently, many seniors struggle to afford the prescriptions medicines they need. That is why when I am elected to Congress I plan on working to create legislation that will allow the federal government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to bring down the cost of prescription drugs for Medicare recipients. I also intend to introduce legislation to change the asset and income tests for getting help with Medicare premiums and copays so that the seniors who are most in need are not forced to choose between their health and feeding themselves.
America is a country built by generations of immigrants who came to its shores in search of a better life. Today, the United States continues to be a prime destination for those seeking opportunity, prosperity, or refuge for themselves and their families. However, welcoming immigrants in the 21st century presents problems that we did not face in the past. Our country needs to reform its immigration policy so that we have sensible and humane solutions to the challenges of today while continuing to attract the world’s best and brightest to help build a better tomorrow for all Americans.
When I am elected to Congress I will fight tirelessly to forge a fair path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants in the country. I will support the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs so that people, like the Dreamers, who have lived in America most of their lives are not forced to return to countries they no longer recognize or call home. I also intend to reform student and skilled worker visa programs so that we can continue to attract the best talent to America and lead the world in technology and innovation for generations to come.
While advocating for a more humane policy for undocumented immigrants, I also support enhancing our border security. Unfortunately, weak border security has at times provided a safety valve for corrupt and repressive regimes south of our border. The U.S. has to do more to be both a good neighbor and encourage democratic reforms in those countries to our south.
U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 23 - Debbie Wasserman Schultz (DEM)