Priorities

Working Philadelphia families are feeling the pressure of stagnant wages and the rising costs-of-living. Whether your health care is too expensive; higher education costs are out of budget; you don't have access to affordable, quality childcare; or housing eats up too much of your income.

All of these factors affect health. 
I believe we can create the kind of world we want to live in, but we need to start now.

My experience as a nurse has taught me how our education, environment, homes, and jobs can influence our health.

I won't just vote in Congress, I will write effective legislation to make small changes that will have a big impact on the health of our communities.

I'm here to tackle the social determinants of health at the federal level. And I have the knowledge, skills, and drive to get it done. 

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Health 

Establish Health Care as a Right

Move to a Single-Payer Health Care Delivery System

6 Months Paid, Protected Maternity Leave

Drugs Developed and Funded by U.S. Taxpayer Dollars Belong to the People - Not Pharmaceutical Companies for Profit

Treat Opioid Addiction as a Chronic Disease

Decriminalize the Use of Marijuana

Establish Home Care as a Right for the Elderly

Abortion is a Decision between Women and their Health Care Providers

Education

Stop Taxing Federal Student Loans as Income when They're Forgiven

Forgive Federal Student Loan Debt

Publicly Funded Community College, Educational Programs After High School

Safety/Criminal Justice

Decriminalize the Use of Marijuana

No More Mandatory Minimums for Drug Sentences

Ban Assault Weapons

Social and Physical Infrastructure

Develop a Publicly Owned National Railway System

Fund Transition to Carbon-Neutral/Negative Energy Sources

Pathway to Citizenship for All Legal and Illegal Immigrants

Fund Affordable Housing Projects

Establish a Minimum $15 Dollar Wage

Incentivize Businesses to Give Back to Employees, not Shareholders

 

Policy

Joanne's Ideas

Health Care

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is my wheelhouse! Nerdy blog posts coming soon!

TL;DR: I support a single-payer/universal/Medicare-for-All health care system. Since I'm a nerd and a nurse, I'll be honest - this is a enormous task. BUT above all - my policy goal while in Congress is to amend the Constitution and make health care a right - so it's no longer a debate ;). 

We need cost control. Regardless of whether we have a private, public, or single-payer system - none of that matters if we do not control costs.(So yes, big pharma, I'm looking at you.)

Our current health care market incentives are not aligned with the promotion of the public health of our country. The proof is in our spending. We spend more on tertiary, acute care than we do on preventative, public health care. The debate over which is more important is irrelevant. Our current system is not adequately meeting the basic requirements of access, quality, and affordability. 

Do for-profit markets in health care drive innovation? Maybe. We cannot keep using that excuse as a reason to keep the status quo while our health outcomes continue to lag. 

Changing our health care delivery system is scary. Here are some facts that we can no longer ignore: 

  1. The US spends more per person on health care - and we have the worst outcomes. 
  2. The US life expectancy is decreasing - more individuals are dying deaths of despair :(

We need to take big, bold steps so our health care system is prepared to care for its citizen's needs in the future.

  1. Define health as a right (so it's not a debate anymore!)
  2. Measure the success of our health care system (and our social systems) by public health measures - such as the reduction of preventable chronic diseases and the re-integration of individuals back into society after battling addiction or incarceration.
  3. Tackle the Social Determinants of Health! Education. Social and Community Context. Health and Health Care. Neighborhood and Built Environment. Economic Stability. 

Wage Equality

I support at least a minimum $15 wage - but it is not the end-goal we should strive for in the fight for wage equality. It is one stepping stone along the way. Let me break it down for you. There are two essential comparisons we can make when discussing the pay for working  Americans.

First: CEO wages versus "typical workers". Up until the 1970s, CEO pay and worker pay increased at a relatively even rate (at least as far as % increases). However, since 1978, CEO compensation has risen by 940 percent, while workers have only risen by 12 percent!

Second: corporate profits versus labor income. Until the 2000s, these trend lines rose together. As companies earned more money, people were paid fairly. However, after 2003, the trends hugely diverged. Employee pay continued upwards (likely bolstered by rising executive pay, not typical workers), but company profits surged. These two facts are untenable. While the rich get richer, the rest of us have not kept up at all. We need to close this gap, we need to increase the economic power of all Americans. We cannot trust the rich to let their money trickle down upon us any longer. We deserve what is rightfully ours. Trickle down economics doesn't work because it relies on people doing the right thing, and while many have good intentions, it's human nature to try to hold onto wealth when you have so much of it - wealthy people tend to be risk averse. 

I don't hate rich people and I believe CEOs should be fairly compensated. But our current system allows far too many people to take advantage of workers - and working families are suffering as a result. And - what happened in 2003? Well....I'll leave that here and here

Education

Every - single - child in Philly should have access to high quality, fully-funded public education. Whether you are the son of a wealthy businessman or the daughter of a single mother trying to make it out of the rough inner cities, everyone should have access to great education. We will do this by making education truly affordable across the table. People should not have to borrow absurd amounts of student loans at 18-years-old to pay for college (which is too young to understand the implications of such a big financial decision). Education is the cornerstone of creating an effective, happy population. It is essential for economic and social opportunities and mobility. We must remove barriers to higher education for any individual that wants one.

Social Infra-
structure

Despite our use of social media platforms, it seems people are feeling lonelier and more isolated than before. (This! This is tied to mental health! It's important! Isolation = stress = cortisol = poor health outcomes).
Social Infrastructure means investing in public, shared green spaces. For our district, this means funding programs that build parks, playgrounds and community centers where communities can gather. 

Gun Policy

The 2nd Amendment is part of our Constitution, that is an unavoidable fact. Gun ownership has a long and proud history in our country. This means the pipe-dream of a truly gun free society is just that: a pipe-dream. We understand people's desire to own guns. Certain lifestyles and living situations demand it, due to either surrounding violence or a need to feel safe. However, no one needs automatic weapons, either for hunting or survival. Allowing these guns to be so easily acquired has lead to the traumatizing rate of shootings today. No one needs to be armed like a military man. We must protect our youth from these dangers. No one deserves to be scared to simply live their lives peacefully.

Gun violence in cities, however, possibly tells a different story. Philadelphia has battled gun-violence in it's neighborhoods for years. The result are generations of families left to struggle with the traumatizing scars of families torn apart by such violence. This is a public health crisis.

This is a public health crisis. Gun violence is a symptom of a larger disease at hand. Whether it's pain, suffering, or lack of control - we must study, learn, and understand the emotional and mental stresses that causes individuals to end-up in these vulnerable situations. 

Housing Affordability
and Diversity

Gentrification is a double edged sword. While you can argue it has its benefits (it leads to safer neighborhoods, it benefits the economies of urban areas), it also has its share of negative effects. Often times, people are forced to move away from their family's long-time home due to rising housing costs and taxes. This leads to a lack of housing and demographic diversity, compounding the increased segregation we are still seeing in our cities. Not to mention how hard it can be to find new and acceptable housing on relatively short notice. We need cost control measures. Long-time homeowners need protection so they can stay in their familial neighborhoods. Diversity is only a good thing, the spreading of ideas and ideals is what this country was founded on!

Immigration

America is a land of immigrants! This nation's history is defined by immigration. In fact, there is an eternal cycle of new immigrants coming, new immigrants being disliked and targeted, then finally those immigrants being accepted as they prove their worth and find their niche. Turning away any group of people for superficial reasons is not only morally wrong, it is economically nonviable. New people bring new ideas to the table. It has been proven time and time again that having as many perspectives as possible in the workforce leads to the creative solutions we need to overcome society's problems. So instead of hating immigrants, instead of telling them they don't belong here, we need to welcome them in with open arms and ask them, "what can we do to help you be as productive as possible in your new home?"

Mass Incarceration

We ended slavery in America in the 1800s...in all places except prisons. The prison industry has been encouraged by the basically free labor these inmates provide. Both private and public prisons see massive positives to keeping people in jail as long as possible. This has lead to unfair and unequal sentencing. It is not right to take away someone's parent for their entire childhood over a simple drug offense. We need to end this cycle, we need to get rid of mandatory minimums and encourage the rebuilding of the family structure that made America so strong.