As a two-time cancer survivor and the father of two sons who live with Crohn's disease, I’ve received bills for $18,000 for single treatments. We’re fortunate to be covered by health insurance, but not everyone is, and that’s morally wrong. I understand the physical, emotional and financial toll of chronic illness and why it is so important that we pass Medicare for All.
After being elected, I defended the Affordable Care Act (ACA) against Trump’s efforts to deprive Michigan families of medical care. In the American Rescue Plan, Democrats expanded the ACA to reach tens of thousands more Michiganders with quality, affordable health care. We’ve taken action to shield families from surprise medical bills like my family faced so many times. And I’ve worked across the aisle to introduce and pass the VA Emergency Department Safety Planning Act, which improves mental health care for veterans and aims to reduce veteran suicides signficantly.
Health care is a human right. No matter the size of a person’s bank account, they should be able to go to the doctor, dentist and therapist — and fill a prescription, get glasses and get a hearing aid — whenever they need to.
Lower Prescription Drug Costs
Two of my sons have Crohn’s disease. My wife and I could only afford the prescribed Humira treatment because we had exceptional health coverage. Humira cost about $19,000 a year in 2012, and four times as much in 2021 at $77,000 per year. I spent nights worrying about what would happen if we couldn’t afford treatment. No one should have to carry that burden. No one should have to worry about whether they’ll buy groceries or buy medication. But with drug costs out of control, so many Americans are in that exact position right now.
Everyone should be able to afford the medications they need to stay healthy. Medicare for All would ensure that everyone gets the care they need without getting slammed by profiteering drug and health insurance corporations. And in the meantime, I’ve worked across the aisle to introduce a bill that would stop Big Pharma from gaming the system and allow families earlier access to cheaper, generic drugs.
In the House, I also helped lead the charge to pass President Joe Biden’s plan to lower prescription drug costs, including capping the price of insulin at $35 a month. Medicare must be allowed to negotiate directly with drug companies for lower costs. And we must stop Big Pharma from ripping us off with sky-high prices while charging significantly less for the exact same medications in other countries.
Many candidates talk about creating good-paying jobs, but for me, as someone who ran the state workforce system in Michigan and a lifelong union organizer, it’s been a lifelong commitment. I began my career organizing hundreds of health care workers for the SEIU, and I’ve never stopped fighting for working people.
The dignity and value of work has been attacked and undermined in every way in this country. Too many of our jobs have been offshored, contracted out, privatized and made part-time or temporary. Lower pay and fewer pensions and benefits mean many among us won’t be able to enjoy a solid middle-class life and retirement. The result? Unprecedented inequality of income and wealth. And it is completely unacceptable that women only make $0.82 for every dollar made by men. In Congress, I have fought for equal pay and benefits for all women — especially women of color, who suffer the widest pay gap.
It’s time to end trickle-down economics and create a bottom-up economics that puts what’s good for the average hard-working American at the center of every policy decision. We can create better jobs by making increased living standards and labor protections the center of all trade deals; raising the minimum wage; restoring the freedom to form unions and bargain collectively; undertaking a massive effort to restore our roads, bridges and sewers; and building new infrastructure like bullet trains, mass transit and high-speed broadband.
I’ve taken a leading role in these fights as a member of Congress, from shining a light on Amazon’s union-busting tactics in Bessemer, Alabama to championing the PRO Act — the boldest legislation in decades to strengthen workers’ right to form unions and bargain for higher wages, better benefits and safer working conditions.
Environment and Climate
Saving our one, precious Earth is a moral imperative, but it’s also an economic opportunity. I’m an original cosponsor of the Green New Deal, which would create millions of good jobs while solving the climate crisis by unleashing the unbounded creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship of the American people. And I’ve led the way on key pieces of legislation within the Green New Deal framework, including the BUILD Green Act, the Buy Green Act and the EV (Electric Vehicle) Freedom Act.
At the same time, we must protect and preserve our land, air and water, starting with our Great Lakes. We have to tackle overtaxed and outdated sewer systems that threaten waterways like the Clinton River and add pollutants to Lake St. Clair. Indeed, we need to protect our water not just in the wilderness, but also in Flint and every other city.
I wrote the PFAS Safe Disposal Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law and creates new regulations to keep these toxic, forever chemicals out of the air we breathe when they’re destroyed by incineration. I also led efforts to protect students from PFAS exposure at school.
As a clean energy entrepreneur, I know from experience that we can speed the deployment of electric vehicles, solar, wind, biomass and other clean energy along with advanced batteries to store the new energy we create. I have helped and will continue to help make our state a leader in clean energy technology, which will create reliable, good-paying jobs, protect the environment and keep communities safe from pollutants.
The pandemic has shown more clearly than ever the need for students to have a healthy, safe space to learn and for teachers to be valued as the essential public servants they are.
As a product of Berkley public schools and a proud parent of four children who have all attended public schools in the new 11th District, I will always advocate for high-quality public education, starting with universal pre-K and including excellent K-12 schools under local control with well-compensated and well-respected educators. We must invest in our kids to build a strong future for Michigan.
My wife, Mary, taught sixth grade for years, and we know the importance of giving teachers the resources they need to be successful in their classrooms. As a lifelong union organizer, I stand in solidarity with educators across the country fighting for the respectable pay, fair pensions and adequate classroom resources they deserve.
My mother, Vicki, was a champion for public education and children’s mental health, and organized to support racial integration in Berkley schools. I’ve worked to continue my mother’s legacy and offer solutions to the long-existing inequality in our education system. When I was given the Champion for Public Education Award from the K-12 Alliance of Michigan, the first thing I thought of was how much I miss my mom.
And as a father of four, I know what it’s like to try to raise a family in this era when the middle class is under attack every single day. We must invest in higher education so students aren’t buried in debt when they graduate. Inspired by the incredible community colleges of Oakland County I empowered with my No Worker Left Behind Initiative to retrain our workforce after the Great Recession, I introduced the America’s College Promise Act, which would guarantee two free years of community college for all. I also support reforms for those who need to take out loans, including lower interest rates, loan forgiveness for public servants, returning loan servicing to the government from big corporations and more. I’ve called on President Biden to use his executive authority to cancel $50K in student debt. In addition, public colleges need better funding to improve instruction and graduation rates.
During the Trump years, I stood up to Betsy DeVos’s efforts to undermine public education and tear down educators. Michigan doesn’t need privatization or unlimited charter schools, but rather strong public schools. I will continue working to ensure every person receives a high-quality education that provides them with the resources, instruction and support necessary to help them reach their full potential.
Being a relentless advocate of human rights across the globe has been my life’s passion. We have to defend the human rights of every person. That is not negotiable. If reelected, I will continue working to unite all people around the need for full rights, freedom and opportunities for everyone.
I’ve been a human rights advocate for decades. After learning to speak Haitian Creole while organizing Haitian nursing home workers, I served as an observer to Haiti’s first attempt at presidential elections in 1987. Later, I spent the summer of 1992 in Haiti as an investigator for Human Rights Watch. In the House, I founded the Haiti Caucus and work to lift up the voices of the Haitian people as they strive to shape a true democratic future.
During the summer of 1989, I traveled to Hong Kong and China, and observed the crackdown on dissent in Chengdu during the Tiananmen Massacre. In Congress, I’ve worked to hold the Chinese government accountable for the forced labor and genocide of the Uyghurs and the slow extinction of the Tibetan culture.
My first trip abroad as a member of Congress was to Bangladesh, where I met with Rohingya refugees from Burma. I’m deeply concerned about the ongoing repression of ethnic minorities in Burma, and the House voted overwhelmingly to pass my resolution condemning the coup there.
In perhaps my proudest moment as a member of Congress, after nearly six months of working day in and day out, I was able to welcome home Danny Fenster, a Huntington Woods native and journalist who’d been wrongfully imprisoned in Burma. I will always stand up for freedom of the press around the world.
And, I introduced my Two-State Solution Act to put the United States on the side of peace and coexistence between Israel and Palestine. A two-state solution is the only way to ensure Israel’s survival as a democratic state and a national home for the Jewish people while fulfilling the Palestinian people’s legitimate aspirations for a state of their own with full respect for their political and human rights.
I’m committed to ensuring Michiganders get continued support and aid throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
From the very beginning of the public health emergency, I fought for critical relief and recovery measures that we passed through Congress, including stimulus checks, extended unemployment benefits, distribution of lifesaving vaccines, getting children back into the classroom safely and getting people back to work.
I’ve called on both the Trump and Biden administrations to ensure a robust national program to get testing supplies and masks out to families. And because we can’t ignore the glaring, systemic issues exposed by this pandemic, I’ve fought for comprehensive reform to address longstanding problems such as the lack of childcare and inadequate safety measures and rights to organize on the job.
Tackling Inflation and Protecting Pocketbooks
Corporations — including oil and gas companies — are making record profits while using inflation and international crises as excuses to raise prices even higher. American families and small businesses are forced to pay the price for corporate greed while many big corporations and CEOs pay nothing in taxes. We must bring good union manufacturing jobs back to America to make our economy more resilient and less reliant on global supply chains. And I will keep leading the charge to lower costs that are crushing families — from health care and prescription drugs to childcare and housing.
To help Americans put food on the table as inflation soars, I requested increased accessibility in a key nutrition assistance program, and President Biden signed it into law. And I’ll continue working to keep school meals universal, healthy and available in flexible ways — for good! — because kids can’t learn well when they have to go hungry.
While right-wing lawmakers and Supreme Court justices turn the clock back on women’s autonomy and reproductive rights, I will continue to fight for the rights of all to make their own choices concerning their bodies and reproductive health.
As a member of the Pro-Choice Caucus, I’ve cosponsored the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would enshrine the protections of Roe v. Wade nationwide. I’ve also introduced the first congressional resolution to honor abortion providers and clinic staff. Here in Michigan, I’m fighting for a constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights in our state.
I believe we must transform the ongoing attacks against reproductive freedom into a moment to entrench control. People who seek reproductive health care should have control over their bodies. People who face racial and economic barriers should have control to decide what is best for their own health. And everyone living under this Supreme Court, which has hindered progress and equality, should have control over the structures of power in our democracy.
Our democracy is under attack, from voter suppression and Donald Trump’s Big Lie to gerrymandering and hidden corporate money. It’s time to reform our system and ensure faith in our political process.
I support the Freedom to Vote Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United, full disclosure of the source of all money donated to candidates or used to influence elections, public financing of campaigns and much stronger ethics rules to prevent revolving doors between government and lobbying.
I also joined my colleague Senator Jon Ossoff to introduce the Election Worker and Polling Place Protection Act to address the rise of threats, intimidation and interference spawned by Trump’s Big Lie.
And if we need to abolish the Senate filibuster — relic of the Jim Crow era — to get all this through Congress, then we need to abolish the Senate filibuster. I’ve been loud and clear on this one: we can’t let the filibuster stop us from defending our democracy and delivering results for families.
We must turn democracy from a spectator sport in which people simply vote every few years into a critical task in which we all participate to debate the issues, defend our interests and demand our rights.
My wife and I have four children. At one point, three of them were under five years old. It was an amazing period of time, but also overwhelming as we both juggled the responsibility of childcare.
Families need support. Quality, affordable childcare is out of reach for far too many. In Michigan, a typical family with two kids will pay 21 percent of their income on childcare. And when it’s time for pre-k, Michiganders shell out an average of $8,600 per year.
That’s why I’ve fought so hard to cap childcare costs at 7 percent of a family’s income and ensure free pre-K for all. As a member of the Education and Labor Committee, I helped lead the charge to get this plan through the House.
And because no one should have to choose between caring for their loved ones and risking their economic security, I strongly support paid family leave, and was proud to help pass it through the House.
As someone who’s done legal work for asylum seekers, and as a longtime advocate for immigration reform, I was proud to fight against Donald Trump’s immoral family separations at the border. In the House, I voted against funding for ICE and for the Department of Defense to separate immigrant children who should be with their families and against increased militarization of the Southern border that could lead to violence and atrocities committed against refugee families.
I take this issue personally. In the late 1800s, my great-grandparents came to Oakland County from places where Jews fled to escape persecution. We must always welcome those who seek safety, security and a brighter future.
People fleeing violence should be treated with compassion by this great country. Simple, commonsense reforms allow families to stay together and live in the community while their claims for asylum are examined. We also need a clear path to citizenship for young people who were brought to America as children. Finally, Congress needs to stop ICE from terrorizing undocumented people who are productive and law-abiding members of their communities.
And we need comprehensive immigration reform. I’ve been active on this issue for decades, ever since I co-founded a group called Immigration Reform, Advocacy, Training and Education after the Immigration Reform and Control Act was passed in 1986. We need a reasonable system where people who have spent a certain number of years living, working and paying taxes here, can become citizens of this country over time. Ripping apart families simply because they came to the U.S. illegally or overstayed a visa many years ago is immoral and counterproductive. With birth rates dropping, we need immigrants to help revitalize our cities and inner suburbs and fill out our workforce, which otherwise will face critical shortages in the years ahead.
American workers are frustrated with bad trade deals. And so am I.
As a lifelong union organizer, I stand up for trade policies that protect workers’ rights and end the race to the economic bottom for workers around the world. That’s one big reason why a growing number of labor unions have endorsed my campaign for reelection.
I stood up to Donald Trump and voted against his trade deal that increases the cost of producing vehicles in the US, rewards corporations for outsourcing jobs to Mexico where they can run roughshod on workers’ rights..
It’s time for a new trade regime aimed not at freeing capital to move all the work where wages are lowest, worker safety regulations are the weakest and environmental protections most lacking, but rather at raising the standard of living for workers in all countries involved and protecting our one, precious planet everywhere.
We need to crack down on dumping, currency manipulation, theft of intellectual property and violations by China and any others who do the same. Let’s change our tax policies to incentivize creating good jobs at home, and increase job training and apprenticeships.
I am in awe of the uncluttered moral clarity of the brave trailblazers who fought, bled and struggled for civil rights, including my late friend and colleague Congressman Lewis. I was inspired by them to become an anti-racist activist, organizing against Apartheid in college and pushing for justice throughout my career. And I will continue to make good trouble alongside a new generation demanding recognition of the basic truth that Black Lives Matter. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, I joined several demonstrations across Southeast Michigan, including marching with thousands of Metro Detroiters in Sterling Heights to protest peacefully for meaningful police reform and racial justice. And I’ve kept up that struggle for justice in the halls of Congress.
I’m a proud cosponsor of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which is a first step that builds on the movement to hold police accountable, end racial profiling, change the culture of law enforcement, empower our communities and address systemic racism and bias to help save lives. And I’m an original cosponsor of the African American History Act, which would invest millions of dollars in teaching the truth about Black history. But we must do more — so much more — to dismantle racist systems in all sectors, from health care and education to housing and the workforce. And I’m committed to continuing that work.
Racism and xenophobia have been a problem in this country since long before we even became a country. We have moved from colonization to slavery to Jim Crow to the prison industrial complex. We need to fight the forms of oppression people of color face today. Among the things we need to do are protect the right to vote; decriminalize marijuana; put more emphasis on treatment than incarceration for substance abuse problems; protect the rights of returning citizens in terms of voting, employment, housing and more; abolish the discriminatory death penalty; end qualified immunity; and stop the scourge of police brutality in America.
LGBTQIA+ people are to be celebrated. Their human rights must be protected. And I’m going to keep fighting to bar discrimination on all fronts, including housing, public accommodation, banking and adoption.
In 1990, I lost a dear friend and classmate, Greg Witcher, to HIV/AIDS. I wrote in our college alumni magazine about the urgency with which we must address the epidemic and fight back against the stigma and homophobia underlying the silence. Years later, I served on the board of the Michigan AIDS Coalition, reaching out to queer young men of color like Greg to help them avoid or deal with HIV infection. When I think about Greg, and all the progress we’ve made since his death, and all the forces of hate trying to turn back the clock, I’m determined to keep fighting for the human rights of LGBTQIA+ people around the world.
So when I first ran for Congress, I was ready to fight back against the incredibly anti-LGBTQIA+ Trump presidency. I joined the LGBTQ Equality Caucus once I was sworn in, and the first bill I introduced was the Equal Dignity for Married Taxpayers Act, a bill to purge the tax code of outdated gendered references to recognize and honor same-sex couples fully. I’ve also been an original cosponsor of the Equality Act, provided oversight of anti-LGBTQIA+ discrimination in educational institutions under then-Secretary Betsy DeVos and promoted LGBTQIA+ protections globally as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
As the father of four kids educated in public schools, my heart breaks every time we hear about another school shooting — from Sandy Hook to Parkland to Oxford. And as a person of faith, I’m sick of hearing the “thoughts and prayers” coming from the very people who are supposed to take action. The Republican party is beholden to the NRA, but House Democrats have passed commonsense gun reform — and we must eliminate the Senate filibuster to get those bills across the finish line..
We need universal background checks, gun violence restraining orders, a new assault weapons ban, a bump stock ban and more. It will likely take a movement like those for civil rights, women’s rights and the environment to tackle the epidemic of gun violence. We have to build this movement, and young people are leading the way. I have never accepted money from the NRA, and I won't start now. If reelected, I will continue to introduce sensible gun policies, including my plan to reduce firearm deaths in children by ensuring safer gun ownership.
Social Security is one of the greatest progressive achievements of the Democratic Party, providing a safety net for the oldest and most vulnerable Americans. We can never go back to the days when our elderly were allowed to live and die in poverty. We owe it to today’s seniors and to future generations to protect and expand this vital program at a time when nearly half of families have no retirement savings at all. Republicans — and even some so-called “moderate” Democrats — try to scare people into thinking Social Security can’t be fixed, because they want to privatize it. But we can make modest tweaks to ensure the solvency of this program for decades and decades to come, including raising the wage cap to ensure that the wealthiest Americans are paying their fair share.
When I was first running for Congress, I saw how Donald Trump and congressional Republicans were giving huge tax breaks to corporations and the richest 1% of Americans. I saw how their plan would enlarge the trade deficit by exploding the budget deficit — leading to loss of additional manufacturing jobs here in Michigan. And I was determined to fight back.
Our country, our economy and our tax system must work for every American — not just a wealthy few.
In the House, as Deputy Whip of the Progressive Caucus, I’ve helped pass bills to stop the richest of the rich — and the most profitable corporations — from skipping out on the bill at tax time. I will continue to fight for a fair tax system where corporations and the wealthy pay their share to fix our roads, fund Social Security and Medicare and provide quality education for every child.
I was proud to help pass the sweeping, bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will deliver millions of dollars in funding for Michigan. It’s a model for how we can invest in roads, bridges, sewers, locks, ports, mass transit and other basic infrastructure to lay the groundwork for a new era of American prosperity without bankrupting our city and state governments.
I was just as committed to supporting President Biden’s human and climate infrastructure framework: the Build Back Better Act, to help put people back to work with the job supports and worker protections they need and to take meaningful action to save our planet. Republicans and conservative Democrats stalled the plan, and I’m laser-focused on growing the Progressive Caucus power in Congress that kept this plan alive and getting this deal done.
We must help our workers transition to the jobs of tomorrow. That means supporting community colleges and apprenticeship programs that train and retrain workers for skilled jobs across many industries.
As Michigan’s first Chief Workforce Officer, I created No Worker Left Behind, helping 162,000 Michiganders get training and over 120,000 get new jobs during the Great Recession.
Michigan needs skilled, financially stable young people to start businesses, put down roots in our communities and contribute to the economy. We must also support our skilled trades’ training and retraining programs, so our workforce is ready to meet the technical demands of the future. A university education is not, and should not be, the only path to a decent living.