Green New Deal
It’s time for fearless leadership on climate action. The world is literally and figuratively on fire, and it is not okay to bring a watering can to the edges of this crisis and call it a solution. The world needs a Green New Deal.
The Green New Deal will be America’s biggest and most transformative initiative since our national mobilization for World War II. It calls for a fundamental restructuring of our nation’s priorities.
Fearless leadership on climate change includes:
- Enacting a 10-year plan that leads to the United States operating on 100% clean and renewable energy
- Ending the $20 billion American taxpayers give to the fossil fuel industry annually
- Providing training for fossil fuel-industry workers to transition to a clean-energy economy
- Rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement
- Investing in our roads, bridges and transportation infrastructures and planning those improvements in a way that encourages people to bike, walk, drive electric, or use public transportation
- Supporting a system of public transportation that reinvests in an infrastructure that is safe, affordable and green
- Promoting electric cars by ensuring charging stations, converting state government fleets and public transportation over time to all electric, initiating tax rebates for electric car purchases.
- Adopting regenerative farming practices – no till agriculture, rotating cover crops and herd management. This could be accomplished in 2-3 years and would put carbon back in the soil where it belongs, help us build resiliency to extreme weather events and is one of the quickest solutions to the climate crisis.
The science is clear: we have less than a decade to save our communities from further catastrophic climate disasters. In Maine, this crisis is happening in real time, affecting not only the backbone of our economy, but our collective connection to the earth. The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99.9% of the world’s oceans. Warming of the Atlantic Ocean affects our lobstering, clamming, shrimp and oyster industries, and increasingly frequent extreme weather events and rising sea levels threaten Maine’s coastal communities as well as our tourism economy.
The good news is Maine is poised to lead the way in providing tidal, solar, wind, ocean and other renewable energy production. As a nation, we can use a portion of the 20 billion dollars in fossil fuel subsidies and direct it toward research and implementation of green technologies right here in Maine, making us a leader not only in production but in training the workforce for the Green New Deal.
Medicare for All
Healthcare is a human right. It is time for the United States to join the rest of the developed world and guarantee healthcare to every American. Right now, Americans pay more for healthcare than people in any other country, yet we see worse health outcomes. People go bankrupt because they get cancer. Others stay at jobs they would otherwise leave because they are afraid to lose their employer-based health care.
As a nation, we must choose people over profit. The quality of the healthcare we receive should not be based on our income or our zip code. We have to choose healthcare over keeping people in cycles of illness for profit.
Medicare for All means we:
- Guarantee quality healthcare to every American
- Reorganize our healthcare system to provide coverage for mental health care, dental care, eye care and hearing aids.
- Pay caregivers in and outside of the home a living wage
- Lower the cost of prescription drugs by requiring price negotiation
To be clear: Medicare for All means comprehensive healthcare for everyone. Any other alternative will not remedy our broken healthcare system. The scare tactics of the medical, pharmaceutical and insurance industries have no place in American healthcare. “Medicare for those who want it” allows insurance companies to continue putting profits over people, and it will only lead to more complex payment structures and retaining the expensive bureaucracy and burdensome administrative paperwork of for-profit systems.
Education is a fundamental right a critical building block of our future. We need universal pre-k and debt-free higher education in this country and a K-12 education system that reflects the needs of communities and employers, not the needs of standardized tests. Right now, we spend more on fossil fuel subsidies than we do on public education. This needs to change.
In Maine, just like in the rest of the country, children in wealthier areas have access to better teachers, textbooks and facilities than do children in working-class communities. That is fundamentally unfair. The quality of a person’s education should not depend on their zip code or their family’s income.
Secondary education is a necessity in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven economy. However, we do a disservice to American students by saddling them with tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars of debt just to go to college.
Investing in education means:
- Universal pre-k and affordable childcare
- Debt-free higher education, including vocational schooling
- Paying teachers a livable wage
- Changing the fundamental structure of our education loan system — no one should be making money off lending students money to go to college
- Reducing standardized testing to allow teachers to teach and students to learn
- Strengthening two-year and community colleges as well as technical trade schools
Money Out of Politics & Democracy Reform
The reality of our current political system is that we’re holding auctions, not elections, with our representation going to the highest bidder. Special interests and corporations enjoy a monopoly on influence and power in Washington, D.C. This must change. It is time to take back our government so that it is one of, by and for the people. Powerful and entrenched special interests are deeply opposed to this fundamental change, but Betsy believes we will win this fight because Americans know that their right to vote and be counted is the foundation of our democracy.
End the corrupting influence of money in politics
Getting money out of politics is the first and most ambitious step to reclaim our electoral system. We must end Citizens United. Betsy has also proposed enacting a small-dollar based clean elections system on the federal level. It is also time to implement a to a 12-week campaign cycle.
In 1996, Betsy helped author and pass the Clean Elections Act in Maine, and, in her 2018 bid for governor of Maine, she was the only Democratic candidate to run a Clean Elections campaign.
In order to ensure a more fair electoral process, in addition to the actions above, we must:
- Require Dark Money organizations to disclose their donors
- Upgrade online political spending transparency rules
- Create a public financing system for federal elections that focuses on small-dollar funding
- Strengthen oversight rules to ensure those who break our campaign finance laws are held accountable
- Overhaul the Federal Election Commission to enforce existing campaign finance law
- Prohibit the use of shell companies to funnel foreign money into U.S. elections
- Require government contractors to disclose their political spending
Protecting and expanding voting rights
In democracies, voting is a fundamental right. Gerrymandering, voter suppression, voter intimidation and reducing the number of voting locations are blatant attacks on every citizen’s right to vote.
Our work to protect and expand voting rights means:
- Implementing automatic voter registration, online voter registration and same-day voter registration
- Making Election Day a federal holiday
- Ensuring proper election security
- Expanding early voting and simplifying absentee voting
- Prohibiting voter purges that kick eligible voters off the registration rolls
- Restoring voting rights on the federal level to people with prior felony convictions
- Enhancing election security with increased support for a paper-based voting system and more oversight of election vendors
- Ending partisan gerrymandering by establishing independent redistricting commissions
Every human being deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Too many Americans and too many Mainers are treated as second-class citizens. People with disabilities, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, asylum seekers, new Americans, Indigenous peoples whose ancestral lands we occupy, and many more know too well the sting of unfair systems and laws, as well as personal aggressions from those with greater privilege. We must actively fight bigotry, racism, sexism and other types of discrimination. We must advocate for freedom from religious persecution. And our laws and treaties must ensure that Indigenous people are treated as sovereign nations with all the rights accorded to nation states.
Here’s how we strengthen our resolve to be a compassionate nation:
- Fight for the Equality Act, which ensures that federal civil rights laws prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
- End the ban on transgender service members in the military
- End family separation at our borders
- Fight for comprehensive immigration reform to ensure humane, fair and respectful policies towards immigrants’ rights.
- End private detention facilities
- Fight for a humane asylum process
- Expand protections for DREAMers
- Fight for a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States
- Break down barriers to accessing employment, transportation, housing and health care with the Disability Integration Act
- End sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities.
- Fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
- Protect Tribal Sovereignty
- Pursue reparations for Indigenous people and African Americans
- Honor Tribal Land and water rights
As a nation we are poised once again to take up the fight for a woman’s right to choose. With conservative judges who have publicly stated they want to overturn Roe v. Wade, we must work to protect this right and to include comprehensive reproductive care in Medicare for All.
As a pioneer for women’s rights in Maine for the last three decades, Betsy has worked on every pro-choice piece of legislation that has been considered (and fought against any efforts to restrict that right).
- Put the Equal Rights Amendment in our Constitution
- Fight for safe and affordable abortion, birth control and family planning services as part of Medicare for All
- Fight for affordable, high-quality pre- and post-natal care for all people, regardless of race, sexual orientation, income, zip code, or education
- Close the gender pay gap by fighting for equal pay for equal work
- Enact paid family medical leave
- Ensure that women can lead safe and secure lives, free from the threat of violence
- Fund the Violence Against Women Act including providing for Tribal Jurisdiction
Expand and Protect Social Security
For decades, corporate politicians have tried to cut, undermine, and dismantle Social Security under the guise of “saving” it. Social Security doesn’t need saving. It is the most successful program in our nation’s history. If we simply require the wealthiest among us to contribute their fair share, we can easily afford to protect and expand benefits.
We don’t have a Social Security crisis, but we do have a retirement income crisis. Due to decades of wage stagnation, working Americans haven’t been able to save for retirement. 61% of Seniors today rely on Social Security for more than 50% of their income and ⅓ of Seniors rely on Social Security for 90% of their income. Social Security is vital to the financial stability of millions of Americans.
We can make common-sense changes to Social Security to ensure it is operating at 100% for future generations. Due to a cap on taxable income, millionaires and billionaires pay the same amount into Social Security as someone who makes $127,000. If we’re going to fight for working Americans and put us on the right track, lifting this cap is a no brainer, and is a crucial step to keeping Social Security solvent until 2070.
Now is the time to increase Social Security’s modest benefits, as a solution to both the looming retirement income crisis and rising income and wealth inequality.
Common-sense Gun Laws
Common sense gun legislation has broad support across this country as well as in Maine, but our elected officials have continued to fail our children and our communities by hiding behind an old, false, gun lobby narrative that Americans—and Mainers—are not ready for laws that would save lives in their communities. In the meantime, 100 people are killed by guns every day in this country.
That is unacceptable.
The truth is that life-saving measures such as background checks, Red Flag Bills, safe storage and assault weapons bans have the overwhelming support of Americans and Mainers. And it’s time our elected officials stop playing politics and start leading on this issue.
As U.S. Senator from Maine, I will support measures that reduce gun deaths while honoring the 2nd Amendment and the hunting traditions that are important to many in our state. As many gun owners will tell you, the two are not mutually exclusive. And Mainers deserve elected officials who will tell them the truth about these life-saving measures, rather than repeating false talking points.
As your United States Senator I will:
- Support a ban on the sale of assault weapons, bump stocks, and high-capacity ammunition clips
- Support a federal Extreme Risk Protection Order, or Red Flag Bill
- Support universal background checks for all gun sales, closing the loopholes
- Support safe storage bills to ensure that children do not have access to loaded weapons
- Increase access to mental health care and fight for anti-bullying reforms
- Work with people across the country and across the political spectrum to find ways to protect our school children, police officers and fellow citizens while also respecting beloved rural traditions of hunting and target shooting
Let’s focus on the values we share, the foremost of which is keeping our children and families safe, to find common-sense solutions while maintaining time-honored traditions that many Maine families hold dear.