Los Angeles must rise together to fight Trump -- and I will bring the passion of a mother and the drive of an engineer to D.C.

Immigration

The engine of American progress is fueled by immigrants. While national security is a top priority, Trump’s immigration policies are not based on facts. The immigration raids we are seeing across the country, as well as his travel ban, are nothing more than fear-mongering and scapegoating of our immigrant communities in lieu of solving the real issues facing our country. As a rocket scientist, I operate in truth and facts.

Extensive research shows undocumented residents are less prone to criminality than U.S.-born citizens. The current screening process for all refugees is already incredibly comprehensive, lengthy, and thorough. Dividing our families is absolutely unacceptable. We cannot allow for our immigrant communities to become fearful of the officials entrusted with ensuring the safety of our neighborhoods. We must fight to preserve programs that President Obama ushered in to protect our families and students. I will demand transparency and answers from the Department of Homeland Security, which should be held accountable for ICE agents who are misrepresenting themselves as LAPD officers while detaining DREAMers and tearing families apart. Further, I will push for and support legislation that requires ICE agents to wear body cameras to help ensure transparency and accountability. I will be an ally for groups fighting for immigration reform and be a voice for them in Congress. The presence and action of grassroots organizing is needed now more than ever to put pressure on Republican lawmakers to join Democrats in finding a solution to overhauling our broken immigration system.

Environment

My deep roots in science and technology make me uniquely qualified to meet the challenges our state, nation, and world face in battling climate change. Expanding new and innovative water storage and sanitation solutions, and modernizing our infrastructure to protect our environment and natural resources are necessary tenants as our city grows.

We only have one planet, there is no Planet B. I believe that our children and our children’s children deserve clean water, clean air, and a world with a stable climate. As we have seen firsthand, President Trump does not share our values. He is a threat to our environment, as is newly-confirmed EPA Director Scott Pruitt, whose ties to the oil and gas industry make him woefully unqualified for the position.

Clean air is a right. We have made tremendous progress since the 1950s to combat the effects of air pollution. But there are still communities that have been ignored by California’s environmental protections. Nearly 5,000 Southern Californians by some estimates die of air pollution-related illnesses each year. Boyle Heights, right here in our district, struggles with one of the worst cases of air pollution in our state. Many of our current environmental regulations are well-intentioned but ineffective, and haven’t done enough to protect our most vulnerable communities. We must ensure that the environment, and our citizens and residents, is protected at or above current levels, while simultaneously endeavoring to simplify and clarify regulatory protections to enable honest businesses, especially small businesses, to more efficiently comply.

Research shows that denser development requires far lower water and energy consumption per capita, and when smartly planned also allows for fewer cars and their associated emissions. I support housing development that sets aside affordable units within large developments to both preserve the social framework of our neighborhoods and decrease our energy and water requirements.

Healthcare

Under the Obama Administration, we reached a historically low rate of uninsured Americans and have heard countless stories from people who would not be alive today without the Affordable Care Act. I will hold the line. We cannot go back to a system that prevents individuals with pre-existing conditions from accessing life-saving healthcare coverage.

I know that our healthcare system is far from perfect. We need to control rising premiums and find better incentives to make sure that health insurance companies stay in the market while protecting coverage for pre-existing coverage, women’s reproductive healthcare and mental health coverage. If elected, I will reach out to all my colleagues to find solutions to improve our healthcare system -- healthcare should not be a partisan issue, it should be universal. Covered California employs 20,000 enrollment assisters. We need to ask ourselves if these enrollment assistants are demographically and geographically diverse enough, and are enough of them present in the 34th district? And if not, how do we get local contacts to healthcare enrollers for residents of California's 34th?

If the ACA were to be repealed by a Republican-controlled Congress, I would strongly support any push from state legislators to provide Californians with this inherent right through a single-payer healthcare system. I am proud to live in a state where last May, a law was passed to ensure Medi-CAL provides coverage for our 164,000 low-income undocumented children to see a doctor for regular medical care. These children might be the first to see a loss in their coverage if Trump keeps his promise to end the ACA. About 71 percent of the program is funded by the state, according to the state Department of Health Care Services, with 29 percent paid for out of federal funds for emergency coverage. If the ACA were to be repealed, I would firmly support state legislation that allows California to reinvest in itself.

Homelessness

We need to collaborate with local organizations that have the experience in working with people experiencing homelessness. The top-down approach to addressing our homelessness issues is failing and cannot be addressed as a single issue. We need to ensure that these most vulnerable residents have clear access to education and the tools and resources to find paths to success. Homelessness stretches across the socio-economic foundation of our communities, and we must look at the larger landscape of our economy to appropriately address this issue, including affordable housing, employment, and transportation solutions. As we clearly need more housing, I support the smart growth of denser development. We simply cannot appropriately address this important issue with a singular approach.

With over 47,000 homeless in Los Angeles alone, Measure H sets us up to work with local organizations who have experience working with our homeless populations and helping them get back on their feet - putting housing first. Measure H was drafted by the LA County Homeless Initiative (a coalition of government, faith communities, neighborhoods, individuals and nonprofit stakeholders who work on this cause) and approved by the County board of supervisors last year. LACHI works across our county and this small county sales tax increase will fund the work that many organizations already do, including mental health, substance abuse treatment, healthcare, job training, housing subsidies, case management, battered women, transportation and more.

The C3 Outreach Team is doing tremendous work in doing direct outreach to our homeless populations. They are out there talking to folks sharing medical care, resources and providing options to those who perhaps just don't know how to take the first step.

We need to make sure our residents have access to education and tools they need to find their own path to success and I believe that Measure H helps us get there.

Law Enforcement & Racial Profiling

Every American deserves basic and equal human rights. It is shameful that black youth, the Latinx community, and other minorities are incarcerated at rates far exceeding whites. The problems we are seeing are the result of complex and deep-rooted systems of oppression, and I understand that there is no such thing as a simple fix for our criminal justice system. If elected, I will support federal policies that decrease incarceration rates by reclassifying non-violent, non-serious felonies as misdemeanors. Non-violent criminal offenses should be treated through rehabilitation, reentry and probationary programs.

If elected, I will also work to foster and create more programs that support at-risk youth, guiding them toward productive and prosperous lives through mentorship and civic engagement activities, empowering them with tools to stay away from paths that lead to gang violence. A holistic approach of building strong coalitions, along with the willingness to listen to both community members and law enforcement on how to go forward, will be absolutely essential to change the status quo. This is a challenge that I am eager to pursue if elected as your Congresswoman.

Education

Our public education system is our most valuable asset as a community and nation, and we must prove that in our policy and budgeting decisions. I am a product of our California public schools and am proud that my children attend a wonderfully diverse public school with dedicated teachers and staff. We need to ensure that all children in this nation have access to quality public education. My mother was a public school teacher, and my husband has worked in public schools for 14 years, currently teaching at a community college. I have been an advocate for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in our public schools and have volunteered at many public schools for the past 17 years. As a side note, I usually add an "A" in for Arts to make STEAM education.

From the classroom to student support services to free lunch programs and after-school opportunities, we need to invest in pre-K, K-12, and higher education to continue growing this nation as a global leader. Here in Los Angeles, the high school graduation rate is barely above 60%. This is unacceptable. Our children deserve a shot at a successful future and we are not setting them up for it. And following high school, we need affordable higher education. I would bring forward policy to significantly reduce college tuition. Additionally, college doesn't need to be the path for everyone. I would work with our local labor organizations to connect high school graduates and veterans to their apprenticeship programs. Instilling work ethic, a skillful trade and almost immediate compensation and benefits for them and their families.

LGBTQ Rights

My friends would say that I’m not just an ally -- that I live it, I breathe it, I fight for it everyday. I am committed to making sure that we do not move backwards in achieving equal rights for the LGBTQ community. Like most Americans, I was deeply disturbed and frustrated by the actions of GOP lawmakers in North Carolina to prevent transgender students from using bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity -- and just recently SCOTUS unfortunately chose not to hear the case that would have helped protect transgender rights after the Trump administration changed the federal government’s position on allowing transgender youth to use bathrooms that match their gender identities.

I am deeply concerned that the current administration continues to undermine the protections and social progress that our country has made -- and I will proudly stand alongside the LGBTQ community and keep Trump accountable in Washington and in Los Angeles. I will support funding Title IX (9) so our public schools are an inclusive and safe place for all. Los Angeles has led the way in fighting for LGBTQ equality, and I will continue to lead the charge to ensure that we live up to our values enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal.” These are the progressive policies that make Los Angeles a leading city in the fight to resist Trump’s hateful agenda, and these are the values I will fight for if elected.

I would definitively stand for, support and initiate a federal non-discrimination law for LGBTQIA members of our community. Equal Rights = Human Rights.

Women’s Reproductive Rights

I am firmly pro-choice and believe that women have the right to make their own decisions about their health and well-being. Now more than ever, women in Los Angeles are seeing improvements and gains in access to important health services. However, many areas still need more work. According to a recent report, 14 percent of Latina women have no medical insurance. Latinas, Asian woman and black women make up nearly three-quarters of individuals who did not have continuous health coverage in the past year. This is unacceptable. We have more work to do to make sure that healthcare is truly accessible to all. I will push for education programs that bring down the barriers that particularly affect women of color and their ability to access and navigate health systems. I will fight to preserve funding for health service providers, which offer life-saving services to women and families. We need strong programs and services that expand the options of women and families rather than restrict them.

Money in Politics

Conflicts of Interest

If elected as your Congresswoman, I would introduce legislation to require the disclosure of tax returns for all future presidential and congressional candidates. I am disclosing my tax returns and expect other candidates to do the same. Elected officials serve at the pleasure of the people, and should not only disclose tax returns during their candidacy, but each year they serve in office after their election.

Campaign Finance Reform

Being a political outsider and jumping into a race like this, you discover very quickly how money drives nearly everything in politics. Once in Washington, I will fight to end Citizens United, which exploded the amount of money (and specifically “dark money”) in local, state, and national races just over 7 years ago. After overturning Citizens United, I will fight to both establish congressional term limits and reduce election timelines so campaigns don’t drag on for years. Astonishingly, even with congressional approval ratings at an all-time low, there is still an incumbency rate of nearly 90% and an average age of 58 -- and if we really want to change Washington, we need to force turnover and get the money out of elections so that Congress can once again become representative of the people and not special interests.

It is alarmingly clear that money in politics drives policy -- and one particularly troubling example is the NRA’s effective lobbying against sensible gun reform. As a mother, I am committed to reducing gun violence. Universal background checks are widely supported by the public, and we need to return our government to the will of the people, not corporations and lobbyists.

Have a question about an issue not listed above that is important to you? Email Tracy at info@tracyvh.com!