The primary reason I am running for office is to raise awareness of the Lead Water Crisis affecting Newark, NJ and many other cities across our nation. Clean water is something that a lot of people take for granted in the United States. My family comes from a country in which clean water is not as abundantly available. We never would have imagined that a similar issue would arise in America. But thousands of people, right in our district, are currently using water that is contaminated with lead. There are over 15,000 properties in Newark, NJ that are using lead service lines. That means more than 15,000 people are affected by this crisis. And the biggest problem is that a lot of people do not know about the issue and many of the people that are aware that this is an issue are not aware of what needs to be done to protect themselves. Many people have resorted to boiling their water in hopes that it would remove the lead and make the water safe to drink. However, this is not the case! Boiling water actually causes some water to evaporate and leaves the water with a stronger concentration of lead. The city of Newark has currently instituted an eight year, ten phase project to replace all the lead service lines. In addition to that, they have created a program to provide water filters to those who need them after a lawsuit against the city demanded it. This is not enough. Eight years is too long. This is an emergency and these pipes need to be replaced immediately. The city has also spent taxpayer money to hire the same PR firm used by Flint, Michigan during their water crisis to handle “messaging” about our lead water crisis. We do not need help with messaging. We need honesty. We need transparency. And we need immediate action.
This is a crisis that requires immediate attention. My goal is to use my campaign for Assembly to educate residents of the city of Newark of this water crisis. We are going to win this election by knocking on as many doors as we can and talking to the residents. This presents us with an opportunity to talk directly to residents, let them know that there is a water crisis in Newark, and let them know how best to protect themselves. In addition to letting them know about the crisis, we hope to recruit more residents to participate in canvassing to help spread the word to as many people as possible. We also plan on working with local community groups to put together civic demonstrations in order to hold our elected officials accountable and make them aware that this is an urgent crisis that demands their attention. The people currently in office were elected to serve us. We put them in office and we have the ability to vote them out. We need to make it clear to them that if they are not working in the best interest of our community, we will stand up, we will organize, and we will expose them for their inaction. My campaign will also work to raise awareness for the Green New Deal, which specifically states that it is the duty of the Federal Government to secure clean water for all people in the United States by making massive investments in infrastructure. This implies that we can create jobs in Newark that include replacing all of the existing lead service lines to copper service lines so that we can ensure that everyone in our district has access to clean water.
Healthcare is a human right. We can not sit idly by as our neighbors go without medical treatment because they cannot afford it. The system that we currently have does not work. Healthcare should not be a For-Profit industry. Costs associated with healthcare in the US are significantly more expensive than elsewhere around the world. And the prices just keep getting higher and higher. People are skipping out on doctor visits due to the fear of how expensive it will end up being. This ends up becoming more costly. Incremental visits to a Doctor end up being less costly in the long term, as it reduces the likelihood of small, undiagnosed issues becoming larger and more cost-intensive health problems. However, for the uninsured population, incremental visits are simply not affordable.
This is why we need to push for a system that gives all people equal access to affordable healthcare. We need to invest in the long term well-being of our communities. Medicare-For-All would do just that. It would ensure that everyone has access to the healthcare they need to live a productive life. It would enable people to live healthier lifestyles. In addition to that, in the long term, a Medicare-For-All system would drive down costs for the people that need it the most. It will remove the financial burden of premiums and deductibles to private insurance companies, cut out the middleman, and ensure that hospitals are always getting paid and that all individuals, regardless of wealth or status, are treated when they need it the most. It will also help bring costs for healthcare down and keep costs more controlled. In addition to that, it will allow for hospitals to cut-down on unnecessary overhead that is currently driven by the complications of billing in a multi-payer insurance-based system.
If elected to office, I will work to propose a comprehensive, single-payer approach to healthcare. I will follow the example set by Senator Bernie Sanders and his Medicare For All proposition as well as the more recent example of the NYC Care healthcare system. I will propose a system that ensures that everyone, whether they have pre-existing conditions, have a part-time or no job, or whether they are senior citizens with high risk, can have access to the same healthcare. This will mean comprehensive coverage for all Americans. The goal is to cover everything, from day to day check ups, to long term care, to vision, dental and mental health care. These are all fundamental to creating a healthy and prosperous communities. In addition to covering all sorts of healthcare issues, a single-payer program will save people the trouble of having to worry whether their treatment is covered or if their healthcare provider will accept their insurance. With this system, there will only be one health insurance provider and that will be the medicare for all program. The long term effects of a single payer program would be less out of pocket costs for the typical middle class family, comfortability in knowing that everyone is able to get the care they need, when they need it, and more controlled costs for prescription drugs and healthcare procedures. We deserve the ability to live our lives without being worried about the financial repercussions of getting sick.
The most prominent reason that I decided to run for office was that I was personally unable to find a meaningful way to contribute to my local community. I was not able to find an impactful place to volunteer and make my voice heard. After reaching out to local elected officials and campaigns for public office, I was able to get small volunteering roles in which I could hand out flyers or try to encourage others to go out and vote. But I was unable to share my ideas and participate in conversations that worked towards creating solutions to the issues that matter to me.
I want to change that. We need to create a political system that works for the many. That is how a representative democracy should function. It all starts at a local level. One of my main priorities will be to ensure that Essex County is properly represented. In order to do this, my goal will be to work with local municipalities to create new committees that are managed and run by local residents. These committees will be free to run in their own, independent capacity and will be tasked with identifying prominent issues that affect their local communities and brainstorming potential solutions. These committees shall be accessible to all residents that are interested in participating and shall be well advertised and promoted. If elected, my goal will be to frequently consult with these committees, get an understanding of the overarching problems that are affecting my community, and engage in dialogue with communities to work out how to resolve these issues.
My goal is not only to talk about the issues that are important to me and my own proposed solutions. I want to encourage everybody to speak up and make their concerns heard. I will put together a mobile application, an interactive website, and host frequent and consistent open public forums, both virtually and in person. I believe that the conversation between legislators and elected officials is just getting started during election cycles. We need to ensure that the conversation continues as legislators take office and begin working on addressing the concerns of their constituency. We need to provide complete transparency to the electorate. We need to make what we are working on clear to the public. We need to seek the input of local residents, students, workers, and everyone that is interested in participating in these conversations. We need to have a healthy dialogue that produces the results that we want to put in place. For far too long, lobbyists have had unprecedented access to legislators and through this access, they have had a profound impact on the policies that are put forward. We need to make it so that the biggest lobbyists in politics are the members of the community. We need to make sure that the people that are influencing politics are the people that are directly affected by them. That is how we will radically shift our government and turn it to a real democracy that works for the good of the majority.
My greatest concern as a citizen of this district is for the future of our planet as a whole. The 2018 Climate Report, released by the Trump Administration, did not mince any words. Climate Change is real and the deadly effects of it are just getting started. We do not have time to wait around for sea levels to rise. New Jersey must lead the way towards a green future. We are the Garden State. New Jersey can set an example for the rest of the states by putting forth legislation that brings us closer to a renewable energies based economy. We can create new industries and pave the way for a healthier future for our state and our planet. If elected to office, my goal will be to bring the Green New Deal movement to a local level. My goal will be to push for a committee in the State Legislature that rejects contributions from the Fossil Fuel industry and that is tasked with creating legislation to bring New Jersey to a renewable energies based economy in 10 years.
This is not only possible but is absolutely necessary. We have already faced the consequences of Climate Change during Hurricane Sandy. As a coastal state, New Jersey has a lot to lose as our planet continues to warm. Sea levels will rise. More and more deadly natural disasters will occur. However, we also have the most to gain by combating Climate Change. We can create new industries that will provide great jobs for countless people. We can set an example for the rest of our nation to follow. We can truly live up to our title as The Garden State.
We need to put together a Select Committee in our local legislature that is consistent of legislators that reject contributions from the fossil fuel industry. This is the only way that we are going to make significant progress in trying to develop solutions to the climate crisis that is plaguing our nation. The committee itself should be tasked with putting together a plan that will bring New Jersey to renewable energy centric economy. This means investing in infrastructure such as wind and solar farms, In addition to that, we need to invest in the research and development of new technologies such as more efficient ways of producing renewable energy, more effective ways of storing energy, and developing ways to transition commonly used oil-based technologies into electric-based technologies. This includes encouraging the development of electric vehicles and moving to sustainable heating solutions in homes across our state. This is a very ambitious goal, but if we can make these investments, New Jersey will be much better off. We can become an energy independent state and rely solely on energy produced in State. We can create a new, Green Jobs centric economy. This will create jobs with good wages that will be available to ordinary people, with or without a college degree. These jobs will pay a fair and living wage and will provide on the job training so that everyone can have access to a good job and great benefits. In addition to that, this will put New Jersey on the map as a leader in alternative energies. We can set an example for other States to follow and truly live up to our title, the Garden State.