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Below are the top 10 issues that I believe the majority of Americans want and our country needs. It’s time to put our ideologies aside, join together, and Lead America Forward.

Jobs — Americans don’t need just any jobs. We need decent jobs that pay a living wage. No one should work forty or more hours a week and still be unable to provide for their family. We must respect our nation’s most valuable asset: the working men and women who keep our country running. They deserve the dignity of being able to earn an honest living.

Healthcare — Even though most of us believe that no one should be denied life-saving medical care in their time of need, there are over 27 million uninsured Americans. Why is this? Because our medical care costs way too much. Nearly every other first-world nation provides healthcare to its citizens at half the cost or less. It’s time to overhaul the broken system and eliminate this hidden tax on all of us.

Climate Crisis — The majority of Americans realize that ignoring climate change will only make matters worse. However, instead of dealing with this disaster, corrupt politicians are letting polluters increase greenhouse gas emissions and pocket the profits. If we fail to put a stop to this, all of us will pay the price.

Taxes — Americans wonder how it’s possible for many of the ultra-wealthy to pay less in taxes than the middle class. It’s because they have access to lawyers, accountants, and tax shelters the rest of us don’t. It’s Robin Hood in reverse. We need to close the loopholes and use the windfall to reduce taxes on working families and small businesses.

Education — Right now, our top universities disproportionately favor those with money and connections. But what about the majority of Americans, who are forced to take on crippling debt just to obtain a college degree? We need to remove the financial barriers to education, making it accessible to anyone who works hard and has a sharp mind. Investing in our young people is the smartest thing we can do.

Corruption — If we don’t get big money and special interests out of politics, our government will never truly represent the people. We must make it a priority to overturn Citizens United, implement comprehensive campaign finance reform, and stop the revolving door between big business and government. This is the only way to restore true democracy to our country.

Gun Violence — Americans want to feel safe in their homes, schools, and communities. We need sensible gun laws that protect the rights of law abiding citizens to own guns, while keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals, the mentally ill, and children. We can’t afford to sit and wait for the next mass shooting. We need systematic background checks, red flag laws, and other measures put in place now, before more lives are lost.

Voting Rights — No American should be denied the right to vote. We should extend voting days to include weekends, stop politicians from gerrymandering districts, set up more polling stations, automatically register every citizen to vote when they get their ID, and make it easier to vote by absentee ballot.

The Environment — All of us want a healthy environment for our children. Unfortunately, lobbyists are pushing to remove even the most basic environmental protections. This will not only increase the toxins in our air, food and water but also destroy our natural heritage and wildlife. We shouldn’t pay for polluters with our tax dollars and our health.

Our Future — America is not investing enough in our next generation. We’ve cut spending on education, underfunded our most prominent research institutions, and undereducated our youth, while other countries are doing the opposite. It is time to invest in developing the new infrastructure, technologies, and talent that America needs to compete and lead the world in the 21st century.

Wedge Issues

Self-serving politicians use wedge issues to drive apart Americans. Let’s not let them divide and manipulate us. We can disagree on certain things and still work together to accomplish our shared goals. Below is my attempt to find common ground on tough issues.

Abortion — I believe most Americans would rather if we never had to face the question of abortion. It’s painful and personal. Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer. If we repeal Roe vs. Wade, it will only drive women and girls into the hands of back-alley abortion clinics, which will lead to more deaths and suffering, while those with money will travel abroad to have their pregnancies terminated. Instead of fighting over Roe vs. Wade, we need to unite around giving women the support they need to avoid unwanted pregnancies. In addition, we should provide both financial and emotional support to women and girls who wish to keep their babies. This will have a far greater impact on reducing abortions than going back to a time when it was illegal. History has proved this.

Regulations — No one wants outdated or poorly written regulations that impede business and impinge on our personal liberties. However, the vast majority of voters want laws that protect us and our children from untested drugs, contaminated food and water, defective products, unsafe working conditions, sexual predators, unscrupulous corporations, and other types of abuses. Instead of blaming regulations, what we need is a system for reviewing existing regulations to make sure they are achieving the intended goals. If regulations are not working, we need a way to efficiently modify and improve them. In other words, I’m advocating a smart regulatory system that is more flexible and adaptable. Regulations are the software of our Democracy, and we need a way to quickly fix the bugs whenever they crop up and release updated versions.

Gun Control — The majority of Americans agree that law abiding citizens should be able to own guns, while criminals and the mentally ill must be prevented from obtaining firearms. This is just common sense. Yet, the powerful gun lobbies are scaring people and politicians into blocking universal background checks and other sensible legislation. It’s time to stop blaming one another and come together on this life or death issue.

Immigration — Nearly all Americans agree that we need fair and effective immigration laws. Politicians who claim we are being invaded by armies of foreign criminals and terrorists are only trying to make immigrants the scapegoat for all our problems, instead of taking responsibility. The fact is that immigrants create far more jobs for our citizens than they take away, and they commit fewer crimes than the population in general. If we want a robust economy into the 21st century, we need to rethink our immigration policies so that they promote economic growth and employment, especially as our population ages.

Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash