As an immigrant, I came from a country where educational opportunity was restricted by gender and economic status. I recognized that getting an education was imperative to my freedom to choose my path in life. Public education has always been a cornerstone for the future of our country, providing educated minds for America's strong workforce. Yet our public education system is faltering and our students today face many obstacles to earning their diploma and becoming productive members of society.
A public school student is suspended every 1.5 seconds and this places many of them on the school-to-prison pipeline; a fast growing epidemic in our country. We as parents all want to provide a quality education for our children and will do everything possible to support them in maintaining healthy and productive lives. In fostering the American dream for all students, we need to bolster our public education system, ensuring students stay in high school as well as offering broader vocational options and affordable higher education.
The innovation and renovation our country is known for is a product of Public Education. For a strong future, we need to invest in our children's education. The children of Florida's First Congressional District deserve better. As your Representative, I am committed to using evidence-based research to strengthen our public school system.
As a physician with over 20 years' of experience caring for children and families in Florida's 1st Congressional District, I intimately know the vital role healthcare plays in everyone's lives. From our first breath to our last, ALL Americans interact with our healthcare system.
Caring for our health is as critical to our quality of life as breathing clean air and putting food on our table. It is a non-partisan issue and it's time our country stops using it as a pawn to further political agendas.
I have observed the devastating impact inadequate health care has on the most vulnerable in our society. One in three Americans depend on Medicare, Medicaid, and/or CHIP for the most basic of healthcare treatment and medications. For those of us fortunate enough to have health insurance, the cost of care and medications should not compete with mortgages and groceries. Medical treatment should not depend on socioeconomic status. The health of a nation is its strength; it is a pillar of our national security. As a physician, I took an oath to care for everyone who seeks my help --- this has been my life's calling and I pledge to take this platform to Washington D.C. as your Congressional Representative.
This country was built by immigrants. It is more than a simple cliché. Our cultural diversity and varied talents are what make America great. One can simply drive around N.W. Florida and see the vast majority of small businesses owned and operated by immigrants and their families. In my case, it is a pediatric health clinic. From the high technology field of medical research to the farmers’ fields in North and South Florida, immigrants and seasonal workers play a vital role in this country’s research and development and our economy.
Immigration law is complex but necessary. There are multiple regional and international threats that must be mitigated when dealing with immigration; however, that must be balanced with America’s rich history of welcoming immigrants with open arms—a beacon of light and hope for the world.
I am committed both personally and professionally to bipartisan immigration reform that simplifies processes, supports our economy, provides protections for our defense, and encourages immigration for people across the globe looking to work for a better life. Immigration law must be balanced and humane.
As a Pediatrician, I see as many as 37 patients a day. Many of the illnesses I treat such as asthma, developmental issues, and waterborne infections are directly associated with environmental pollutants. And while environmental pollutants are especially dangerous for growing children, they impact everyone who breathes air, drinks water, and enjoys Northwest Florida's beautiful white beaches.
Environmental protection and regulation is a job for the federal government. The Environmental Protection Agency's close monitoring is imperative to protect each state, its citizens, and their economy from the harmful effects of pollution. Pollutants and toxins do not stop at state lines; Florida's unique geography and natural resources would be especially vulnerable to the regulations of our neighboring states if national protection is not in place.
Proposals to deregulate and eliminate the EPA are reckless and place the livelihood and health of our residents and businesses at risk. We need the federal oversight and protection to preserve our pristine sandy beaches, emerald waters, and clean air. As your Representative, I am strongly committed to the health and well-being of our community and its natural resources.
The unfortunate reality is that the United States faces a myriad of complex threats today from every region of the globe. The scale of these threats ranges from state actors facilitating nuclear proliferation to small scale and individuals conducting cyber crimes on our infrastructure. Terrorist organizations spreading across the Middle East and Africa, as well as governments such as Iran strengthening regional influence, are a danger to the U.S. and our allies.
We could breakdown each and every threat offering a course of action for each, but the conditions on the ground are changing constantly, thus altering each and every solution. What should remain constant is our STRATEGY.
Our foreign policy should be cemented in relationships and alliances with our global partners. The threats are too complex, plentiful, and widespread regionally to combat alone. Our commitment to international organizations such as the United Nations, NATO, World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, and other aid organizations should be strengthened and unbreakable. It is through a strategy of commitments and alliances that we may contain and combat regional threats to our allies and our homeland. The State Department, USAID, and DOD play vital roles in aiding and assisting our partners. These agencies are the frontline face to U.S. strategy and commitment and must have our full support.
It is a sad reality that at times, diplomacy will fail. Despite all of our best efforts, the security and safety of the U.S. or one of our partners will be threatened. It is at this time when all other efforts have failed, that our incredibly capable military will be called upon. When this does happen, we owe them the FULL SUPPORT AND WEIGHT of this great nation. When we send our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers to combat, we must continue to give them the best equipment, the best training, and every asset we have to combat the threat and come home safely. That is an unquestionable, unfaltering commitment we owe them.
I have lived in Pace, Florida for the past 20 years and have been touched by every aspect of the community. I am supportive of our community’s rights as to hunting and shooting sports. As the sister of those affected by domestic violence coupled with the access of firearms, I have been personally touched by the problem plaquing this great country. My perspective is focused on solutions supported by accurate data and backed by evidence of efficacy. Responsible and law-abiding gun owners should know that their interests and rights are protected. However, I am certain we all share the concern of keeping guns out of the hands of those that should not have them.
While protecting the rights of responsible gun owners, I call on several measures that we can implement to protect everyone. These measures ensure legal rights afforded by our Constitution, while providing a safety mechanism to keep access to guns from those that mean to cause harm to themselves or others.
1. Universal Background Checks. We must ensure that every weapon sale is conducted through a Federal Firearms License with a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
2. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System database should receive sufficient funding to adequately add and maintain a comprehensive database properly as to affect an accurate examination when a background check is being conducted.
3. Increase the minimum age for purchasing certain weapons from 18 to 21.
4. Increase funding for resources and programs to aid in early identification and treatment/services for individuals struggling with symptoms that span the entire spectrum of mental health. Suicide accounts for 2/3s of all gun violence. This is simply not acceptable.
5. Require firearms are properly secured to prevent access from those who should not have them. Provide funding through tax incentive or rebate for the purchases of secure storage devices.
These measures are designed to have maximum impact across all avenues of gun violence in America. These are procedures that we can and must implement to combat this epidemic. You can trust me to pursue these actions which protect the rights and liberties of all, while providing safety and security to our families and children. This is my pledge.
As a young girl in the Philippines, higher education was not something that was expected of me. It was viewed as a waste of my time since I was expected to get married and have babies. But I wanted to pursue a different path and I knew that getting an education was an investment towards that future.
Many of our children today face significant challenges with educational opportunities. The cost of a college education continues to rise, and graduating students are facing increasing amounts of debt with the student debt crisis reaching $1.41 trillion in March of 2018. Additionally, the skills acquired are not keeping pace with the rapidly evolving economy. Ninety-three percent of employers value critical thinking and problem-solving skills more than a graduate’s field of study. No matter what educational path our children take, we must ensure the skills learned will translate into viable jobs and that everyone who seeks to obtain education and training for a better future can find cost-effective options to do so.
I believe in our country and in making America strong and competitive, especially in STEM fields. Educated Americans lead to capable, competent workers that further strengthen our economy while reducing the need for social programs such welfare and Medicaid. As your representative, I will fight for every young adult to have the opportunity to attain the education they seek in order to make a better life for themselves and to contribute to our great nation. Investing in affordable and relevant training platforms is an investment in America’s future.
Debt source: New York Federal Reserve 2018 Q1 Report on Household Debt and Credit https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/interactives/householdcredit/data/pdf/HHDC_2018Q1.pdf
93% employers source: The Wall Street Journal April 10th, 2013