|Map of Presidential Primaries and Caucuses 2016 by month|
It is Presidential Primary season in the United States. The primaries and caucuses are that quadrennial exercise that decides who will be the Democratic and Republican flag bearers in the November 8, 2016 General Elections. For those you, like Blogger who live in California, we go to the polls on June 7, 2016. (http://www.sos.ca.gov) For everyone else, unless you live in: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, please check with your Secretary of State's website for more information. In the spirit of keeping all of you informed, Blogger would like to begin a weekly multi-part series on each of the nominee candidates's positions on issues that have direct bearing on our cities like: the environment, criminal justice reform, health care education, and the economy. With that in mind, yours truly would like to begin with the Blue Team (Democrats). First up, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Clean air and clean water are not privileges, they are rights. Critical to American progress is sustainable, dependable, renewable energy sources. Hillary Clinton pledges to make the United States the "clean energy superpower of the 21st century." (http://www.hillaryclinton.com) In order to accomplish this task, Ms. Clinton has laid out the following goals: generate enough renewable energy to power every American home by installing half a billion solar panels by the end of her first term. Reduce energy waste in schools, homes, hospitals, and offices and "make American manufacturing the cleanest most efficient in the world." (Ibid) Third, reduce oil consumption by a third through cleaner fuels and more efficient vehicles and boilers. Ambitious plan.
We live in the era mass incarcerations, private private prison, and mandatory minimum sentences that, at times, do not fit the crime. Although the United States accounts for 5 percent of the world's population, we incarcerate 25 percent of the global prison population. (Ibid) Statistically, African American men and boys are more likely to be stopped by police, convicted of crimes, and receive longer sentences than their Caucasian counterparts. This is not right. As president, Ms. Clinton has pledged to "End the era of mass incarceration, reform mandatory minimum sentences, and end private prisons. Encourage the use of smart strategies-like police body camera-and end racial profiling to rebuild trust between law enforcement and communities. Help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully re-enter society." (Ibid)
|"The economy in 50 words or less"|
Although reports say that the American economy is improving, many are still finding it difficult to make ends meet. As president, Hillary Clinton intends to "Give working families a raise, and tax relief that helps them manage rising costs." Ms. Clinton has pledged to create well-paying jobs and increase take home pay through infrastructure investment, clean energy, scientific, and medical research that promotes a stronger economy and growth. Finally, as president, Ms. Clinton has promised to close the cooperate tax loopholes that allow the more fortunate to get away with paying less than their fair share.
Gun violence prevention
The Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights guarantees the right of every American to bear arms. However, does that include the severely mentally ill, individuals with a history of violent crimes, or terrorists? Hillary Clinton has long argued for sensible gun control. Therefore, if elected, Ms. Clinton will: increase background checks on the pool of potential gun owners and close loopholes in the current system. Insist on accountability for irresponsible dealers and manufacturers. Finally, work to keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists, domestic abusers, violent criminals, and the severely mentally ill.
|Prescription: Health Care Reform|
Health Care Reform
As the First Lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton championed health care reform. Although it was defeated, Ms. Clinton continues to advocate for health care reform. As president, she will continue the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare), building on it to alleviate consumer out-of-pocket expenses. In the interest of full disclosure, yours truly has medical insure through ACA. Ms. Clinton promises to toughen up on rising prescription drug prices, holding the pharmaceutical companies accountable so they make their money through research, not increasing the costs. Finally, protecting a woman's access to reproductive health care.
|Passport immigration stamp|
The United States has had a prickly relationship with immigrants. In this election cycle, immigration is absolutely one of the hot button issues of this election. The system is broken and it is in serious need of repair. Thus, as president, Ms. Clinton pledges to enact "comprehensive immigration reform to create a pathway to citizenship, keep families together and close private immigrant detention centers. Defend President Obama's executive actions to provide deportation relief for DREAMers and parents of Americans and lawful residents, and extend those actions to additional persons with sympathetic cases if Congress refuses to act."
Safe and strong bridges and roads are the backbone of the American economy. They help bring goods and services to the market place, transport people from one point to another, and are the primary mechanism for a prosperous future. As president, Hillary Clinton promises to increase federal investment by $275 billion over a five year period. "Create a $25 billion infrastructure bank to support critical infrastructure improvements. Harness public and private capital to fix and build new roads and bridges, expand public transportation, give every American access to broadband internet..."
Labor unions are an integral part of the American workforce. They represent the interests of a broad spectrum of workers ranging from the working class (those who work with their hands) to teachers and flight attendants. Hillary Clinton pledges to "Strengthen unions and protect worker bargaining power. Raise the minimum wage and strengthen overtime rules. Support working families through equal pay, paid family leave, earned sick days, fair schedules, and quality affordable child care."
|Racial Justice Sunday|
We live in the time of #BlackLivesMatter. As a nation, we cannot continue to tell ourselves we live in a post-racial society because we have an African American president. Racial justice will be another key issue in this election year. If you want further proof, look at all the controversy surrounding Beyoncé's segment at the 50th Super Bowl Half Time show. To address this matter, Hillary Clinton intends to: "End the era of mass incarceration. Protect immigrants' rights and keep families together. Defend every American's right to vote."
|American farm house|
With so much emphasis on expanding urban centers, it is easy to forget that the United States is composed of rural communities from sea to shining sea. These communities suffered greatly during The Recession and are still struggling to recover. As president, Hillary Clinton will: "Strengthen rural economies by investing in infrastructure and expanding access to credit and venture capital. Rain agricultural production and profitability for family farms. Promote clean energy leadership and collaborative stewardship."
Small businesses are a vital part of a community. They provide a sense of continuity and build relationships between the owners, workers, and patrons. Historic preservationists (including yours truly) have long advocated the need to small business as part of what makes a community attractive and desirable. However, owning and operating a small business can be a daunting task. Hillary Clinton proposes launching an national initiative to break through the bureaucracy holding back small businesses. "Provide targeted tax relief for small businesses and simplify tax filing. Give small businesses-in particular, minority and women-owned business-more access to financing and new markets they need to grow."
These are just some of the issues that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken a position. (http://www.hillaryclinton.com) Yours truly urges each and every one of you to go to the candidates's websites and study the issues. Blogger is refraining from an opinion on the candidates and their platforms until the series is completed. Next Tuesday we will look at Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Of course, Blogger's final word will be spoken at the ballot box.