Taking a Local Approach to Creating Good Jobs
On the Boston City Council, Ayanna heard time and again about archaic laws that grew out of discrimination generations ago and made it nearly impossible for business owners in certain parts of the city to obtain a liquor license. As a result, neighborhoods like Dorchester and Mattapan hadn’t seen new sit-down restaurants in decades, meaning fewer jobs and a lagging local economy. Ayanna worked to change the outdated laws, and now dozens of new restaurants have opened, creating hundreds of jobs and boosting our economy.
In Congress, Ayanna will take a similar approach that builds economic development from the grassroots level, working to promote the strengths of the 7th District and connect residents in our communities with available jobs. As part of this effort, Ayanna supports major investments in workforce training, including apprenticeships and vocational education in advanced manufacturing and technology, to help young people find careers and develop the highly-skilled workforce that will attract employers to every corner of the district.
To help ensure that economic development benefits every community, the Federal government should be a model of real inclusion demonstrated through procurement and purchasing processes and procedures.Ayanna will look to scale up ordinances she co-sponsored on the Boston City Council that set goals for minority and women business enterprise (MWBEs) participation in City projects and updated the Boston Residents Jobs Policy to require developers on city-funded construction projects to make best faith efforts to hire 50% people of color, 25% minorities, and 10% women. We should expect our government contracts to contribute to a fairer economy and create opportunity for wealth building for everyone.
Addressing Income Inequality
Income inequality is a persistent and growing problem that is leading to a huge gap between the wealthy and everyone else. The Boston metro area, including many of the communities in the 7th District has the 10th highest income inequality of any metro area in the country. This inequality is constraining our economy – and it’s fundamentally unfair.
Our first priority must be ensuring that no one who works full time lives in poverty. That’s why we should take immediate steps to raise the Federal minimum wage to at least $15 an hour and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit so that lower income families keep more of their hard-earned money. And we need to pass paid family leave legislation, so that parents and caregivers don’t lose vital income when they need to take care of a sick child or aging parent.
In addition, our tax code must ensure that everyone pays their fair share, and should not place the burden of funding public priorities solely on the backs of working families and those struggling to get by. The Republican tax bill does nothing but worsen the existing wealth disparity – providing millions in tax breaks to the top 1% and corporations - while burdening the next generation with a trillion dollars in new debt. Instead, Congress should focus on simplifying our tax code in a manner that provides relief for lower- and middle-income families, not wealthy individuals and multinational corporations.
Ayanna has also worked on the Boston City Council to establish pay equity for women that requires equal pay for comparable work and pay transparency that empowers workers to achieve fairness without going to court. Ayanna is a strong supporter of the Lily Ledbetter Act and will seek ways to strengthen these laws in Congress.
Protecting Retirement Security
Republicans in Congress continue to look for new ways to undermine Social Security and Medicare, but we must be steadfast in our promise to older Americans who have paid into these essential programs their entire lives. Ayanna doesn’t just oppose cutting Social Security and Medicare, she emphatically supports expanding these critical programs, because retirement security is more than a senior issue, it’s a family concern. Too many families know all too well that balancing child care and other responsibilities with caring for aging parents is already hard enough, without the additional stress of financial hardship. Providing adequate resources for Social Security and Medicare supports seniors and working families.
Supporting Small Businesses
Big corporations have champions in Congress, while small businesses are used as tag lines in political commercials. Small businesses in the 7th District are too often stifled by an inability to access the capital they need to thrive. Ayanna will fight to require lenders to extend capital to all qualified businesses in our communities.
Improving Our Infrastructure
Donald Trump and the Republican Congress are failing to deliver on the desperately needed infrastructure bill they have been promising for well over a year. Meanwhile, our communities are struggling to deal with dangerously aging infrastructure – including bridges, roadways, public transportation and wastewater systems that are falling into disrepair. And the damage caused by the recent storms in Massachusetts demonstrates the immediate need for improvements to make our critical infrastructure more resistant to the impacts of climate change. States and local communities cannot bear the cost burden of these project alone – Federal investment is critical, and would create much needed jobs and spur economic growth. Ayanna will fight to prioritize the funding of multimodal, pedestrian, and cyclist-friendly infrastructure projects.
Public transportation is especially important to residents in Boston and the greater Boston area. Now is the time to think big when it comes to public transportation. A well-funded, reliable public transportation system would benefit workers, attract more economic development, ease congestion, and help the environment. We must also ensure that our public transportation system is accessible to residents in every community and neighborhood – we cannot neglect minority and low-income neighborhoods when it comes to making decisions about how to spend limited transportation resources.
Reforming Wall Street
Big banks have been preying on the middle class and low-income families in this country for far too long. Greed, corruption and a sheer lack of conscience led to a near collapse of our nation’s economy, and our most vulnerable citizens bore the brunt of the impact.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump and the Republican Congress are only interested in protecting their friends at the top and rolling back regulations on big banks. Ayanna will fight to pass a new Glass-Steagall Act to separate commercial banking services and investment banking, so that no banks are too big to fail, and she will push for new legislation that creates tougher sentences for fraud and negligence among banking executives who jeopardize the retirement and savings of hard-working Americans, sending a clear message that no one on Wall Street is above the law.
Protecting Our Environment
Protecting our environment is an economic and moral issue. The extreme weather we faced this winter has laid bare the destructive impact climate change is already having on our communities. We need to take meaningful steps as a state, region, and nation to mitigate the impacts of climate change and prevent additional warming. In Congress, I will push to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords, invest in renewable energy production, and develop resilient infrastructure. In addition to protecting our environment, these investments can be a boon for workers – creating thousands of new jobs in technology, manufacturing, and construction.
We also must not neglect the more “traditional” elements of environmental protection, including protecting our air and water, and the preservation of open space. Donald Trump and the Republican Congress have shown their desire to roll back important regulations on pollution, eliminate protected lands, and permit destructive practices like offshore oil exploration that jeopardize public health and put the interests of big polluters ahead of children and families. Ayanna will fight to empower the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and strengthen laws that keep our air and water clean.
Ayanna will pursue environmental protection with a focus on the intersectionality of poverty and environmental hazards. Our low-income and communities of color disproportionately lack access to clean air, clean water, and open space, and they bear the most burdens as a result of the changing climate. Public health and property in those communities are at even greater risk from environmental challenges. We cannot turn a blind eye to the disparities between different communities when developing Federal policy – we must embrace environmental justice, as well as environmental protection.