Issues

issues_bg.jpg
 
 
healthcare.jpg

Healthcare

Healthcare is a right, not a privilege. No American should be left to suffer without receiving the treatment they need and because our country has capitulated its ideals to benefit the profiteering of big money corporations, we have become the only developed nation in the world that does not guarantee healthcare to all its citizens. We are the only developed nation in the world to put corporations before people.

The result is that we have the most expensive healthcare system in the world. Unfortunately, the unconscionable cost does not result in healthier people. In fact, the World Health Organization rates us 31st in life expectancy worldwide.

We must do better.

In order to improve our numbers, and the health of our nation, we must carve a pathway to universal health coverage.

Medicare for All is possible and it starts by designing an economical, comprehensive plan to serve everyone in America, a “cradle to grave” system underpinned by a largely non-profit method of financing.

The single best non-profit method is single-payer inclusive of one fund, one plan and one payer. It is simple, efficient and, most critically, effective.

Single-payer will lower our overall healthcare costs dramatically and the money will be directed to where it’s most needed: to care for our citizens.

  • More healthcare dollars will be spent on actual healthcare.

  • Doctors and nurses will have more time caring for patients instead of coping with bureaucracy.

  • Best of all, we will no longer be wasting over $400 billion in excessive administrative costs annually.

Best of all, by focusing our efforts on prevention and wellness instead of emergency services, our life expectancy increases. A happier, HEALTHIER nation for all is possible. Let’s make it happen together.

 

 
 
education.jpg

Education

A strong economy and a robust democracy depend on well-educated and socially engaged citizens, which is why we must offer accessible fully funded, high-quality, PreK-12 public school education across the nation.

Expanding public education is the key to our success. Every child deserves to have an equal opportunity to receive a fully funded, high-quality PreK-12 public school education. As our world continues to change, I will work hard to provide our schools with up-to-date technology and vocational training to prepare the next generation for a successful future. Moreover, it is now more necessary than ever to recruit and retain highly qualified, licensed teachers to guide our youth and ensure Minnesota stays a leader in education.  I will fight to ensure our teachers receive the best training, wages, and support possible, including protecting the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

I support measures to ensure every student has access to a fully funded, equitable public education that is not threatened by market-based reforms such as vouchers or turnarounds by entities that divert public funds to private enterprise. I will fight for increased funding to end inequities in the current segregated and unequal system that favors those with race or class privilege. I believe that resources should be distributed according to need, and particularly to those historically under-resourced by the impact of structural, racial and economic discrimination and disinvestment. Public schools should be responsive to the community, not the marketplace.

 

 
 
economicdev.jpg

Economic Development

Our district is struggling. Five of the ten poorest counties in Minnesota are located right here, in the 8th Congressional District. In four counties, the median starting wage is $12.15, the lowest of all of Minnesota’s 13 economic regions.

Minnesotans frequently have to work two, even three, jobs, just to make it through the month. And often, these jobs don’t even afford our citizens the benefits they deserve. Because of our district’s economic instability, we’re seeing young people abandon our district, leaving in droves for urban areas.

We must revitalize our district by transforming it into an appealing destination for the next generation of workers.

To accomplish this goal, we need to increase wages and provide affordable benefits in our existing industries. Raising the federal minimum wage and tying it to inflation, with mandatory COLA adjustments is a start, but it’s not enough. We also need to address student debt, which keeps young families from succeeding and limits them from attending college or trade school in the first place. Strengthening the safety nets for working families - affordable childcare; healthcare; fully-funded public education, including preschool; stop any attempt at privatizing Social Security is paramount if we want our district to flourish.

Overcoming the status quo means taking risks, after all, we miss 100% of the shots we don’t take. While supporting and expanding our traditional economic base of tourism, mining, and agriculture is critical, we also must look to new methods of growth: medical marijuana, artisan economies, green jobs, and the film industry. Innovative ideas, smart strategies and thoughtful planning are the tools we will use to create a prosperous 8th District once again.

 

 
 
guns.png

Gun Safety

Assuring the safety and security of our citizens, especially our children, is the most vital function of government delegates, which is why I support common-sense gun safety reforms.

As a member of “Mayors against illegal guns,” I work closely with Everytown for Gun Safety, an American nonprofit organization which advocates for gun control and against gun violence. Everytown was founded in 2014 by combining ‘Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ and ‘Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America’.

Gun safety and gun violence go hand and hand, and together, they are a nationwide public health concern that has gone on far too long without being addressed in Congress. In 1996, the Dickey Amendment was passed and since then, Congress has not been allowed to allocate public funds to study injury or death by gun violence. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is allowed to study all other public health concerns and epidemics like cancer, influenza outbreaks, automobile deaths, suicide, but not gun violence, death by gun, mass shootings, and all other gun-related health issues in the United States.

It’s time we treat gun violence and gun safety like the public health concerns they are and REPEAL the Dickey Amendment. When I am elected to Congress, I will introduce legislation to address this grave public safety crisis.

Before he died last year, even Congressman Jay Dickey himself, regretted his role in stopping the science-based study of gun violence.

It’s the reason why every mass killing in our schools, places of worship, and concert venues, and more, only produces another round of ideas based more on gut instinct than hard evidence.

It behooves every politician to put aside his or her party affiliation and put the safety of our school children first. This should NOT be a partisan issue any more. It should NEVER have been one.

We need common sense gun safety reform.

Together, we can protect our children.

Together, we can get it right.

 

 
 
immimgration.jpg

Immigration

It’s time to abolish ICE. America has thrived for 226 years without its overreach. For too long, this agency’s power has ballooned, going virtually unchecked with devastating results.

Immigrants are the backbone of our society; they benefit our workforce, our economy and our values. Immigrants are who we are.

In fact, if we were to offer the 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country a pathway to citizenship, we’d add $1.5 trillion to our GDP. Further, we would accrue $5 billion in additional tax revenue in over just 3 years.

The DREAM Act affords young immigrants a way to contribute to the only country they’ve ever called home. It is the only humane option and it’s the smart choice for our nation. Let’s pass the DREAM Act now.

Instead of fearing those who look different, those who worship in other ways, those whose cultures are unfamiliar to us; we should embrace them, learn from them, grow from them and ultimately, evolve into a stronger, kinder, better country.

Because, first and foremost, we are a country of immigrants; I, myself am a first-generation immigrant and what I admire most about this great nation is its freedom of expression and acceptance of cultures. We must strive to embody the true meaning of our namesake: The United States of America.

 

 
 
Kirsten_Kennedy_Senior.jpg

Senior Citizens

Honoring and protecting our retired and disabled citizens by maintaining our commitment to them is critical to me, and is the reason I support a robust Social Security system and will fight any and all privatization schemes.

Social security is a federal retirement benefit; it’s what you’ve been paying into your entire working life. You’ve earned it. Which is why we must safeguard this American right. I’ll explore a wide range of options to solve its long-term viability, including eliminating the “cap,” currently at $128,400 taxable income.

Providing stability and security for our respected generation of elders is the bedrock of any civilized society. Let’s lead the way.

 

 
 
KirstenKennedy_Enviroment.jpg

Environment

Like many of you, I’ve witnessed the assaults on our environment this administration has been perpetrating.

As a two-term mayor, I understand that when I make decisions, those decisions have long-term consequences. That’s why I always consider the surrounding cities and communities, even if they are not my constituency. Because they too, will be affected.

Currently, our government is fast-tracking amendments and slick deals to avoid regulations that do not take into account their possible effects down the road. No matter the focus, I vow to protect all the communities in Minnesota to that no one is overlooked.

We must make alternative energy accessible and affordable to working families now. I stand with Kaniela Ing, Alexandra Ocasio, and Randy Bryce in calling for the “Green New Deal:”

  • Phase out fossil fuel cars by 2030
  • 100% renewable energy by 2035
  • Phase out plastic bags and straws
  • No new pipelines
  • Federal Green Jobs Guarantee

Superior National Forest Land Exchange h.r. 3115 (Land Swap Bill)

As an elected official and your future Congresswoman, it is my job to listen and learn and not take hard-line positions that prevent me from being able to do what is right. Currently, the Land Swap Bill is under review. The more I learn about it, the more I recognize that to support it, I would be forced to deny my integrity and core values.

While defenders of the bill claim it adds approximately 650 acres to public lands, what they don’t say is that we’d requisition it at the expense of removing public input and legal proceedings from the process — an insidious and dangerous precedent to set.

I call on my fellow constituents to stand with me against fast-tracking legislation on any issue to circumvent public involvement to the benefit of multinational corporations who do not have the best interests of Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District citizens in mind.

To ensure that the longstanding tradition of the family farm lives on for generations to come, we must stop multinational agribusiness from making it impossible for local farmers to compete.

 

 
 
KirstenKennedy_Union.jpg

Workers' Rights

Collective Bargaining

The rights of Americans to form unions and collectively bargain gives the power to the people. Where it belongs. Any “Right to Work” laws or amendments directly oppose this right and diminishes the autonomy workers have over their own lives.

Now that Republicans control the House, Senate, and Presidency, national “Right to Work” has a real chance of becoming law. Make no mistake – despite the catchy title, “Right to Work” is an attack on all American workers. It is designed to bust unions, drive down wages and benefits everywhere, and strip away safety protections on the job.

Twenty-seven states across the country have already passed “Right to Work” laws. The federal law proposal would make all 50 states “Right to Work,” essentially decimating collective bargaining nationwide. Corporate lobby groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Koch Brothers have been backing “Right to Work” in an effort to kill unions and maximize corporate profits.

In “Right to Work” states, the consequences for all workers, not just union members, could be catastrophic. The average working family in “Right to Work” states earns over $500 less per month. Likewise, death and injury rates on the job are over 50% higher. Why do we see these numbers? Because when you eliminate unions, wages plummet, and safety protections are stripped away. The bottom line is: “Right to Work” hurts the workers in our country! I will fight tooth and nail against any “Right to Work...for Less” legislation, policy and proposals.

Workers are the backbone of this country; they are what bind us together and forge the strong, productive nation we’ve always been. We must advocate for the unions that fight for the fair wages and protections our workers need to feel safe and prosperous.

Citizens United

When powerful corporations maintain the same rights as citizens, the citizens will always lose.

Formed in September 2009, Move to Amend is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy that is genuinely accountable to the people, not corporate interests.

We are calling for an amendment to the US Constitution that unequivocally states inalienable rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns. We must overturn Citizens United in order to protect the rights of our citizens, not the rights of profiteering corporations.

 

 
 
KirstenKennedy_Native.jpg

Tribal Sovereignty

It is imperative that we recognize tribal sovereignty. First and foremost, we must take responsibility for the generational harm we’ve cause our Native American brothers and sisters. Next, we must work to develop shared governance with them that respects their tribal sovereignty. We must ask them to forgive us and then sit down with them and tell them we will listen if they are willing to teach us.

In partnership with the tribes, I will strive to identify no-cost or low-cost opportunities for the President and Congress to reduce administrative burdens on the tribes and create equity between tribal and and federal and state governments. We can do this by changing outmoded bureaucratic processes; working to better coordinate federal agencies, and changing the regulations and laws that prevent tribal governments from equitable access to federal programs.

  • We must make sure that the upcoming 2020 census works to educate American Indian members about the importance of participating in the census to ensure fair distribution of funds and effective policy making about tribal issues.
  • We must make sure that tribal governments that are within the 100 mile border of Mexico and Canada receive the same access to Department of Homeland Security funding as the state does, since the tribes are equally responsible to provide homeland security program infrastructure development and enhancement, but receive no DHS funding.
  • We must allow tribes to develop tribal taxation strategies that support tribal sovereignty. Because of the oftentimes high unemployment rate and severe levels of poverty, tribes have difficulty establishing a strong tax base based upon property taxes and income taxes. In addition, federal policy currently is difficult for many tribes to utilize federal tax-exempt financing options that are most often available to states to fund infrastructure construction. We also must change the incentives that promote economic development on tribal lands that benefits the non-Indian-owned business at the expense of attracting new business or benefiting tribal-owned or Native-owned business.