Issues

Issues

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The U.S. Constitution is at the heart of my progressive views. Power rests in the people, and the objective of forming a more perfect union is the very essence of the progress we seek.

Establishing justice and ensuring domestic tranquility means that we must take a hard look at the problems that we face and work relentlessly to fix them. The well-being of the the nation and its people, and protecting their rights is built into the organizing creed of our country.

I am of a mind that balance is what upholds a just and free society, and that our nation has become deeply, deeply imbalanced in just the lifetime of my generation.

When I talk of balance, it’s essential to understand that society does not exist on a line that goes from the Public Sector (the state) and stretches to the Private Sector (corporations and business). Rather, society is like a plate on a stick, balanced by the Public Sector, the Private Sector and the Plural Sector.

The Plural Sector is us, the people. It is all of the institutions that belong to everyone or to no one. It is our social movements, and trade unions; our communities, and faith institutions; our universities and many of our best hospitals. The Plural Sector is capable of things that government can’t do effectively and that business has no self-interest to do, and it has been hurting for decades as power has shifted wildly toward the Private Sector. We live in a time where technology has fundamentally shifted how our economy works, and how our society organizes itself. In order to address the challenges of our age, we need to restore balance; the Public and Plural sectors must be energized as all three pillars of our society act as the checks and balances that our constitution prescribed for our government.

These are national issues, but they are issues where we in Maryland have all the leeway we need to chart our own course. To change the nation, and change our society, we must build the future we want community by community, and state by state. It’s the hard way of doing things, but it’s a future worth fighting for.

 

Corruption

One of the great sources of imbalance in our society is the staggering amount of money that flows through our political system. What makes this corruption so hard to tackle is the fact that it’s completely legal, under the guise of “campaign contributions.”

Though corporate campaign contributions have been banned from federal elections for over a century, they’re legal and common in Maryland. I’m committed to changing that.

As part of that commitment, I pledge that so long as I am in public life, I will never take campaign contributions from any corporations or their affiliated PACs.

In order to address legal corruption, we need a law that makes it illegal. I support the framework of the American Anti-Corruption Act, and will work to implement elements of it in Maryland.

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Environment

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

It is our responsibility as citizens to protect our natural environment. Maryland has been nicknamed, “America in Miniature,” because we are fortunate to have such a great diversity of natural habitats. Among these are our beautiful Western mountains, and the majestic Chesapeake Bay.

We must ban Fracking. Update: Bravo and congratulations to the General Assembly and Governor Hogan for banning fracking in 2017!

We must protect the Chesapeake.

We must lead the way in implementing renewable, green energy.

If Donald Trump and his farce of an EPA will not protect Maryland’s environment, then we will do it ourselves.

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Economic Justice

After climate change, the wage and wealth inequality that has grown into a chasm over the last 30-or-so years in America is the single largest problem that we face as a society. It’s time that Democrats remember that they’re supposed to be the party of the people, and start acting like it.

 I support a $15 minimum wage.

 Unions are the backbone of economic justice, and we must empower workers to organize and bargain collectively.

Workers in employee-owned businesses make more money, have better benefits, and are happier. We should encourage this business model.

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Civil Rights

Real talk: It makes me angry that I even need to write this one. The culture of fear, which leads to discrimination, is alive and well in our nation despite all the progress we have made. I’m no coward like Donald Trump; we can face the future and solve our problems without degrading ourselves as a people.

 I oppose discrimination in all its forms, and we must work to extend equal protection under the law to all.

 Immigration is at the heart of our national character. We should resist the culture of fear that is pushing more aggressive immigration enforcement raids.

 I will fight to block any attempt to create a “Muslim registry,” or any other measure that persecutes Marylanders based on their faith.

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Women's Issues

A woman’s body is her own. It is out of this principle that I am pro-choice, and will vigorously defend women’s right to abortion services.

At the same time, we can reduce the need for abortions by:

 Providing excellent health care for women

 Ensuring easy access to birth control and contraceptives

 Eliminating poverty

Also, unseen by most of us, Maryland is a hotbed for human trafficking, with some of the most heinous crimes imaginable happening under our noses. I will provide law enforcement with the tools they need to fight this scourge.

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Family Values

For me, “family values” means exactly what it says, valuing the family. Strong families make for strong communities, which make for a strong society.

I will fight to strengthen our families, strengthen our communities and strengthen our economy with:

 Paid maternity/paternity leave

Earned paid sick leave

 Guaranteed paid vacation time

 Affordable and widely available childcare

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Education

Maryland’s schools are among the best in the nation, and Montgomery County’s are among the best of the best. Though there is much room for improvement, especially in the achievement gap between students from affluent and poor families, our schools remain a shining example of success statewide.

In order to continue that progress, we need to:

Fully fund our education systems and prevent budget cuts

 Guarantee universal Pre-Kindergarten

 Live up to our obligations to teachers in terms of incremental pay raises and benefits

At the local level, I will work with the Montgomery County delegation to make sure that the state pays its fair share of the high quality of education from MCPS that benefits the entire state.

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Restoring Democracy

Democracy itself has found itself under attack by both parties. Eliminating corruption would be a major step in the right direction, but there are structural issues that also must be addressed.

 We must eliminate Gerrymandering, and reform the redistricting process with a bipartisan commission using advanced software to create districts that are truly representative.

 We will make it as easy as possible for citizens to register to vote and exercise that right, and fight any attempts to block voting or kick registered voters off rolls.

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Transportation

In Montgomery County, we have three key transportation assets, all of which serve District 39: Metro, MARC rail, and I-270. We need to invest in all three to enhance their service to reduce the congestion that is a blight on our quality of life.

Invest in Metro, along with the governments in Virginia, DC and the federal government, to fully update the system with expanded capacity and the highest safety standards.

Add reversible express toll lanes to I-270, which double as the route for a new Bus Rapid Transit system

Expand MARC service with a dedicated third track for as much of the Brunswick Line as possible, enabling full-time, regular service from Union Station through the heart of Montgomery County, including Germantown and Washington Grove

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Criminal Justice

It is impossible to talk about justice in society without addressing some of the failures of our criminal justice system.

 Black lives matter. Use of lethal force by police should be exceedingly rare, regardless of a suspect’s race.

 We must steer the trend in our policing away from militarization, and toward a community-based model.

 Montgomery County provides an excellent model for practices that should be statewide in terms of their level of community engagement, constant and consistent training, and high standards for police academy applicants.

 Sentences for violent crimes should mean something – parole at 50% of time served is far too lenient.

 We should legalize, regulate and tax cannabis sales.

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Healthcare

Healthcare costs continue to rise for every American, including those of us here in Maryland.  The gains we made with the Affordable Care Act are now tenuous, as congress and the new administration weigh their options with the stated goal of eliminating the ACA altogether.

 We must ensure that Marylanders have affordable healthcare, regardless of what happens at the federal level.

 Using the existing infrastructure of Maryland’s Health Connection insurance marketplace, we can craft our own version of a market-based solution like the ACA.

At a minimum, Marylanders should have guaranteed catastrophic coverage to prevent bankruptcies due to medical emergency.

 Transparent pricing on drugs and hospital treatment is critical to bringing costs down.

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Want to know where I stand on an issue not covered here? Send me a message at info@bobbybartlett.com