Safeguarding Our Communities
Between 2015 and 2016, New York State’s Division of Criminal Justice Statistics recorded a 5.9% decrease in violent or property crime. 1 Despite this, crime remains a persistent concern for residents of our district. As your Congressman, I will work with law enforcement and local civic groups to address these concerns:
Our nation has the largest incarceration rate in the world, housing a quarter of the world’s prisoners, the overwhelming majority of whom are people of color being held for non-violent crimes. As economic conditions worsen, our police, which already does an incredible job protecting our communities, have been forced to assume less traditional roles to meet the needs of the communities they serve, often prompting them to rely on the use of force or mass incarceration as a means to maintain social order. These practices are an expensive stopgap for keeping communities safe, rendering offenders economically unproductive and resulting in higher levels of recidivism within the community.In Congress, I will craft legislation to tackle the socio-economic causes of non-violent crime by: 1. introducing social workers within police stations to redress the needs of the community; 2. ensuring that officers have the resources and training necessary to curtail incidences of police brutality and the disproportionate use of force against people of color; and 3. dedicating more resources towards the education and rehabilitation of non-violent offenders by incentivizing businesses to hire non-violent offenders upon their release. By uniting law enforcement together with the communities they protect, we will ensure better outcomes for public safety.
“How many more people must die before we pull assault rifles from our streets?” It’s a question that has been asked countless times throughout the country as senseless tragedies continue to mount. Still, Congress continues to flounder on gun control, despite all evidence suggesting that guns on our streets are making our communities less safe. As your representative, I will seek legislation that balances our rights under the Second Amendment with rules that place common-sense limits on gun ownership, including: 1. requiring a psychological evaluation as part of a federal background check; 2. imposing a 30-day waiting period for the completion of gun sales; and 3. mandating all gun sellers, whether public or private, undertake these steps and record purchases regardless of where they are made. Additionally, I will support legislation that places sensible restrictions on open carry and concealed carry laws, as well as a ban on assault rifles.
An issue of great importance to me is fighting the opioid epidemic. I have seen up close the pain of addiction, including the toll and devastation it can have on loved ones. A close family member struggled with an addiction to Vicodin, which he was prescribed when he was recovering from a horrible bicycle accident in which he was struck by a car. A local pill mill subsequently fed his addiction for years. Today, he lives a life free of drugs, but his sobriety came at a tremendous personal cost to himself and our family. We need to tackle the causes of addiction. Instead of criminalizing addiction, we need to make it easier and safer to find viable treatment options and remove the stigma around addiction, which affects Americans indiscriminately. I also want to introduce a program to train nurses, teachers, and paraprofessionals to detect and treat overdoses in our youth.
Over the last decade, an overwhelming majority of states have introduced legislation that has either decriminalized certain aspects of possession or legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes. Despite this, the federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (1970). While I have never used marijuana in my own life, I will propose an amendment that legalizes marijuana but regulates the cultivation, sale, and distribution thereof, just as we do with alcohol or tobacco. This will allow police to focus their attention on actual crime and relieve prisons from overcrowding with petty offenders.