Responses to CCPC's endorsement application questionnaire from:
Susan Palmer, Candidate for US House of Representatives, District 16
Political Party Affiliation: Democratic Party
Economic justice encompasses many concepts and potential policy initiatives. Ten states currently link their minimum wage to inflation using one of the Consumer Price Indexes. The indexes very by regions and expenditures. By setting a static number ($15) we recreate the same problem a few years down the road. Considering the recent business tax cuts, it's an ideal time to adjust the way the federal minimum wage is set. Non-compete clauses originated in high skill professions to protect intellectual property and work product. However today non-compete clauses are often used to entrap low wage workers and prevent them from changing jobs for higher wages. We need to restrict these employment clauses for low wage workers.
The top political justice issue is voter suppression. Whether it's gerrymandering, restrictions on access to the polls, limiting absentee voting, the purpose is the same to disenfranchise voters. None of it makes a difference if we don't win elections. We can be morally right and still lose. We need to focus all our energy with one voice with a clear coherent message.
Racial justice (for example: reducing incarceration for nonviolent crimes, prosecuting police for wrongful shootings, high quality public education, economic development in minority communities) *
The Democratic Party must seek out policies to appreciate and affirm the importance of people of color. The Government has played a clear role in the disenfranchisement of people of color in society today, and must work toward correcting this error. To start, both parties must work together to lower the level of incarceration in the United States. The cost of bail disproportionately effects lower income and minority populations. Stricter sentencing for lesser crimes are oftentimes lobbied toward people of color, who are then forced to sit behind bars for months at a time awaiting trial, or immediately plead guilty as access to bail or legal representation are out of reach. In order to address these issues we must seriously revisit the ways in which our justice system operates today.
The world is choking on plastic. First, we burned, then we dumped, then we recycled, and now we're running out of places to put recycling. A mix in quality of recyclable plastics makes tons of plastic and other solid waste too hazardous to recycle. We then return to dumping in landfills. We need to reduce overall packaging and find creative ways to distribute goods. Biodegradable packaging developed from all-natural plant materials is an excellent substitute and isn't produced from fossil fuels. As a tax break for solar bore fruit for the solar industry so could a tax credit for companies to use biodegradable packaging.
We live in an odd moment in our history. This has been the most volatile time in U.S. international relations. There is a dire need for communication at all levels of government with our allies to assure them of our commitment. We must mitigate the damage of one administration and continue to foster strong relationships and be the beacon of hope and freedom that we've been for 242 years.
Every American citizen is equal under the law. No one citizen has more rights than another citizen. The conflict between equality law and freedom of religion seems to be at the center of the storm in today's political environment. I believe in a legal doctrine described as social coherence (Nelson Tebbe). It lists four major tenets; avoiding harm to others, fairness to others, freedom of association, and government non-endorsement. It emphasizes equality for all while still giving narrow religious exemptions. The ability for us to live together is based on mutual respect, tolerance, and respecting everyone's rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.