Everyone deserves to live their lives without discrimination. Whether at home or at work, every individual is entitled to the same rights. Women deserve to be paid the same as their male counterparts and should never face opposition to their personal health care decisions. I have consistently supported progressive efforts that benefit women and families, from equal pay and family leave to protecting funding for women's health providers like Planned Parenthood.
Last year was a monumental year for civil rights: love won and now any couple is free to be in a loving and committed relationship, regardless of gender. As a member of the Congressional Equality Caucus, I will continue the fight to ensure equal rights, repeal discriminatory laws and stop hate violence.
Our leaders should be determined by the voice of the people, not the finances of a select few. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision placed a huge amount of power in the hands of a few wealthy individuals and corporations. I support a repeal of that decision and efforts to renew transparency and accountability in our elections.
We must also preserve the true meaning of democracy. That means safeguarding voting rights for every American and restoring the protections of the Voting Rights Act. I traveled to Selma, Alabama along with President Barack Obama and Congressman John Lewis on the 50th Anniversary of the march that helped lead to passage of the Voting Rights Act, and it's clear the time to restore voting rights established 50 years ago is now.
Our society must also address the vicious cycles of poverty, drug abuse, and incarceration that affects the lives of so many Americans. I support medical marijuana as a way to provide compassion for those suffering from terrible diseases, and decriminalization of the drug will go a long way toward fixing serious issues in our criminal justice system. Likewise, we must begin to treat the opioid crisis plaguing our country as a serious public health issue that requires prevention efforts, treatment options, and public safety tools like the Naloxone antidote. Mass incarceration of non-violent drug offenders or those who lack the resources to post bail is not the answer, and in New Jersey I led the effort to reform our bail system so that dangerous criminals are kept behind bars and being stuck in prison is no longer a penalty for simply being poor.
I will continue to protect the individual rights of Americans and preserve the values of freedom, democracy and equality that make our country the greatest nation on Earth.