We’re not just here to solve today’s problems – we’re here to build a better tomorrow.
CJ Berina vs Brad Sherman
Fight the Climate Crisis
Climate change is the great existential threat of our time. The science is clear –– our world is getting hotter, our resources are getting scarcer, and we must take drastic action now or condemn future generations to an unlivable planet. This crisis is everywhere, and it’s especially hurting us here in California, where our fire seasons are getting longer, earlier, and deadlier than ever, and our agricultural regions are experiencing record droughts. We’ve known about this for decades now, and nothing has changed, because Washington has been helpless in the face of powerful corporations and the politicians in their pocket. As your Representative, CJ can promise you that he will not be helpless. We need to dramatically decrease our reliance on fossil fuels and move towards their elimination entirely. We need to invest heavily in sustainable alternatives, including wind and solar. We need to hold corporations that take away our ability to live healthy, happy lives by destroying the environment we live in responsible for what they’ve done. This is why CJ supports the Green New Deal to restructure our economy and our relationship to the environment in a more equitable and sustainable direction –– because this can’t wait.
Get Money Out of Politics
Our government was designed with a simple goal –– to be a structure of the people, by the people, and for the people. This goal has been lost –– not by accident, but by decades of war against our public institutions by corrupt politicians and the industries who own them. Washington, DC, has been turned into a finely-tuned money laundering operation, where corporate PACs fund politicians, who protect their donors’ interests over their constituents, and become lobbyists once they’re out –– and dedicate their new careers to finding new politicians to funnel corporate money into and keep the cycle going. This is not democracy. Our government belongs to us, and CJ will make sure it stays that way by working to overturn Citizens United and establish publicly financed elections. CJ also supports ranked choice voting, lowering the voting age to 16, automatic voter registration at the age of 16, ending Gerrymandering, securing our voting systems from hackers, establishing election day as a national holiday, removing the electoral college, nationwide election reform, and banning corporate donations. In an era of out-of-control lobbying and professional entrenchment, we need to protect our democracy. No more will politicians be owned by corporations; no more will our representatives spend more time fundraising for reelection than actually representing us. It’s time to give our government back to the people.
Healthcare is a human right. The United States is the wealthiest country in the history of the world, and yet we lag so far behind when it comes to providing medical care to our citizens. We pay more than any other developed country for our treatment, and we get less. We restrict basic care and affordable prescriptions from the people that need them most, and why? Because for far too long, our healthcare system has been in the hands of insurance companies and the politicians that they own –– and this changes now. In Congress, CJ will fight for your right to healthcare –– your right to go to the doctor and hospital of your choice, to receive the care you need, with no deductibles, no co-pays, no premiums, and prescriptions at a fraction of the cost. The insurance industry is designed to restrict your ability to receive care; their entire business model is based on the idea that the more they tell you “no,” the more profit they will make. CJ here to tell you “yes.” We can provide our citizens with the comprehensive care that is their right, and once he’s in Congress, CJ will make sure that we do by making sure that Senator Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill is made into law.
End the Wars
We have been at war for so long that babies born after 9/11 are now old enough to fight in Afghanistan. This is unacceptable. Our endless, borderless wars in the Middle East have become the new normal, eating up trillions from our budget and ending countless lives with no goal in place or end in sight. These wars –– in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen, even in Niger, where four US troops were killed in 2017 before the public even knew we had armed forces there –– need to end. The Department of Defense is requesting from President Trump a 2020 budget of $718 billion, a 5% increase from their 2019 budget –– to fight wars most of us don’t support, in places most of us don’t even realize we’re fighting in. This money would be better spent at home, taking care of the veterans that we routinely ignore, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and creating thousands of new jobs in the process, and funding Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. As your Congressman, CJ will fight to bring those resources and our troops home safe, where they belong. CJ also believes that if we have a Department of Defense that we should divert some of those funds to create a Department of Peace. Peace is the sustainable answer, while war is not. A vote for CJ is a vote to end the wars.
Forgive Student Loan Debt
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimates combined student loan debt in America at nearing one trillion dollars –– an absolutely unthinkable, unacceptable number. This yoke of debt has prevented an entire generation from accruing wealth and property like every generation before them, and a consequence of that is that the Millennial generation is poised to be the first in US history to be less successful than their parents. This is not an organic system –– this is a system that was created on purpose to maximize profits and shift responsibility. The idea of fully subsidized loans that are non-dischargeable being granted in increasingly gigantic amounts at high interest rates to 17 and 18 year olds is absurd, and it’s sucking the life-blood out of our economy. In Congress, CJ will put forward a plan to eliminate student loan debt –– for everyone. Freeing all Americans from debt servitude will go an incredibly long way towards supporting the health of our economy and our country as a whole.
Build the Future Economy
Politicians usually can only think as far ahead as their next election – but not CJ. As both an entrepreneur and a Millennial, CJ has thought deeply and broadly about the innovative steps America will have to take in order to build a freer and fairer economy for not just us, but our children and grandchildren too. Key elements of this will include regulating AI, researching a potential implementation of a universal basic income, applying antitrust and anti-monopoly laws to companies that are consolidating power, protecting our data, and ensuring that we have a regulatory and licensing structure in place that understands both the benefits and downsides of our current tech industry. Recent hearings with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that our current Congress just doesn’t understand the present economy, let alone the next one –– so let’s send CJ to Washington to help change that.
Fight For Our Families
We have an economic system that is consistently and constantly failing American families. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class withers on the vine. That stops now. Under CJ’s economic plan, we will take aggressive action to defend and support the stability of American families. We are going to expand Social Security, provide comprehensive paid family and sick leave as a federal guarantee, protect collective bargaining rights, support small businesses, and make sure that absurdly wealthy on Wall Street — who were bailed out with middle-class taxpayers money — pay their fair share once and for all.
Reform Our Criminal Justice System
The American criminal justice system — designed and built by presidents from Nixon to Clinton — sets too many people up to fail, and leaves too many in the system in the worst way. In Congress, CJ will work to enact sweeping reform of our justice system, including banning private prisons, correcting wrongful convictions, legalizing marijuana and providing clemency for those convicted of marijuana offenses, decriminalizing the therapeutic use of psychedelics, enforcing police accountability including mandatory body cams, de-escalation training, and independent investigation panels for police misconduct, and generally fighting to dismantle our system of mass incarceration and end the War on Drugs.
End Gun Violence
The numbers are clear: we are living through an epidemic of gun violence. Mass shootings occur more than daily, on average, and suicide rates are skyrocketing. We need to take aggressive action to cure this horrific condition. CJ supports a nationwide band on assault weapons, federal gun buyback program, licensing and renewal programs for gun owners like anyone who drives a car has to do, closing the gun show loophole, and enacting red flag laws. CJ recognizes the Second Amendment, but he’s a problem-solver at heart, and no one can deny that we have a problem. Let’s start talking about solutions, for once.
Restore Civil Liberties
In 2001, Congress passed the PATRIOT ACT, giving the government almost unlimited power in the name of national security, with near unanimous approval. Since then the federal government has waged an almost non-stop assault against our civil liberties, from warrantless wiretaps to the wide-ranging surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013. It is vitally important that we not only repeal the PATRIOT ACT, but that we take further steps to ensure our liberties, including banning facial recognition technology. CJ understands that our Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure have been under siege for years, and it’s time we start treating the American people as innocent until proven guilty. CJ also supports presidential candidate Marianne Williamson’s reparations plan to repay a debt that has never been paid and to pave the way for healing in the United States.
Fix Our Education System
The American education system is broken. Students are coming out ill-prepared for life, saddled with debt at the higher levels, and fundamentally unprepared to exist in our current world. This needs to change. We need to increase funding to our K-12 schools, and expand public education to pre-K and bachelor-level universities in order to prepare our students for the modern world. Federal standards need to be amended; instead of Algebra 2, we ought to be teaching students practical financial lessons, including budgeting, taking out loans, running small businesses, buying a house, and filing taxes. We need to increase funding for — and appreciation of — trade schools, and support union power for those jobs once they’re out. We need to make sure we’re preparing our students for the 21st century, not the 19th, and that will start with federal accountability.
Rebuild Our Crumbling Infrastructure
If there’s one reality that’s been staring America in the face for decades, it’s that our infrastructure is teetering on the brink of collapse. We all know that our freeways have terrible, pothole-laden roads, but the situation is more dire even that that. Too many buildings in Los Angeles are not earthquake-safe, or fire-retardant. There are many regions in this country staring down the barrel of disaster — from the upcoming Cascadia Subduction Event in the Pacific Northwest to the increasing scourge of serious storms all along the eastern seaboard — that are not prepared for the realities of disaster. Buildings will collapse, bridges will fall, and cities will flood. With climate change on us especially, it’s only a matter of when, not if. CJ sees this, and will work tirelessly to rebuild our infrastructure and optimize our cities for the best — and prepare them for the worst.
Protect Reproductive Rights and Women's Health
The Republican Party has been waging war on women, right out in the open, for decades, and we need to call it what it is and stop it in its tracks. As a Congressman, CJ supports fully funding Planned Parenthood, defending a woman’s right to choose at all levels, enacting paid family leave, and providing family planning resources and contraception as needed, at-will, no questions asked. CJ recognizes that women in this country have been systematically denied sovereignty over their bodies and their health, and he promises to fight hard to give it back.
Reform Our Immigration System
The dramatic majority of Americans alive today came from somewhere else. Some of us came from England on the Mayflower. Some of us came from Italy in the late 19th century. And some of us came recently, from Mexico and Central America. The circumstances are immaterial — America’s role as a safe haven for any immigrant who wants to come is part of its sacred mission, and the immigration policy of the current administration is a scandal in the face of the American character. One of CJ’s top priorities in the House will be to begin undoing as much damage that Trump has done as possible, including abolishing ICE (an organization that has existed for less than twenty years), providing protection for DREAMers, making an easier pathway to citizenship, and ending mass deportation and the separation of families.
End the Criminalization of Poverty
Our economic system is designed to punish the poor. CJ will change that. There’s an entire suite of policies that, once in Congress, CJ will put forward to end the war on the poor. We need to end cash bail so that it’s not just the rich that can walk free, we need to end payday loans so that the desperate aren’t forced to pay twice as much to buy groceries, we need to end predatory lending in our financial sector so that we can prevent a redux of the 2008 crash that destroyed the growing prosperity of so many families, and we need to allow the Post Office to provide free public banking so that poor Americans aren’t subject to the hideousness of transaction and overdraft fees that banks — despite existing through taxpayer largesse — somehow feel confident in leveraging.