The climate crisis is a significant contributing factor to many conflicts and refugee situations around the globe, putting Americans abroad - and all global citizens - at risk due to political insecurity. How will you ensure that the U.S. will reduce greenhouse gas emissions below Paris Accord targets and lead the global effort to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown and the global insecurity it would cause?
What do you think a U.S. President in early 2021 can do, independently of the cooperation of Congress or other countries, to respond to this crisis?
Growing up in Hawaii, wanting to take care of our beautiful environment came naturally to me. I gradually realized that I was most happy when I set aside my personal interests so I could take time to care for our environment or be of service to others.
So “Environmentalism” is not a policy choice. It is part of our everyday lives. Central to our rights as Americans, to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is having clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and safe food to eat. These essential elements are core to the existence of every human being, and it is my personal commitment to fight to protect and improve them.
Pollution to our water and air require us to sit down, to talk, and to work together - whether it be with friends or with people who are adversaries or potential adversaries. If we in the United States do all that we can right now to address climate change, it will still not be enough. We cannot solve these problems alone. We have to work together with other countries.
**** H.R. 3671 The OFF Fossil Fuels Act ****
I am the sponsor of H.R. 3671 The OFF Fossil Fuels Act, which is the strongest legislation in the House of Representatives to curb the worst effects of carbon dioxide and other gases emitted into the atmosphere by human industrial processes. In comparison to the Green New Deal, the OFF Act sets specific, actionable targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and meet the goals of the Paris Accords: By 2027, (1) 80% of electricity sold must be generated from clean energy resources, (2) 80% of new vehicle sales from manufacturers must be sales of zero-emission vehicles, and (3) 80% of train rail lines and train engines must be electrified. By 2035: (1) 100% of electricity must be generated from clean energy resources, (2) 100% of vehicle sales from manufacturers must be zero-emission vehicles, and (3) 100% of train rail lines and train engines must be electrified.
Moreover, we can obtain the funding for infrastructure changes to enact these necessary environment- and climate-protecting goals without any new revenue sources by ending subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and by ending the United States’ involvement in wasteful, counter-productive regime change wars that have been started under false pretenses, at high cost and with no clear benefit to the vast majority of Americans. We cannot meet the pollution reducing goals of the Paris Accord without ending our wasteful and counter-productive regime change wars.
Americans abroad hear from our neighbors and colleagues that the standing of the U.S. in world affairs has plummeted over the past three years. What would you do to re-establish trust and re-build the confidence of the U.S. government in global institutions and with other countries?
All of these issues are interconnected, and so they require comprehensive solutions and vision. The foundation of the solution I will bring to the White House is Aloha: approaching our neighbors around the world with respect, compassion, open communication, and taking action for our mutual best interests. This includes talking and meeting with ALL of our neighbors, even those who are adversaries or potential adversaries in the interests of peace and security.
I enlisted in the Army National Guard after the terrorist attack on 9/11, served as a soldier for over 16 years and deployed twice to the Middle East. In Congress I have served for over six years on both the Foreign Affairs and the Armed Services Committee. No other candidate approaches the level of direct experience with the armed forces and foreign affairs that I bring as Commander-in-Chief.
Regime change wars — toppling foreign governments we don’t like — have drained our country of trillions of dollars, undermined our national security, and cost the lives of thousands of our men and women in uniform. My first responsibility as your Commander in Chief will be to put an end to this disastrous foreign policy that has been perpetuated by warmongers in both political parties.
When we begin to consider taking military action, we need to have a clear objective and goals and have the foresight that our action will not have adverse unintended consequences. That kind of foresight requires experience, in military and foreign affairs, and the courage and integrity to speak truth to power and take action accordingly. I have demonstrated experience and the integrity to hold fast to the truth even against people in positions of power. This is why I’ve spoken strongly against the Bush-Clinton foreign policy doctrine of toppling foreign dictators under the guise of spreading democracy. The central guiding principle of my campaign and political life is service above self, which is the foundation of my military and political service and my campaign for President and Commander-in-Chief.
We must be the leader that the world desperately needs right now, to ensure the survival of the human race. It is our responsibility, as the most powerful and influential country in the world, to wield that power to be a force for good, and to save the world from the calamity of a nuclear war that we are sleepwalking towards.
It must be our mission, to ensure that the 21st century will forever be known as the turning point in human history, that era in which the world’s great powers chose to abandon the path to confrontation and war and agreed to pursue the path of cooperation, diplomacy, and peace. One of the first actions I’ll take as President and Commander-in-Chief is to call together the leaders of the world’s nations in a summit to begin de-escalation of the new nuclear arms race and de-construction of nuclear infrastructure.
As president, I will lead this country to bring about a bold change in our foreign policy that bends the arc of history away from war and towards peace. That stops wasting our resources, and our lives on regime change wars, and redirects our focus and energy towards peace and prosperity for all people.
In a 2019 survey of Americans living abroad, Democrats Abroad found that 2.2% cited their reason for living abroad as “affordable healthcare.” These numbers include ‘healthcare refugees’ who cannot afford to return to live in the U.S. due to the high cost of healthcare and the threat of bankruptcy due to illness. Under your healthcare plan, will Americans currently abroad at all income levels and states of health be able to return to live in the U.S. and receive quality, affordable, accessible healthcare for their families at reasonable cost without threat of bankruptcy?
Everyone deserves quality healthcare in our country. As president, I will work to ensure all Americans have that quality healthcare through a single-payer system that is incentivized to increase health and prevent and heal disease, while allowing individuals to access private insurance if they choose.
No one should be forced to choose between putting food on the table and paying for life-saving medication. But that’s exactly what’s happening to millions of Americans as a result of Big Pharma’s chokehold on Medicare. They’ve managed to buy access into Congress, barring the government from negotiating cheaper prices for consumers, so they can continue to price-gouge those trying to buy life-saving medication and rake in profits at the expense of the American people.
In the mean time, US presence in Afghanistan costs us $4 billion a month. Imagine what we could do with those billions to care for our sick, support our teachers, transition to a clean energy infrastructure that meets the Paris Accords and slows Climate Change, provide housing and education, and in other ways serve the American people. By doing so, we set an example to the world.
Executive orders such as the one exploiting the term "public charge" demonstrate that our current immigration system was founded in a shameful era of discrimination and bigotry, and that family members of Americans abroad are allowed entry to the U.S. due to a patchwork of fragile bandaids and weakly defended interpretations. Would you restore the principle of family reunification?
On immigration, I will not accept the false choice between compassion and security that is currently being offered to us. It will be my policy to balance border security, have an asylum process that reflects our values as a nation of immigrants, and include a path to legal status for DREAMers.
We need comprehensive immigration reform to address our broken immigration laws and we need to have a serious conversation about the most effective and humane ways to compassionately secure our borders while building bridges and cooperative foreign policy with other countries. We need to ensure we have a clear, enforceable, accessible, and humane pathway to citizenship.
Most urgently, we must pass DACA to ensure children who know no other home are allowed to remain in the US and take steps to ensure children are not separated from their parents. We must fund and equip agencies in charge of processing asylum claim and protect migrants, many of whom are women and children, who are going through our asylum process and fleeing natural disasters, religious persecution, or violence under an asylum status.
The policies of regime change wars affect immigration considerably. I’ve sponsored the Stop Arming Terrorists Act (H.R. 608) in no small part because of the refugee crisis that has been created in countries like Syria and Libya as a result of CIA efforts to topple dictators there.
Similarly, I’ve called for reforms that will end the for-profit prison industrial complex. Private prisons & detention centers hold disproportionate numbers of undocumented people - immigrants - including minors.
Regulatory guidance from the Treasury Department could mitigate the harms of FATCA suffered by thousands of Americans living and working abroad. Will you commit to directing the Treasury Department to study and then implement, as a high priority, new guidance that will provide relief to ordinary Americans living abroad who are demonstrably not evading taxes?
Most Americans living abroad think that the time has come for Residency-Based Taxation, the principle guiding all other countries' tax systems and a fix for numerous unjust burdens on Americans living and working abroad. There are bi-partisan, revenue-neutral proposals to implement RBT that include robust provisions to protect the law from abuse by tax evaders. All we need is a moment of leadership to get this done. Will you be that leader?
Taxation is theft when the taxes are used for things that do not serve our interests. In a world of interconnected people, countries, institutions - and issues - the attitude of Aloha is the foundation of my effort to bring service above self as a guiding vision into the White House. We can address the huge Federal deficit, high taxes, and a lack of revenue for critical needs by understanding that we must begin to see beyond party, ethnic, racial, religious, gender or sexual orientation divisions to an understanding that we are all children of God. We must listen with respect for each other, and have the courage and integrity to challenge the corruption of those in power.
Foreign Policy: Ending America’s regime change wars will create a peace dividend to fund the transition to a clean energy economy, to make health care available to all, to fund universal low-cost college education, and to fund reconstruction of America’s ailing infrastructure.
Health Care: Taking on Big Pharma will reduce the cost of spending on prescription medications by Medicare. A single payer system designed to incentivize health and prevent and heal disease, without barring access to private health insurance.
Mass Incarceration and the War on Drugs: We will bring down costs and improve outcomes by implementing alternatives to incarceration. We must stand up against for-profit, private prisons and a criminal justice system that favors the rich and powerful and punishes the poor, locking up people who smoke marijuana and ignoring corps like Purdue Pharma responsible for thousands of opioid-related deaths. Our outdated policies on marijuana are turning everyday Americans into criminals, tearing apart families, and wasting huge amounts of taxpayer dollars to arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate people for non-violent marijuana charges.
Washington Corruption: The corrupting power and influence of big money special interests drives the agenda in Washington DC and is a direct threat to our democracy. As president, I will work fiercely to get corporate money and lobbyists out of politics and put you back in control of your government. We’ve got to close the legal loopholes that give special interests so much influence and take away your voice.
Wall Street Corruption: Millions of Americans have struggled since the 2008 Recession, but Wall Street hasn’t. The banks that were too big to fail then are even bigger today. The people who lost their homes, jobs and life savings were not bailed out like the banks were. From the Great Depression through the turn of the 21st Century, Glass-Steagall helped keep our economy safe. Repealing it allowed too-big-to-fail banks to gamble with the savings and livelihoods of the American people, with devastating, irrevocable consequences. Hawaiʻi, along with communities across the country, paid the price in 2008 with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Today, the banks that were "too big to fail" in 2008 are even bigger and more powerful now. We must reinstate Glass-Steagall and create a financial system that works for every American—not just Wall Street banks. We must break up the big banks, reinstate Glass-Steagall, and get our economy back to working for the benefit of all Americans.
Government Insurance: We need to protect Medicare and Social Security. We should always care for our kupuna and those who are unable to care for themselves; this is who we are. Many in Congress want to keep tax breaks for the wealthy and other "entitlements" and instead cut costs by sacrificing Medicare and Social Security in order to get our budget under control. Sacrificing Medicare and Social Security is not acceptable and I will stand up against such efforts.
While federal legislation provides some protection for overseas voters, this legislation does not go far enough to counter the challenges that states, and recently the Trump administration, have set up to limit voting from abroad. 67% of abroad ballots are returned by mail, largely due to state requirements, yet postal delivery of ballots is fraught with problems, and during each election thousands of ballots do not arrive on time to be counted. To make matters worse, in less than a month the U.S. may withdraw from the Universal Postal Union, likely leading to serious delays and postal mail price increases. How will you help protect the rights of Americans abroad to vote while helping states ensure that ballots are returned safely?
As your president, I will make it a priority to guarantee a government of, by, and for the people by strengthening campaign finance laws, protecting voting rights for every American, and ensuring our elections are protected against all forms of interference. My Securing America’s Elections Act ensures either a paper ballot or voter-verified paper backup, so no foreign countries or individuals can skew results. If we lose faith in our elections, democracy crumbles.
In much the same way, as a result of abuses of power for personal gain, we have to remember that the first casualty of war is often our constitutional rights, our civil liberties, and privacy. We saw how in the previous Cold War, suspicion and government surveillance of American civilians increased. We remember the House Committee on Unamerican Activities. We got a glimpse of how our society changed when we look back to that McCarthy era, and we see the invasive activities of the FBI at that time. And then we look today with technology, the broad reach of surveillance in our country, that risk is even greater now.
To further ensure and protect the voting rights of all, I’ve co-sponsored the John Tanner Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act to prevent gerrymandering,