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Civil Rights & Equality

Any discrimination of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, disability, age, etc. has no place in society. Sadly, discrimination is still a major barrier. In areas where discrimination continues, it is our duty and obligation as a society to take steps forward to overcome such injustices. We can remove barriers to educational and economic opportunities by protecting and expanding voting rights, policing our communities in a more organic manner, upholding LGBTQ+ liberties, and enforcing equal employment.

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Criminal Justice & Community Violence

“Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration” should be the foundational values in reforming our broken criminal justice system. As a nation, we should avoid strictly punitive approaches to offenders and instead, develop more remedial and humane methods to rehabilitate. We must limit the death penalty to only the direst situations. We must aim to curb youth violence and work to create and fund innovative, engaging, and easy-to-access programs to uplift at-risk youth.

I grew up in a gang-ridden Las Vegas neighborhood where crime, violence, and lack of opportunities were rampant. At the age of 9, my younger brother and I witnessed a drive by killing outside of our bedroom window. I have been unconstitutionally frisked numerous times, manhandled by police officers, and understand firsthand the tense relationships communities have with law enforcement.

Many of my close friends have lost their right to vote as a result of felony disenfranchisement – a status that evolved over time from petty issues. Today, I teach high school history and coach sports in the same neighborhood I grew up in. Having lived in inner-city environments all my life, I empathize with the everyday trials facing our inner-city populations and will make addressing them a top priority.

When elected to Congress I will:

  • Support efforts that justly reduce the prison population.
  • Help the formerly incarcerated reintegrate into their communities.
  • Combat recidivism.
  • Stop the “schools to prison pipeline” and address discipline issues in our schools (which disproportionately affect minority students).
  • Support ending “for-profit prisons” in America.
  • Promote just sentencing reform and battle against mandatory minimums.
  • Strengthen relationships between the police and the communities they serve.
  • Support and provide resources for local public defenders’ offices.
  • Continue to support the “My Brothers’ Keeper” initiative and other similar programs.
  • Ban "the Box." 

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Education

An educated citizenry is important to maintaining a strong democracy and a vibrant economy. Education develops critical thinking skills, causing individuals to make good decisions for themselves and their families. Strong educational foundations allow individuals to build upon and develop new skills that can lead to better jobs and economic circumstances. Sadly, access to a quality K-12 education is becoming harder to attain, and the costs associated with higher education are mind blowing.

I am a public school teacher in the Clark County School District (CCSD). I graduated from Rancho High School, the College of Southern Nevada, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). My in-state education, empowered me to earn two graduate degrees from two Ivy League universities. I never would have achieved this dream had I not had access to excellent CCSD teachers, the Nevada Millennium Scholarship, the G.I. Bill, and resources provided by the U.S. Department of Education. We must support greater access to educational opportunities at all levels, work to alleviate the student debt crisis, and give local school districts (who intimately know local needs) greater say in determining curricula. 

When elected to Congress I will:

  • Fight to lower tuition costs at four-year public institutions, and for free tuition at public community colleges.
  • Work for aggressive consumer protection programs and investigatory initiatives to go after predatory student loan companies.
  • Push legislation to enable students to refinance their loans at lower interest rates.
  • Defend initiatives to fund all-day early childhood programs (such as Head Start), and reward local schools that develop quality and cost-free preschool programs.
  • Support tuition breaks for students pursuing careers as K-12 teachers.
  • Give local school districts greater say in running their affairs.

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Environment

What kind of a world do we want to leave to our children and grandchildren? Protecting our shared land, water, and air is a responsibility of stewardship and reflects our accountability to future American generations. Effective initiatives are required for environmental conservation and the development of alternate, renewable, and clean-energy resources.

Our nation must seriously address global climate change, and consider environmental impacts on workers, the poor, and those with health conditions. The U.S. should lead the world in creating innovative environmental conservation plans, as well as in clean and renewable energy initiatives. 

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Guns

As Americans, it is our fundamental right to bear arms in this country. Exercising this right makes us a freer people. I do not support a ban on “high capacity magazine fed” weapons at the federal level as the definition is too broad and not narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling government interest. Such a ban would be an over extension of federal power where regulatory policies (such as weapons), should be decided upon by the states.

Unfortunately, Gun violence today is severely detrimental to our society, thereby demanding us to do something about it. Therefore, I support reasonable background checks on firearm purchases at the federal level and in closing certain loopholes that can allow criminals, terrorists, and other offenders to gain access to such weapons. It is the reasonable, responsible, and right thing to do.  

When elected to Congress I will:

  • Support reasonable and responsible background check initiatives at the federal level.
  • Support closing the “Gun show” and “Charleston” loopholes.

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Healthcare

Affordable and accessible health care to me has always been an issue of life and human dignity, which is why I consider having access to it a “fundamental human right.” Our nation’s lack of access to decent healthcare is tragic. Despite an increase in the number of people insured, millions of Americans still lack health care coverage. This must be addressed NOW. We cannot forget the health issues plaguing the poor, the pregnant, the migrants, the terminally ill, the homeless, and other vulnerable populations.

As a person of faith, I was taught to always “take care of the sick and suffering,” a principle I will carry with me to Congress.

When elected to Congress I will:

  • Strengthen Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Defend and expand the Affordable Care Act.
  • Strengthen services for persons coping with HIV/AIDS, addiction, and mental health issues.
  • Fight for a “public option.”

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Immigration

The United States of America has always been a “nation of nations.” Immigrants signed the Declaration of Independence, participated in the constitutional debates, and fought and died in every American war. Immigrants helped create and build our nation into the superpower we are today. 
 
I am an immigrant. My parents brought me to this great country with hopes and dreams of a better life when I was two years old. I know the immigrant experience intimately, and understand the struggles and sacrifices that come with it. Like many today, I also “DREAMED,” and will therefore, fight for immigrant issues. 

When elected to Congress I will:

  • Pass comprehensive immigration reform.
  • Fight to keep families together.
  • Bring undocumented persons from out of the shadows.
  • Aggressively seek to provide a pathway to citizenship.
  • Promote naturalization.
  • Ensure that corporations do not exploit workers.
  • Expand security at all borders and international points of entrance.

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Infrastructure

America needs a major boost in infrastructure development. A vital economic fact is that if people are spending money and goods are on the move, then the economy is vigorous. When we build and repair our country’s roads, railways, airports, seaports, canals, bridges, and tunnels, we are essentially building and repairing pathways to a flourishing national economy.

When elected to Congress I will:

  • Work to promote large scale infrastructure developments. 
  • Build support for a major boost in infrastructure spending in order to jump start the economy by taking advantage of historically low interest rates.

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Jobs & The Economy

The United States is the largest and most powerful economy in the world. We have what it takes to ensure that every American obtains a decent paying job. It is only a matter of unleashing our potential. We must also hold true to the ideal that economic growth should equate to better economic opportunities for all Americans, not just the wealthy or corporate elite. 

I propose raising the minimum wage. Wages less than $9 an hour cannot create a “living wage.” Yet, minimum wage increases of more than $14 an hour could harm job growth (particularly within the small to moderately sized business sector). I believe the most advantageous range is between $10 to $12 an hour. We need to focus on finding the right balance. However, if they see fit, state and local governments should look at raising wages above this “$10 to $12” foundation.

When elected to Congress I will:

  • Invest in American manufacturing, exports, energy, research, and innovation.
  • Support entrepreneurship, small businesses, and start up projects by providing easier access to capital, cut red tape, and afford small to moderately sized businesses some tax relief.
  • Develop and expand post-secondary technical and trade certification programs. Such skill-based jobs are highly in demand and pay reasonably well.
  • Support laws for equal pay for women, paid leave (especially emergency, family, maternity, and medical).
  • Provide access to affordable child care.

Pursing the above will help create a dynamic, prosperous, stable,      just, and competitive job market.

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Labor

We must strengthen America’s unions, who for decades, allowed workers to band together and collective strength to wrestle for a fairer share of economic gains. Amongst many other things, unions have fought to raise wages, to create safer work conditions, to protect the 40-hour work week, and pressed for paid family medical leave. Over the decades unions have boosted millions of families into the middle class. Today, union membership has dwindled and is seemingly linked to the decline of America’s middle class. Therefore, we must strengthen our unions by supporting measures allowing for union membership growth, and penalize companies who violate labor laws. Strong unions mean a strong middle class, and a strong middle class means a strong American economy.

When elected to Congress I will:

  • Support overturning “right to work” state laws that undermine union dues collecting abilities, organizing capabilities, and overall effectiveness.
  • Call for stronger enforcement of federal labor laws.

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Marijuana

I propose to entirely remove cannabis from the Scheduled list of Federally Controlled Substances. The states should be given the authority to regulate the types of utility from there.   

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Social Security

Social Security is one of the most important programs our nation gives its citizens. Over the decades, it has given millions of Americans some sense of optimism and confidence about their post-retirement lives. Today, this sense of confidence has eroded. The more revenue sources we can generate for the Social Security Trust Fund, the more robust and sustainable Social Security solvency will be. 

When elected to Congress I will:

  • Not cut or privatize Social Security benefits.
  • Expand revenue sources for the Social Security Trust Fund by scraping the payroll tax cap. 

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Term Limits

A Gallup poll from 2013 found that an overwhelming 75 percent of Americans—including huge majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents—support congressional term limits. Normally, when American public opinion is this clear on an issue, politicians rush to show themselves to be on the public’s side. However, that wasn’t the case with everyone.

There are too many “Professional Politicians” in Washington with ruling-class mentalities who want to stay in power for their self-interests. I favor congressional term limits and feel they will help restore the citizen-legislator ethos of the Founding Fathers, encourage turnover in Washington, and hold Congress accountable to the American people.

When elected to Congress I will:

  • Propose that members of the House serve no more than six terms (12 years in office) and Senators no more than three (18 years in office). 
  •  Apply the limits immediately to all members.

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Unequal Distribution of Wealth

In 2010, America’s highest earners (the top 10%) made up 44.5% of America’s total earned income (the top 1% earned 18%). The rest of us Americans made up a mere 15% of the nation’s total earned income. Wealth and income inequality is one of the great political issues of our time. Compounding wealth into the hands of fewer and fewer people will turn our Democracy into an Oligarchy (a country ruled by a small group of people), or possibly even a Plutocracy (a country governed by the wealthy). Economic inequality is a threat to our liberty as Americans.

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Veterans

Veterans are the backbone of this country and it is our duty to care for them! Without them, there would be no United States of America, no “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” and no “Land of Opportunity.” They all, at one point, made a promise to sacrifice everything - up to, and including their lives - in defense of this great land. It is our sacred duty as a nation to "care for those who have borne the battle, and for their families."

I am a combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) who was wounded in Iraq. I spent a year in a military hospital recovering from my war wounds. I made the transition back to civilian life and I'll tell you, it was not an easy one. I have dealt with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). I have dealt with their backlogs, lack of access to services, and once even had my disability benefits taken away. I've had close friends attempt and commit suicide. Simply put, I personally know the challenges facing veterans because I am one, and will do all I can to fight for us.

When elected to Congress I will:

  • Lower the veteran unemployment rate.
  • Defend and expand veterans’ education benefits.
  • Promote access to small business financing for veterans.
  • Streamline the VA and end backlogs.
  • NEVER allow the VA healthcare system to be privatized.
  • Expand veterans’ benefits to family members.
  • Increase support for female veterans.
  • Combat suicide among veterans and active duty personnel.

Paid for By Reuben D'Silva For Congress
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