Issues

Every American deserves a roof over their head, a safe neighborhood, an education, a good paying job, and access to healthcare.

Small Businesses

Small business represents the economic engine of our society. We are lucky that Hispanics, Anglos, and African Americans, profoundly influence our district – populations that are best served by an economic environment that encourages and supports the development of small business. We can improve our communities and contribute to our success if we receive the tools to establish small businesses that can provide entry-level jobs as well as higher-paying opportunities.

While the wealthy have disproportionately recovered from the great recession, 95 percent of our residents have not fully participated in that recovery. Our net incomes are stagnant, and our net worth has collectively declined. The solution is to create more jobs that pay a fair wage. Small businesses are the fastest and best way to do that.

Unfortunately, in recent years, banks have become increasingly hesitant to loan money to small businesses. I will work hard to change that. We need to jump-start the banking industry for small business loans. While I am not a big fan of some of President Trump’s policies, I am willing to work across the aisle on regulation reform that will accomplish as well as reducing the paperwork associated with creating and running a small business.

Rather than having to rely on big business to save us, we can take back control of our economic future by making our District heaven for entrepreneurs and a hotbed for small firms.

Homelessness

I see a need to address the homeless issue in our District before it gets out of control.

Our homeless deserve a secure, sanitary environment that restores a level of dignity in their lives and provides them with an opportunity to rejoin the general population. We need to provide essential services such as restrooms, showers, and laundry service to our homeless both for public health reasons and to reflect fundamental human rights.

We also need to address housing on a more permanent and supportive basis through an expansion of Housing Choice Vouchers and Section 8 vouchers as well as a transition plan to assist with qualification.

Also, we need to identify and attack the issues that drive homelessness: the availability of jobs that provide a fair wage; skills training specific to the job market; the availability of mental health and substance abuse programs, healthcare and daycare assistance, etc.

Homelessness is a symptom, not a disease. We need to help those who are in need, and we must provide a pathway for those who can re-establish themselves to tap into their full potential.

Healthcare

Healthcare is a basic human need. As your congressman, I will be fighting hard to keep the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) –otherwise known as Obamacare–and to improve upon it, rather than eliminate it and start from scratch as the Trump Administration is pushing to do. Americans with preexisting conditions should not need to worry that they will lose coverage based on a change in policy. We must preserve programs such as Medicare and Medicaid for our seniors, disabled, and others needing assistance. Additionally, the cost of health care, including prescription coverage, must be kept a level that is affordable to all Americans.

Affordable Housing

Affordable housing for working individuals and families is a must, not an option. I will work with the Housing Assistance Network of Dade (HAND) in an effort to prevent homelessness by providing temporary rental assistance for eligible low-income individuals and families who are currently homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless.

No Border Wall

I don’t believe in building a wall across our entire southern border. A wall is little more than a publicity stunt to capitalize on the fear that some of our elected officials created. It will not materially alter our safety, but it will almost certainly further divide our country.

A border wall will also be detrimental to wildlife. It will interfere with natural habitats and, in some cases, even disrupt their migration patterns. The loss could be irreversible.

Instead, I will work hard to secure comprehensive immigration reform that addresses the issue intelligently and provides a fair solution for the hard-working, tax-paying, and law-abiding immigrants who already reside here. Rather than invest billions of dollars in the construction of a wall that will only serve as a negative symbol, I would rather see those funds spent on programs that benefit every American such as housing, healthcare, and jobs.

To be clear: I am not ignoring the threat that terrorists and other violent offenders pose to our country. However, there are far more effective and far less expensive and offensive solutions to those problems. A wall is not the answer.

Climate Change

Climate change is a reality, and I support the research and development of clean and renewable energy solutions. I co-founded a company that focused on solar energy, and I continue to believe that solar, wind, biofuel, and other clean, renewable energy sources are a necessity if we are to find the permanent solution to climate change. In addition to reducing carbon emissions, we must also halt tropical deforestation and fight misinformation funded by fossil fuel and related industries if we are to be successful.

We face significant threats to farming and species survival, an increase in extreme storm events, and coastal flooding as the result of climate change, just to name a few critical issues. These pose long-term severe threats, and they require long-term severe solutions.

Education

I am committed to working at the federal level to support the communities in our District, so that it has the flexibility and resources it needs to improve elementary and secondary education in a way that works best for students. Additionally, we need to raise the standards for teacher training programs, as well as teacher salaries to recruit and retain quality educators.

I support magnet and charter schools, the head start program, and evaluation and training programs for struggling teachers. I am not a supporter of the Common Core, as this limits the success of our diverse student population.

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ricardo@ricardoforcongress.com