There is a wave a change happening across America. We must work together to eliminate poverty and create 21st century jobs for our community.
Philadelphia did not become the poorest U.S. major city overnight, and poverty will not be eradicated by implementing pocket programs in a few chosen wards in the District. Poverty is a systemic issue that requires collaboration between private and public and sectors, to dismantle. We must reverse the damage done when our public schools were sold to the state with Act 46. We must invest in workforce development programs and community college programs that prepare people for 21st-century jobs. We need to make it easier for small businesses to succeed and hire instead of giving huge tax breaks to multi-billion dollar corporations. We must prevent people from going into debt just to cover healthcare costs. And we must increase the minimum wage for all by 2020.
Kevin will eliminate poverty by helping people get the skills they need to get good jobs and take care of themselves and their families. He was proud to continue the work of the late Reverend Leon H. Sullivan when he became President of Philadelphia OIC in 2015. For the nearly 3000 individuals who have graduated from Philadelphia OIC programs in the last 3 years, Kevin has helped position them to provide for themselves and their families.
Dismantling Income Inequality
Our families are struggling while Republicans are giving tax breaks to the wealthiest 1% and members of Trump’s administration are stealing from taxpayers to fund trips on private jets. Once in Congress, Kevin will fight to bring an end to income equality by:
- Fighting for a $15 minimum wage by 2020. No one who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty
- Fighting for a Fair Work Week so that workers have a schedule they can count on
- Fighting to reverse the Trump tax cuts that are a feast for the wealthy and cruel on working families
- Making it easier for workers to join unions by fighting for the Employee Free Choice Act
- And supporting equal pay for equal work by moving the Paycheck Fairness Act forward.
Advocating for Public + Early Childhood Education
Kevin is a proud product of public schools. His wife Kimya is a former public school teacher. Their son attended public school, and their two girls are currently enrolled in public school.
Fund the Formula for Philadelphia Schools. 85% of Philadelphia students attend public school, yet our public schools are under attack. Acts 46 and 83 handed over control of our schools to the state, created the School Reform Commission (SRC) and took away our public school teachers’ right to strike for better wages and working conditions. Kevin’s opponent has pushed the very laws that have taken tens of millions of dollars away from public schools and put them into privately owned charter schools. Kevin understands the value of public education and will work with local leaders to demand that Harrisburg #FundtheFormula for Philadelphia’s neighborhood schools, and fight to protect the rights of teachers and educators across the District.
Charter Schools. Kevin sees charter schools as opportunities to provide a range of learning opportunities and, ultimately, to make public school systems better. They are “a” solution but not “the” solution. Our number one priority should be to ensure that our children are getting access to quality public education and that the standard by which our children’s learning and success are measured, is consistent across the board.
Fight Against Right to Work Policies. As your Congressman, Kevin will fight to protect teachers’ rights. You can’t have strong schools without strong teachers. One example of how weakening teachers hurt their students is the issue of dedicated prep time. To do their best for students, educators need dedicated duty-free preparation time during the work day, but this time is often the first victim of a “right to work” push. Kevin will be a strong advocate for this dedicated time and he will seek out federal solutions to protect teachers and students from losing other rights teachers’ unions have fought so hard to win.
Expand Access to Early Childhood Education. The cost of childcare is overwhelming for even solidly middle-class families, and more and more studies show the extraordinary social and educational benefits of placing children in educational settings before Kindergarten. Kevin supports the expansion of Head Start, Early Head Start, and quality pre-k programs to help more middle-class families who want to place their children in these settings do so.
Keeping Students Debt-Free
Kevin is still paying off college loans from over 20 years ago! No one should need to go bankrupt just to get an education. The costs are so high that, every year, hundreds of thousands of people can’t access it at all. Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has continued a campaign to make college less affordable and has rolled back Obama-era protections for student loan borrowers in favor of the debt collectors.
We need to side with students, not with debt collectors. Kevin supports efforts to lower student loan interest rates and to create or expand loan forgiveness programs. We also need to repeal the Republican tax bill that removed the student loan deduction. Kevin supports free tuition programs at community colleges or 4-year public colleges and universities for working families similar to what states like Oregon and New York have done.
Ensuring Medicare for All
There are millions of people — and millions of women — whose healthcare is being threatened by Donald Trump and the Republicans in Washington.
Kevin believes that every American has a fundamental right to healthcare. The Affordable Care Act has flaws, but it has provided affordable coverage to more than a million Pennsylvanians who were previously uninsured and allowed millions to access the healthcare they otherwise would not have. Kevin often says that Obama should have called it “Medicare for All” instead of the Affordable Care Act. Let’s work to ensure Medicare for All. We need to help people with pre-existing conditions, improve the quality of care, and reduce premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Healthcare is a right, not a privilege.
Protecting Women’s Health
This Republican Congress is dead set on overturning Roe vs. Wade and setting the clock back on women’s rights. And, as the Hobby Lobby case showed us, we can no longer rely on this U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a women’s ability to make her own healthcare choices.
Kevin is a father, a husband, and a son. But above all, he is someone who knows that the only individual who controls a woman’s body – is that woman. Agencies like Planned Parenthood provide vital healthcare services for millions of women, including students and poor women, who rely on its clinics every year for affordable, quality health care services like cancer screenings and general primary health care services. The efforts to destroy Planned Parenthood are an attempt to deny women in this country the right to control their own bodies, and that’s unacceptable. In Congress, Kevin will not vote for any legislation that threatens funding for Planned Parenthood or further restricts women’s choice.
Kevin will also vote against bans on private and public insurance coverage for abortion such as the federal Hyde amendment, and he will support and advocate for inclusion of abortion coverage and comprehensive contraceptive coverage in public employee insurance plan.
We Need Gender Parity
Kevin’s doctoral dissertation was about how the power structure of a traditional church could be transformed to be more inclusive of women. Throughout his career, Kevin has promoted women into executive leadership because gender diversity is a strength, not a liability.
But almost 55 years after the Equal Pay Act was passed, women are still not receiving equal pay for equal work. For every dollar White men earn, White women earn 79 cents, Black women earn 65 cents and Hispanic women earn 59 cents. And with 42% of women being the primary or sole income earner, this wage disparity is having devastating consequences for families.
Kevin believes that the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is legislation that should be expanded to a full equal rights amendment, and once in Congress, Kevin will fight to move that forward. Additionally, Kevin will fight to pass the Equal Rights Amendment – which states that civil rights may not be denied on the basis of one’s sex; and defend the critical laws that protect all working people in our country.
We also need to Pass Paid Medical and Family Leave. Currently, about 15 percent of workers have access to paid family leave through their employers. That means the overwhelming majority of Americans and Philadelphians are forced to make enormous financial sacrifices if they want to spend time with their newborn child, care for an ill family member, or recover from an illness themselves. Kevin supports the FAMILY Act, which would guarantee nearly all workers 12 weeks of paid medical or family leave.
Bringing an End to Sexual Harassment
It is good to see that the spotlight has returned to the issue of sexual harassment, but the fact is that women still do not receive the respect or protection they deserve in the workplace, on college campuses or in society.
Kevin believes that we must invest in the EEOC and shift the culture of the agency back to protecting victims. The focus should be on enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to combat discrimination and sexual harassment in our workplaces. Kevin also believes that we should hold colleges and universities more accountable under Title IX and Department of Education federal funding requirements to ensure that there are real protections for victims of campus sexual assault in place.
Standing with our DREAMers
With the exception of those of pure Native American descent and Africans who were brought here unwillingly, nobody is “from here.” This is a nation of immigrants.
We cannot throw millions of men, women, and children – many who have lived in the U.S. for many years – out of the country unjustly. Kevin supports creating a clean DREAM act and an immigration policy that keeps families together must be a top priority. A policy should include:
- Paving the way for a swift legislative pathway to citizenship for the eleven million undocumented immigrants;
- Securing our border while respecting local communities; and
- Regulating the future flow of immigrants by modernizing the visa system
Kevin also opposes the addition of the Census question on citizenship. The Constitution makes clear it is the census’ duty to include all residents, regardless of citizenship status, in its national survey. A decline in immigrant responses would likely cost states billions in federal funding, making needed resources more scarce for all of those states’ residents. According to the last census in 2010, nearly eight percent of Philadelphia residents identified as immigrants. Kevin will do everything possible to ensure that immigrants are represented fairly.
We Need Criminal Justice Reform
The US holds only 5% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s prisoners. And the Trump Administration is looking to lock up more people. In a departure from the Obama administration’s policy of leniency in sentencing low-level, nonviolent offenders, Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed federal prosecutors to “pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” with the lengthiest sentences in all criminal cases. The guideline rescinded a 2013 memo by then-Attorney General Eric Holder directing prosecutors to avoid triggering mandatory-minimum sentences for certain nonviolent, low-level drug offenders.
We don’t reduce recidivism rates in the U.S. by locking up people for an unconscionable amount of time. We need to explore removing mandatory minimum sentences for misdemeanor and low-level drug crimes. Kevin favors pursuit of rehabilitation and other services as alternatives to incarceration; he supports allowing judges more discretion in sentencing.