Political corruption is rampant in our neighborhoods. The congressman who is supposed to be representing our community and our community’s best interests has been involved in scandal after scandal. From lavish traveling all over the world on the taxpayer's dime, to his connections with a Queens nonprofit that cheated Hurricane Katrina victims, or his conveniently “losing” of paperwork after taking out a personal loan from a convicted fraudster, our Congressman’s first and only priority has been looking out for himself.
While our economy has continued to improve, the benefits of recovery have not reached nearly enough working Americans. Instead, inequality has increasingly led to a gap between the super- rich and everyone else, with more and more of the wealth in this country going straight to the top. The middle and lower classes desperately need relief within a system that currently rewards only the wealthy. Ali will prioritize raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and ensuring that everyone in this country earns a fair living wage. He will also fight to close loopholes in tax laws that allow massive corporations to pay dramatically lower tax rates than average Americans. Reforms like these will help to level the playing field and make the promise of the American Dream a reality for people besides the richest of the rich.
Climate change is an undeniable fact. We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to stop delaying action, because every day that passes the more serious the threat becomes to future generations. When elected, Ali will enact legislation that incentivizes development in the green energy sector so we can begin replacing our reliance on foreign oil and fossil fuel with new, clean energy sources. Instead of damaging our planet, they will boost our economy by creating new green energy jobs here in the United States. At the same time, Ali will fight to stop further damage from the effects of global warming by reigning in the excesses of the fossil fuel industry and capping the emissions that are causing this crisis.
Whether shootings occur in schools or on city streets, any person dying from gun violence is one too many. Ali applauds President Obama's executive actions to better enforce our current laws, but more must be done if we are going to make meaningful progress towards preventing tragedies like San Bernardino, Aurora, and Newtown. In Congress, Ali will stand up to the NRA and other gun lobbyists that refuses to agree to even the most basic, common sense measures, and will work to enact tougher gun control legislation. Ali is a strong advocate for making it harder for criminals to get their hands on guns while still respecting our Second Amendment rights. Only this kind of strong, courageous leadership can stop the heartbreaking loss of life that has plagued our communities, and Ali is prepared to step into that role.
Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare have been as incessant as they've been futile, with every failed attempt costing taxpayers money and wasting lawmakers’ time. Ali is strongly opposed to this constant drain on legislative resources, and supports the law as an important first step in health care reform. However, Obamacare does not yet go far enough to protect the uninsured of this country from financial ruin. We must continue to work towards improving our health care system to a single payer, Medicare-for-all plan, which recognizes that everyone has a right to receive quality healthcare without having to plunge themselves into debt. Under a single payer system, working families will no longer have to worry about choosing between paying the rent and paying for healthcare costs.
The violence perpetrated against minority communities, especially the black community, by the police is unacceptable. Highly publicized cases like that of Eric Garner and Sandra Bland are only the tip of the iceberg among the country’s institutional racism. Ali will seek to enact reforms like requiring body cameras on police officers and implementing new training programs in police districts across the country to begin addressing these issues. At the same time, he will look to reform a broken criminal justice system that disproportionately punishes minorities with misguided policies like mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders. He will also end the privatization of the prison system, a policy that has created prisons whose sole interest is profit, and replace it with one more focused on reforming inmates and training them to re-enter society.
The victims of racial and religious discrimination in this country have suffered beyond our ability to comprehend, and they have suffered for far too long. We need strong progressive leadership if we are ever going end this injustice; leadership that Ali can provide.
Being an immigrant himself who came to America 32 years ago, Ali can intimately relate to the frustrations of the immigrant community. America is a nation founded by immigrants, and throughout our history immigrants have made countless invaluable contributions to our country. But today, many would rather engage in the divisive politics of hate rather than acknowledge the great debt our society owes to immigrants. We cannot allow those who use intolerant rhetoric to appeal to our ugliest instincts and dictate the course of this debate. Comprehensive immigration reform is needed to ensure that the millions of people who come here to build a new life for themselves and their families are given the same chance to succeed as anyone else. Ali will start by pushing for passage of the DREAM Act, granting those undocumented immigrants who came here as children an easy path to citizenship. He will then work towards creating a similar path for all undocumented immigrants that will allow those who have resided here for years to become citizens without burdening them with unnecessary fees and paperwork. These and other reforms will not only create an immigration policy that treats those who wish to live here with fairness and respect, it will also benefit our country by ensuring the flow of immigration that keeps our economy robust never runs dry.
Social Security is one of our country's greatest achievements. Even as corporations have reduced or dismantled their pensions and benefits programs, Social Security has always been there to ensure that our seniors have a stable source of income after they retire. Now, Republicans want to destroy Social Security by cutting its benefits or even privatizing it altogether. Ali will never allow them to recklessly gamble with our seniors' future like this. Instead, he will push for legislation to expand Social Security, especially by lifting the program's cap on taxable income that otherwise lets the wealthy pay less than their fair share. This would both fund Social Security for decades to come as well as allow us to increase benefits and raise the minimum amount paid to low-income seniors. Rather than engage in fear-mongering about the program's insolvency, Ali is committed to taking the necessary action for our country to always fulfill the promise to our seniors that Social Security represents.
We are dangerously close to approving the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a disastrous “free trade” agreement that would allow corporations to rake in enormous profits off the backs of the middle class. If the TPP goes through, these corporations will be able to undercut regulations on labor, safety, and the environment, all while outsourcing jobs in ever greater numbers. What's worse, they'll have the power to challenge our laws in international tribunals rather than in the courts, making it far easier to completely dismantle the system of regulations that protect American consumers and workers alike. And that's to say nothing about it forcing our broken copyright laws on the world, or how it will make it much harder for developing countries to get access to cheap generic drugs. This deal would be a catastrophe for hard-working Americans, and Ali will do everything in his power to see it defeated.
If our community is ever to reach its full potential, we cannot do it alone. The support of local, state, and federal government is crucial in ensuring that we can achieve sustainable economic development. As your voice in Congress, Ali will work vigorously to direct every government grant to our community that he can. In particular, he is determined to see the areas around the Belmont Race Track further developed. This area is an important part of our local economy, and we must encourage developments like a five star hotel that will increase tourism and bring decent paying jobs to our neighborhoods.
Ali has worked hard to develop policies that attract businesses to open up in our area. His leadership roles with Sustainable Long Island and the Elmont Coalition for Sustainable Development were an integral part in creating good paying jobs while also working with the business community on developing public benefit projects like the creating and rehabilitation of new parks and playgrounds.
For far too long, we have relied on warfare and military action as our first resort for resolving international conflicts. With every new incident the cries for a swift military response are relentless, despite the mountains of evidence that it would be counterproductive at best and a catastrophe at worst. In the Middle East especially, every new engagement we entangle ourselves in has only made the situation in that region worse, and our actions directly caused the conditions that allowed for the rise of ISIS and other terrorist organizations. Ali has always been opposed to our over-aggressive foreign policy, especially the utter fiasco that was the Iraq War. Instead, he believes we should build consensus among our allies abroad and together pursue diplomatic solutions to international conflicts before ever considering the use of force.
When we talk about terrorism, we always say that we are going to fight it or combat it. But unless we address the root causes of terrorism, this will be a never-ending battle that we have no hope of ever winning. Over a decade of regime changes and military interventions have only made things worse, and it is time we changed course. Instead of relying on flawed policies and failed thinking, we need to adopt smart, informed strategies designed to alleviate the circumstances that allow organizations like ISIS to flourish. Ali believes that we are fighting with the problem instead of solving the problem. Only through these efforts can we stop the threat that terrorism poses to our country.
If we wish to protect ourselves from those who would do our country harm, then those efforts must include protecting ourselves from attacks from within our country. Enacting policies that involve the whole community is the best way to ensure our peace and security. Ali wants to create a Homeland Security Task Force that includes law enforcement, clergy, civic groups, tenant associations and other community stakeholders so all lines of communication are open and information is being shares as a means to work together to combat and prevent any potential threats like the one we saw in San Bernardino, CA. In addition, Ali will work to bring a Federal Law Enforcement Training Center to JFK, increasing our safety while bringing millions of federal dollars to our community.