Priorities - Elaine for Congress

Priorities

There is no greater priority than fighting for those who fought for us.
As a 20-year Navy veteran, I know firsthand the unique challenges and opportunities that our veterans face as they transition out of service.

As a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I wrote and passed legislation that provided a critical pay raise for disabled veterans, pressed the VA to find ways to make jobs programs easier to use, cosponsored legislation to increase veteran access to employment programs, and cosponsored a bipartisan bill to allow veterans access to in-state tuition in any state they choose.

And as a veteran, I was appalled by the mistake in the 2017 Tax Bill that was causing some Gold Star families to pay thousands of dollars in additional taxes on their survivor benefits. So, I worked with Republicans and Democrats to ensure those families received every cent they deserve.

Everyone deserves access to quality and affordable health care.

We still have work to do to ensure every American has access to the quality and affordable health care they deserve. That’s why during my time in Congress I’ve fought against efforts to take health care away from Americans and their families. I have, and will continue to, stand up to the pharmaceutical lobby and work to lower prescription drug prices by making less expensive, generic drugs more quickly available to consumers, and require that health insurance providers cover patients with pre-existing conditions.

I will continue to work to improve health care access and affordability and strengthen the ACA to ensure all Americans have access to affordable health coverage.

As your Congresswoman, I’ve fought to help businesses, both big and small, across Coastal Virginia create the well-paying jobs with good benefits to ensure our economy thrives and opportunities are available to everyone who works hard.

Since taking office, I have toured more than 50 local businesses in our district to hear directly from constituents about how Congress can cut through red tape, grow our regional economy, create jobs, and protect the middle class.

I voted to increase the federal minimum wage which could give over 100,000 workers in our district the pay-raise they deserve, and I cosponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act because it is time women receive equal pay for equal work.

As a small business owner, I know the struggles our business community faces and understand the challenges a company can face navigating the red tape in Washington. That’s why I have worked within the community to advocate for small businesses. When I meet with business leaders, I frequently hear that they have well-paying jobs that they cannot fill because they cannot find enough people with the relevant skillset. That is why I am working to support apprenticeship programs, career and technical education, and access to broadband so workers can attain the skills they need to advance their careers.

And as a veteran, I was appalled by the mistake in the 2017 Tax Bill that was causing some Gold Star families to pay thousands of dollars in additional taxes on their survivor benefits. So, I introduced legislation with bipartisan support to ensure those families received every cent they deserve.

Clean air and water isn’t just vital to our way of life in Coastal Virginia, it’s a right.

I am fighting to ensure all Americans breathe clean air and water and have access to pristine natural environments. Coastal Virginia, home to Chesapeake Bay, generates $33 billion for our economy and is one of our nation’s natural treasures.

I’ve fought to ensure the cleanup efforts in The Bay continue to be fully funded to protect our economy and way of life. That’s why I introduced bipartisan legislation to secure $85 billion to advance our shared goals of a clean and healthy Bay.

I am also helping lead the critical fight against drilling off the coast of Virginia. Offshore drilling threatens our national security and safety of our sailors and our tourism economy by spoiling our beautiful beaches and shorelines. I was proud to cosponsor bipartisan legislation to protect our precious coastline.

It is critical to ensure the brave women and men who serve have the resources, support, and equipment they need. That’s why I fought to ensure that our troops received a 3.1% pay raise. As a 20-year Navy veteran, member of the House Armed Services Committee, and Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee, I know the challenges facing our men and women in uniform as they fight for freedom around the globe.

As a 20-year Navy veteran and member of the House Armed Services Committee, I know the challenges facing our men and women in uniform as they fight for freedom around the globe. I am committed to supporting policies that will improve life for active duty military, support military families, and ensure the Department of Defense spends your tax dollars as efficiently and effectively as possible.

But a strong, well-funded military is only part of maintaining national security. I support diplomacy to resolve conflicts whenever possible. It is also important to support our allies, such as Israel, to protect U.S. interests around the world.

I am also fighting for Gold Star Families – those who have made the greatest sacrifice imaginable by losing an immediate relative in combat or to a service connected disability.

Every Senior that paid into Social Security and Medicare deserves the benefits they’ve earned.

One of my top priorities is working to strengthen Medicare and Social Security. Hardworking seniors who paid into Social Security and Medicare deserve retirement security and health care coverage.

I’ve sponsored legislation to allow the government to negotiate with drug companies to keep our costs in check while providing seniors with the life-saving medicines they need.

While Washington continues to vote to gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions, I’ve led the fight to protect Virginia’s historic Medicaid expansion. Our focus should be lowering health care costs and the price of prescription drugs – not taking health care away.

Every child deserves access to a world-class education.

Education begins well before K-12 schooling, that’s why as a mother and Congresswoman, I’m proud to support universal pre-K to build a strong foundation for young students to thrive. But this is not only an education issue it is an economic imperative for working and military families.

In Congress, I was proud to support the Rebuild America’s Schools Act that provides direct federal spending for school modernizations, renovations, and repairs, with priority given to public schools in underserved communities. I also advocated for the unique education needs of our military community. I helped secure $50 million to support districts with significant military child enrollment and for military children with severe disabilities.

As your Congresswoman, I’ll continue promoting expansion of career and technical education because while college might not be for everyone, a path to the middle class must be. That’s why I also support adequate student loan forgiveness so students who want to go to college can. No student should be deterred from seeking higher education because of the cost.

Reducing America’s reliance on foreign oil, while simultaneously combatting climate change is essential to our national security and protecting our coastal region. This is a threat Congress must address today, particularly in coastal communities that are impacted by seal level rise and recurrent flooding.

I’ve led the charge to make Coastal Virginia a national and global leader in our clean energy future. For our district this is not a problem of tomorrow, it’s a threat today. I have laid out a bold vision for cutting greenhouse gas emissions while investing in the jobs and infrastructure of the future.

As a nuclear engineer in the Navy, I saw firsthand that nuclear power, when deployed safely and responsibly, can play a key role in our green energy future. That’s why I introduced legislation to encourage innovation in nuclear technologies.

I am also helping lead the critical fight against drilling off the coast of Virginia. Offshore drilling threatens our national security and safety of our sailors and our tourism economy by spoiling our beautiful beaches and shorelines. I was proud to cosponsor bipartisan legislation to protect our precious coastline.

Investing in our nation’s infrastructure is vital to boosting not only our district’s economy, but the global economy.

Our district, which is home to one of the largest ports on the East Coast, depends on improving our maritime infrastructure. That’s why I secured $15 million for operations and maintenance at Norfolk Harbor and led a bipartisan effort urging Congress to fund infrastructure projects in military communities. I am proud to have helped deliver needed funds for resiliency projects for communities battling sea level rise and recurrent flooding

But our needs go beyond maritime infrastructure, roads, and bridges. Investments in broadband infrastructure are necessary to ensure that our rural communities stay connected in the ever-expanding global economy. Critical to those investments is protecting net-neutrality. I’m proud to have sponsored legislation to restore net neutrality so the farmers, entrepreneurs, and innovators of Coastal Virginia can stay competitive.

We need commonsense measures to keep our communities safe from gun violence and protect law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

As a former Navy Commander and now as a Member of Congress, I took an oath to protect this nation and its people, while simultaneously swearing to protect our Constitution. I believe that law-abiding citizens should be able to own guns and exercise their second amendment rights, but commonsense measures are necessary to keep our communities safe from preventable gun violence.

I joined bipartisan commonsense reform efforts like requiring universal background checks and encouraging red flag laws, which can prevent an individual from purchasing or retaining their firearm for a certain period if they are determined to be a danger to themselves or others.

But this issue took on even greater urgency after the mass shooting in Virginia Beach. Along with all members of the Virginia Beach community, I will forever remember and honor the individuals who were tragically taken from their families and loved ones.

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