Recommitting to the American Dream: A Policy Blueprint for the 3rd District
Juana’s American Dream was built right here in the 3rd District. She has dedicated her life to fighting for the issues our families are talking about around the dinner table every night. Our district is full of incredible success stories and homegrown solutions to some of our biggest challenges. As our Congresswoman, Juana’s policies will be centrally focused on strengthening what’s working in our communities. Together, we can recommit to strengthening the American Dream for our preschoolers in Lawrence, our seniors in Haverhill, and our growing families in Fitchburg and Lowell.
Juana will fight to ensure every child has access to a great education because she wouldn’t be here without Haverhill’s public schools. Great public education has been central to so many families’ American Dream stories. Today, we need to recommit to investing in our schools, supporting great teachers, and putting college within reach.
Juana fundamentally believes that all families should have access to quality, affordable healthcare. Massachusetts has been a leader on thoughtful healthcare reform but significant inequities still persist. For Juana, grappling with medical bills and access to care isn’t abstract, it’s incredibly personal. When her father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2014, Mass Health provided him with treatment that gave him nine more months with his family. At the same time, Juana spent countless hours on the phone fighting to ensure he kept his coverage so he could maintain access to the chemotherapy and radiation treatment he needed. No family should go through that when a loved one is fighting for their life.
Juana is proud to be the daughter of local business owners in the 3rd District. Juana’s father spent more than 20 years at Polartec in Lawrence as a machine operator, and her mother worked for Central Metal Finishing as a precision finisher before starting a local family run business. They both often worked at minimum wage jobs, putting in long hours just to provide the basics for Juana and her brothers. Juana knows firsthand that access to fair wage jobs, small business loans, and training for workers can strengthen our families, our communities, and our nation. Juana is committed to investing in infrastructure and local businesses and fighting to ensure that every worker can support their family with dignity.
Juana came to the United States at the age of 5. Her parents left behind careers, family, and community to build a life in America for their children. Juana has dedicated her career to recognizing the promise of the America that gave her family a chance to chase the American Dream – an America that protects the vulnerable, strengthens families, and invests in the promise of its people. Juana began her career representing unaccompanied children in immigration proceedings. Juana believes that our immigration policy must be guided by the lived experiences of constituents and the economic imperative for America to update antiquated policies. Immigration has always been a driving factor in America’s influence. We are a nation built by immigrants, driven by a vision of creating a better life for the next generation, and united around a common set of values rather than the color of our skin, the nationality of our ancestors, or the wealth of our families.
Today, rhetoric in Washington has gotten in the way of developing clear, pragmatic immigration policies that strengthen families and communities, stays true to our values, and recognize that our economy’s growth and dynamism has always depended on immigration. Today, over 11 million people in the U.S. are undocumented. Despite their contributions to the local economy, they lack the security of citizenship. Today’s rhetoric is jeopardizing the lives and safety of hard working immigrants in our communities who strive every day to live their American Dream. In the State House, Juana has led the effort to pass the Safe Communities Act, a bill to ensure that state and local law enforcement officials focus their resources on protecting our communities rather than helping the Trump Administration break up families and increase deportations.
Juana believes that the substance abuse crisis and specifically the opioid abuse crisis is one of the Health Care Emergencies of our time. It is devastating families and communities across our country, it is taking more than 60,000 lives a year in the US, and in Massachusetts we lose people at more than twice the national rate. In the 3rd District last year, approximately 200 people died of overdoses.
The key to solving this crisis is to treat addiction as a chronic disease. Just like any other chronic illness such as diabetes, hepatitis, cancer, or HIV/AIDS, we cannot solve this by blaming or criminalizing patients. Instead, we need to destigmatize addiction and educate our population, provide access to comprehensive and individualized treatment, empower health professionals to treat with all available options, and use the judicial system to go after the bad actors instead of the victims of this crisis.
To do all these things, we will need to provide sufficient funding for this crisis that costs the US an estimated $50-$100 billion per year. That’s why Juana supports Senator Warren’s CARE Act to provide $10 billion in funding per year for the coming decade.
Climate change endangers life on this planet. We must address its immediate dangers and develop strong, science-based plans to limit its long-term consequences. The Trump Administration and their Republicans allies in Congress are committed to assisting, even subsidizing, dirty fossil fuel industries. They are dismantling the Clean Air Act and many other environmental protections that have been in place for years, allowing polluters to run free and leaving our kids and future generations to pick up the tab. Enough is enough.
Americans get it, and overwhelmingly believe we have to do more to address climate change. That’s why Juana is offering a comprehensive plan that will help us tackle climate change head on. Climate change affects all of our communities, and we cannot wait for action.
Today, our communities are calling for common sense criminal justice reform to save lives. As a legislator, Juana has championed the Safe Communities Act, a practical criminal justice reform bill that takes aim at reducing unjust sentences, protecting people of color and strengthening true community policing. Juana has worked hand in hand with law enforcement to develop this pragmatic bill endorsed by the Police Chiefs and focused on the gaps in our current system that disproportionately impact communities of color.
Juana has emerged as a leading advocate in the community and the State House for women and girls. Often the only woman of color at tables of power, Juana is committed to building programs and policies that focus on the systemic barriers that girls and women face, specifically girls and women of color. Women across the Commonwealth have led breakthroughs in every sector. Yet antiquated policies still impact the livelihood and humanity of women here in the 3rd District and across our country.
As someone who lived in public housing when she and her family first settled in Haverhill, Juana knows the importance of stable, affordable housing for families. From retirees to young couples, too many residents in our communities struggle to pay their rent or pursue the dream of home ownership. Juana believes that every resident of the 3rd District deserves the dignity of a safe, stable place to live.
America is great when America is just. Our civil rights and our shared belief in integrity, kindness, and community define our district and our nation. In a time of divisive and hateful rhetoric coming from the White House, we must fight to protect the promise of America – a nation big enough and brave enough for folks from diverse backgrounds – a nation that actively works to fight injustices at home and abroad – a nation where a little girl from the Haverhill housing projects can grow up to be a lawyer, a State Representative, and our Congresswoman – the first Latina Congresswoman from Massachusetts.