Community Needs & Health

The Current Reality

Our district is incredibly diverse. Approximately, 65% of our community identifies as Hispanic/Latine, 20% as AAPI, 5% as Black, and 33% as some other race. Approximately 10% of our residents are disabled and 2% are Veterans. We are a patchwork — a model of what America should look like at its best — people from all walks of life living in harmony. Or at least, that’s what we should be.

For too long, our community’s unique needs have been ignored by the representatives who are supposed to serve us. Achieving financial security is a challenge for everyone, but communities of color have been hit hard, especially by the spread of high-end housing development. Undocumented persons are at greater risk of seeing their hard-earned wages stolen from them by their employers, often forced to work in horrible conditions, and subjected to verbal, mental, and emotional abuse, because they are considered “replaceable.” In addition, almost 40% of deaths in the United States are attributable to preventable health behaviors. One of our most urgent needs is to address nutrition inequities in low-income neighborhoods and neighborhoods with “food deserts.” Americans currently lack widespread access to mental health and substance abuse harm reduction programs, which would help prevent countless comorbidities, save billions of dollars in reactive treatment costs in the process, and allow our society to fulfill its potential. Some estimate that community-based social interventions could save $5 for every $1 invested, simultaneously optimizing our tax dollars while ensuring healthy outcomes.

The lack of access to behavioral health has been a long-standing issue which has only been compounded by the nation’s growing mental health crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased rates of anxiety and depression with 2 out of every 5 Americans experiencing these symptoms. Low availability of mental health providers and therapists, limited insurance coverage, and a fragmented behavioral health system all contribute to the ever-growing waitlists; it takes over a decade from the onset of mental illness for the average person to even begin receiving treatment. We need an accessible, high-quality, equitable behavioral health system to care for both the physical and mental health of every American.

Lastly, proximity to violence severely impacts the health and well-being of our communities. Over a million Americans have been shot in the last decade. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have experienced domestic violence. We need to address these problems not from a punitive perspective, but from a preventative one, starting with nationwide gun control legislation.


How We Plan to Do It

End Bigotry and Ensure Proper Representation:
  • Stop AAPI Hate through combined efforts of educational and intergovernmental initiatives like: > supporting H.R. 2283 to help eliminate discrimination and prejudice that the AAPI community faces. > working with local and state leaders to create passenger safety initiatives. > ending all rhetoric containing or condoning state-sanctioned violence and labeling Asian countries, Asian individuals, and Asians as “the other.” > launching public education campaigns of street harassment for people with limited English proficiency.
  • Advocate for reparations for Black Americans with bills like H.R. 40.
  • Expand affirmative action initiatives in education and hiring.
  • Work with experts and activists from each segment of the community, so we may evolve our laws in a way that is respectful and caring. 
  • Increase funding for Census and voting translators, as well as public information to alleviate concerns about the consequences of both. Language should never be a barrier to connection, communication, or representation. 
  • Protect the religious freedoms for all religions. Islamophobia, Antisemitism, and intolerance of differing beliefs have no place in our nation.
  • Create protections against workplace exploitation that disproportionately impacts underrepresented populations of color.
Family and Mental Health:
  • Greatly increase Title X funding to better meet the family planning, pregnancy, and public health needs of women and families.
  • Create monthly behavioral health empowerment pass to people for any legitimate psychologist/therapist of preferred choice
  • Provide free, accessible options for family counseling and therapy.
  • Increase availability of mental health counselors and mindfulness educators in public schools to ensure children’s mental and emotional health are addressed.
  • Implement alternatives to armed law enforcement responses to mental health crises. 
  • Expand the reach of national and local suicide hotlines and anxiety hotlines.
  • Ensure that shelters are equipped to support survivors of abuse and trauma.
  • Provide universal free childcare and pre-kindergarten and address the crisis of “child care deserts.”
Address Social Determinants of Public Health:
  • Provide more annual funding in block grants to state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments and nonprofits and start a new comprehensive federal harm reduction initiative for substance abuse and remove legal barriers to implementation.
  • Ensure that our disabled populations are cared for adequately and compassionately in their ability to access health resources. 
  • Reduce the Standard Workweek to 32 Hours. 
  • Work with colleges and universities to establish a comprehensive training curriculum for mid-level and paraprofessional health providers to reduce the national shortage of healthcare practitioners and create a pipeline for youth to enter the healthcare and public health workforce.
  • Increase funding for CDC public health data research, data collection, and real-time reporting systems to better track, measure, respond to and mitigate future public health challenges.
Nutrition Equity and Access:
  • Co-govern and work with local organizers working in the food justice space to address food apartheid and promote food sovereignty.
  • Push for free meals for all students. 
  • Expand access to and insurance coverage for behavioral interventions and nutrition counseling to improve diet and health.
  • Create new loan and grant programs that provide investments and growth in food businesses owned by individuals in historically underserved communities. 
  • Create a new program, in coordination with USDA, state, and local governments, that provides easily-available and locally relevant technical assistance for food businesses owned by individuals in historically underserved communities.
  • Restrict new construction of new fast-food outlets in areas already suffering from insufficient nutrition equity.
  • Push for stricter regulation of vitamins, supplements, and natural health products.
  • Empower the Food and Drug Administration and prohibit agricultural policies that damage Americans’ health.
  • Make permanent the expanded SNAP benefits from the pandemic.
Prevent Gun Violence:
  • Close the dangerous loopholes in federal law on universal background checks.
  • Ban the sale of assault weapons, bump stocks, and high-capacity magazines.
  • Pass laws to track “ghost guns” and “easy-to-build” firearm kits.
  • Require child safety locks and institute stringent child access controls.  
  • Require gun licenses to include more thorough training, coursework, and stipulations (such as periodic renewal) like driver’s licenses.
  • Introduce “Red Flag” laws, allowing family members and law enforcement to petition to temporarily remove guns from an individual in danger of hurting themselves or others. 
  • Provide voluntary firearm buyback programs.
  • Develop grant programs and commission studies for gun violence prevention, mitigation, and response.

Research has shown us that everything from education to poverty to access to fresh food can make a massive difference for the well-being of our communities and families. By actively listening to the unique needs of each community in our district, we can ensure all people can lead more active, caring, and fulfilling lives. 

Help us put our communities first, and join the movement.

What This Will Do For Us

Current Related Bills Authored by Other Members of Congress

  • HR 4728, Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act by Rep. Mark Takano, to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to reduce the standard workweek from 40 hours per week to 32 hours per week, and for other purposes - not co-sponsored by incumbent, as of 11/6/21
  • HR 5035, Child Suicide Prevention and Lethal Means Safety Act by Rep. Lauren Underwood, to authorize Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to establish or expand programs to implement evidence-aligned practices in health care settings for the purpose of reducing the suicide rates of covered individuals and for other purposes - not co-sponsored by incumbent, as of 11/6/21
  • HR 1667, Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act by Rep. Susan Wild, to establish grants and requires other activities to improve mental and behavioral health and prevent burnout among health care providers - not co-sponsored by incumbent, as of 11/6/21
  • HR 651, Public Health Emergency Privacy Act by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, to impose privacy, confidentiality and security requirements on the use and disclosure of COVID-19 emergency health data, data linked to an individual or device, such as test results - not co-sponsored by incumbent, as of 11/6/21
  • HR 1195, Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act by Rep. Joe Courtney, to direct the Secretary of Labor to issue an occupational safety and health standard that requires covered employers within the health care and social service industries to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan, and for other purposes - co-sponsored by incumbent, as of 11/6/21
  • HR 816, Restoring Communities Left Behind Act by Rep. Tlaib and Rep. Kaptur, to direct the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to establish a grant program to help revitalize certain localities, and for other purposes - not co-sponsored by incumbent as of 11/13/2021
  • HR 2886, Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act by Rep. Mondaire Jones, to establish universal child care and early learning programs - not co-sponsored by incumbent, as of 11/6/21
  • HR 1753, Improving Access to Nutrition Act of 2021 by Rep. Barbara Lee, to amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to repeal the particular work requirement that disqualifies able-bodied adults for eligibility to participate in the supplemental nutrition assistance program - co-sponsored by incumbent, as of 11/6/21
  • HR 1313, Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act by Rep. Tim Ryan, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to establish a new tax credit and grant program to stimulate investment and healthy nutrition options in food deserts, and for other purposes - not co-sponsored by incumbent, as of 11/6/21


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