1. Do you support the Women’s Rights plank of the National Green Party Platform?
Yes, I support the policies and spirit of the Women’s Rights plank with one exception regarding sex work.
The plank currently supports the Swedish model regarding sex work, which criminalizes the purchaser of sex but not the recipient of payment for sex. In practice, this approach makes the sex worker also subject to surveillance and harassment by law enforcement.
I favor decriminalization closer to the New Zealand model in practice there since 2003. The New Zealand law does not criminalize consenting adults on either side of the transaction.
Anti-trafficking enforcement is part of the New Zealand model. Decriminalization of commercial sex work frees law enforcement resources for law enforcement against human trafficking that uses force, fraud, or coercion to obtain labor for commercial sex acts.
Amnesty International, ACLU, Human Rights Watch, and WHO, among many other civil liberties and public health organizations, favor decriminalization based on the New Zealand model.
I favor decriminalization, not legalization. Legalization has effectively re-criminalized sex work through regulations, as has been the experience in Nevada and European countries with legalized prostitution. See https://www.businessinsider.com/sex-worker-explains-the-difference-between-legalizing-and-decriminalizing-prostitution-2015-6.
Sex work should be not another pipeline for mass incarceration. Public policy should aim to reduce and minimize the harm to public health and safety.
Criminalizing sex work forces it underground where organized crime and violence for human trafficking thrives, with no labor or healthcare protections. Criminalization discourages sex workers from calling on police for help if they are being trafficked or a client beats, robs, or rapes them. Where sex work is criminalized, many sex workers report being victimized by the police themselves. Further, a criminal record from sex work makes it harder to leave the industry and pursue other employment or education.
A decriminalization law should enable sex workers to organize and advocate for themselves under the same labor laws that govern all workers. It should prohibit profiteering by third-party corporate sex businesses. Instead, it should encourage worker cooperatives by legalizing sex businesses only if they are cooperatively owned by the people who provide the sex services where they can set their own working conditions and share in the profits. See https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/opinion/commentary/you-cant-just-decriminalize-sex-work-without-regulations.html.
In addition, we must eliminate economic coercion as a motivator for sex work. We must pass an Economic Bill of Rights to a living-wage job, a guaranteed income above poverty, affordable housing, comprehensive health care, lifelong public education, and a secure retirement.
2. Do you support the passage of a federal Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as follows: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.”? What specific steps would you take to support women’s equality if elected to the office you are seeking? What legislation do you support to protect equal rights for all individuals regardless of gender, race, age, religion, ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity?
I support the Equal Rights Amendment.
To promote women’s equality, I support:
- Stronger enforcement of laws against discrimination and sexual harassment of women by Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and the Department of Justice.
- Enactment of the Paycheck Fairness Act.
- Codification of Rowe v. Wade in congressional legislation.
- Repeal of the Hyde Amendment.
- Rescinding Trump’s attempted “gag rule,” now disputed in the courts, that would prohibit healthcare agencies receiving Title X federal funding such as Planned Parenthood from informing clients of their abortion options.
- Senate ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.
- Proportional Representation in Congress through ranked-choice voting in multi-member districts.
I support the Equality Act to protect equal rights for all individuals regardless of gender, race, age, religion, ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
3. The “Me Too” movement empowered many women to publicly disclose their experiences with sexual harassment and sexual assault. As result, a number of high-profile men were convicted of sexual assault and rape. Despite this, someone is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds in the U.S. What should be the next steps to address this problem?
In addition to stronger enforcement against sexual harassment, assault, and rape by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and the Department of Justice, training programs aimed at preventing sexual harassment and assault in the first place should be a top priority. The training should be instituted throughout all federal agencies and should be part of the regulation of private businesses. The Department of Justice should have policy guidelines and training programs for law enforcement to make sure complaints by rape victims are taken seriously, starting with an immediate provision of a rape kit.
4. The 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provided funding for the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women among other funding. What additional legislative steps would you take to address domestic violence and provide support for survivors and their families?
We must immediately push during the Covid-19 lockdown for additional domestic violence-specific housing resources, paid sick time, protections for immigrant survivors regardless of their status, and a waiver of burdensome grant requirements to nonprofits that provide these services.
We must push the Senate to pass the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which has already passed the House.
We must push the Department of Justice to intervene when state attorneys general and district attorneys fail to abide by VAWA’s provision for an avenue to legal status for undocumented women who are victims of violence and abuse.
We must push for a Guaranteed Income Above Poverty, built into the federal income tax structure, and Medicare for All, so that women are not compelled for economic reasons to stay in relationships that are abusive.
We must push to protect Black transgender women, who face the highest murder rates of any group of people because of multiple forms of discrimination and exclusion that force them to the margins of the economy. Protection must include training for law enforcement, social workers, and other public employees and inclusion in an Economic Bill of Rights to ensure transgender women have access to employment, income, housing, health care, and education.
5. What do you think can be done to improve the quality of life and the lack of privilege for women of color?
We can enact an Economic Bill of Rights to end poverty and economic despair through federal government guarantees of the right to a living-wage job, an income above poverty, affordable housing, Medicare for All, tuition-free public education from childcare and pre-K to college and trade schools, and a secure retirement by doubling Social Security benefits.
We can have stronger enforcement of laws against discrimination based on gender and race.
We can replace the bigot in the White House with a president who will set an example and tone of respect for diversity and support for equality.
We can enact the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans (H.R.40; S.1083).
We can enact the Jonny Gammage Law requiring the appointment of a federal prosecutor by the US Attorney General whenever a law officer is accused of violating the civil rights of a human being, including bodily injury or death. See http://www.greens.org/s-r/23/23-06.html.
6. What do you think can be done to improve the quality of life for women with disabilities?
We can more strongly enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act.
We can more strongly enforce laws against discrimination against people with disabilities.
We can enact an Economic Bill of Rights to guarantee a decent standard of living for women with disabilities.
We can build more public housing with set asides to make sure women with disabilities have affordable housing that enables mobility and provides support services to women with disabilities. This housing should integrate units for people with disabilities into the housing developments rather than segregate the disabled in their own separate group homes.
7. Thirty-seven percent of Latina women and a third of black women lack health coverage, compared with 12 percent of white women. Black infants die at twice the rate of white infants, and in poor areas they die at 10 times the rate. The death rate for breast cancer is 40 percent higher in black women than white women. In addition, there are higher rates of medical and psychiatric bias and lack of access to medication. Do you support Medicare for all, and how would you address the racial disparities in the access and quality of healthcare referred to above?
I support Medicare for All as a community-controlled National Health Service. It would adopt National Health Insurance for all in the first year, which provides a single public payer for all medically necessary services delivered largely by private hospitals and medical practices. Over the next decade, the system would be converted to a fully socialized medical system, with public ownership of hospitals and clinics, health care providers as salaried public employees, and the whole system controlled democratically by a federation of locally-elected health boards.
The locally-elected health boards will empower communities of color to advocate for equal medical resources for their communities and education of healthcare providers against racial bias in the treatment of people of color.
The National Health Service will prohibit discrimination based on age, ability, gender or gender identification, sexual orientation, race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, political or other opinion, social origin, property, birth, or other status and establish a process for registering, investigating, and resolving complaints of discrimination.
Language barriers also contribute to the poor access and treatment of many women of color. With community control through elected health boards, these communities will be able to secure equitable medical access and treatment, including sufficient translators so that monolingual, not-English speakers can advocate for themselves and understand what healthcare providers say.
Medicines will be paid for by the National Health Service, and pharmaceutical companies will be socialized into public utilities that operate at cost for public benefit instead for private profit.
A full description of the community-controlled National Health Service is on my campaign website.
8. In 2019, nearly 5,600 Native American women were reported missing. In parts of the country with large Native American populations, native women are killed at a rate 10 times higher than the national average. What steps would you take to protect the safety of Native American women?
Push for passage by the Senate of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act already adopted by the House, which expands Indian nation jurisdiction over many crimes of violence against Indigenous women on Indian Nation territories, including sexual assault, sex trafficking, stalking, domestic violence, and child abuse. Indian nations must be able to prosecute non-Indians who commit 96% sexual and domestic violence against Indigenous women on Native territories. This legal provision must be accompanied by adequate federal funding for Indian nation criminal justice systems so they can carry out this authority.
I would have the Department of Justice strengthen its investigations and prosecutions of crimes against Native women where it has jurisdiction on non-Native lands. The federal Department of Justice, and state counterparts in some states, are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes of violence, including rape and murder, against Indian women on non-Indian land. These federal and state authorities have been lax in investigating and prosecuting these crimes. The problem is particularly acute around the camps for workers in the Bakken oil fracking region, the XL Keystone pipeline, and the Enbridge Line 5 expansion, which all are near—and on in many places—Indigenous territories.
9. What measures would you implement to support an age-appropriate public school curriculum that teaches awareness, reproductive health and pregnancy prevention, sensitivity regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression?
The federal Department of Education should have guidelines and make federal funding to states and local districts contingent on providing age-appropriate state and local public school curricula that teach scientific knowledge, awareness, and sensitivity regarding reproduction, reproductive health, birth control, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Regarding sex education, the curricula should cover LGBTQIA sexuality in a way that normalizes understanding of the spectrum of gender.
10. Young black girls are the fastest growing school-to-prison pipeline. How would you address the disparities in the treatment of children of color in school systems?
Charter schools and zero-tolerance school behavior policies feed the school-to-prison pipeline. The underfunding of public schools has led to insufficient school counselors, especially in communities of color. The unfunded mandates for high-stakes testing contribute to the underfunding of all-round instruction and counseling.
I would have the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education actively monitor school discipline and suspensions in local school districts and intervene in school districts with racial disparities to enact a plan to revise their codes of conduct and other disciplinary practices to end unequal treatment.
I would push for federal financing of all public education (in place of local property taxes) so that every school and every child has the resources necessary for a good learning environment.
I would push for legislation and federal incentives to reduce the race and class segregation of schools that has been growing over the last 40 years.
I would end federal policies and incentives that support the privatization of public schools in the form of privately-managed charter schools. I would end high-stakes testing that is the leading edge of the privatization policy. The charter schools are undermining public school finances and increasing race and class segregation.
11. Do you think that sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression should be a factor in determination of child custody cases, or consideration for placement of foster children or for adoption? Explain your position.
No. Discrimination against sexual and gender minority parents deprives their children of benefits, rights, and privileges enjoyed by children of cisgender, heterosexual married couples. There is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation or gender identity. We must oppose all discrimination based on a parent’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression in matters of adoption, child custody and visitation, foster care, reproductive health services, and schooling.
12. What is your position on a woman’s access to a legal abortion? Be specific in regard to where abortions can be performed, for what reasons they can be performed, who can perform them, and how far along in the pregnancy they can be performed.
I support the legal framework established in the Roe v. Wade decision. During the first trimester, it is up to the pregnant woman to decide whether to get an abortion. During the second trimester laws can only regulate abortion to protect the health of the mother. During the third trimester, or after fetal viability pursuant to Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), laws can restrict or prohibit abortions except in cases where it was necessary to protect the mother’s health. This framework should be codified into federal law by an act of Congress.
I oppose targeted regulation of abortion clinics and providers through laws or policies that go beyond what is necessary to ensure patients’ safety.
I support laws that allow physicians as well as non-physician health professionals, including physicians’ assistants, nurse practitioners, and certified nurse midwives, to perform abortion procedures.
13. Do you support repealing the Hyde amendment that blocks federal Medicaid funding for abortion services?
14. Would you support mandatory diversity training for public employees that includes sexism, racism and LGBTQIA+ issues? Explain your position.
Yes. We all come from different experiences, which influence how we interact with people from different cultures and backgrounds. Diversity training to increase understanding of these issues helps to reduce bias and discrimination against women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ people, but training by itself will not eliminate these problems. Training must be accompanied by strong processes in public agencies to register, investigate, and resolve complaints of discrimination.