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Where We Stand

Workers’ Bill of Rights

Gregory believes, just like President Roosevelt did during the Great Depression, that federal law should guarantee and provide for the basic rights of the people. Roosevelt called for a Second Bill of Rights. Now, seventy-seven years later, it’s high time that we make that a reality. Gregory calls for the acknowledgement of these rights, and any others that may become self-evident in the course of our social and technological advancements:

The right to a useful and well-paying job;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food, clothing, and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell their products at a return which will give them and their family a decent living;
The right of every businessperson, large and small, to be free from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home and abroad;
The right of each individual or family to a safe and healthy home;
The right to adequate medical care, including dental, vision, prenatal, postnatal, and abortive care, and the opportunity to achieve and maintain good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, injury, and unemployment;
The right to a high-quality education;
The right to freedom from racial profiling in all areas of daily life;
The right to marry the consenting partner of one’s choosing;
The right to freedom from discrimination based on gender identity,
The right to essential utilities, including electricity, cooking and heating fuel, phone service, and high-speed internet; and
The right to high-quality, local and long-distance public transportation.

Medicare for All

Healthcare is a human right. We all deserve to live happy and healthy lives, but our current healthcare system treats essential care as a money-grabbing opportunity instead of recognizing it as an unalienable right. The result – many millions of Americans are uninsured, underinsured, suffer without treatment in order to avoid exorbitant bills and bankruptcy, end up impoverished, disabled, dying (yes, dying) prematurely, or in otherwise in suboptimal physical or mental health so that inefficient and greedy corporations can maximize their profits. We need a healthcare system in which you can see a doctor without wondering if you can afford it: no premiums, no copays, no deductibles, no out-of-pocket expenses whatsoever.

College for All

Education is a human right. Can you imagine your children not having free public education available to them? It’s unthinkable that they would be barred from school just because their parents don’t have money to pay, but there was a not-too-distant time when that was absolutely the case. As a society, however, we came to the consensus that a healthy society relies upon educated children. No rational person disputes this. What we must now come together to acknowledge is that times have changed over the last century, such that primary and secondary education are no longer sufficient. As a society, we must recognize the need for educated adults. Everyone who wishes to seek a higher education has a right to do so, unencumbered by cost.

Housing for All

As humans, we all have basic needs. Among those are food, water, and shelter. In a society as prosperous as ours, there is absolutely no excuse for the reality of people going without these basic needs, no matter how much money they have. On any given night in this country, roughly half a million people are sleeping on the streets or in unreliable housing. This is inexcusable, especially when there are far more empty and abandoned houses than there are people without roofs over their heads. We must recognize housing as a basic right, and guarantee that nobody is left unsheltered for any reason.

Federal Jobs Guarantee

There are many things that we must work to get right in our country, but there are also many things that we do wonderfully. Then there are things that we have done spectacularly in the past, which have been ripped away from us in our greatest need. Among these things that we’ve lost to history is the Federal Jobs Guarantee. Each one of us has a right to a decent, well-paying job that allows for a quality standard of living. As much work as there is to be done in this country, to build a better society for all, there is no reason why people looking for work should be refused.

Fix the Roads

All across the country, one of the chief complaints you always hear is that the roads and bridges are in extreme disrepair. Our roads connect us to our jobs, our friends, our family… They connect us to everything and everyone that we need and love. Each one of us can describe, through great frustration, each and every pothole that we have to cross with our cars each and every day. The damage done to our vehicles adds up to billions of dollars in repairs each year, and we’re left with the bill! We live in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, and we are left to drive on shoddy roads and bridges, wondering whether today will be the day that the bottom will drop out from under us. This substandard infrastructure is unacceptable, and we must invest properly in well-paying union jobs to fix our roads and bridges, and lift our working communities out of poverty.

End Cash Bail

It is wholly unconscionable that we have a system under which people are jailed for no reason other than their poverty. By ending cash bail, we will free millions of people to be with their families and other loved ones as they prepare for a fair trial, which is their right. We must do everything to ensure equal justice for all, and not just the wealthy and connected. While suspects who are dangerous to others, or may not return for trial, will still be held, Gregory supports alternatives to cash bail for those charged with nonviolent offenses, including monitoring and regular check-ins.

$20 Federal Minimum Wage

The federal minimum wage is intended to provide a fair wage floor for all workers in this country, to ensure that none of us are being paid starvation wages for our labor. Over the last 53 years, the effective minimum wage has gone down by 40% while inflation has gone up by 655.8%! We’ve been had! For nearly a decade, we’ve been fighting for a living wage of $15 per hour, and still we starve on $7.25. Our leaders have dragged their feet, and denied us this bare minimum for so long that it is no longer sufficient. As our costs of living continue to rise, it’s time that we stand together and demand a modern living wage of at least $20 per hour.

Retroactive $2k COVID-19 Relief Checks (monthly, from March 2020 until 75% vaccination is achieved)

The state and federal responses to the economic disaster, which tens of millions of Americans have faced since March 2020, has been utterly atrocious. As we have gone without basic essentials, and struggled to make rent, the slightest levels of assistance have been short- and slow coming. People have lost their homes, small businesses have been shuttered, and entire community landscapes have been permanently altered or destroyed. Working people all over the country continue to lose a great deal of money as we continue to try to bring an end to the pandemic that we’ve now faced for nearly a year and a half, and it’s a direct result of the failure of our leaders to take early and decisive action to protect us from ruin. We cannot allow the American people to be left to fend for themselves and pick up the pieces alone. We need our leaders to step up, and deliver true recovery now!

Protect and Expand Social Security

Each of us has a right to retire in comfort and dignity, yet we currently have seniors who live out their final years in poverty and humiliation. We must ensure that social security benefits are sufficient to guarantee a decent standard of living for all retirees.

Legalize Cannabis

For far too long, we have strictly punished people for the manufacture, sale, and enjoyment of cannabis, which has been demonstrated to be safe for responsible consumption. The prison-industrial complex has been built up around the victims of this senseless policy, and major profits are extracted from their imprisonment. We must immediately legalize cannabis for legal and regulated manufacture, sale, and consumption. Not only that! We must also release all incarcerated individuals who are jailed or imprisoned on nonviolent drug-related charges and convictions, and immediately expunge these charges and convictions from their records. Not only that! We must also ensure that those communities and individuals who have suffered the greatest harm from the war on drugs, are the first to profit from the new industry.

Cancel All Student Debt

The American people are crippled with debt. Among the most egregious exploitations that we face is our system of student debt. With over $1.5 trillion owed, much of which can never be paid off, we are in a crisis. Our financial stability and upward mobility are delayed or destroyed because we had the audacity to attain a higher education in a society that demands it. As teenagers, we were courted into taking on tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Gregory considers these types of loans to be deeply fraudulent and manipulative, and they must be cancelled entirely! We must not continue to be a society that accepts such punishment for education. We must not compel our youth to sign away their entire financial futures to obtain an education that is their right.

Campaign Finance Reform

Campaign Finance Reform - Karr for Congress

There are countless issues that we need to resolve in this country, but chief among them is money in politics. No matter what issues you find to be most important, there are good odds that improvement on it is being stalled or prevented entirely by high-dollar lobbyists and big donors who are allowed a much greater say in the decision making of our representatives. The vast majority of us don’t have wads of cash to buy off politicians, so our cries for equity and justice fall too often on deaf ears. If we are going to advance as a society, and make this country work for the many instead of the few, we are going to have to get big money out of our political process. Money is not speech, my friends.

Strengthen Our Pandemic Response, Now and for the Future

Happily, we have come a long way in our pandemic response since President Biden was elected. Vaccination rates are increasing, but not nearly quickly enough. We need to achieve full vaccination of at least 75% of our population if we are going to protect ourselves against the Delta variant and any other mutations of the virus that will develop in the future. It has become abundantly clear that this task is not possible as long as the pandemic response policy and enforcement are left up to the individual states. In our own state, only 39% of adults are fully vaccinated. The national figure isn’t much better, at 48%. As new variants continue to develop and spread, it is essential that the federal government step up and enforce the necessary measures to get the virus under control. We must also ensure that the federal government is empowered to respond effectively and efficiently, on a national scale, to future pandemics.

A Green New Deal

We cannot continue to live as though human survival on Earth is a given. It is a demonstrated fact that our industrial behaviors over the last two centuries have created and accelerated disastrous climate patterns across the globe. The climate experts have shown us for generations that we are on a course that threatens the functioning of our societies, the stability of our communities, and the very survival of our species. In all likelihood, we have already passed numerous points of no return. We can, however, reverse those impacts on the climate that are still reversible, and avoid passing further points of no return, if we act quickly, boldly, and decisively to do so. No excuses. No compromises. We cannot wait any longer to preserve our place on this planet, and we WILL do what’s necessary.

Universal Child Care

Over half of American households rely upon two incomes. The cost of child care is a major roadblock to financial stability for families. We must guarantee universal child care, in order to ensure that our young children are getting the attention that they need without trapping families in debt.

Universal Paid Leave

Workers are not machines. We have a right to balance our labor with rest and recreation. We also have a right to take adequate time to heal when we are sick or injured, to bond with our newborns, or to take time to heal emotionally and avoid burnout. Unpaid leave is not sustainable for most workers. We need universal paid leave now!

Federal Minimum Teacher Salary

We demand an awful lot of our teachers. They are responsible for education, counseling, crisis intervention, event planning, and much more. A great teacher is someone we all remember throughout our lives because they not only expanded our knowledge. They helped to shape our humanity. But when it comes to what we pay our teachers for their invaluable labor, we show them deep disrespect. It’s time to guarantee our teachers a minimum salary of $60k per year.

Abolish Capital Punishment

We need to get our state and federal governments out of the killing business. It should be clear to anyone that capital punishment is immoral, wildly ineffective as a criminal deterrent, and that it is a permanent penalty in an imperfect system of justice. Whatever your thoughts may be on the justifications for the death penalty, we must agree that even a single innocent person being put to death is intolerable. We must end this atrocity immediately, and commute all death sentences to life imprisonment.

Decriminalize Sex Work

Sex work is work. We must recognize that, and ensure that these workers are guaranteed safe, healthy, and dignified work environments. They should not be forced to work in the shadows, and be dependent upon abusive profiteers. Legalizing consenting sex work will also allow us to dedicate the necessary time and resources to rooting out sex traffickers.

Reduce Military Spending

President Eisenhower said it best, nearly seventy years ago: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than thirty cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of sixty thousand population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than eight thousand people.” It’s time we shifted our spending priorities to those who actually need it.President Eisenhower said it best, nearly seventy years ago: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than thirty cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of sixty thousand population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than eight thousand people.” It’s time we shifted our spending priorities to those who actually need it.

Publicly Owned Energy Infrastructure

Energy as a utility is essential to a functional society, and to individual survival. The fact that access to that life essential is owned and controlled by private, for-profit corporations is unsustainable if we are to acknowledge energy as a basic human need. We need our energy infrastructure to be under public ownership and control. South Carolinian rate payers have seen for years what the private ownership of our energy infrastructure translates to: us being on the hook for these private corporations’ failed construction projects. We need to put people over profits.

Decriminalize All Drugs

Addiction is an illness, not a crime. It requires treatment, not imprisonment. As long as we continue to behave otherwise, in how we treat those who are suffering from addiction, we are doing nothing more than failing our neighbors and crowding our prisons. With the trillions we’ve spent on locking up those who are suffering, imagine what we could do to make them well! We must decriminalize all drugs now, and guarantee recovery services to all who are willing to seek them.

Curb and Reverse Gentrification

Communities throughout the country, predominantly those of color, continue to be overrun by wealthy developers who transform them into places that the people living there can no longer afford. These are most often communities that have been denied essential services and recreation for generations, only to be built up with the intention of pushing out communities of color in favor of a young, white professional class. This is a deeply racist trend to which we must put an immediate stop, and which we must also work to reverse. Investments in impoverished areas cannot be allowed to come at the exclusion of the people living there.

Release All Children from Border Detention

I will state it plainly. Locking up children in cages, outfitted shipping containers, or any similar inhumanity is obscene and cannot be tolerated. The name and political party of the President allowing this to continue does not matter. What matters is that we must immediately release each and every child being held under these conditions, and reunite them with their parents.

Suspend All Deportations, Pending Independent Justice Review

We need a moratorium on all deportations until we have created an independent panel of review, to ensure that each undocumented immigrant is given a reasonable opportunity to make their case for staying here. We cannot continue to uproot our neighbors from their lives and communities, and the bigoted and predatory nature of our current immigration enforcement has to be brought to an immediate end.

End Qualified Immunity

We all have the right to seek legal justice when our civil rights are violated, yet the current policy of qualified immunity bars us from seeking that justice when a violation of our civil rights is perpetrated by a police officer. Nobody is above the law, and we must remove this shield that protects the police from facing responsibility for their actions.