How We Talk to and About One Another
Those in power have tried to turn us against one another, to convince us that we cannot be in real relationship, that we couldn’t possibly understand someone else’s hopes and fears. But we are not as divided as they want us to be, and I refuse to walk away from my neighbors simply because they identify with a different political party.
I pledge to speak with respect about all my constituents, to look for the good in people rather than the bad, and to listen with an open heart to opinions and perspectives that are not my own. I will interact with other representatives in the House in the same way. I will actively seek out solutions, insisting on bipartisan dialogue and action.
This great country of ours cannot succeed until all its citizens have equal opportunities and equal access to high-quality public education. Unfortunately, our school systems are plagued by persistent inequalities on the basis of race and socio-economic status. Children in impoverished areas are consistently given lower quality schools than children in more affluent areas.
I pledge to be dogged in my pursuit of policies that will level the playing field, such as establishing minimum standards for teacher-student ratios in classrooms and counselor-student ratios in school systems. I will sponsor legislation to prevent school systems from segregating children with disabilities (or other special needs) from their peers. I will support holding school districts accountable for using Title I funds for their intended purpose, rather than allowing school officials to shuffle funds to other uses.
Perhaps the most challenging part of living in community is recognizing that we are all sinners – bound to mess up and hurt one another – and yet we must find a way to live together. That means that we will both need a system of judgment and consequences and a system for reconciliation. While we have spent a lot of time developing the process of judgment and consequences, not nearly as much attention has been paid to the process of reconciliation. To make our communities strong, we must make them whole.
That’s why I support giving judges the freedom to impose sentences that address the needs of victims and restore damages whenever possible, options that make right rather than only options that punish. I support rehabilitating offenders to reduce recidivism and strengthen families and communities that are damaged by the absence of the offender. And most importantly, I support revising policies that unfairly target certain populations so that all citizens can feel confident that justice will be served.