For too long the deck has been stacked against the working poor, the middle class, and small businesses. We need an economy that works for everyone. My experience creating and growing several businesses gives me a unique perspective. I understand the burdens faced by small businesses, and how that affects our middle class.

A strong middle class is necessary for our country to be successful. I became an American because I saw the promise of the American dream and knew that with a fair shot and hard work, I too could have my own piece of that dream. In Congress, my goal will be to achieve policies that support strengthening and expanding the middle class of this country so that anyone can have the same opportunity that I did.

1. Job Creation

Job creation needs to remain one of Congress’ top priorities. Here in California we have the unique ability to be on the forefront of the clean energy revolution. In Congress, I will fight for investments in clean energy and make it easier for companies that are generating renewable resources to compete in the marketplace. That will not only create jobs but move us away from dirtier, non-renewable energies that damage our climate.

Our country has not had a significant national investment in infrastructure since the interstate highway system was created. For safety and effectiveness, we need to strengthen our failing highways, bridges, and other transportation systems. This will improve our economy as a whole, and create jobs in the process.

Here in Orange County we have the unique infrastructure to support small to medium sized research and technology businesses. In Congress, I would use my own experience as a CEO in the sector to help put Orange County on the map as a research and technology hub for the country.

2. Affordability

Over the past few decades, costs have risen while wages have stayed stagnant. This has led to an affordability crisis where individuals must pay larger percentages of their income for basic needs like housing, healthcare, and education. These are parts of the American dream that should not be out of reach for everyone but the ultra-wealthy. In Congress, I will prioritize making housing, healthcare, and education more affordable.

3. Living Wage and Equal Pay for Equal Work

The federal minimum wage has stayed at $7.25 an hour or $15,080 a year since 2009, while cost of living has skyrocketed. $7.25 may be the minimum wage, but it is not a livable wage. I will fight to raise the federal minimum wage to make sure it is a livable wage.

Women who work full time all year round are paid 80 cents on the dollar to a man working the same job for the same hours. We must have equal pay for equal work, as it supports equal rights for all as well as strengthens our economy.  

4. Support Small Businesses

A large part of the success that residents of Orange County have is due to the thriving economy of small/medium sized businesses in the 48th district. They are an integral part to our local economy and culture and need to be treated as such. I support simplifying our tax code and cutting taxes for small businesses, so the engine of our economy can thrive.

5. Hold Big Businesses Accountable

Both Wall Street and Main Street are vital sectors of our economy and as such, they should be held to a standard of ethics and accountability. We saw the worst of Wall Street as it took advantage of the American’s trust and caused the worst financial crisis to hit America since the Great Depression. As the most influential piece of legislation addressing the financial crisis, we need to make sure that we protect and improve upon Dodd-Frank (The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act). We must prevent companies from becoming too big to fail and prosecute individuals and companies when they break the law. As a Congressman, I will hold Wall Street accountable and work to prevent it from ever again causing the economic destabilization it did in 2008.

6. 21st Century Education

Our economy has changed since our parents’ generation and we need to make sure we have a workforce that changes with it. That’s why we need to support education pathways that prepare our youth for the jobs of the future. We must support early childhood education, boost STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) studies in schools and universities and address the rising costs of college education.