We are young people today, and we are gravely concerned for our future. Our horizon is overcast with endemic gun violence, global inaction on climate-change, and pervasive wealth and racial inequality: a country, and our futures, drowning in injustice before our very eyes. The COVID-19 crisis has only exacerbated these problems, making the task of redress all the more difficult. To make a country worth living in, Congress needs experienced, progressive leaders with smart proposals to tackle these problems. Running in New York’s 17th congressional district, Adam Schleifer presents voters exactly those qualities. That is why we, Adam’s Youth Advisory Council, are voting for him and fighting to get him elected. A former consumer protection regulator under Governor Cuomo and Assistant United States Attorney, he has the qualifications for the job. Moreover, from his proposed measures to counteract gun violence, to progressive environmental policies and economic justice, it is clear that Adam has the concerns of young people at heart.
Gun violence has struck our generation particularly hard, from school shootings to domestic violence. Some members of our council lost family or friends in the Parkland shooting of Feb. 14, 2018. As such, we were drawn to Adam’s platform because he would advocate for stringent gun safety measures. We believe that common sense regulation is the only way to make us safe again. Adam would support universal background checks, which are necessary to ensure that guns do not end up in the wrong hands. He would also push to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, weapons of war that have no place in our society, let alone in our schools or in our streets.
The ongoing climate genocide, which threatens to do more damage than all the guns in this country combined, is even more foreboding than gun violence. We have watched as Trump has turned this country back from the cusp of climate justice and into the dark depths of regressive ignorance, suffocating our futures with his unfeeling hands. The environment is our future, and we want Adam in Congress because he values that as much as we do. He will advocate for the restoration of the EPA, he will fight to reverse Trump’s war of environmental deregulation, and he will support measures such as a hefty carbon tax on fossil fuels corporations. He would also push for the government to invest heavily in green technology, creating tax incentives and other measures to render fossil fuels uneconomical. Not only would this undermine the fossil fuels industry and break their chokehold on the environment, it would create a new industry in which people of our generation could find employment.
Yet even as the specter of climate change looms on the horizon, COVID-19 has descended and shattered the veneer of normalcy masking this country’s economic inequalities. Some of us are college students, and we are shouldering a financial burden that could haunt us for much of our lives. Meanwhile, some of us have been forced to study abroad because higher education in the U.S. is so prohibitively expensive. On top of that, Trump’s tax reforms have reinforced economic inequality by bolstering exploitative corporations, making us fear that we will never have a fair chance in the economy. Adam, however, proposes to reverse Trump’s tax cuts, restoring them to their original levels and creating new tax brackets for the wealthy. He will also eliminate preferential capital gains tax, among other things.
But economic injustice goes much further than anything Trump has done. We demand an end to the “school-to-prison pipeline” that challenges so many lower-income students. We want to see a more robust national service core, but we need legislation akin to the GI Bill to make it economical for us. We also want to see a cessation in incarceration for non-violent drug offenses, particularly for possession of marijuana, which disproportionately affects people of color. Adam has proposals to address some of these needs. For instance, Adam would decriminalize marijuana on the federal level, taxing it to generate revenue. This would not only reduce the incarcerated population substantially, it would simultaneously open an entire sector of the economy for people of our generation to stake a career in.
Adam’s accomplishments and efforts to right economic injustice speak for themselves. He has the experience and the right ideas to get the job done. He resonates with young voters like us because he recognizes our concerns and has an interest in safeguarding our futures. That is why he commissioned our Youth Advisory Council: to hear from us, to speak to us, to advocate for us where we cannot advocate for ourselves.
By The Adam Schleifer Campaign Youth Advisory Council