These Are Real Problems!

I Have Real Solutions.

These Are Your Issues...

Most politicians spend every news cycle fighting over policies written long before most of us were born. It’s like they do not understand that the world kept changing after the 1970s. All the while – we’re driving across broken bridges, working low-wage jobs, dodging natural disasters, endeavoring to sleep between gig shifts, and hunting for essential goods – often, on this new thing called the internet.

We Deserve Better!

We deserve better than the same old politicians who are looking to the past instead of the future.

My commitment to you is to run a campaign that’s values forward and ears out. And, if elected, to pass policies that are meaningful to you.

But this is a two-way street. Let’s not let it crumble like the rest of our infrastructure! 

Your Voice Matters.

This Campaign Is about All of Us.

Please email us your concerns, ideas, or random thoughts!

Here's What I Stand For:

Have you ever wondered what exactly is the Green New Deal? No shame if you are unclear about what the Green New Deal includes. I was. Most news coverage I see tells me who’s for it and who’s against it; I seldom see what the Deal is actually all about. Only after a great deal of research and outreach to Green New Deal advocates, now, I get it.

First, the basics. President Roosevelt’s New Deal promised 20th century Americans a new deal for economic prosperity that addressed many of the biggest problems our country faced in the 1940s. So, why the “Green” New Deal? Because the need for progress didn’t end with Roosevelt – and because we’re facing a new set of problems today. And right now, too many policies debated in Washington were written by a bunch of people in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s to address problems Americans faced during those decades.
  • Some of those policies are outdated, racist, or plainly stupid.
  • All of these policies were written before China was a major global power; before we understood human activities are causing Climate Change; and before modern Super Corporations ruled the global economy.
  • We need solutions for today’s problems.
So, the (aspiring) politician in me understands the Green New Deal has become so politicized that I should probably run away from it as fast as I can…but I’m not that guy. So, let me pitch it to you all the way I see it.  It’s a promise to All of Us living today to build an economy that works for All Of Us…Not China, not the Gigantic Corporations – or the politicians they buy and pay for. It’s our promise to ourselves that we deserve:
  • An economy that doesn’t kill the environment (because we need that).
  • An economy that encourages companies to pay more of their profits to their low- and mid-wage employees than their CEOs, CFOs, and COO (we can use better tax policies to do this!).
  • An economy that allows people to be people, not just workers – people who have time to care for themselves and their families, to attend religious services, to enjoy a hobby…and, dare I say: SLEEP! Evidently, it’s important.
  • An economy built and rebuilt on infrastructure that’s not crumbling to the ground.
  • An economy able to keep churning during global crises…so we can take care of ourselves when supply chains stop.
  • An economy designed to end the climate crisis. 
My American Dream inspires belief that we can build an economy that works for all of us, not just the special interests. That we will not settle for a future defined by the past, or other countries, or billionaires and their corporations. That we will promise ourselves that we can, and we will do better.

Happy Birthday to the ~ 3.8 million people who are celebrating their 65th birthdays in 2022! Thank you for all you have done to build this amazing country that we all share – and strive to thrive within.

  • ~10.6 million older adults actively participate in the workforce.
  • They pay 18% of federal income taxes (~$630 billion) & Americans 55+ pay ~45% of all income taxes.
  • And they make up approximately 34% of all unpaid caregivers (~15 million people) – contributing about $150 billion in free labor every year to take. care of our country’s oldest and youngest populations.

They have lived through wars, pandemics, and the rise and fall of democracies. And…along the way, they helped transform our world in ways their parents would have deemed unimaginable.

But I’m not sure we do enough to honor those contributions. Nope. Among the lessons we’ve learned throughout this pandemic is how much we take older Americans for granted (despite all they have and continue to contribute to our success). Older Americans have disproportionately suffered throughout Covid. They have lost their lives, their jobs, and their peace of mind.

If you’ve been reading up on me, you know I come from a culture that honors its elders…and I think that is the exact state of mind we need in D.C. right now.

For my entire life, politicians in D.C. have been fighting over ideas to save (or ruin) Social Security; to expand (or undermine) Medicare; or whether the government should have a role in ending senior homelessness. Along the way, a lot of decent politicians have voted for solutions that never passed the Senate or made it past the President’s desk.

But Social Security as we know it will not exist in 2034. That’s just 12 years from now!

I’m running for Congress because I know that Voting the Right Way is the Bare Minimum. Older Americans need a congressman who is ready to transform representation into action…because there is no time to waste.

  • Every day, we must fight to save and expand social security by making sure the wealthiest Americans contribute the same share of their income as everyone else (seriously, this isn’t brain surgery).
  • Speaking of brain surgery, we need to make sure all Americans have access to the treatments they need. That means, every Congressperson should be fighting to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. We know how to do this. All that is stopping us are the politicians taking money from big Pharma. Medicare must be allowed to negotiate with the drug companies. Full Stop.


Medicare should cover all senior health care needs. Older Americans also need eyes, ears, and teeth.

  • Ensure family caregivers are eligible for compensation will reduce poverty among older adults, improve the quality of care, and infuse resources into the economy.
  • No American should have to worry about housing (it’s a human right) – especially older Americans. We must cover homecare, and ensure every older person has access to high-quality housing.
  • We must regulate nursing home monopolies and abusive business practices – and create safer senior care and retirement communities. Shame on anyone who says otherwise.

A quick note on housing. Property taxes are too high in Illinois. Please check out my plan to build a 21st-century education system (that doesn’t put an undue burden on homeowners and younger people who aspire to buy property in Illinois).

Older Americans! I want to hear from you. What am I missing here? Email me at us@junaidforcongress.com

Market wages are made up by the invisible hand (Google it. Good for future trivia).

Minimum wages are made up by corporate politicians whenever workers are super pissed. Living wages are made up by academics who do not know much about how most people actually live their lives. And thriving wage is a term we’ve recently made up to explain why all of the rest of those wages do not work! But…let’s go with it for a minute! 

I support two big ideas that aren’t difficult to implement: 

  1. A tax policy that favors businesses that send more of their revenue to low- and mid-wage workers than to the upper management and shareholders. Sure, we should tax big corporations and billionaires to pay for essential services. But doesn’t it also make sense to use tax policy to simply encourage big corporations to pay their workers more money?! Let’s do that.
  2. Thriving Wage Commissions. These are committees of community stakeholders who represent the needs and interests of their friends, families, and neighbors who live within the same regional economy. Congress must empower them to determine what wage floors work for their communities…because every community is different.
 

In the meantime: 
  • Let’s start by passing a $15/hour minimum wage.
  • Let’s also empower workers to have more of a voice in their workplaces with labor laws that don’t suck. They include a majority sign-up process and first contract provisions to ensure companies cannot prevent a union from forming by denying them a first contract. 
  • Let’s stop giving federal contracts to companies that pay poverty wages, engage in union-busting, deny good benefits, and pay CEOs outrageous compensation packages. That’s just stupid. 
  • Let’s create millions (yep, millions) of high-paying jobs by not just rebuilding crumbling infrastructure–but by building new stuff that wasn’t designed in the 1800s and 1900s (high-speed rail for a start).  
  • Let’s commit to supporting our children, seniors, friends, and family members with disabilities. Our country is too awesome to allow so many to fall through the cracks.

Okay. There’s no real way to fail-proof democracy because it’s government for the people, by the people, and people are human…but this sounds better than “Strengthening our Democracy.” Keeping our democracy strong depends on all of us participating in it and all of us holding true to Liberal Western Values! Let’s do those things! 

Let’s also make it a bit easier to keep our Democracy strong by: 

  • Getting big money out of politics, publicly funding elections, and amplifying small-dollar donations.
  • Helping politicians make better decisions by instituting congressional term limits.
  • Abolishing super PACs, and reminding the courts that corporations aren’t people. People are people…Actual people–not robots.
  • Restoring the Voting Rights Act.
  • Recognizing what we all already know: partisan gerrymandering is stupid. Let’s stop that.
  • Making Election Day a national holiday (with its own ugly sweater tradition).
  • Instituting an opt-out voter registration policy. 

 

Hey! If you’re a politician who supports voter suppression, you’re basically saying that voters either dislike you (or think your policies suck) so much, you can’t win an election without tilting the odds in your favor. Please step aside so someone else can step up! Thanks 🙂 

P.S. Why was I thinking of Ted Cruz when I wrote that last paragraph?!

P.P.S. If you are eligible to vote but don’t, please shoot me an email. I want to talk to you. us@junaidforcongress.com

We spend nearly $700,000,000,000 just on K-12 every year. China, the country with the highest test scores, spends $594,410,015,200 to educate a population that is more than 3 times larger than ours. See anything wrong with this equation?

So, not only are we spending WAY more than countries leading the pack on test scores, our current education systems fail to meet the holistic needs (that can’t be measured by a test) of 21s-century students…and, worst of all, some school districts just suck. Full stop. 

  • Too many students living in poverty never have a real shot at a high-quality education.
  • Too many LGBTQ + students, students of color, and students with disabilities suffer from systemic inequities that with no help in sight.
  • Too many students never graduate from high school (despite how much their education costs taxpayers) –and rob themselves of the possibility to thrive in the modern economy.
  • Too many students graduate without basic competencies…like reading and mathematics.
  • Too many students graduate without the soft skills needed to navigate the world around them. Don’t believe me, ask the chamber of commerce. Don’t believe them, ask a parent.
  • Too many students are forced into debt in order to earn college degrees that the modern economy demands. They are forced into an education system that fails 1) the 40% of students trying to better themselves but never earn degrees and 2) all of the other students who are forced to pay for overpriced degrees that fund bloated administrator salaries and expensive buildings named for big donors.
  • And…sorry if I sound like a parent right now, but too many students spend 12, 16, or 20+ years in school and leave unable to discern credit card terms, balance their bank accounts, or make sound financial decisions. Also, I am a parent… 

The early pandemic shined a light on many of the inequities and inefficiencies that plague our systems of education. The latter pandemic has shown us that we’ve (so far) failed to rebuild an education system that’s more nimble, dynamic, inclusive, and innovative. 

…and if you haven’t noticed, a lot of parents, educators, and students are pissed. 

I support a collaborative framework for education governance that begins at the local level. If elected, I will work with partners across communities to establish an outcomes-driven conversation that asks stakeholders to imagine what their communities need out of our Pre-K through 20 education systems. Once we establish that vision for the future, we can begin passing policy that actually works for students, families, educators, and employers. 

In the Meantime: 

  • Let’s get our kids back into safe and supportive classrooms and address the social, emotional, and academic gaps that developed during the pandemic.
  • Let’s promise a better education system will provide College for All who want it…because, come on, we live and work in a 21st-century economy.
  • Let’s cancel student debt and use the awesome power of the federal government to demand colleges and universities fix their broken tuition systems.
  • Let’s fund HBCUs, minority-serving institutions, and trade schools.
  • Let’s fully fund public education.

As a first-generation American, I know, firsthand, the awesome power of the United States – and I know the richest and most powerful democracy in the world can do more to advance social and economic justice around the globe. 

No, it’s not our job to fix every problem in every country around the world. But some problems are too big for any one country to fix alone. And some problems have solutions that the U.S. is especially good at fixing. So no…we don’t have to help, but why shouldn’t we? 

When we stand up for a rules-based global order; when we defend the rights of global workers; when we push back against predatory practices of authoritarian regimes; when we stand by our friends and our foes in times of crisis – we help steer the world in a direction in which Americans stand to thrive. 

Among the many lessons this pandemic continues to teach us is that we do not and cannot live in isolation from the rest of the world. Our health, our mobility, our economies, our grocery store shelves are all connected. And collectively, we face a pandemic, a migrant crisis, global democratic backsliding, a climate crisis. Our role as a global leader has never been more important than it is today.   

But we’re kinda in a foreign policy rut if you all haven’t noticed. American influence around the world is no longer guaranteed. And If we do not act soon, our grandchildren might be born into a world dominated by the values of the Chinese Communist Party or Putin’s Russia. 

It’s time we use the most massive weapon in our arsenal: The American Economy. 

  • Trade Agreements & Treaties: Congress must only approve trade agreements and treaties that uphold the highest standards of human rights; that embolden social justice across nations and build equity within nations; that disable planet-killing behavior. Come on. This is just common sense. ONLY YOU (and Congress) CAN PREVENT FOREST FIRES.
  • Domestic Policies: Congress must lay out a 10-year plan that requires all companies selling goods and services in the United States to adhere to strict human rights policies, provide thriving wages, and maintain environmentally friendly practices – wherever they do business. 

 

By the way, have you ever wondered why so much of our foreign policy is driven by military spending instead of economic leveraging? 

Yep, sorry to beat a dead horse with a big stick…but we can blame the special interests and their puppets in DC. Foreign policy is literally a big business. And even the corporations without club cards to the military-industrial complex prefer lax trade agreements that allow them to exploit workers in countries ruled by authoritarians, oligarchs, and communist parties. 

But I’m an optimist who dreams big. And I believe in American ingenuity. Americans will thrive in a global economic environment defined by the very values that make America great – and so will countless workers across the world.

Why Medicare for All (except the special interests; they’re covered)?

  • Medicare works. It’s affordable, and the plan doesn’t cost much to administer. Expanding Medicare to include the uninsured, underinsured, and underserved populations makes logical sense. Why? Because we know that people will access healthcare (with or without insurance) – so why not establish a system that doesn’t externalize the costs onto the rest of us?
  • Even if you do not believe everyone deserves high-quality healthcare, the logic above still stands.
  • And…anyway, I personally believe that everyone does deserve high-quality healthcare.
  • Because Medicare works and is affordable to administer, let’s expand it to include dental, hearing, vision, home/community-based long-term care, mental health, substance abuse treatment, reproductive and maternity care, and prescription drugs.
  • About the special interests (the pharmaceutical industry, hospital groups…) who expect to earn a dollar (or several trillion) off any new healthcare bill? No. Just. No. Reform is affordable when we cut out the special interests. Full stop.

Whether it’s the corporate Republicans who take advantage of immigrants or the populist Republicans who cast them as criminals and enemies of America, Republicans are on the wrong side of immigration policy. Meanwhile, corporate Dems bemoan their Republican counterparts, but all the while, they allow huge corporations to take advantage of immigrants and depress wages for everyone else. 

And…right now, the Democratic Party does not have a single, cogent immigration policy to combat Republican demands for a border wall, mass deportations, and restrictive new entry rules. That policy sucks. The land of immigrants can do better.  

Why do we need an Actual Immigration Policy?

  • Because our current system … if we can call it that … doesn’t work for ordinary people. The system harms the American people and immigrants.  It’s just that simple.
  • Because we all deserve to know our elected officials’ position on big issues. Right?
  • Because, without meaningful change, corporations and politicians alike can take advantage of immigrants, denigrate them, and all the while, depress American wages so corporate interests can earn a couple extra (billion) dollars.
  • So let’s start by acknowledging how important immigrants are to our economy (and our society). 
  • Let’s also recognize that when corporations take advantage of immigrants, wages go down, and American workers suffer. And when corporate politicians in DC allow this failure, they are failing to uphold the American values that inspire so many across the globe to seek out better lives in the United States. 
  • And maybe most important of all, let’s not forget that our elected officials allowed millions of people to move here and work in low-paying jobs–because their corporate bosses demanded it. Along the way, those people became our neighbors, our essential workers, our friends, and our family. They’re real people, living real lives…and they are REALLY suffering because corporate Dems and Republicans prefer to treat them like political talking points than ACTUAL people.
  • And a shout out to the other side of the aisle: it’s okay for us to have an immigration policy. We’re a country. We have borders. We have citizens. We have values. We have the greatest economic, intellectual, and innovative potential of any country in the world. Let’s protect all of it…and immigrants. 
If elected, I will speak up where others have been silent. I will lead an effort to write an Actual Immigration Policy that acknowledges everything that’s working in the current taped-together system and ends once and for all the systemic failures that harm immigrants, residents, and citizens alike.

Let me just say how embarrassing it is to have to run on a women’s rights platform that Democrats have failed to implement for decades. Our party had 60 votes in the Senate in 2009  and we failed to pass a federal law to enshrine a woman’s right to control her own body. Let’s do better by the majority of our population…and the majority of the Dem voting block. 

Some basics we can do:

  • Adopt equal pay for equal work through the Paycheck Fairness Act.
  • Fully fund Planned Parenthood, Title X, and other initiatives that protect women’s health, access to contraception, and the availability of safe and legal abortion.
  • Expand the WIC program for pregnant mothers, infants, and children.
  • Oppose all efforts to undermine or overturn Roe v. Wade, and pass legislation that enshrines abortion rights in federal law.
  • Immediately reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
  • Pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
  • Fight to end sexual harassment in workplaces, the military, and across the economy…yep, this is far too vague. 
 
Frankly, I’m not a woman. I’m an ally who consulted women and advocates while building out this platform, I’m hardly the best person to tout what women need. What am I missing? Please tell me at us@junaidforcongress.com.

American taxpayers spend $182,000,000,000 every year to fund a criminal justice system that simply doesn’t work. Even if you aren’t sympathetic to the plight of Americans who are suffering in a system that demonstrably disfavors certain demos of people, surely we can all see the current system costs too much.

A few policy fixes: 

  • End for-profit greed in our criminal justice system by banning for-profit prisons, detention centers, and cash bail.
  • Make prison and jail communications, re-entry, diversion, and treatment programs fee-free. Seriously. Otherwise, let’s stop lying to ourselves that we care about rehabilitation.
  • Ensure due process and the right to counsel by increasing funding for public defenders and creating a federal formula to ensure populations have a minimum number of public defenders to meet their needs. See. A use of math outside of the classroom! 
  • Cut the national prison population and end mass incarceration by repealing three-strikes laws and mandatory minimum sentences, and expanding the use of alternatives to detention.
  • Transform the way we police communities by ending the War on Drugs (whatever that even means), expunging past marijuana convictions, treating children who interact with the justice system as children, reversing the criminalization of addiction, and ending the reliance on police forces to handle mental health emergencies, homelessness, maintenance violations, and other low-level situations.
  • Reform our decrepit & dysfunctional prison system, guarantee a “Prisoners Bill of Rights,” and ensure a just transition for incarcerated individuals upon their release.
  • Reverse the criminalization of communities, end cycles of violence, provide support to survivors of crime, and invest in our communities. Yep, this is also too vague.
  • Legalize marijuana. 
  Did you all know that the US is home to the largest prison and jail populations and highest incarceration rates across the planet?  Why is that? I think the answer can be found somewhere between the lines of my policy platform. We all deserve to live healthy, happy lives that include:
  • A high-quality education 
  • An environment free of gross pollutants 
  • Universal healthcare 
  • A government not ruled by corporations and special interests 
  • Equal protection under the law
  • And a thriving wage
  Sorry if this sounds hippy-dippy to many of you…but one important step to reforming the criminal justice system is building communities across the country wherein crime doesn’t thrive. Let’s do that. We deserve it.  P.S. If you or a loved one has a personal story to share about your experience with the criminal justice system, I want to hear it. Email me at us@junaidforcongress.com.
How many yellow (red, white, or blue) bricks does it take to build a society that recognizes that all humans are equal? But that question is there just to grab your attention. Really, we’re wondering why people even care about their neighbors’ sexual orientations and gender identities. To be clear, I get the conservative religious perspective. I was born into a community of deeply religious folks who were raised to feel unsure about queerness. We were also raised to love our neighbors, to avoid stone-throwing, and to give back to our respective communities – not to take away from them. So while I get the conservative POV,I don’t understand how any person of God could feel righteous stealing rights away from others. That’s my two cents – and I’m glad to have this discussion with any other Americans wondering how their faith informs LGBTQIA+ Rights. Now, let’s begin filling in some potholes with a few policy fixes:
  • Passing the Equality Act is a no-brainer. It’s already passed in the House twice (which should remind all of us that voting is the bare minimum; our elected officials must fight for the policies their constituents demand).
  • If we cut the special interests out of Medicare – we can save money for existing users while also expanding the program to cover LGBTQIA+ healthcare needs (like mental health services for youth, PREP, and, oh yeah, plain old healthcare).
  • Let’s recognize housing as a human right – and put a roof over the heads of the homeless LGBTQIA+ youth. Do you know they make up around 40% of the homeless youth population?
  • Restore the rights of transgender people to openly serve in the military. 
  • We should pass a marriage equality act instead of hoping and praying a conservative Supreme Court doesn’t strip away this crucial right on a whim. Seriously, have we learned nothing from Roe?
  • Let’s Say NO to Don’t Say Gay Policies.
None of this is enough. And, frankly, policy fixes can only go so far. Let’s always remind ourselves that more unites us than divides us. Let’s not forget that love feels better than hate. And let’s remember to ask ourselves the next time a politician spends an hour condemning gay rightswhat are they not talking about? (Ahem…inflation, gas prices, and income inequality). Love is love. People are people. Let’s love thy neighbor.

Hoping for Something Shorter?

Congress doesn’t
Work for Us.

Politicians work for their donors.

This isn’t just a slogan. I think we all know, deep down, that something isn’t working in Washington. So, let’s just fix it. We must reform our political finance system. AND. When we’ve rooted big money out of politics. When donors no longer expect a big piece of the policy pie. We’ll be able to afford the change the rest of us need. We can’t afford to wait.
Looking to get involved?

Slacktivism | Volunteer | Events | and More!