THE GENERATION OF 'NOW'
DESERVES A VOICE IN DC
Policy written in conjunction with Mya Curth, Katie Adair, and Aiden Cardwell
Young people are the next generation of leaders, but they're creating change now. In October 2020, Dana’s opponent was quoted saying that 18-year-olds have no concept about civics, history, or Constitutional government and falsely asserted that "our middle and high schools do not teach US history." Dana believes that this is an insult to young people and the hard-working teachers across the state and country. Our youth are engaged in the issues and more politically active than ever before. We should be applauding that, not patronizing or ignoring them.
Dana’s vision for the future has our young people in mind. Below are his stances on issues that will be of importance to our country for generations to come.
Environmental regulations protecting our water
The youth will inherit this world, and Dana believes it is the responsibility of leaders to be good stewards of the environment. Dana is determined to preserve and protect the Great Lakes by creating and supporting legislation once elected into office.
Climate change is significantly affecting Michigan and the Great Lakes. Dana believes that action needs to be taken to mitigate and combat climate change with the urgency it deserves. Low-income communities and minority groups are disproportionately affected by climate change, especially those living in larger urban areas. These communities are often high-risk areas for air pollution due to the close proximity to plants and factories.
An investment in green jobs and green energy is crucial to the mitigation of climate change and also provides numerous opportunities for Michigan's future workforce.
Clean drinking water is a right not a privilege. Dana believes that the issue of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) carbon needs to be addressed. Areas within the First District have tested positive for PFAs within drinking water, and the people of Michigan are at risk.
Equal opportunity learning, regardless of race, religion, etc.
Dana wants to ensure that all Michiganders, regardless of race, gender, and sexual orientation, have equal opportunity to succeed.
Mental health support for youth (i.e. trained professionals, etc.)
Dana wants to reform our healthcare system to improve the quality and accessibility of mental health resources. Students are under a lot of stress not only from school but also due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Access to care should be affordable and timely.
Focus on social programs that can help disadvantaged communities
In America, everyone deserves a chance to succeed and no one should be left behind. Dana believes that appropriate funding should be allocated to social programs in disadvantaged communities. This will help these citizens have the opportunity to grow, despite their economic situation.
Legalization of cannabis
Our federal handling of cannabis is severely outdated. As more states open up to legalization, the federal government needs to lead a national decriminalization effort. We should consider the same policy movement for other drugs that are considered to be relatively minimal-risk. Dana supports legalization at the federal level and the expungement of convictions for cannabis-related offenses.
Outdoors and environmental education
Part of combating climate change is education. With a push towards a more sustainable future, Dana wants to make sure our future generations have the knowledge and resources available to them. Our emerging green workforce will need training in clean energy, sustainability and protecting our natural resources. It is important that future generations are taught a curriculum that highlights how to create a future that protects our environment and is inclusive for everyone.
Automatic Voter Registration
Dana believes that everyone's voice matters. The current voter registration system includes hurdles that directly hinder the youth’s ability to exercise their civic duty to vote. Dana supports making the system simpler by expanding automatic voter registration and introducing satellite clerk's offices on campuses ahead of elections.
For so many Americans, going to college is an investment that ends with a lifetime of debilitating debt. That needs to change. When there is no guarantee of a job waiting for those who invest in their future there is a clear sign that something is wrong with the equation. The Government should remove the financial obstacles of attending college by treating education as an investment in their future. College should be affordable and debt free.
Congressional outreach plan
Part of Dana’s commitment to the youth is creating a more robust outreach and engagement plan. Dana will do regular visits to schools to visit with students and hear their views on issues of local and national importance.
1st District Congressional Youth Advisory Committee
The district has seven secondary education universities. Dana has proposed to work in conjunction with each – and with constituent-services staff – to work with two young people per seven regions. Each appointee to a ‘Congressional Youth Advisory Committee’ will form democratically organized groups to engage their peers, hold regular meetings, then report to staff and the Congressman on issues. In seven areas, regional staff will work with one representative high school student and one college student. These youth liaison officers will represent two age groups, 14-18 and 18-24.
Congressional staff in the district will be briefed by each six times annually and Ferguson will hold a youth convention every six months during his term.
In 2020, we are living through one of the biggest social justice movements in our country’s history. The murders of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville have brought the country to its boiling point. We need changes that address the issues of systemic racism in this country.
Dana supports changes that reallocate portions of police funding to community safety programs. These are programs that do not receive adequate funding and are desperately needed to assist those suffering from mental illness and addiction related issues. Our police force should not be tasked with areas like these, which they are ill-equipped and not trained for. Instead, our officers can and should focus on and perform the duties they are trained to do. For decades, resources have been moved away from social services to the police. By reinvesting in trained, unarmed social workers to intervene on issues of mental health and addiction, we can remove the possible threat of police violence.
Dana also supports police reforms that make our citizens safer. Research shows that implementing a more restrictive use of force policy helps save lives. Reforms including banning chokeholds, requiring de-escalation and issuing warnings before shooting at a civilian can greatly reduce the safety risk of not only citizens, but officers as well.
Gun violence has increased to a disturbing level, especially in our schools, where our children should feel safe. The Second Amendment should be protected, but it should be protected for those who respect it and choose not to abuse it. For those who appreciate our freedoms and want to continue enjoying them, we must work together to accomplish common sense gun reform. Dana would support legislation that includes reforms including universal background checks, closing loopholes, a federal licensing program and a ban on the sale of high capacity assault rifles.
As a country, we’ve come a long way in granting members of the LGBTQIA+ community the rights they deserve. However, we still have a long way to go. Equality in healthcare, employment, marriage and more are under threat under the current state of our country’s judicial system. Part of Dana’s role in Congress will be to fight for the unequivocal equality of all Americans on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation and sexual identity.