The Issues

Jenna is known to be inquisitive, thoughtful, and rational in her decision making. Below are her thoughts and positions on many topics that have been the focus of Congressional legislation in the past, and will no doubt be addressed further in the future.

If a topic of importance to you is not included, please Contact Jenna to ask for it to be added.

South Jersey is a beautiful landscape containing worthy people and communities that have great potential. In my own interactions with our representatives, I have felt as though I was being ignored and dismissed in real time. Loyalty for them is not to us, but to campaign donors and party leaders. We deserve to have a representative who will spend more time getting to know us, and less time trying to earn favor in Washington.

As an Independent Congresswoman, I would:

  • Establish a wide network of advisors from within our district from all walks of life, asking them to review pending legislation that impacts them and their communities
  • Set a precedent that meetings with lobbyists and special interests be recorded and shared with constituents
  • Propose legislation that creates a requirement that the length of legislation determines the scheduling of votes, with a ratio of 24 hours per every twenty pages.
  • Ask so many pointed and invasive questions, that those with hidden motives will tremble at the sight of me  

Inequality is a reality in our district, just like anywhere else. It will likely always exist, but currently the system is set up to build wider and wider gaps. My belief is that the best way to bridge the gap between the “1%” and those in poverty is to empower the middle class to be more mindful consumer-citizens.

In Congress I would propose

  •  Tax penalties for corporations who do not pay a living wage, but have CEO’s among the richest in the world, in order to supplement the   burden to social safety nets.
  • Subsidies for small businesses to establish internships and stable work opportunities for their neighbors 
  • Fair Trade transparency reports to include average wages of those involved in acquiring resources, manufacturing, and disbursement of goods
  • A simplified income tax process that is established at a middle school reading level
  • A disclosure to tax payers with each Federal budget that gives a percentage and dollar amount breakdown of where their tax dollars were assigned for the previous year
  • A dollar for dollar tax credit for middle-income Americans who contribute to local charities
  • A transition into a federal sales tax on purchases over $10,000 to offset the use of tax loopholes by our richest neighbors 

Whitney said it first, but “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.” Sadly, our children are becoming less and less prepared for the future. 

In Congress, I would:

  • Revisit the use of Math and English standards as the measure of educational success
  • Advocate for educators to be given more time and support in engaging students in ways that encourage individual motivation and growth along with critical thinking skills.
  • Propose requirements for education in psychology and civics from an early age so that kids can better understand themselves and how they may fit into the wider world 
  • Re-establish special education to focus less on meeting benchmarks  and more on empowering students to find their strengths and learn to manage their struggles
  • Establishment of advocate services for parents to be supported in understanding of both their child’s developmental/ educational needs and the systems schools use for support, and gain assistance in creating environments of growth at home.
  • Expansion of charter and choice schools with the requirement that they meet a higher standard for transparency and educational outcomes.
  • Greater accountability for school administrators and educators, with limits on tenure protections and allowance for salary negotiations to be based on individual and district performance.

I spent an entire decade as a non-traditional student at both a local community college and a satellite campus of a state university. I also worked as an adjunct professor and within the academic advising office. One key realization emerged: college is not for everyone. I’ve heard this echoed by students and faculty alike.   

We have sold the idea that a higher education is necessary to have a career, then we funded that idea through grants to individuals and institutions, and accepted inflated tuition so that loans are required to cover the difference. College is not the place to establish basic skills that public education failed at, and it is not the place to water-down curriculum to make it more accessible for “easy A’s”. Those uninterested or unequipped for higher education should have equal access to other careers.  In Congress, I would propose:

  • Basic skills courses to be offered free of charge, and covered through support of sending school districts
  • Career and advising sessions for students prior to official enrollment, and at least once per year following enrollment
  • Merit goals for students receiving federal aide, and lowered interest rates for those who are continuing their studies with success
  • Establishment of grants to supplement apprenticeships for in-demand trades and the arts
  • Expansion of federal student loans to cover trade schools and certification costs
  • Institutions that receive federal dollars to cap tuition increases, and limit administrative and athletic spending
  • Student loan interest forgiveness during times of unemployment for alumni, with penalties assigned to universities with high rates of unemployable students

 

“Life” is the first ineliable right listed by our Founding Fathers in the Constitution. Thanks to advances in healthcare, lives 244 years later are much longer. In regards to healthcare access and consumerism, I would propose the following in Congress:

  • Universal preventative and emergency healthcare for all
  • Establishment of a commission to explore the role of insurance companies in inflating the costs of healthcare services
  • Requirement of healthcare providers to provide quotes for medical procedures based on a typical outcome, with some consideration for potential complications
  • Limits to liability for healthcare professionals, protecting them from frivolous lawsuits that pay out more to attorneys fees than victims
  •  Changes to patent laws for medical advances, requiring that medications and equipment with life-saving potential be open to competition after ten years (as opposed to 20)
  • Renewal of patents for drugs based on new therapeutic uses to be limited to five years.  High Drug Prices Caused by US patent System
  • Medical research funded by the federal government to be placed in the public domain with no patent protections. Advancements made on this knowledge to be further limited in profitability
  • Student loan forgiveness programs and coverage of liability insurance premiums for medical professionals who work in areas with poor access to healthcare

“Liberty” is the second inaliable right listed in the Constitution, yet this “land of the free” has the largest prison population in the world. In Congress I would propose:

  • An end to incarceration for “victimless” crimes (i.e., possession of illicit substances)
  • Restrictions on sentencing to remove mandatory minimums, which often impact people of color disproportionately
  • Restrictions on the use of juvenile incarceration, opting for community-based and family centered interventions
  • Sentencing reform with a focus on restitution toward victims
  • Limits on fines and fees paid to justice systems that are not directly related to restitution (i.e., late payment charges, surcharges)
  • Standard benchmarks for humane treatment, individual rehabilitation and restitution 
  • Incentives for prison systems to lower the recidivism rates of their former wards
  • Simple language requirements, wherein all legal documents related to an individuals case be provided at a middle-school reading level to defendants 

“The pursuit of happiness”, the final and most elusive of the inaliable rights. 

This is my area of expertise. 20 percent of American’s (including myself) will meet criteria for a mental health condition at some point in their lives. Five in 100 will meet criteria for a severe form. One in ten American adults report having struggled with substance abuse in their lifetime. Opioid overdoses alone claimed 67,367 American lives in 2018,  I personally cared for one of those people, and discovered his lifeless body myself. I have mourned him with our children, and his death was a catalyst for my decision to enter the world of substance abuse prevention. I do not want another person to feel the weight of having a loved one exit the world in such a way.

In Congress I would advocate for:

  • Increased access to mental health and substance abuse treatment
  • Incentives for communities to address environmental factors that negatively impact the mental health of their citizens
  • Increased psycho-education at all levels of our public school and criminal justice systems
  • Universal early substance abuse screening, brief interventions, and if necessary, referrals to treatment beginning in 8th grade, and continuing through high school graduation
  • Greater access to mental health and substance abuse services for parents and children involved with child protective services, with a primary goal to heal existing wounds of the psyche and prevent further trauma and to preserve family structure as much as possible
  •   Required professional development in the area of Crisis intervention and mental health first aide for all first responders, educators, and physicians
  • Establishment of long-term transitional living for those who suffer from severe mental illness and are interested in exploring productive work or leisure, but who cannot maintain their basic needs 
  • Expansion of research funding into socio-emotional treatment options and prevention measures in order to reduce our need for pharmaceutical interventions 

 I believe this world is ours to enjoy, not to plunder. South Jersey provides an oasis of natural beauty in our otherwise very densely populated and commercialized state. I hope to protect our natural habitat for my own future descendants, as well as yours.

In Congress I would advocate for:

  • Greater transparency and accountability from manufacturers on their carbon footprints via measuring and publishing of energy use as well as waste production which would be openly shared with consumers
  • Incentives for establishment and advancement of clean energy solutions 
  • Removal of barriers to use of renewable energies by individuals
  • Subsidies to assist local groups in maintaining natural environments through involvement of local citizens
  • Expanded protection of farmland and natural parks
  • Refusal of any additional subsidies or permissions for organizations seeking to establish new oil drilling or pipelines on public lands.