Public Education & Economic Revitalization   

-Support k-12 funding and increase pre-k programs in low-income areas
- Provide state funding and transportation for increased vocational training during the school day, and after-school for adults
- HBCU Special Attention, especially VSU and VUU
-Appetence programs offering tax-breaks for companies training local public-school students will stimulate the economy and help further education
-Student Loan Forgiveness Programs (just take them all please)
-Tax incentives and grant programs offered to mom and pop stores to expand
-Dedicated resources and funding for micro-enterprises, especially while providing unemployment benefits

 

 

Criminal Justice Reform  

 

End war on drugs 
    -  Marijuana Legalization and Record expunged
     - Drug Substitution & Addiction Rehabilitation, instead of punishment.
      - Drug-dealer First-Time Rehab (Business class) instead of punishment
Fair Sentencing - Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Contributing to a Minor
 Non-violent At-home Monitoring Programs Encourage Family Time
 Ban the Box for Professional and Occupational Licensure

 

Education, Economics, & Criminal Injustice  

 

Vocational Training and Dropout Prevention: Technical education programs provide students with practical learning opportunities and hands-on experiences to prepare graduates for a career following high school. Contrary to popular belief, not all prominent, high-demand careers require a college degree. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 10 out of the 28 top fastest-growing careers could be pursued with vocational training available through public schools. Upon completing all vocational requirements, not only can students embark upon a professional or academic career, but many high school graduates even continue to immediately pursue apprenticeships, specialized college programs, or other professional routes. Vocational training programs would help our high school students, as well as adults who are still looking for a career path or may wish to switch industries. Furthermore, vocational training and licensure would allow more citizens to be entrepreneurs, which would lead to small business job creation.  

 

Micro-enterprise Funding: The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program encourages new or increased investment in low-income areas by permitting institutions or individuals to receive federal income tax credits for making equity investments in specialized financial institutions known as Community Development Entities (CDEs). CDEs, in turn, make debt or equity investments in primarily nonresidential operating businesses and real estate projects carried out by new or existing for-profit or nonprofit entities—referred to as Qualified Active Low-Income Community Businesses (QALICBs). The program was authorized by the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-554) and is jointly administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The likelihood of spillover from project sites to surrounding areas resulting in neighborhood- or community-level change depends on factors such as project characteristics, scale, or visibility. More than one-third of early-year NMTC projects were undertaken in conjunction with, or integrated into, larger-scale development initiatives within their communities

 

Microbusiness Development Programs helps low- and moderate-income individuals start a microbusiness or improve an existing one. The Microbusiness Program includes training, technical assistance and an opportunity to apply for a loan. A microbusiness employs five or fewer people, including the owner.   In addition to financial assistance, microbusinesses can benefit from such programs by attending free business/economic courses and taking advantage of other valuable business resources. Those receiving unemployment benefits should be able to claim self-employment work, without realizing a decrease in unemployment benefits. You should be able to prove the establishment or expansion of a small business venture as a requirement replacing current job-seeking requirements.

 

Marijuana Legalization/War on Drugs: Ten states and the District of Columbia have now legalized marijuana and/or decriminalized a small amount of drug possession. The War on Drugs has had a devastating impact on our community and has been largely ineffective. The acceptability of marijuana legalization is gradually shifting towards a pro-liberty direction and it is time Virginia join the right side of history. With our state history in relation to the tobacco industry, we should be allowing Virginia companies, like Altria, to lead the cannabis industry.

 

Like the issue of gun rights, the most optimal approaches to drug reform consist of both state and local level activism. Texas has the right idea by focusing on DA offices in major urban centers like Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio. Eventually, this momentum will carry over to the state level. It bears repeating what kind of damage the War on Drugs has done. Not only has it been a fiscal sinkhole for the U.S. government, with estimates pointing to a $1 trillion being spent to carry out this campaign since it started in the 1970s, but it has also led to organized crime, and has helped create an unprecedented mass incarceration industry in America.

 

Notably, harm reduction strategies have found support among law enforcement officers through programs such as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD). Through LEAD, law enforcement officers are empowered to redirect individuals with substance use disorders to social services, rather than making low-level arrests. The program is founded on the understanding that incarceration can lead to unnecessary harm—or even death—for people with substance use disorders. Overdoses are the leading cause of death among individuals recently released from prison, who are 129 percent more likely to die from an overdose during that period than the general public.