Vote Vets and Union Tribune endorsement flag

Courage. Conviction. Compassion.

Courage. Conviction. Compassion.

Tackling the Climate Crisis

Climate change is the greatest national security and public health threat we face as a country, and tackling the climate crisis must be a top national priority. Janessa knows that in order to make meaningful change, we must implement a whole of government approach to ensure that all federal spending and research is tied to meeting our climate goals - to include building a 100% clean energy economy by 2050.

We have a dwindling window to act to protect the future of our planet for the next generation, and Janessa will take bold, decisive action to take on polluters and substantially increase federal resources to clean energy research and development. Here in San Diego, we know all too well the dangers of wildfires and rising sea levels, which is why Janessa will take the lead on ensuring that the federal government prioritizes climate resilience planning missions in every town and city across our country.

Janessa has a track record of working across the aisle on Capitol Hill to protect the environment. Earlier this year, she was instrumental in an effort to pass federal legislation that created 1.3 million acres of new protected wilderness, six new national park service units, and permanently reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund, America’s most successful conservation program. Despite the tumult in Washington, the bill passed the House and the Senate and was signed into law.

Janessa knows we need even bolder action from Congress on conservation and climate change, and she is ready to hit the ground running on Day One to be a forceful and effective voice for change in Washington.

In Congress, Janessa will:

  • Author legislation mandating the Department of Defense, which burns 350,000 barrels of oil a day, convert to carbon neutrality and develop a DOD-wide climate action plan to convert the single biggest user of carbon fuels to be the world’s leader in reducing carbon footprint.
  • Support the creation of federal programs that mirror California’s leadership on national CAFE standards, clean electricity standards, and the goal of a 100% clean energy economy by 2050.
  • Support substantial funding increases in federal clean energy research and development, development and deployment of resilient infrastructure, federal incentives for local carbon reduction plans, and full funding for maintenance and upkeep of our public lands.
  • Oppose all subsidies for polluters and any new oil drilling leases on public lands.
  • Ensure that the federal government leads climate resilience planning missions in every town and city across our country.
  • Demand America re-enters the Paris Climate Agreement - and increases our ambitions in order to lead the world on new shared commitments, new technologies and transitioning the world to 100% renewable energy.

Campaign Finance Reform & Strengthening Democracy

Janessa is running for Congress because she sees how the current political system in Washington is failing us - even while it works for billionaires and entrenched politicians who personally benefit from broken campaign finance laws. Clean elections are the vanguard of the democratic process, and getting corrupt money out of our elections is one of Janessa’s key priorities because it is the lynchpin for achieving other meaningful systemic reforms.

Dark, expansive money interests are tipping the scale of democracy, undermining our elections, and preventing progress on critical issues like universal healthcare, tackling the climate crisis, ending the epidemic of gun violence, and ensuring our children have access to affordable, quality education.

In Congress, Janessa will:

  • Champion legislation to create publicly funded federal matching for grassroots donations, putting the public first in our democracy instead of special interests.
  • Support a full ban on corporate and lobbyist donations, effectively dismantling pay-to-play politics.
  • Fight for two constitutional amendments - one that clarifies that money isn't speech and another that abolishes the Electoral College, replacing it with a National Popular Vote.
  • Support bold, structural changes to our system, including restoring the core provisions of the Voting Rights Act, automatic voter registration, making election day a national holiday, DC statehood, and ending the disenfranchisement of millions by restoring voting rights to felons who have served their time.

Universal Healthcare & Cost of Prescription Drugs

Getting access to health care is too expensive, complicated, and frustrating. Janessa knows this firsthand - as the primary caregiver to her mom, who has Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s Disease, Janessa has lived the experience of far too many San Diegans and millions of Americans. On top of that, the price of prescription drugs and long-term care keeps rising. This is a national crisis that deserves immediate action from Congress.

Janessa believes in universal health care, including reproductive health care, long-term care, and mental health coverage, so that everyone has the freedom to start a family or a business, care for aging family members, or follow their passions without fear of being financially ruined by getting sick. This requires an approach that isn’t rooted in ideological arguments but is focused on helping people. Period.

Americans pay more for prescription drugs than any other industrialized nation in the world - and that’s unacceptable. It’s time to cut out-of-pocket drug spending for seniors on Medicare, cap out-of-pocket drug spending for anyone who opts-in to Medicare, and eliminate co-pays for all generic medicines for low-income Americans on a public plan.

In Congress, Janessa will:

  • Support Medicare for all who want it. This would make a Medicare-type public option available on the exchange and invite people to buy into it, achieving universal coverage while putting every American in charge of their health care choices by allowing those who like their employer-provided healthcare to keep it.
  • Champion legislation to build a fairer system that allows the federal government to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies to make drugs more affordable for everyone, hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for price gouging, and penalize companies that raise prices more than inflation.
  • Support investments in research and new technology in order to make our healthcare options more tuned to the 21st Century. This means making sure that the public option is built on biometric data, personalized genomics, and web and telephone-based care. All Americans deserve to have personalized care, with medicine tailored to their individual needs. In the end, these investments will lower costs for everyone and increase the quality of care.

As a small business owner, Janessa also knows that Medicare for everyone who wants it makes good business sense. The data is clear - implementing a public option would expand coverage for everyone and save small businesses and the government $800 billion dollars within ten years. With an expanded Medicare system, small businesses can expand and innovate without being weighed down by an employer-based healthcare system. Providing a strong public option will help businesses be more competitive and create a safety net for entrepreneurs and start-ups to flourish. And, as our economy continues to change and the future of work is more fluid than ever, workers need the stability of a Medicare option that they can count on if they want it.

Solving the Epidemic of Gun Violence

Gun violence prevention is core to Janessa’s campaign and central to her motivation to run for office. Each year, more school-age children in the U.S. die from gun violence than on-duty police officers or U.S. military members. This is unacceptable.

As a veteran and gun owner, Janessa believes that responsible gun owners must take the lead to promote common-sense efforts to reduce gun violence and promote gun safety. Our current laws are failing — they are not sufficiently protecting Americans and their communities.

The reality is that while other countries grapple with the same mental health and extremist threats as America, ready access to guns makes our issues far more deadly. To legally drive a car, you have to pass a driving test and get a license that demonstrates you can safely and responsibly operate a vehicle. Having a gun should be no different.

The majority of Americans agree that something must be done. But the NRA has viciously fought common-sense measures by buying off politicians in Washington and immobilizing Congress. The NRA is currently a tax-exempt organization, which means it's supposed to operate in the public interest. But the NRA works almost exclusively to make the gun industry rich — all at the expense of our safety and freedom from gun violence.

Janessa is unafraid to take on the gun lobby and stand up for life-saving legislation. Her plan begins with her first-hand experience with firearms as a Marine - she understands that weapons of war belong on the battlefield, not in schools or homes.

In Congress, Janessa will:

  • A unified national background check system.
  • A nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons.
  • Required registration of all existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act (NFA) while also addressing the future manufacture and/or sale of these firearms.
  • A national buy-back program and safe storage laws.
  • Increasing federal funding for research and education on gun violence and gun violence prevention.
  • Expanding Red Flag laws at the national level.
  • Closing the “boyfriend loophole” to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
  • Directing the IRS to conduct a thorough investigation into the NRA’s tax-exempt status. If the IRS can prove that the NRA is abusing its tax-exempt status to help churn profits for the gun industry, then the NRA's tax-exempt status should be immediately revoked.

Paid Family Leave & Long Term Care

Right now, whether a family is welcoming a new baby or caring for an aging family member, their ability to do so with dignity remains available only to those who can afford it. Caring for an elderly parent or a new child should never cause someone to lose their job or go bankrupt. This is why Janessa supports a comprehensive agenda to restore dignity to our families at every stage in life. This means investing in paid family leave and long-term care.

Today in America, 1 in 4 new moms do not have access to paid family leave and return to work within two weeks of having a baby. Offering both maternity and paternity leave helps close the gender equality pay gap between men and women in the workplace and encourages women in leadership positions.

Paid family leave should be accessible by all workers, especially low wage employees and those working in the gig economy. Many state and employer family leave policies leave out part-time or contract workers, and Janessa will work for a 12-week federal leave system for families, regardless of their job status. Janessa will do this by expanding access to paid family leave to include new fathers and caregiving leave, no matter one’s stage in life. Family leave should be equal, accessible, and adequate for men and women of all incomes and backgrounds.

Additionally, in the next ten years, one in four San Diegans will be over the age of 65 — more than 1.2 million people. Nationally, 20 percent of the U.S. population will be 65 or older by the year 2030. And more than half of all seniors — tens of millions of Americans — will require long-term care. No American should have to worry about what will happen to them in old age or how they will afford long-term care for a loved one. It’s time for us to recognize and prioritize the impending long-term care crisis.

In Congress, Janessa will:

  • Support the Family and Insurance Medical Leave Act (FAMILY ACT), which would create a national program to meet the needs of new parents and those caring for family members with serious illnesses. This federal program would guarantee all workers up to 12 weeks paid leave no matter the size of the company or type of work they do. The FAMILY Act protects workers’ economic independence, promotes equity in the workplace, and is good for businesses’ bottom lines.
  • Author legislation that provides tax breaks or vouchers to support families who choose to take care of their aging or sick loved ones at home, providing a benefit to caregivers who today are mostly unpaid. An estimated 75 percent of unpaid caregivers in the United States are women, and more than a quarter of them are forced to reduce their work hours or give up their jobs entirely, impacting their current and future financial stability.
  • Support expanding Medicare and Medicaid coverage to ensure that it includes long-term care for aging seniors and champion substantial federal investments to increase the availability of affordable supportive housing for seniors nationwide.

Education

As the daughter of a public school teacher and the recipient of substantial federal grants and loans, Janessa knows how critical education is to the future of the American dream. From pre-K to graduate school, Janessa will work to expand access, increase teacher pay, expand investment in public schools, and ensure that future generations are not burdened with heavy debt.

In Congress, Janessa will:

  • Aggressively pursue a national student debt relief agenda. Forgiving student debt will positively impact long term economic growth and provide a serious middle class stimulus.
  • Lower the overall cost of public education by increasing public funding directly to colleges and universities - and tying those increases to accountability measures that require universities to lower the cost of tuition.
  • Index Pell Grants and other non-loan sources of funding to inflation to ensure they keep pace with the rate of college tuition, make such support tax-exempt, and provide these programs with the funding they need.
  • Support a federal standard that holds school districts accountable for putting resources where they are most needed. This includes paying our teachers like the professionals that they are and ensuring they have the supplies they need to teach.
  • Massively increase federal resources for students at Title I schools, issuing new regulations to diversify the teaching profession, and investing in high-quality state and local educational programs.
  • Oppose federal funding for private school voucher programs which undermine public education and have been used to further racial and socioeconomic segregation.
  • Supporting funding for universal pre-K and childcare to support our families and economy. The data is clear on the long-term benefits: quality early education produces better health, educational, and employment outcomes well into adulthood.

National Security

Janessa’s experience as a Captain in the Marine Corps and as a human rights advocate give her unique insight into how the United States can build strong, compassionate, and progressive national security policy. As a human rights organizer, Janessa helped pass key anti-genocide legislation in Washington D.C. that targeted the brutal Sudanese regime. While deployed overseas with the Marines, Janessa worked side-by-side with NATO partners to achieve strategic objectives.

After a career working in security, defense, and diplomacy, Janessa is deeply committed to ensuring America’s security and addressing global threats. It’s time to restore American credibility, end endless war, and focus on addressing future threats like climate security, extremism, and the rising tide of authoritarianism.

In Congress, Janessa will:

  • Support repealing and replacing the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force that gives the President expansively dangerous powers to send troops abroad under the guise of counter-terrorism.
  • Demand Congressional oversight and approval of new foreign wars.
  • Hold regimes like North Korea, Iran, and Saudi Arabia accountable for crimes against humanity, making sure that taxpayer money never supports arming regimes that pursue nuclear weapons, criminalize LGBTQ persons, or dehumanize women or religious minorities.
  • Support using our powerful military budget to fight climate change by funding a nationwide pursuit of alternatives to carbon and the building of our green economy.
  • Ensure servicemembers, military families, and veterans are taken care of, beginning with increasing troop pay, fixing laws that leave military families out of social service programs like SNAP, providing unwavering support for trans troops, and expanding and improving care for veterans.
  • Support robust funding for the State Department and USAID to restore diplomatic and development missions worldwide and strengthen ties with our friends and allies.
  • Author legislation to safeguard elections and protect the integrity of our democracy by funding local governments to upgrade to secure ballot-counting machines. Additionally, create a permanent grant-based system that will fund continual technology and security upgrades.

Immigration & our Border

As a Marine Combat Engineer, Janessa experienced first-hand the destructive force of militarizing the US border when her friends and colleagues were haphazardly sent to San Diego’s border as part of the Trump administration’s PR “Caravan” stunt. This shameful misuse of the US military and the administration’s policies of cutting off aid, denying amnesty. Separating families, and conducting raids on peaceful San Diego communities continue to be a stain on the promise of America.

A holistic, comprehensive immigration plan is needed to address 21st Century challenges, not a wall or ICE raids in our neighborhoods. Tearing kids away from their parents, indefinite detentions, and arbitrary deportation policies all must stop. Human dignity isn’t a partisan issue.

In Congress, Janessa will:

  • End the family separation crisis and evaluate ICE and CBP practices to ensure similar humanitarian crises never happen again.
  • Champion legislation that protects asylum seekers, allows undocumented residents like DREAMers the ability to come out of the shadows with a serious amnesty plan and path to citizenship, creates more efficient and safe border crossings for San Diego businesses and workers, expands new technology for the border patrol, and reforms the legal immigration lottery system.
  • Fight for a firm, bright line between local law enforcement operations and federal immigration enforcement, implementing California’s protections for undocumented families at the federal level.

Jobs & Economic Security

Janessa supports policies that empower workers and restore the American Dream. As the child of a union household and successful small business owner, Janessa knows what it takes to make sure we have an economy that works for everyone.

In Congress, Janessa will:

  • Support the repeal of the disastrous Trump tax-cuts and use part of that money to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit so that workers get a bigger take-home paycheck.
  • Support a $15 minimum wage, because one full-time job should be enough to live in America.
  • Strengthen the rights of workers to bargain collectively, join a union without penalty, and expand union membership nationwide.
  • Author legislation that would increase job training assistance through local Workforce Investment Boards and ensure that all community colleges across America are free and focused on a work-ready curriculum.
  • Increase federal funding for apprenticeship and job-training programs, with emphasis on transitioning veterans ending active service in San Diego.
  • Stand up against structural inequalities in the workplace by supporting equal pay and non-discrimination laws. These protections, in addition to paid family leave, healthcare for all, and transition from the carbon economy will grow opportunities for the middle class for years to come.

Women's & LGBTQ+ Rights

The Marine Corps is less than ten percent female. While serving, Janessa was often the only woman - let alone gay person - in a leadership position in the room. On a personal level, she knows how important it is to stand up and speak out on behalf of equality for all.

In Congress, Janessa will:

  • Be a tireless voice for the rights of women and the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Champion the Equality Act and legislation enforcing the nondiscrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act, key federal civil rights laws, and protecting LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers.
  • Support reversing the ban on transgender military service.
  • Support ending the Trump administration gag and refusal of care rules.
  • Champion efforts to guarantee every woman affordable health coverage, codify the right to an abortion into law, abolish the Hyde Amendment, prohibit state governments from interfering in private insurance coverage of abortion, guarantee contraception coverage and family planning methods with no cost under Medicare, and ensure Title X funds only go to providers who offer comprehensive, evidence-based care.

Criminal Justice Reform

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world with more than 2 million people in prison and jail. The evidence is clear - our system starkly disadvantages the poor and people of color. Meanwhile, our government spends billions of dollars to subsidize the private prison industry which bilks a profit from mass incarceration. We must do better - by reducing incarceration rates.

In Congress, Janessa will:

  • Legalize marijuana, reduce sentences for other drug offenses and apply these reductions retroactively, expunge past convictions, and eliminate mandatory minimums.
  • Support increased funding for federal grants for states that commit to criminal justice reform and ban private prisons.
  • Reduce the criminalization of poverty and its link to incarceration.
  • Support the nomination of judges from under-represented backgrounds, including women, people of color, public defenders, and civil rights attorneys.
  • Decriminalize mental illness and addiction.

Housing & Homelessness

Every American deserves a safe, decent, and affordable place to live. Government at all levels hasn’t done enough to tackle our housing and homelessness crisis. The cost of living in San Diego is far too high for most families to afford homeownership or access the rental market. On top of that, there are more than 8,000 San Diegans who are unsheltered. It’s time for new ideas and a new approach to provide affordable housing and end chronic homelessness.

In Congress, Janessa will:

  • Support a massive increase in investment of federal funding to build middle and low-income housing in accordance with a Housing First approach, as well as supportive housing, transitional housing, and emergency shelters Champion funding for shelters and supportive housing for transitional age youth and veterans, two of the largest segments of San Diego’s homeless population.
  • Expand funding for HUD-VASH vouchers and caseworkers.
  • Support legislation that addresses the racial wealth gap by increasing asset ownership among those previously prevented from accumulating capital, and prevents housing discrimination on the basis of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, veteran status, or the source of one’s income, like a housing vouchern.
  • Support expanding housing vouchers for people on the verge of losing their homes.