As sad as it is to say, I suspect many voters in the 10th district have been affected by crime personally, or have a friend or family member who has. I want to extend my deepest sympathies to you if you have. I too have experienced crime firsthand, and witnessed some awful things as well. It's a terrible thing to experience, and I want to do something to stop it from happening. My slogan is, "Let's Get Things Done," and I promise to try every day to do just that.
We need to continue to have police to deal with dangerous criminals, so I oppose any calls to defund the police. We must not be naive about the reality of crime. But there are useful changes we can make. Many calls to 911 do not require a person with a gun. Sometimes they are noise complaints or other disputes that can be handled with different approaches, such as by sending conflict resolution specialists instead. I support new ideas like this, while giving law enforcement the tools they need to stop people with bad intentions.
There is more and more attention to enshrining victims' rights in the law, by ensuring that victims have a say in how their cases are handled and what sentences are given to their assailants. I support these laws and will work to expand them.
Fentanyl is a scourge on our community. The recent overdoses at Park View High School in Sterling are another sad example. We need to continue to crack down on smugglers of illegal drugs. We also need to expand access to test strips, to help prevent accidental overdoses. I think the tide is rapidly turning to make marijuana a legal drug, and I support amending federal law to match what so many states have done already, but ensuring it stays out of the hands of young people.
A lot of the people who develop drug problems are those who have few prospects in life, or those who are trapped in unfulfilling jobs, or in communities that do not provide sufficient support. That's why I support creating a requirement for national service, which would require young people who are 18 or 19 to spend a year performing some kind of service, whether it's helping to build homes, clean up the environment, or another useful purpose. Doing so would interrupt some of the most perilous times in young peoples' lives and redirect their attention to something worthwhile. Creating this national service requirement is a conversation I intend to have with voters and in Congress if I'm elected.
I was very saddened to see the recent shooting in Maine, the state where I grew up. It's clear we need to do more to stop gun violence. Growing up I knew lots of people who had guns. Responsible owners are careful with them, and making sure you and your family are protected is just good sense, especially when crime is rising. But there is no excuse for mentally ill people being able to walk into a gun store and walk out with a semi-automatic ten minutes later. I believe there should be gun licensing requirements in order to purchase a weapon, so people who aren't capable of being responsible with firearms won't be able to get them. It would be like drivers' ed, except for gun purchases. It's hard to know what this current Supreme Court will allow in terms of new gun laws, but I believe this idea would work.
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