National Issues

Although I'm running for local office, people also ask about my thoughts on broader issues. I'm happy to discuss these also. If there's an area you would like me to expand on or something I left out, please let me know! I would love to talk to you and answer your question one-on-one. 440-315-2852 or tristan@tristanrader.com

Healthcare is a Human Right
Our healthcare system needs to work for all of us. We must guarantee healthcare as a right of citizenship by enacting a Medicare for all single-payer healthcare system, as well as lowering the price for prescription drugs. Again, it is time we join the rest of the world in offering healthcare as a right.

Job Training
It is critically important to create jobs for disadvantaged young Americans by investing in youth job programs. Far too many across the country and right here in Cuyahoga County lack access to affordable education that will lead to secure employment. We must stop blaming individuals and start fixing this system that is inherently unfair.

Fight for $15
No one who works 40 hours a week should live in poverty. The minimum wage needs to be a livable wage of $15/hour. As a leader in the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, I have worked with Raise Up Cleveland and SEIU local 1 and 1199 to fight for a $15 minimum wage statewide.

Racial Justice
African-Americans and Latinos are twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police. They also comprise well over half of all prisoners, even though African-Americans and Latinos make up approximately one-quarter of the total US population. We must change this by demilitarizing our police forces, ban for-profit prisons, turn back from the War on Drugs, eliminate mandatory minimums, and increase investment in programs that help individuals recover from substance abuse and mental health problems.

Gender Equality
Despite major advances in civil and political rights, our country still has a long way to go in addressing the issue of gender inequality. To address this, we must fight for pay equity for women, protect and expand reproductive rights and provide paid family and medical leave.

LGBTQ Fairness
The United States has made remarkable progress on gay rights in a relatively short amount of time. Not that progress is under threat, when there's still more we should do. In many states, it is still legal to fire someone for being gay, and legal to deny someone housing for being transgender. That is unacceptable and must change. We must end discrimination in all forms.

Debt Free Graduates
Every American who studies hard in school should be able to go to college regardless of how much money their parents make and without going deeply into debt. For that, we need to work towards making tuition free at public colleges and universities throughout America, stopping the federal government from making a profit on student loans. Tuition-free community college and public universities should be our mission. It’s time we catch up to the rest of the developed world and make serious investment into our futures.

Protect & Expand Social Security
Social Security must be expanded so that every American can retire with dignity. With many fighting to cut benefits by privatizing the system, I will continue to fight hard to protect and expand benefits for Seniors and the disabled. 

Infrastructure Overhaul

U.S. infrastructure, from our roads and bridges, to our dams, waterways, and electrical grid, have not been properly invested in nor used the advances in technology for maintenance or improvements. America is long overdue to rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges, railways, airports, public transit systems, ports, dams, wastewater plants, and other infrastructure needs.

Giant Corporations Pay Their Fair Share
Today, we live in the richest country in the history of the world, but that reality means little because much of that wealth is controlled by a tiny handful of individuals. To address that, the wealthy and large corporations must pay their fair share in taxes.

Climate Change
Our climate is changing, and we are contributing to this. The United States must lead the world in tackling climate change, if we are to make certain that this planet is habitable for our children and grandchildren. We must transform our energy system away from polluting fossil fuels, and towards energy efficiency and sustainability.

Equality for People with Disabilities
Born with a learning disability myself, I know a little bit about what it's like not having the same advantages as everyone else. We must do better to ensure that all people with disabilities have the access they need to live normal lives. This applies to people with both mental and physical disabilities. We live in an age and a country where solutions are abundant, now we must make investment into accessible living. Businesses must be encouraged to meet and exceed ADA standards and people need to report discrimination against people with disabilities whenever and wherever it occurs. 

Immigration
Despite the central role immigrants play in our economy and our daily lives, undocumented workers are reviled by some for political gain and shunted into the shadows. It is time for this disgraceful situation to end. Instead of letting DACA lapse through congressional inaction, must pave the way for a true path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. The inhumane deportation machine must be dismantled by ending deportation programs, closing down private detention centers, offering humane treatment and asylum to victims of violence and minors fleeing from dangerous circumstances.

Native American Justice
The United States must not just honor Native American treaty rights and tribal sovereignty; it must also move away from a relationship of paternalism and control, and toward one of deference and support. That means supporting tribal sovereignty and tribal jurisdiction, honoring the treaties and federal statutes, improving housing and education, as well as by protecting sacred places and Native American cultures.

STOP Bad Trade Deals
Policies like NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR with China—which have driven down wages and caused the loss of millions of jobs—need to be rebalanced. I had the honor of representing Bernie Sanders as a Delegate to the DNC, and proudly voice-voted "no" on support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). 

End Too-Big-to-Fail
Huge financial institutions must be broken up, so they are no longer too big to fail. I have helped organize lobbying efforts for a modern day version of Glass-Steagall act that will effectively limit the banking industries power. I was honored to work with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, who is championing this reform in Congress.

Our Heroes
As a nation, we have a moral obligation to provide the best quality care to those who have put their lives on the line to defend us. Taking care of our veterans is a cost of war. The Department of Veterans Affairs must be fully funded and expanded so that every veteran gets the care that they have earned and deserve. Additionally, claim processing, mental health and dental services, and access to the VA must be improved.

Fight for Campaign Finance Reform
To protect our democracy, we must fight for a publicly financed, transparent system of campaign financing that amplifies small donations. We must also ensure that all Americans are guaranteed an effective right to vote. As a candidate for office, I will not be accepting financial contributions or from corporations super PACs. The only way we are going to change the system is if those who represent the people are not bought and paid for. 

Reverse Citizens United
Citizens United, a 5-4 Supreme Court decision, resulted in enabling the wealthiest people and largest corporations in this country to contribute unlimited amounts of money to campaigns. This decision must be overturned, and corruption in politics must end. This means fighting to pass a constitutional amendment making it clear that Congress and the states have the power to regulate money in elections. We must also eliminate super PACs and other outside spending abuses and work to aggressively enforce campaign finance rules.

Foreign Policy
The U.S. must move away from a policy of unilateral military action, and toward a policy of emphasizing diplomacy, and ensuring the decision to go to war is a last resort.

Defense Spending
The U.S. defense spending is larger than that of the next seven largest defense budgets. I firmly reject any increase in defense spending at the cost of cuts to domestic social spending. The military-industrial complex lacks accountability and has been allowed to grow to its unprecedented size because of fear and greed.