Congressional candidate Amane Badhasso describes her platform as progressive and includes a broad range of issues: Medicare for all, the climate crisis, economic stability, the current tax system, targeting white nationalism, immigration policy, policing, and military involvement. Credit: Jaida Grey Eagle | Sahan Journal

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Medicare for all: “I have seen so many folks around me, including family members, who are devastated economically because of medical debt. To think that we have enough resources to fund endless wars abroad, we have resources for bailing out corporations and Wall Street—that was never an issue. But we don’t have enough resources to give folks guaranteed healthcare.”

Climate change: “When you go abroad, you’re able to see how devastating the climate catastrophe is. Here at home we’re also able to see that. It is so critical for me, not only as a progressive democrat, but as somebody who has seen so much displacement around the world as a result of the climate crisis.

“Being able to fight and organize for the Green New Deal, to be able to make sure we’re pushing democratic leadership to prioritize and not just pay lip service to the climate crisis, is critical.”

Economic stability: “Very early on, from the moment I was in a refugee camp until I was 13, I was not one of those folks who got to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It wasn’t a thing. Sometimes I wouldn’t have breakfast and sometimes I wouldn’t have dinner. I grew up in severe poverty.

“So ensuring that folks have access to a liveable wage, union jobs, that we take on our current tax system where I pay more than a billionaire, is critical. A working class economic agenda is just as important.”

Foreign policy: “We fund a lot of wars abroad that have devastated millions. Quite frankly, a lot of people would say America has engaged in war crime activities. When you look at the devastating impact of our engagement in any war, especially in the Saudi-coalition-led war in Yemen–we are responsible for that.

“We are the biggest funder of the Ethiopian government, which now has allegations of war crimes. As a member of Congress, not a dime should be given to these activities abroad. It’s a very different approach to foreign policy than the person I am running against.”

National security: “A lot of folks will say people like me are inconvenient for protecting American strength around the world and are putting our community at risk. I completely disagree. What’s made a lot of us at risk here at home is more so the rise in white nationalist militants who are making it hard for us to literally walk down the street.

“There are moments when I would go to prayer and I would wear a scarf. The kind of hostility and treatment I get versus when my hair is down and I sort of blend in, it’s a completely different reaction. And that scares me. That is a threat to our national security.”

Immigration: “We can’t call ourselves a democracy and have ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] committing gross human rights violations, and separating children from their parents. As somebody who quite literally doesn’t know much about my mom, it has had a tremendous trauma and impact on my life. Which is why we have to defend our democracy, because I’ve seen the other side of it.

“So abolishing ICE is critical for me. I know that’s less popular among the democratic establishment, but if we want to call ourselves progressives, we can’t continue to fund an institution that commits human rights violations.”

Public safety: “Public safety is very important to me and a lot of folks in our district. We have seen the impact of not investing in mental health services–services in things that empower our community–as opposed to continuously militarizing the police force, a force which is supposed to be a peacemaker in the community, not one that engages in direct violence against Black people.

“We see what happens when we blindly continue to over-invest, knowing that the data tells us that we have to do more in investing in mental health services, social services, education, creating a pathway for young folks to have access to a better future. We choose not to do those things because we have politicians in office that are only listening to the interests of folks who want to over-militarize our public safety system. We call out nations around the world and say that they are not a democracy because they over-police their communities. I know we can do better.”

Hibah Ansari is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.