Hector Tavarez’s Positions on the Issues

 

Health Care & Mental Care

I strongly support implementing changes that will ensure accessibility to quality healthcare (including mental health and prescriptions) at affordable prices.  Making overall quality healthcare accessible and affordable for the American family is an essential step in strengthening our families and communities. Whether we choose Medicare for All, the Affordable Care Act, a public option, or a combination approach, we need to be sure we achieve those goals of quality, affordability and accessibility. Making quality healthcare available and affordable to all also means that we have outstanding, state of the art facilities and well trained clinicians available for those needing care. We need to develop plans and strategies to ensure we have accessible, safe, modern facilities and quality trained staff to work in them.

These goals cannot and will not be achieved while we have elected officials who are adversely influenced by pharmaceutical, insurance or other companies who stand to benefit from legislation that sacrifices the health of the American people for corporate profits.  As your congressman, I will not be influenced by lobbyists seeking to preserve the status quo, I will stay focused on the triple aim goal of quality, accessibility and affordability and fight for the needs of the people. 

Climate Change & Protecting Our Environment

Climate change is real and it doesn’t matter if the change is caused by mankind, Mother Nature, or the natural progression and aging of our earth.  We must be good stewards of our planet, for the sake of our very existence, a strong economy, and our national security. Our future generations are counting on us to leave them a world with clean air and fresh water. A planet free from increased climate induced natural disasters such as flooding, and extreme weather events. We must transform the climate change discussion from the anti-business narrative of excessive regulation to a strategy that creates economic incentives to protect our environment and save our planet.

Strengthening Labor Unions

I will be a U.S. Representative who listens to and supports organized Labor, once who champions Davis-Bacon prevailing wage legislation, and works hard to strengthen Labor Unions in New Jersey and across the nation. To help uplift our American families and rebuild our middle class, our workers need livable wages, good health coverage, and fair working conditions.  I will work with and support our Unions to help improve wage parity, provide employment and economic opportunity, and assure safe working conditions. Strong Labor equals a stronger America. 

Veterans and our Military 

I have multiple family members and colleagues who have served in the military.  My brothers are Veterans, my son is a Veteran, friends and past members of our Police Activities League are Veterans. Our Veterans and their families have my deepest respect, admiration and appreciation for the sacrifices that have been made.  I will fight for and honor America’s Veterans to ensure we acknowledge their service and sacrifice.  I will work closely with Veteran service organizations and groups to ensure that Veterans have access to educational opportunities, employment, first-class healthcare, mental health care and rehabilitation. No South Jersey Veteran should have to travel an extensive distance or wait an unreasonable amount of time to receive treatment. 

I will commit to improving the management of the VA, overhaul its IT systems, expand telehealth services, and improve healthcare access for female Veterans. All Veterans deserve our respect and the best services available.

Our military must be strong, second to none, to protect our freedom, our country and our interests, around the world. We must balance the expense with the needs and growth of our families and communities. We can, and should, defend democracy around the world, but its cost must be shared with those we support and not be the burden of the American people alone.  

Women’s Rights & Pay Equity

Throughout our nation’s history, women have had to fight to gain the same rights as their male counterparts, tirelessly battling for the right to vote, equal pay for equal work, and even the ability to decide what happens with their own body. The struggles to achieve parity have been hard and the fight obviously continues.

I strongly support a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. Moreover, organizations like Planned Parenthood should be funded to continue their mission to support women’s health, healthcare access and reproductive rights. I will work hard to guarantee all women are ensured pay equity, equal opportunity, and environments free of harassment.

A Strong South Jersey Economy

The economy of South Jersey is dependent on tourism, agriculture, and technology. We need to diversify our economy in order to provide a solid foundation for economic stability that encourages our best and brightest to stay, live, work, and recreate right here in South Jersey. We need to support the middle class and  improve the communities they live in. We do this by providing new opportunities that encourage our young men and women to return to work in their hometown or incentivize new workers to relocate to South Jersey. 

I will lead the effort to promote South Jersey and will strongly advocate for legislation that keeps our beaches clean, our air fresh, and our water clear.  I will support our farmers, promote and create regional tourism opportunities, improve transportation and our roadways, support the William J. Hughes Technical Center and the Cape May Coast Guard Training Center, as well as attract technology-based industry throughout the district. I will encourage and develop incentives that bring new industries to the area. I will support legislation that promotes and builds trade schools, creates jobs throughout the district, and supports and protects our Labor Unions and their members. In addition, I will create a South Jersey Jobs Leadership Team that brings together; educators, students, citizens, labor, business and community leaders, to discuss ways to create more living-wage jobs in New Jersey.

Policing, Law Enforcement and Public Safety

As a young police officer, I was instrumental in establishing the Egg Harbor Township Police Athletic League, an organization created to promote a positive relationship between our officers, youth, and the community. Over the last 32 years, our organization has served more than 30,000 children and their families from the South Jersey area. Today, the organization is called the Police Activities League of Egg Harbor Township and Atlantic County to better reflect our growth and the community we serve. As Executive Director,  I am proud to say we continue to promote and create positive relations in the communities we serve. As your congressman, I will support similar organizations and the construction and development of community centers across South Jersey. 

I will support police and justice reform. During my 25 years of service from patrolman to the time I retired as a police captain, I was on the frontlines leading the fight to improve policing.  Let me be crystal clear: we will not defund the police. I will support my brothers and sisters in law enforcement. We will provide them with the resources they need to better protect and serve all people with honor and respect. As a former police officer, I’ve already worked to effect change right here in South Jersey and now I want to take that work to Congress where I can lead the effort to reform policing across the nation. 

As a retired police captain, I’ve served in nearly every area of an accredited law enforcement agency, including accreditation manager, the office of professional responsibility, and internal affairs.  I can tell you, no one hates a bad cop more than a good cop. The 2nd Congressional District has some of the finest law enforcement agencies in the country. That is not to say there aren’t things we need and must improve. Good officers and good law enforcement agencies deserve and need our respect and support. 

I will write legislation that will provide funding for police agencies that adopt and practice proactive, community and problem-solving oriented policing. Legislation that provides funding for police agencies that adopt professional standards of hiring and promotions, that require the investigation and appropriate action of reported acts of misconduct, and provides funding for officers’ body cameras, We will provide funding for professionally staffed and state run police academies for basic training and professional career development. Additionally, the legislation will provide funding to professionally run police departments to replace bad cops and those not suited to the high demands of law enforcement.  

We must also support and fund those that are often the first contact with a public in crisis, our Emergency Communication Officers. Often neglected, underpaid, and underappreciated, our ECOs are the first step in a call going right or going horribly wrong.  We must recruit, compensate, and train the best of the best to serve this vital role and treat them with the respect they deserve. 

Lastly, I will fight to maintain Qualified Immunity for public officials, elected representatives and our first responders. While in need of some reform, Qualified Immunity protects our society from a tidal wave of lawsuits that will paralyze our government, cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and destroy our democracy. The only people who stand to benefit from removing Qualified Immunity are attorneys who will file lawsuit after lawsuit knowing that they will get paid . . . win, lose, or draw.  Let's fix the problem, not create greater ones. 

Public Education, College & Trade School

I strongly support the goals of the New Jersey Education Association and the New Jersey Federation of Teachers. It is important to a growing and thriving democracy that our people be well educated and well trained. We must not only create hope for a positive future, but opportunity for success. I will support college and trade school tuition assistance for deserving students and policies that encourage our children to work hard, study hard, and excel. I will support expanding funding for trade school or college for those that serve honorably in our armed forces. I will champion forgiveness of student loans in exchange for; service in the military or Peace Corp, for teaching in our most in-need schools, as well as for others entering the workforce filling jobs that support the growth and security of America.

Protect the Right to Vote

One of our most cherished and protected rights as Americans is our right to vote for our elected representatives. It is a right guaranteed by the Constitution.  Our right to vote in a free and reliable election must be protected from our enemies, both foreign and domestic. I believe that every eligible American voter should be supported in their right to vote with convenience, at no charge, and without having to wait in long lines. We must ensure the ability to vote without discrimination regardless of socioeconomic status. Voting centers need to be safe and secure locations. We should continue to offer closely monitored, verifiable and reliable mail-in ballots as an option for those that can’t make it to a voting booth. I will strive to make Election Day a national, federal holiday to provide more access for voters to same-day voting centers and to free up more workers for the polls. I will work to expand access to voting centers so people don’t have to travel far or spend money for transportation to get to the ballot box. I believe that we should have voter IDs that are free, reliable, and conveniently obtained. I will take necessary steps to protect your right to vote and protect the integrity of our elections.

Violence Prevention & 2nd Amendment Rights

I am a gun owner and I support the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I also recognize the need to protect our communities and prevent violent criminals and those challenged with mental health issues from obtaining firearms. I will introduce legislation, similar to what we presently have in New Jersey, which protects the rights of law-abiding citizens to own firearms. Legislation creating and requiring comprehensive and efficient universal background checks that include cross checking with military databases prior to allowing purchase. I will support legislation that requires a review after a conviction for a violent crime or psychiatric episode, keeping firearms out of the hands of convicted violent offenders, and out of the hands of those struggling with mental health concerns. I will also support legislation that creates enhanced penalties for violent crimes, requires that firearms be properly secured by owners, increases funding for mental health treatment and funding for studies to determine causes of violent crimes. I will support research to establish best practices to help prevent violent crimes.  I will propose funding for mandatory education and training programs to help teach citizens how to properly handle and secure a firearm and sternly punish criminals, not law abiding citizens.  

Investment in Our Next Generation

There is nothing more important in this world to me than our children and grandchildren. Our children’s future will be on my mind in every vote and with every action. I will write, introduce and, aggressively advocate for legislation to fund after and out-of-school recreational and discovery programs like the ones we have run for 32 years at the Police Activities League of Egg Harbor Township and Atlantic County. We need to make sure no child goes hungry with in-school and out-of-school meal programs. I will advocate for STEM based education and for the construction of new, modern schools, community and youth centers. I will strongly support laws that protect our children from abuse and mistreatment. 

To rebuild America we needed to invest in our youth, strengthen our families, and reinvent our communities. As your Congressman, I will always fight for our children, families, and communities. 

Secure Borders & Fair Immigration

The South Jersey economy relies and depends on quality immigrant workers for our farms, tourism industries, restaurants and other jobs Americans aren’t filling. Our South Jersey employers struggle to fill positions as profits are lost and service suffers. I will support legislation that keeps our borders secure, but creates a path for those who seek the American way of life and want to work to support our South Jersey employers.

While they may be undocumented immigrants, referring to human beings as illegal sets the tone for negative dialogue. We are a country of immigrants and our diversity is our strength. However, as a nation, we do not have unlimited resources. I will support legislation that creates a path to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), creates fair and reasonable immigration laws that do not overburden the taxpayers, secures our borders, but requires humane and decent treatment of all human beings and regulates and controls immigration for those who seek the American way of life.

I will identify strategies that work to support citizens in the nations where those citizens believe it’s safer to travel hundreds or thousands of miles through dangerous terrain to seek a safer life for themselves or their families rather than remain in their homeland. I understand that political asylum is a valid reason to immigrate. America cannot be a true world leader if we turn our backs on those most in need at the greatest time of their need.

America as a Strong World Leader 

I believe that we must resolve our internal conflicts, regain our strength as a unified country and resume our role as a world leader. History has shown that when the U.S.A. is passive or withdraws from the world stage, the world is a more dangerous place. I support a strong military, our military families and our Veterans.

Our strength can not be solely based on the size, power and advanced levels of our military. Our position as a world leader should be secured with advancements in areas of technology, discovery, healthcare, environmental protection, energy production, and human rights.   

I will support fair trade deals that make our country and our allies strong and I will support legislation that supports democracy and human decency worldwide.

A strong, democratic and compassionate America will make for a safer and better world. 

Equality for All 

Equal rights are guaranteed by our Constitution and every American and every human being should be treated with dignity and respect. I will work tirelessly to dismantle systemic inequities wherever it exists. Equal rights should not be determined based on someone’s gender identification, sexual orientation, color of their skin, religious beliefs, socioeconomic status, or political affiliation. I will support equal rights for all people, continue to support the advancement and non-discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community, people of all colors, and those that are economically disadvantaged, physically or emotionally challenged. I’ll fight systemic racism, champion diversity in our government, educational institutions and businesses — because our diversity is our strength.

Social Programs Support 

Social programs were designed to assist American families in need to get themselves up on their feet and improve their lives and the lives of their children. Over the years, these programs have evolved into a way of life, generation after generation with no improvement in their standard of living. I believe these programs must return to their original intent, a way to improve families and provide hope and improved futures with a transitional approach as families gain ground. Abruptly cutting off assistance when someone begins to make progress does not provide the foundation one needs for continued success. I believe as people make gains socioeconomically, we need to continue to provide a path leading further out of poverty and help encourage continued success.  I will support providing assistance for Americans in need to help get them back on their feet and improve their  lives, not just maintain them.  I will also support free quality job and life skills training, child care assistance and financial support for the construction and maintenance of youth and community centers. We must empower our families to grow and strengthen and we will do this by supporting our families with better schools and more supportive  communities. 

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John F. Kennedy

"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer.
Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future."

Martin Luther King Jr.

"We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice.  Not in love with publicity but in love with humanity."

John Lewis

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"Ours is not the struggle of one day, one week, or one year. Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or presidential term. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part."

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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"Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you."