senator Cori Bush
   

congress Cori Bush Contact information

Here you will find contact information for congress Cori Bush, including email address, phone number, and mailing address.

NameCori Bush
Positioncongress
StateMissouri
PartyDemocratic
Office Room1016 LHOB
Phone number(202) 225-2406
emailEmail Form
Website
Contact Representative Cori Bush
Congresswoman Cori Bush is a registered nurse, community activist, organizer, single mother, and ordained pastor representing the people of Missouri's First Congressional District.

Cori Bush for congress

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Congresswoman Cori Bush is a registered nurse, community activist, organizer, single mother, and ordained pastor representing the people of Missouri’s First Congressional District. Congresswoman Cori is in her first term in the United States House of Representatives, serving on the House Judiciary Committee - including as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security - and the House Oversight Committee.

Cori is the first Black woman and first nurse to represent Missouri; the first woman to represent Missouri’s First Congressional District; and the first activist from the movement to save Black lives elected to the United States Congress.

EARLY YEARS

Cori was born in St. Louis, Missouri to Errol Bush, a union meat-cutter and local politician, and Barbara Blakney. Her family descends from people who were enslaved in South Carolina and Mississippi. She was raised in the Northwoods neighborhood with her 2 siblings. Growing up, Cori’s father imparted on her the lessons of legendary Black leaders, whose photos hung on the walls of their house.

As a student, Cori excelled — graduating from Cardinal Ritter High School in North St. Louis City. She dreamed of becoming a nurse, and helping to save lives in her hometown.

Cori went on to attend St. Louis’ HBCU, Harris-Stowe State University, before taking a leave from her studies. She went on to attend the Lutheran School of Nursing to fulfill her childhood dream of becoming a nurse. She also became a faith leader in the community, becoming an ordained pastor and opening a ministry.

Like so many in St. Louis, Cori began her career by working minimum wage jobs to make ends meet. She lived paycheck-to-paycheck as a child care worker at a local preschool — struggling through the predatory payday loan cycle while trying to keep a roof over her head and food on the table. Cori survived domestic violence and was evicted after being attacked by a former partner.

In 2000, Cori gave birth to her first child, a son, nearly 4 months prematurely after doctors ignored her severe pain. He survived after being placed on a ventilator for an extended period of time. One year later, Cori welcomed her second child, a daughter, after another tumultuous pregnancy. Her experiences helped shape her stances as an relentless advocate for Black maternal health.

Shortly after her daughter’s birth, Cori became unhoused and lived out of her car with her partner and babies for a period of months. She used fast food restaurants to mix formula for her newborns and kept her belongings in trash bags in the back of the vehicle.

HELPING THE PEOPLE OF ST. LOUIS

In 2014, following the murder of Michael Brown Jr. by a now-terminated Ferguson police officer, Congresswoman Cori spent more than 400 days protesting for justice — leading on the ‘Ferguson Frontline’ as a nurse and clergy member.

For the first five weeks following the murder, Cori spent her days working in the community that witnessed Mike Brown Jr.’s body laying uncovered for four and a half hours in the hot St. Louis summer sun, providing triage-medical care and resources.

In the years following, she continued her activism as a co-founder of The Truth Telling Project and as a leader of the protest group #ExpectUS.

SERVING IN WASHINGTON

Now in her first term in office, Cori has championed legislation that puts St. Louis front and center. A relentless advocate for racial, social, health care, and environmental justice, Cori has led the movement to guarantee housing for all — introducing legislation to end houselessness by 2025, leading a national movement on the steps of the U.S. House of Representatives calling on the CDC to extend the eviction moratorium, as well as introducing legislation to permanently implement an eviction moratorium throughout the pandemic.

She’s urgently prioritized issues that are affecting St. Louisans every day — securing $700 million in COVID-19 relief for the St. Louis region through the American Rescue Plan, delivering an 8-week FEMA mass vaccination site, using her office as a vehicle to bring local leaders in the region together to coordinate a pandemic response, negotiating an EPA commitment to clean up Coldwater Creek, bringing home federal grant funding to create safer roadways and communities, and sending her constituent services team into local libraries to expand the accessibility of her office.

Cori serves on the House Judiciary Committee and on the House Oversight Committee. In her first term, she has become known for her catchphrase line of “St. Louis and I,” which she says at the beginning of any speech or question line in a hearing or on the House floor. She’s used her position on these committees to advocate for stricter oversight of oil and gas companies, push for police reform, advocate for protester rights, and much more. Cori was also named to the prestigious Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and appointed as Vice Chair of the Majority Leader Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.

About Rep Cori

Congresswoman Cori Bush never intended to run for office. But in 2014, a Ferguson police officer murdered Michael Brown Jr., and it lit a fire inside her. Cori showed up to the frontlines of the protests, and for 400 days used her training as a nurse and as a pastor to care for fellow community members who were beaten, tear-gassed, and shot with rubber bullets.

Challenging a 50-year political dynasty by running for Congress was never something Congresswoman Cori thought she’d do, but when local leaders asked, she knew she needed to answer the call. She had seen the policy harm done to her community by absent, status quo politicians, and she knew her neighbors deserved better. So she stepped up, ran for Congress, and despite all the odds, won election to the U.S. House of Representatives by putting the people of St. Louis first–becoming the first nurse and the first Black woman to ever represent Missouri in federal office.

In one year in office, Congresswoman Cori has already changed the conversation. She’s introduced groundbreaking new legislation to bring transformative change to St. Louis, like the Green New Deal for Cities and the People’s Response Act. She’s secured investments to help her community persevere through and begin healing from the deadly pandemic, to rebuild crumbling infrastructure in St. Louis, and to clean up our community’s natural resources, like Coldwater Creek. And she leda national campaign to prevent people from being evicted during a deadly pandemic.

All of that is just the beginning. Now, Congresswoman Cori is running for re-election to do more for everyone, starting with those who have the least. As always, she’s unbought and unbossed, answering only to the people, and rejecting money from corporate PAC’s and special interests. She is accountable only to the people of Missouri’s First Congressional District and will do all that she can to make sure every single person in her district, in our country, and around the world can live a full, joyous, and decent life.

Issues

I do this work to save lives. I know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck, to be burdened with student and medical debt, and to live day-to-day in St. Louis where poverty is rampant, gun violence is rampant, and our unhoused community suffers daily. We need a champion for policies that prioritizes the needs of the people of Missouri’s 1st directly–and who is relentless in her work to deliver change we can feel. It is my honor to champion that work on behalf of our community.

Medicare for All

Healthcare is a human right. No one should be denied healthcare based on age, gender, ability to pay, or health status- pre-existing condition. Our government needs to join every other industrialized nation and pass Medicare for All.

I’m a nurse. In my work, I’ve seen patients ration medication because they couldn’t afford it — or skip treatments altogether. I’ve seen patients die because our for-profit health care system put their shareholders’ profits over saving lives.

I also know what it’s like to be uninsured. While running for office, I contracted COVID-19 and didn’t have health insurance. When I was having trouble breathing, a friend was inclined to call 911 for an ambulance to transport her to the hospital, but I begged her not to because I knew I couldn’t afford it. I believe health care is a fundamental human right and that no person should have to refuse to seek out medical care because they can’t afford it.

The fight for health care justice is personal to me. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated the racial and socioeconomic barriers too many low-income, Black and brown communities face to accessing high quality health care. I believe the only – only – way forward is joining the rest of the developed world and enacting a single-payer, universal health care system that guarantees high-quality, affordable, and comprehensive care for every person in America.

We need Medicare For All.

And as we work towards making that our reality — we need to deliver victories for regular, everyday people. Slashing prescription drug prices. Eliminating the racial health disparities that kill Black mothers and birthing people at a rate 4 times higher than that of white mothers and pregnant people. Protecting and expanding access to reproductive health care. That’s our work in Congress every single day.

In Congress, I was appointed to the powerful House Oversight Committee where I championed Medicare for All, affordable prescription drugs, reproductive justice, and health equity, and where I led the effort for the first congressional hearing on Medicare For All since the start of the pandemic. I am a proud member of the Medicare For All Caucus, Pro-Choice Caucus, and Black Maternal Health Caucus.

Protect Health Care as a Fundamental Human Right

  • Pass Medicare For All. In Congress, I will not only cosponsor and support the Medicare For All Act, but I will continue to lead by keeping Medicare For All front and center in the national debate on health care. I was proud to co-chair and lead efforts to hold a historic Medicare For All hearing this past March — the first congressional hearing on the topic in three years and the first ever hearing on Medicare For All for the House Oversight Committee. I believe that every person – regardless of race, income, employment, disability or immigration status – should have access to high-quality, comprehensive, and free health care, including access to lower cost prescription drugs, long-term care, and abortion care.

  • Lower the cost of prescription drugs. As a nurse, I have seen the devastation high cost prescription drugs have caused on the lives of children, families, and individuals all across America. It’s why I have fought so fiercely to lower the price of lifesaving prescription drugs in Congress. That work will continue as we work to cap the monthly price of insulin at $35, expand prescription drug coverage to those who are uninsured, and end the corporate greed that has put prescription medications out of reach for millions of people. In Congress, I will continue to support efforts to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drugs, hold drug manufacturers accountable, end price gouging, and enforce antitrust laws to break up drug monopolies.

  • Preserve Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP. Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), collectively enroll more than 130 million Americans, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). These programs provide a critical safety net for seniors and families struggling to afford quality healthcare. Republican proposals like those in Missouri threaten to undermine these critical protections by creating block grants or privatizing core services. In Congress, I will continue advocating for the preservation of these programs, and work to ensure that they remain sustainable for future generations.

Protect Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Freedom

  • Repeal the Hyde Amendment and Protect Reproductive Rights. The prohibition on the use of federal funds to pay for abortion services disproportionately impacts low-income women, Black, brown, and Indigenous people, , immigrants, LGBTQIA+ people, and adolescents who rely on Medicaid for their health care coverage. In Congress, I will continue to be a fierce advocate for reproductive rights, and push to repeal this ban. Protect the Right to Access Complete and Accurate Reproductive Health Care Information. I will continue to oppose any cuts in funding or requirements that restrict a person’s right to access important information about their healthcare, including information about safe, legal abortion care. In Congress, I have supported and will continue to support the Women’s Health Protection Act to prohibit restrictive state and federal laws that interfere with reproductive health care services for women and pregnant people, including laws that prevent crisis pregnancy centers operating as comprehensive health care clinics from offering comprehensive information on the full range of health care options available to those in need.

  • Destigmatize abortion care. Abortion care is health care and we must guarantee it as the fundamental human right that it is. Last year, during a hearing on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform I testified and shared for the first time my decision to get an abortion when I was 18 years old after I was raped while attending a church trip. It’s crucial for lawmakers to speak truthfully about the devastating affects restrictions on abortion care will have for those in need – particularly among Black and brown communities. I also understand how important it is to destigmatize abortion care, which is why I will continue to work to remove barriers to accessing essential health care like abortion care and family planning services.

  • Abolish the filibuster. When news broke that the Supreme Court would overturn the landmark Roe v Wade case which upheld abortion as a constitutional right, I quickly got to work urging my colleagues in the United States Senate to abolish the archaic filibuster, codify Roe, and enact sweeping legislation to expand the Supreme Court. Within my first few months in office, I led 100 colleagues in urging the Senate to abolish the filibuster so that Congress could pass much needed legislation to protect communities of color, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, workers, immigrants, and other marginalized communities. In Congress, I will continue to fight to eliminate the archaic Jim Crow filibuster which continues to block vital legislation from moving forward.

  • Prevent GOP efforts to restrict reproductive health care. I’ve led efforts to urge the Biden administration to enforce Medicaid laws and prohibit states like Missouri from blocking funding for family planning services aimed at further restricting access to abortion care. I will continue pushing back against targeted attempts by the Republicans in Missouri to restrict access to reproductive health care. Support Comprehensive Sexual Health Education. As a nurse, I understand the importance of providing comprehensive sexual health education in public schools. It helps teach young people vital information about consent, healthy dating, and the risks of intimate partner violence. In Congress, I will continue to fight for equitable access to sexual health education that is inclusive of LGBTQ+ youth, medically accurate, and promotes healthy relationships. I will cosponsor the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, which would provide grants for comprehensive sex education to public or private entities that focus on adolescent health and education or have experience with training sex educators.

Treat Substance Use as a Public Health Crisis

  • End the War on Drugs. We need a new approach – an evidence-based approach that does not perpetuate further harm in communities of color. I was proud to introduce the Drug Policy Reform Act – first of its kind federal legislation – to decriminalize all drugs, expunge past drug convictions, and invest in a health-centered approach to substance-use. In Congress, I will continue to work to advance this transformational legislation and ensure we both treat substance use as the public health issue it is and repair the decades of harm and devastation that the misguided war on drugs has had on Black and brown communities.

  • Address the opioid crisis. St. Louis ranks among the deadliest cities in the country for overdose deaths among Black people. According to a study by the University of Missouri–St. Louis opioid overdose deaths among Black people in St. Louis City and County increased by 560% in the last six years alone. We need to address the opioid crisis, including the use of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, as the public health crisis it is. In Congress, I will continue urging the executive branch to end Trump-era policy criminalizing fentanyl-related substances which has only further endangered people’s lives. We must invest more resources in expanding treatment and recovery options, increase outreach capacity in Black and brown communities, make Naloxone – a lifesaving opioid overdose reversal medication – available over the counter, and support health-based harm-reduction strategies that have been proven to save lives.

  • Legalize marijuana. Despite the fact that 18 states have legalized marijuana, drug possession remains the most arrested offense in the United States. While the US accounts for the world’s largest prison population, the issue of drug use and possession has not declined. We need to divest from failed strategies that continue to direct funding toward law enforcement instead of making much-needed investments in communities. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, I worked hard to advance the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act to decriminalize marijuana, expunge records, and prioritize equitable investments in communities harmed by the war on drugs. In Congress, I will continue fighting to make sure this legislation becomes law.

Promote Health-Based Approaches to Community Violence

  • Pass the People’s Response Act. In Congress, I was proud to introduce the People’s Response Act – visionary legislation to end police brutality. This transformational legislation would provide evidence-based policy approaches to reduce contact with law enforcement, particularly for emergencies involving mental health crises, substance use, homelessness, and wellness checks, by replacing armed law enforcement officials with trained, unarmed health professionals. I will continue to work to deliver justice for communities that have been underfunded and underserved by providing us with the resources we need to move the response to mental health and other emergencies away from policing, prisons, and jails and instead towards care and treatment.

  • Support community-based violence prevention programs. As your Congresswoman, I launched a gun violence prevention initiative that allowed my office to meet with families, survivors of non-fatal gun violence, advocates, and activists to hear directly from those most affected by this epidemic and develop solutions to address it. I am a proud cosponsor of the Break the Cycle of Violence Act which would provide federal grants to communities for evidence-informed community violence intervention and prevention programs designed to interrupt cycles of violence. I am also proud to have pushed for a historic $5 billion in funding through the House-passed Build Back Better Act to fund community violence intervention programs. I will continue to push Congress to pass gun safety and violence prevention legislation because we know it will save lives and prevent the trauma we are facing in our community.

  • Support trauma-informed practices in schools. In a trauma-informed school, all of the adults in the school community are prepared and resourced to recognize and respond to students who have been impacted by trauma and toxic stress. Systems and structures are built to address the underlying context that impacts students’ behavior. As your Congresswoman, I will continue to champion critical investments in trauma informed education and specifically advocate for additional increases in flexible funding to support innovative local efforts on this front (through the Every Student Succeeds Act Title IV A) and new legislation calling for a trauma informed education toolkit highlighting evidence based approaches jointly developed by HHS and the Department of Education.

Invest in Mental Health Services. I’ve met with youth and families across our St. Louis community as part of our “Congress in Your Classroom” and “Victims of Gun Violence” initiatives and have heard overwhelmingly about the impact that pervasive gun violence has had on their lives and in our community. As your Congresswoman, and as a nurse who has worked in mental health care, I will continue pushing for robust investments in mental health services and support for families and communities disproportionately affected by gun violence.

Protecting the Right to Vote

Our democracy is under attack by Republican state legislatures across the country. It’s on Congress to act now to secure the right to vote for every American.

Missouri. Georgia. Arizona. Michigan. The GOP is pulling out every last stop to strip the right to vote from Black, brown, and Indigenous voters. I refuse to let them get away with it.

On just my third day in Congress, I introduced a resolution to investigate and expel the members of Congress who worked to overturn the results of the election and in turn incited a deadly insurrection that put the lives of countless congressional staff, service and custodial workers, public safety officers, and members of Congress at risk.

Now, in statehouses across the country, the attack on our democracy is being waged through legislation. Banning water at polling stations. Mandating voter ID laws. Stripping away early voting options.

At a time when dark money is already devastating our democracy, we need to act swiftly to make sure everyone’s voices are heard at the ballot box.

As your Congresswoman, I have:
  • Used my perch on the House Judiciary Committee to hold high-profile hearings on protecting the right to vote against Republican attacks.

  • Used my perch on the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties to Co-sponsored H.R.1, the For The People Act, to get dark money out of politics, expand voter registration efforts, secure the right to vote for all, and end partisan gerrymandering.

  • Co-sponsored H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to protect voters from discrimination and restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

  • Led a letter of a coalition of nearly 100 members calling for the abolishment of the filibuster to pass voting rights and the rest of the Democratic agenda.

  • Led an amendment that received an historic level of congressional support to restore the right to vote to individuals who are incarcerated.

  • Refused to accept a penny of corporate PAC money.

Reproductive Justice Action & Support Hub

Across the nation, reproductive rights are under attack. Mere minutes after a far-right Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, Missouri became the first state to ban abortion outright. Make no mistake: this is not just an assault on our bodily autonomy — this is class warfare and white supremacy at work too. Black women and people with low-incomes will be disproportionately harmed by this ruling, and people will lose their lives as a result of this disastrous decision by the Supreme Court.

Abortion care is health care and health care is a human right.

For me, this is personal. I’ve talked before about how and why I chose to terminate my pregnancy after I was sexually assaulted in 1994. That decision was the hardest one I’ve ever made, but it was right for me, and it altered the course of my life. I can’t describe the rage I feel now when I think that today’s Supreme Court would have tried to force me to carry my rapist’s child.

This is a moment of crisis, and it’s on all of us to act, because we are powerful beyond belief. That’s what this page is about. We’ve assembled a one-stop hub to help people understand their rights, how you can still access the health care you need, and what you can do to help us make lasting change in Missouri and across the country.

We are not powerless, and we will not stop until abortion care is legal everywhere. Together, we will build the future we deserve.

A COMPREHENSIVE ROADMAP TO PROTECTING REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM

  • Demand the Senate abolish the filibuster and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify the right to abortion care.

  • Call on your Senators or Representative to support the Judiciary Act to expand the Supreme Court by four seats — and don’t forget to ask them to support term limits.

  • Demand that the Biden-Harris administration declare a national public health emergency and open up resources to support people in need of abortion care.

  • Demand Congress repeal the discriminatory Hyde Amendment which prohibits federal funding for abortion care and mandate that all health insurers cover abortion care, including Medicaid and Medicare.

  • Demand that the Biden-Harris administration protect and increase access to medication abortion, including expanding telehealth services.

  • Demand the Department of Health and Human Services establish an office of Sexual Reproductive Health & Wellbeing to oversee a national sexual and reproductive health care strategy.

  • emand that Congress pass legislation to provide resources for individuals seeking abortion care in other states, such as vouchers for travel, childcare services, housing, doula care, and other forms of support and protect the right to travel free of interference from anti-abortion states.

  • Demand that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services enforce the “Free Choice of Provider” requirement guaranteeing low-income Medicaid patients the freedom to seek family planning services from a provider of their choosing to prevent states like Missouri from blocking access to essential family planning services.

  • Demand that the Department of Justice examine federal pathways to prevent state efforts to criminalize of abortion care, including use of federal property.

  • Demand Congress pass the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act to address the maternal mortality crisis and improve health outcomes for pregnant and postpartum people.

  • Urge the Biden-Harris to use its executive authority to safeguard data privacy rights and prevent tracking or prosecution of pregnancy support services and abortion care.

  • Demand the Biden-Harris administration direct the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue rules to prohibit deceptive or misleading advertising related to the provision of abortion services. Anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers purposely spread false information to dissuade people from getting the reproductive health care they need, including abortion care.

  • emand Congress pass the Real Education and Access for Healthy Youth Act to fund and expand access to comprehensive sexual health education, which includes education inclusive of LGBTQIA+ individuals and people with disabilities.

  • Demand Congress pass legislation to abolish the Electoral College and ensure that whoever wins the popular vote, wins the presidency.

  • In addition to Roe, demand Congress codify our rights to birth control, same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriage as decided by landmark cases Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.

  • Demand Congress strip the Court of its power to invalidate federal laws that protect our fundamental rights, such as our rights to reproductive health, voting, marriage equality Demand Congress pass my People’s Response Act to invest in a non-carceral health-based response to community safety, and prevent efforts to ramp up policing, surveillance, criminalization, and incarceration of people seeking abortion care or suffering through pregnancy loss.

Demand Congress support legislative efforts to dismantle punitive institutions that threaten and rip apart families, and transform our broken child welfare system.

  • Call on your Member of Congress to support Medicare For All to establish a national single-payer health care system that would guarantee free health care coverage to every person, including coverage for abortion care.

  • Demand Congress enact a federal minimum wage of at least $15, national paid family and medical leave, universal preschool and childcare, fully funded public education, and guaranteed affordable housing for all.

PROTECT ABORTION RIGHTS AT THE BALLOT BOX

  • Vote, vote, vote. Vote like our lives depend on it, because they do.
  • GOTV. Mobilize, organize, and strategize within your local community and support sexual and reproductive rights champions up and down the ballot who will unequivocally support efforts to protect reproductive freedom and affirm the right to abortion care.
  • Block abortion bans. Find out if your state has ballot initiatives or state laws that would ban abortion care and organize in your local community to block them. According to the Guttmacher Institute, only 16 states and the District of Columbia have laws that protect the right to abortion. If your state hasn’t already, organize and- or join an effort to adopt a state ballot initiative to protect reproductive freedom, including abortion care.

Transforming Public Safety

Every person deserves to feel safe in our community. That’s not the reality we live in today. We need to replace our public safety system’s instinct to criminalize with an instinct to provide care.

For far too long, our public safety system has been rooted in incarceration, criminalization, and surveillance. It’s a system that has been failing Black and brown communities. The United States is the world leader in incarceration. Police in our country kill civilians at far higher rates than other wealthy countries. These crises disproportionately harm Black communities.

We feel it every day here in St. Louis, where the police have led the nation in killings of civilians for nearly a decade — including Michael Brown in 2014.

We deserve a public safety system that promotes the health and wellbeing of all in our communities. We need to advance evidence-based, health-centered policy solutions that address our public safety crisis as the public health emergency that it is.

In Congress, I have made transforming our public safety system a top priority. I was appointed to the powerful House Judiciary Committee, named Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommitee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, and serve as a member on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.

I believe that we must dismantle white supremacy in all its forms, including in our criminal legal system and build systems of care and compassion. As your Congresswoman, I will continue pushing to transform public safety, end the war on drugs, address the gun violence epidemic, and protect survivors of violence.

Transform Public Safety

Health-based crises such as mental health and substance use disorders deserve health-based responses. And yet far too often police officers are the first responders for crises involving substance use, behavioral health issues, wellness checks, and homelessness. Unfortunately, these encounters are too often fatal. Studies have shown that people with untreated mental health disorders are 16 times more likely to be killed during a police encounter than people without mental health disorders who are approached or stopped by law enforcement.

  • Pass the People’s Response Act. In Congress, I was proud to introduce the People’s Response Act – visionary legislation to end police brutality. This transformational legislation would provide evidence-based policy approaches to reduce contact with law enforcement, particularly for emergencies involving mental health crises, substance use, homelessness, and wellness checks, by replacing armed law enforcement officials with trained, unarmed health professionals. I will continue to work to deliver justice for communities that have been underfunded and underserved by providing us with the resources we need to move the response to mental health and other emergencies away from policing, prisons, and jails and instead towards care and treatment.

  • End racist policing. This means enacting accountability reforms in our public safety system like ending qualified immunity, a court-made doctrine that shields police officers from accountability for misconduct and abuse, rooting out police misconduct through a national decertification and misconduct registry, mandating that the Department of Justice collect data on police use-of-force, and urging the federal government to enforce civil rights protections to ensure federal funding is not going to police departments with a history of racial discrimination.

End the Incarceration Crisis

With more than 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States, our country represents just 4 percent of the global population but accounts for more than 20 percent of the world’s incarcerated population. Even worse, nearly 70 million people in our country have a criminal record which has barred them from voting, receiving federal assistance, accessing student loans, and made it nearly impossible for them to fully participate in society. This is a dire crisis that has disproportionately impacted Black and brown people. I believe we need to end our country’s instinct to criminalize, arrest, and incarcerate and instead build systems of care that see the humanity in every person. I am proud to represent St. Louis on the House Judiciary Committee and serve as Vice Chair on the Subcommittee on Crime where I have led efforts to conduct oversight on the federal Bureau of Prisons, end mandatory minimum sentencing laws and solitary confinement, and push for reducing the prison and jail population.

  • Decarcerate our nation’s prisons and jails. Throughout my first term in Congress, I have been a leading champion for the need to reduce our prison and jail populations. One of my first acts as Congresswoman for Missouri’s First District, was successfully pushing to keep the 4,000+ individuals on home confinement under the CARES Act at home and in their communities; urging the President of the United States to utilize his executive authority to grant clemency to individuals in federal custody; and introducing the FIX Clemency Act to establish an Independent Clemency Board to review the more than 18,000 clemency petitions and make recommendations for release. In April 2022, President Biden heeded our calls, granting 78 individuals clemency, including two St. Louis natives convicted on federal drug charges. But there are tens of thousands more people languishing in a backlogged clemency system. In addition to pushing forward legislation to end mandatory minimum sentencing and make it retroactive, I will continue urging the President to use his executive authority to grant clemency.

  • Protect the rights of incarcerated people. I have worked extensively to standardize COVID-19 protocols and improve conditions in the City Justice Center and have been an outspoken supporter for closing the Workhouse (Medium Security Institution) after visiting with constituents detained inside of both facilities within my first few months in office. I’ve also held the federal Bureau of Prisons accountable for issues involving sexual assault, violence, and mistreatment towards people in federal custody. One of my first pieces of legislation in Congress was to restore the voting rights of people incarcerated, resulting in a historic vote in the House of Representatives. While the amendment did not pass, nearly 100 colleagues are on the record in support of ending felony disenfranchisement – adding much needed momentum to this national push. I will never stop doing the necessary work to protect the rights of all people – and that includes people behind the wall.

  • Abolish the death penalty. We know that the death penalty is disproportionately given to Black and brown people. It’s barbaric, cruel, and far too often given to individuals who are innocent. In Congress, I have co-sponsored legislation to outlaw the federal death penalty once and for all. As a first-term Congresswoman, I pushed President Biden to commute the sentences of all those serving on federal death row. Our efforts have led the Department of Justice to halt all federal executions – ending a horrific spree by the Trump administration. Last year, I also encouraged Governor Parson to grant clemency for Ernest Johnson, an intellectually disabled Black man who had spent 26 years on death row. I will continue to use my voice and platform to end the cruel and inhumane practice of capital punishment – at both the state and federal levels.

Prioritize Health-Based Community Violence Prevention

The gun violence epidemic is claiming lives all across St. Louis and the country. Missouri has some of the weakest gun laws in the country and as a result it ranks 4th in the nation for gun deaths. St. Louis leads the country in its murder rate and in police violence per capita. Women and children are often the most vulnerable when it comes to gun violence in our community. This crisis is entirely preventable and it must end.

  • Support community-based violence prevention programs. As your Congresswoman, I launched a gun violence prevention initiative that allowed my office to meet with families, survivors of non-fatal gun violence, community-based advocates, and activists to hear directly from those most affected by this epidemic and develop solutions to address it. I am a proud cosponsor of the Break the Cycle of Violence Act which would provide federal grants to communities for evidence-informed community violence intervention and prevention programs designed to interrupt cycles of violence. I am also proud to have pushed for a historic $5 billion in funding through the House-passed Build Back Better Act to fund community violence intervention programs. I will continue to push Congress to pass gun safety and violence prevention legislation because we know it will save lives and prevent the trauma we are facing in our community.

  • Invest in Mental Health Services. I’ve met with youth and families across our St. Louis community as part of my “Congress in Your Classroom” and have heard overwhelmingly about the impact that pervasive gun violence has had on the lives of youth in our community. As your Congresswoman, and as a nurse who has worked in mental health care, I will continue pushing for robust investments in mental health services and support for youth, families, and communities disproportionately affected by community violence.

  • Support trauma-informed practices in schools. In a trauma-informed school, all of the adults in the school community are prepared and resourced to recognize and respond to students who have been impacted by trauma and toxic stress. Systems and structures are built to address the underlying context that impacts students’ behavior. As your Congresswoman, I will continue to champion critical investments in trauma informed education and specifically advocate for additional increases in flexible funding to support innovative local efforts on this front (through the Every Student Succeeds Act Title IV A) and new legislation calling for a trauma informed education toolkit highlighting evidence based approaches jointly developed by HHS and the Department of Education.

End the War on Drugs

It’s been more than 50 years since President Nixon declared drug use as “public enemy number one” sparking a racist, misguided, and failed War on Drugs. Public safety is a public health issue, and that includes the use and possession of drugs. Far too often, we have criminalized and arrested people – disproportionately Black and brown people – for drugs rather than meeting them with compassion and empathy. Today, nearly two dozen states have legalized marijuana and in that time it has become a multi-billion industry. Yet, despite this, drug possession remains the most arrested offense in the country. I believe we need to adopt a new approach to drug use that is rooted in saving lives, not destroying them.

  • Decriminalize drugs. There can be no doubt that we need a new approach – an evidence-based approach that does not perpetuate further harm in communities of color. I was proud to introduce the Drug Policy Reform Act – first of its kind federal legislation – to decriminalize all drugs, expunge past drug convictions, and invest in a health-centered approach to substance-use. In Congress, I will continue to work to advance this transformational legislation and ensure we both treat substance use as the public health issue it is and repair the decades of harm and devastation that the misguided war on drugs has had on Black and brown communities.

  • Address the opioid crisis. St. Louis ranks among the deadliest cities in the country for overdose deaths among Black people. According to a study by the University of Missouri–St. Louis opioid overdose deaths among Black people in St. Louis City and County increased by 560% in the last six years alone. We need to address the opioid crisis, including the use of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, that addresses substance use as the public health crisis it is. In Congress, I will continue urging the executive branch to end the Trump-era policy that criminalizes fentanyl-related substances which has only further endangered people’s lives. We must invest more resources in expanding treatment and recovery options, increase outreach capacity in Black and brown communities, make Naloxone – a lifesaving opioid overdose reversal medication – available over the counter, and support health-based harm-reduction strategies that are proven to save lives.

Push to legalize marijuana. We need to divest from failed strategies that continue to direct funding toward law enforcement instead of making much-needed investments in communities. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, I worked hard to advance the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act to decriminalize marijuana, expunge records, and prioritize equitable investments in communities harmed by the war on drugs. In Congress, I will continue fighting to make sure this legislation becomes law.

Housing for All I’m the formerly unhoused Congresswoman — and I bring that experience with me to Congress every single day. Our government has failed to secure housing as a human right — and since getting elected, I’ve refused to let anyone forget it.

The affordable housing crisis in America is an urgent, life-threatening public health emergency.

The inability of the richest country in the world to guarantee housing, universal medical care, and livable wages to its people represents a moral and political failure at every level of our society. I’ve long believed housing is a basic human right and lawmakers in Congress must start legislating like it.

I’ve been evicted. I’ve been unhoused and lived in my car with my two babies, I know the trauma and violence of being house insecure. That’s why I refuse to accept the status quo that leaves hundreds of thousands of our people unhoused.

It’s not just about having a place to live: it’s about making sure people feel safe and secure, and building a world in which no person has to endure the trauma of having all of their belongings put out on the street.

When Congress went on vacation without extending the eviction moratorium, I refused to go home. For 5 days, I camped out on the Capitol steps, organized a mass movement, and pressured the Biden administration to act. And they did — we won an extension of the eviction moratorium – helping to keep an estimated 11 million people in their homes. For three more weeks, states and localities had more time to stand up systems and processes for doling out the $46.5 billion in emergency rental assistance that we had secured as part of COVID relief funds. For three more weeks, and until the far-right Supreme Court struck it down, children and families all across the country were protected from evictions. It’s why I introduced the Keeping Renters Safe Act – bicameral legislation – to extend the eviction moratorium through the end of this COVID-19 public health emergency.

I know the housing crisis doesn’t just fall hardest on renters. I understand the challenges that homeowners and landlords face in our community. In Congress, I will continue pushing for historic investments in our nation’s housing stock so that we can expand affordable housing options, end exclusionary zoning policies, provide safe options so our seniors can age in place, end redlining, and provide redress for Black homeowners in St. Louis and beyond.

We have the ability in Congress to ensure that every person in this country is housed — and I am working day in and day out to build that future where safe, affordable housing is guaranteed for all.

Guaranteed Affordable Housing For All
  • Pass the Unhoused Bill of Rights. My Unhoused Bill of Rights demonstrates the complexity of issues faced by unhoused persons, particularly as it relates to their criminalization, discrimination, dehumanization, and mistreatment by law enforcement, private businesses, and housed persons. From a health-based, equity approach the UBR calls on the federal government to permanently end the unhoused crisis by 2025 by drastically increasing the affordable housing stock, providing universal housing vouchers, and bolstering funding to federal housing programs, shelters, transitional and permanent housing programs, social services, and housing advocates. As your Congresswoman, I will never stop fighting to protect the health, safety, and rights of every person in St. Louis, including our unhoused neighbors.

  • Fully fund and expand vouchers for affordable housing. The Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) program, the nation’s largest rental assistance program, provides rent subsidies to low-income families in the private market. Unfortunately, just one in four eligible families have access to this program. Stable housing greatly impacts physical and mental health outcomes. In Congress, I will push to review HCV and expand subsidies so that more St. Louis households can afford to choose where they live.

  • Increase funding for the National Housing Trust Fund. Created in 2008, the National Housing Trust Fund is a federal fund that supports state plans to “produce, rehabilitate, preserve, and operate rental housing for [extremely low-income] households.” The fund began funding projects in 2016, but significant unmet needs continue to exist in rental housing available to extremely low-income families, necessitating greater federal resources. In Congress, I will continue advocating for increased funding for the National Housing Trust Fund, in order to expand federal support for the development and preservation of affordable housing.

  • Fund HUD Section 202 Program. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, “HUD’s Section 202 program is the only federal rental assistance program designed explicitly to serve seniors, yet there has been no funding for new construction under the program since fiscal year 2011.” We know that helping seniors age, safely, in place improves quality of life and public health. We should be making necessary investments to ensure seniors have access to safe, affordable housing and/or resources to remain in their homes. In Congress, I will continue fighting for renewed funding for this vital program.

  • End All Evictions. Evictions are policy violence. No person should come home to an eviction notice, be forced to see all of their belongings put on the streets, or have evictions placed on their credit reports. As someone who has been evicted, I understand the trauma that ensues from a violent eviction. It’s why I introduced the Keeping Renters Safe Act to prohibit all evictions during the COVID-19 public health emergency. In Congress, I will continue to fight and advance legislation that protects renters from evictions, provides access to legal aid, and prohibits the reporting of evictions on credit reports.

  • Protect Survivors of Domestic Violence. Traditionally, housing protections under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) would only apply to domestic violence and sexual assault survivors living in public housing – until VAWA was reauthorized in March 2022. My first eviction was the result of a domestic violence incident. It’s something I’ll never forget and it is why I was proud to secure two amendments in the reauthorization of VAWA that President Biden signed into law earlier this year – one of which will extend protections to survivors of domestic violence from eviction and ensure survivors have the necessary supports they need to access transitional housing programs. To heal, survivors of domestic and sexual violence need access to basic necessities, including housing. It is vital protections such as housing that help protect survivors and save lives.

End Racist, Discriminatory Housing Policies

Provide assistance to people hurt by federal housing policy failures. The housing crisis affects low income St. Louisans by presenting us with a false dichotomy: we can either live in a disinvested community controlled by unaccountable slum lords or live in gentrifying communities controlled by the will of private developers. Our government has failed to represent our need for quality and affordable housing. In Congress, I will continue to push back against discriminatory housing policies that undermine the Fair Housing Act, including racist housing appraisal processes, Black and brown neighborhoods’ proximity to high pollution areas, and disproportionately high foreclosure rates for Black homeowners. Additionally, I will support the advancement of the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act which would create a down payment assistance program for first-time homebuyers living in formerly redlined communities and a $2 billion program to assist homeowners with negative equity and strengthen the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to ensure that financial institutions do more to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income borrowers and neighborhoods.

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