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Closing Arguments

Congressional Representative Closing Arguments: Mondaire Jones

November 3 is election day. You can currently vote through mail-in ballot or early voting. Polls will be open from 6a to 9p. Visit the Rockland County Board of Elections to learn where to vote.

by Mondaire Jones

Unlike many of the people we’re used to seeing in our politics, I don’t come from money or from a political family. I’m running for Congress because, for me, policy is personal. I know what it’s like for working families to struggle in this broken economy and still need government assistance to survive. I’ll use my lived experiences to inform the policymaking decisions happening in Congress.

I grew up in the working-class Village of Spring Valley, where I was raised by a young, single mom who, like so many incredible women throughout our district, and all throughout this country, worked multiple jobs just to provide for our family—even as we relied on Section 8 housing and food stamps to survive.

My mom got help raising me from my grandparents. My grandfather was a janitor at Pomona Middle School. My grandmother cleaned homes in Congers and Hillcrest, and when day care was too expensive, she took me to work with her. Now, I get to run to represent the same people whose homes I watched my grandmother clean growing up.

When we talk about the need for a $15 minimum wage or quality, affordable child care, those are needs I know to exist and fights I plan to join in Washington–because no kid should have to experience what I did growing up.

The fight for equitable funding of our public schools is personal for me. I was only able to transcend my humble beginnings due to a quality public education in the East Ramapo Central School District that unfortunately no longer exists in that same school district today. All of our children deserve to have the foundation they need to enter the world. I believe that the federal government must fulfill its promise to provide funding to districts that need it, and to ensure that every district serves all of its students. That’s a fight I look forward to joining in Congress.

As a 33-year-old whose generation will inherit this planet, I am acutely aware that we must take action to avert climate catastrophe, which is already affecting us right here in Rockland. Hurricane Isaias, which recently plunged thousands of Rocklanders into darkness for over a week, should serve as a reminder that our power grid must be prepared to withstand the effects of climate change. With millions of Americans newly unemployed, there has never been a better time to invest in a green jobs program that would get people back to work on the crucial task of building sustainable housing and infrastructure.

As a lifelong Rocklander, I know it’s too hard to get around Rockland–and to and from New York City and Westchester–without a car.  I believe we are long overdue for a major investment in public transportation, including a one-seat ride to New York City, that will facilitate economic growth by making Rockland a more attractive place for young people to move and start families, allow Rocklanders to more easily access the job opportunities available in the region, and help reduce both traffic and carbon emissions.

I know firsthand what it’s like to be burdened by the high cost of living in our area. In 2017, Donald Trump passed tax legislation that was a handout to billionaires and corporations funded by a tax hike on working families. That’s why I’m committed to repealing Trump’s tax bill and restoring the SALT (State and Local Tax) deduction to provide tax relief to the people in our district.

Now more than ever, it’s clear that we need people in office for whom policy is personal. We need Representatives in Congress who, like me, understand the struggles facing our communities, who aren’t taking a dime from corporations, and who can be trusted to always fight for the best interests of our communities.

The fact is, I’ve been fighting my whole life. First, it was against the odds of my upbringing, to the point where I was able to make it to Stanford University, work in the Obama Administration at the Department of Justice, and graduate Harvard Law School. More recently, after being an attorney in private practice, I’ve been a lawyer in government, fighting in the courtrooms on behalf of the people in our district.

Now, I’m running to fight for the people of Rockland County–the community that raised me–in Congress.

I’ll fight to fix our broken democracy to make sure it works for us, not big corporations and special interests. I’ll fight to make it more affordable for our families to live here. I’ll fight so that every last person in our district can live with dignity, security, and equal treatment under the law. I’ll fight because I know from firsthand experience that we deserve better.

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