A MORE PERFECT UNION
Racism is a form of violence against human dignity:
Following the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, Black Lives Matter protests erupted on the steps of the Iowa capitol. Young people cried out; a Black legislator was tear gassed; arrests were made. Police brutality, unemployment, wage disparities, school to prison pipeline: all contributing factors to Iowa being ranked as the second worst state in the country to live in as a person of color.
All of this can and must change.
Rep. Lindsay James understands that Black and Brown Iowans face structural barriers to flourishing that are the legacy of centuries of racism, discrimination and white supremacy. Rep. James is committed to advocating for legislative remedies to ensure equity as well as cultural and social programs and initiatives that promote intercultural understanding and solidarity.
In 2019, Rep. James was a part of passing legislation that banned choke holds, gave the Attorney General the authority to investigate police misconduct, made it illegal to re-hire an officer who had previously been fired for misconduct, and established annual unconscious bias and de-escalation training for Iowa’s police officers.
Recent policing reform bill that passed with the support of Rep. James:
✓ Taking a step toward addressing racial injustice with Plan for a More Perfect Union (HF 2647)
This is a first step in overall reform, with more to be done in the area of racial profiling and providing citizen oversight boards greater authority to resolve misconduct issues.
Ending Mass Incarceration:
Rep. Lindsay James stands behind reform of our criminal justice system to end mass incarceration. Instead of building more prisons that simply warehouse people, we need to invest in jobs and education and help remove barriers to re-entry. We need mandatory minimum and sentencing reform, and to prioritize prevention and treatment over prison time.
Racial disparities in education, known as the “achievement gap,” illuminate the differences in educational outcomes and opportunities between minority students and their white counterparts. The gap is visible in grades, standardized test scores, reading levels, AP courses, drop-out rates, and college completion. To lessen this gap, we must invest more resources in low achieving schools, provide mentorship programs and mandate cultural competency training for educators.
Recent bill authored by Rep. James:
✓ Rep. James introduced legislation to re-consider the “weighting” of the school funding formula to take into consideration schools with a disproportionate number of kids in poverty. This bill was tabled for further discussion.
The pandemic has brought racial disparities in healthcare front and center. In our state COVID-19 has been killing brown and black people at disproportionately high rates. These healthcare realities are tied to chronic disease, poor housing conditions, food insecurity, and lake of care for workers in food processing plants.
Minority communities are less likely to have insurance or access to a healthcare provider. They are more likely to be burdened by chronic health conditions, such as, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, sickle cell anemia, and minority women have higher breast cancer, infant mortality, and maternal death rates. To overcome these barriers, we must expand the Affordable Care Act (ACA), provide insurance coverage for adult day care and invest in research around the disproportionate effect of the above health conditions on minorities.
Housing and the Economy:
According to the Princeton Eviction Lab, Dubuque has roughly 367 evictions each year. Evictions disproportionately impact single female head-of-household with young children. Rep. Lindsay James supports the federal section 8 housing choice voucher program and is an advocate for a state-wide “source of income ban.” There is a shortage of affordable housing options in our state and around the country. Tenants who pay for their housing through housing assistance, social security, disability, etc. must state the source of their income on their rental applications, therefore opening the door for illegal discrimination based on race and disability. Rep. James also supports more affordable loans for home mortgages, small business loans, and access to education InVEST programs