- Name: R. Cazel Levine
- Age: 56
- Years in public service: 30 years
- City/County of residence: Chesterfield
- Virginia congressional district: 4th
- Party affiliation: Democrat
- Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Tell us about your top three legislative priorities and why they are important to you and your constituents.
FROM R. CAZEL LEVINE
My three top priorities are universal health care; modernizing our education system; and rebuilding, sustaining and subsiding our small businesses.
Universal health care
Every developed country except for the United States provides its citizens with guaranteed healthcare.
Unfortunately, there are 27.5 million citizens without healthcare.
There are 44 million citizens who are underinsured because they can’t afford to pay their high deductibles and high copayments. In the state of Virginia, there are about 29% of our citizens are uninsured, which equates to roughly 93,000 citizens.
Universal health care will:
1. Reduce prescription drug cost – America pays the highest for prescription drugs than any other nation.
Approximately, one out of five Americans can’t afford their needed prescription drugs. Sadly, our citizens are forced to decide between food for their family and securing their prescription drugs to maintain their health.
2. Decrease the financial burden that families face daily – Most individuals who file for bankruptcy do so because of a medical hardship. Health care is bankrupting families who are unfortunately stuck with a critical medical incident, forcing families to offset the medical cost with GoFundMe campaigns. No family should have to be victimized by a catastrophic medical issue.
3. Increase Innovation – There is an untold number of Americans who choose to stay in unfulfilling jobs to keep their health benefits. Universal health care would allow those who chose to explore the American Dream of entrepreneurship to doing so without the burden of worrying about healthcare.
Second, modernizing the American education system
The improvement of the American education system is one of my highest priorities because every child deserves a chance at benefiting from a quality education. The quality of your education should not depend on where you live. As the congresswoman for the 4th congressional district, I will work hard for the improvement of the Department of Education and Congress to focus on three initiatives:
1. Modernizing the school infrastructure. Broadband and wireless technology should be available in every classroom in every school. As the world’s richest nation, we must have the latest technology in every school system to educate and prepare our children for the future.
2. Free two-years of post-high school education. As the congresswoman for the 4th congressional district, I will push for two years of free tuition – two years for public colleges, universities and vocational training centers. This initiative will keep our students from having to mortgage their futures to earn an advanced education. An additional two years of free tuition would be available for those committed to serving a minimum of four years in government service or agree to work in America’s public system after graduation.
3. Recognition, Reward and Replicate Program. Several members of academia have implemented creative solutions that have made a huge difference in students’ lives. I want to make it a priority to recognize and reward those educators who have achieved at a high level. I will advocate for a nationwide Recognition, Reward, and Replicate Program.
And finally, we must rebuild America’s economy – Rebuild, sustain and support small businesses
The devastation of the effects of COVID-19 has devasted America’s economy. But more importantly, this virus has devasted the health and welfare of the citizens of the United States of America. Small businesses across Virginia have been especially hit hard. Corporate America for far too long has benefited from government subsidies and bailouts. As your Congresswoman, I will seek to
1. Redefine the definition of small business – When Harvard University, Shake-Shack and Ruth Chris can meet the definition of small business; we have a problem.
These highly profitable organizations and companies should not compete with mom and pop business for government funds.
2. Subsidize small businesses – 65% of all new jobs are created by small businesses. Small businesses must be economically viable post-COVID-19. As Virginia’s 4th Congressional District Representative, I would put forth legislation to ensure small businesses can rebuild and operate. I would put forth language strengthening opportunities for access to low-interest loans and provide greater access to credit.
3. Augment small business payroll – Many small businesses would be challenged to pay their employees a living wage. I would use my time in Washington to focus on legislation that would help pay a portion of small businesses’ payroll to ensure every employee is paid a living wage.