Priorities | Dave Cavell for Congress

Issues

The Democratic Party has been right about most things for decades, but not always great at explaining why.

Most of the candidates in this race generally agree on these issues. So do most Americans. So why haven’t we made more progress? As a former speechwriter for the Obamas, I know how to explain not just what we’re doing but why — and as a former Assistant Attorney General who worked on the front lines of all these issues, I know how to build coalitions to get these things done.

Dave on the Issues

Strong gun laws save lives: Massachusetts has the lowest rate of gun violence in America — it’s not an accident. It’s because we have strong gun laws and enforce them. But one gun death is one too many. We need to do more to keep people safe and pass national sensible gun reform.

I support working families: Unions are on the front lines defending middle class and supporting working families. We need to return to the roots of the Democratic party in defending and strengthening the labor movement.

I support women’s reproductive rights: Roe v Wade is at its greatest risk in a generation – I will work tirelessly  to protect it. In the Attorney General’s Office we sued to protect contraceptive coverage for 55 million women under the Affordable Care Act and worked closely with Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and others to support and defend safe, legal abortions.

LGBTQ rights are human rights: This is the quintessential civil rights issue of the 21st century, and I will stand with the LGBTQ+ community on every issue and every fight. I was on the front lines when Massachusetts became the first state to pass marriage equality, I was in the Obama White House when it became the law of the land, and I worked alongside Attorney General Healey and so many others to protect transgender protections on our state ballot in 2018.

Opioid Crisis

This is my top priority and my Day One issue as your member of Congress.

Today, five more people will die in Massachusetts from opioid overdose. Tens of thousands more remain trapped in cycles of addiction. Families and communities are desperate for treatment and resources. Firefighters tell me 9-1-1 has become an overdose hotline.

When I was an Assistant Attorney General, the office sued Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, who make OxyContin. We put them out of business.

I worked alongside the recovery community, fire and police departments, the medical community, and others on the front lines of this crisis.

As your member of Congress, I will work to end this crisis once and for all, by getting families the treatment they need, funding prevention education for students, and getting first responders additional resources to save lives and break up drug trafficking networks.

COVID-19 Response

This pandemic has exposed the devastating impact of the absence of national leadership, a healthcare system driven by profit, and systemic inequities that disproportionately harm communities of color, immigrants, and the poor. 

I served in the Obama White House during the Zika virus outbreak and worked alongside the Global Health Security and Biodefense unit under the National Security Council—the “Pandemic Response” team that President Trump decided to disband. In this unprecedented moment, we need somebody with experience who will surround themselves with the right people. 

That means we must ensure the national response to this crisis is driven by experts and frontline workers. Congress must also allocate funds for the testing and PPE needed by frontline healthcare workers, and we must work to make sure that contacting tracing is happening in every state. 

In this terrible moment, we are reminded that our nation is only as strong as the most vulnerable among us. That’s why we must address the underlying disparities in our healthcare system, and protect the Affordable Care Act as we move toward a healthcare-for-all system. We need to guarantee every American free testing, affordable care, and equitable treatment immediately.

With tens of millions of Americans unemployed, we must protect families from financial devastation by:

Providing financial support to the individuals, families most impacted by this crisis

Helping small businesses

Helping non-profits and community organizations

Supporting our cities and towns

Like any crisis, this pandemic hits Black and brown folks disproportionately hard, and requires an intersectional solution. We must invest in communities of color and immigrant communities, and work to address and end institutional racism through reimagining systems in this country that weren’t built for everyone to succeed.

Healthcare

Healthcare is a human right. That’s why I support Medicare for All as the best way to make healthcare accessible and affordable for every single person in this country.

I was the first candidate in this race to endorse in the presidential primary, and I supported Senator Elizabeth Warren largely for her healthcare plan. It starts by strengthening the Affordable Care Act, which I helped champion in the White House.

We must protect people with pre-existing conditions and lower the cost of essential drugs like insulin on day one. Using a transition plan, we can work toward the goal of high-quality, free healthcare for every person in the United States.

Achieving a truly universal system will be an immense challenge and will require grinding legislative work. But I am prepared for this challenge. I helped defend the Affordable Care Act against Trump administration rollbacks as a senior advisor to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and I am ready to continue the fight for healthcare in Congress.

I’m also ready to help deliver a message to the American people that the best and most affordable system is a public system, where executive pay and marketing do not drive up costs. Here in Massachusetts, where we have a 98.5% rate of coverage and world-class hospitals and levels of care— it is our responsibility to lead the way for the rest of the country, and continue to invest in healthcare here at home.

Racial and Criminal Justice

I support The First Step Act, which makes progress on sentencing reform, but it needs to go further. By turning back mandatory minimums, making sentencing reforms retroactive and expunging records, we can provide justice for those who have already been harmed by the system.

We cannot continue to over-punish people and allow it to permanently stain their records for the entirety of their lives. The prison system must not be a tool to punish, but a tool for rehabilitation. Releasing inmates into a world and into an economy where they do not have the skills to get a job, a foundation towards success, or even a civic voice does more harm than good.

Deadly force must not be used unless there is an absolute and imminent threat. By requiring officers to give a verbal warning when possible, before using deadly force, there is time given to comply with the warning. Additionally, by requiring reporting and release of police killings and serious civilian injuries within 72 hours of the incident, we can hold our law enforcement accountable to a higher standard with the ultimate goal being no deaths or injuries reported.

It is clear that police officers who commit crimes are often not held accountable. A mere 1 out of 12 reports of police misconduct lead to punishment for that officer. I support the Campaign Zero Civilian Complaints Office framework, which simplifies the process of making a complaint for civilians and sets requirements for how the community should investigate such complaints. This framework also mandates more public disclosure of complaints, demographics of those making complaints, and the results of the Office’s investigations.

Today, police are being asked to do too much. Police are called during mental health crises. It’s time to see parity between police budgets and other forms of social spending, like spending on social workers, mental health counselors, healthcare centers and health clinics, and other much-needed community resources. By building out a wider array of non-police services, we limit the interactions and reserve our men and women in the police force for the essential duties that they signed up for. This approach is better for police and better for the communities they serve.

The US Constitution guarantees each American equal protection under the law. And yet people of color are constantly targeted by law enforcement and security agencies for unlawful interrogations, searches, and imprisonment “solely on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin or religion.” Some states have passed legislation mandating stop data collection, and the results point to profound racial biases within the police system. In Chicago, black drivers were 5.2 times more likely to be searched themselves or to have their cars searched than white drivers. By collecting, publicly reporting, and analyzing this data, we can point to the profound structural racism within our legal system and hold our police officers accountable.

Election and Government Reform

As a former Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts, I have worked to ensure that our government acts in the interest of its people. It’s time for Congress to get serious about reforms at the federal level and challenge the Trump Administration’s abuses. As your elected representative, I will work to see Congress take these steps to reform our government.

Reforming Our Elections

We must protect elections to ensure everyone has the right to vote safely from their own home.

We must dismantle the systems of disenfranchisement and voter suppression that silence Black, Indengonous, and Americans of Color.

We must reform the electoral college so that elections reflect the will of the people.

We must end the practice of gerrymandering, and redraw voting districts through equitable, non-partisan means.

We must enact meaningful campaign finance reform that limits the money used to influence policy and opens up the political process to everyone.

We must work to overturn Citizens United.

We need a new Federal Elections Commission with professional leadership and real teeth to its enforcement powers.

We must replace our existing single choice, winner-takes-all voting system with Ranked Choice Voting (RCV).

Reforming Our Government

We must strengthen our ethics laws to prohibit government officials from engaging in self-dealing and self-promotion.

We must professionalize the government—no more unqualified political appointees serving as ambassadors, cabinet members, or heads of agencies.

We must enact legislation to provide stronger protections for whistleblowers and Inspectors General.

Climate Change

Climate change is an existential threat to the planet — and a call to action for all of us to make this world safer, healthier, fairer, and more secure.

We must pass the Green New Deal and do much more.

I have the right experience to take the fight for climate justice and clean energy to Congress. From seeing President Obama put together the Paris Climate Accords to working with Attorney General Healey as she investigated ExxonMobil and sued the Trump EPA to protect fuel standards on cars and stop offshore oil drilling off Massachusetts, I’m ready for these fights. Before releasing my detailed plan to confront climate change, let me tell you what I believe:

Climate justice is social justice, and we cannot allow the consequences of climate change to fall most painfully and directly on low-income communities and communities of color.

 Transportation — the leading cause of emissions — must be decarbonized, electrified, and simplified.

We need to create tens of thousands of good, union Green Jobs in the 4th District. There are only 50,000 coal jobs left in the entire United States. Today, there are 110,000 clean energy jobs in Massachusetts alone. We need to triple down on creating more jobs installing solar panels, building wind turbines, and growing our clean energy economy in Attleboro, Taunton, Fall River, and across the 4th district.

As a coastal community that relies on fishing on the South Coast, we need to pass new and stronger federal laws to protect our air and waters.

Education

My view is simple: every single student in Massachusetts and America must get a world-class education that starts in pre-K and continues into high school and beyond.

As a former 4th grade public school teacher in one of the poorest districts in America, I have seen the successes of our education system and the many challenges we have yet to address. I believe we need initiatives like the Student Opportunities Act, passed in Massachusetts last fall, at the federal level.

I believe in universal Pre-K for every single 3 and 4 year old in Massachusetts, as well as outstanding K-12 education in every community.

Student loan debt is crushing students and families in the 4th district and across the country — including me and my wife. I will be a leader in attacking student debt and ending the bankrupting of a generation.

A two- or four-year degree needs to be affordable at each of our public schools and community colleges. The 4th district is home to world-renowned private colleges and universities (from Boston College Law School to Stonehill College and Wellesley College) as well as outstanding community colleges in MassBay and Bristol Community Colleges, and Vocational Technical programs at Tri-County Regional in Franklin and Diman Regional in Fall River. We need to ensure all students are prepared for 21st century careers.

Immigration

We are a nation of immigrants, and we need to do far more to support those who come here in search of a better life.

1 in 6 of us in Massachusetts was born abroad. Our community is full of strivers and dreamers, people like my grandfather, who came to this country as a poor Jewish immigrant from Poland without formal education and raised a son who went on to be a Harvard professor.

I’ve represented a refugee in an asylum proceeding. As an Assistant Attorney General, the office sued ICE and the Trump Administration to protect Massachusetts’ immigrant communities from cruel and illegal policies like family separation, the travel ban, and indefinite detention. The office also prevented a citizenship question from being added to the 2020 Census.

We need to get President Trump and his cruel administration out of office and Congress needs to pass comprehensive, humane, and just immigration reform — so that no matter who is President, immigrant communities are safe, and our immigration system makes sense.

Combating Antisemitism

My Jewish faith and its values of tolerance and equality help define and ground me.

I also know that right now too many in the Jewish community are afraid to worship and celebrate. We aren’t alone — too many communities have seen new evidence of old prejudices in this era. We all need to stand together. As your member of Congress, I will work with you to combat hate, bigotry, and antisemitism in all their forms and make sure everyone in our communities feels safe and supported.

Dave is committed to transparency throughout this campaign and once in office. He is committed to releasing his tax returns yearly.

Issues

The Democratic Party has been right about most things for decades, but not always great at explaining why.

Most of the candidates in this race generally agree on these issues. So do most Americans. So why haven’t we made more progress? As a former speechwriter for the Obamas, I know how to explain not just what we’re doing but why — and as a former Assistant Attorney General who worked on the front lines of all these issues, I know how to build coalitions to get these things done.

Dave on the Issues

Strong gun laws save lives: Massachusetts has the lowest rate of gun violence in America — it’s not an accident. It’s because we have strong gun laws and enforce them. But one gun death is one too many. We need to do more to keep people safe and pass national sensible gun reform.

I support working families: Unions are on the front lines defending middle class and supporting working families. We need to return to the roots of the Democratic party in defending and strengthening the labor movement.

I support women’s reproductive rights: Roe v Wade is at its greatest risk in a generation – I will work tirelessly  to protect it. In the Attorney General’s Office we sued to protect contraceptive coverage for 55 million women under the Affordable Care Act and worked closely with Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and others to support and defend safe, legal abortions.

LGBTQ rights are human rights: This is the quintessential civil rights issue of the 21st century, and I will stand with the LGBTQ+ community on every issue and every fight. I was on the front lines when Massachusetts became the first state to pass marriage equality, I was in the Obama White House when it became the law of the land, and I worked alongside Attorney General Healey and so many others to protect transgender protections on our state ballot in 2018.

Opioid Crisis

This is my top priority and my Day One issue as your member of Congress.

Today, five more people will die in Massachusetts from opioid overdose. Tens of thousands more remain trapped in cycles of addiction. Families and communities are desperate for treatment and resources. Firefighters tell me 9-1-1 has become an overdose hotline.

When I was an Assistant Attorney General, the office sued Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, who make OxyContin. We put them out of business.

I worked alongside the recovery community, fire and police departments, the medical community, and others on the front lines of this crisis.

As your member of Congress, I will work to end this crisis once and for all, by getting families the treatment they need, funding prevention education for students, and getting first responders additional resources to save lives and break up drug trafficking networks.

COVID-19 Response

This pandemic has exposed the devastating impact of the absence of national leadership, a healthcare system driven by profit, and systemic inequities that disproportionately harm communities of color, immigrants, and the poor. 

I served in the Obama White House during the Zika virus outbreak and worked alongside the Global Health Security and Biodefense unit under the National Security Council—the “Pandemic Response” team that President Trump decided to disband. In this unprecedented moment, we need somebody with experience who will surround themselves with the right people. 

That means we must ensure the national response to this crisis is driven by experts and frontline workers. Congress must also allocate funds for the testing and PPE needed by frontline healthcare workers, and we must work to make sure that contacting tracing is happening in every state. 

In this terrible moment, we are reminded that our nation is only as strong as the most vulnerable among us. That’s why we must address the underlying disparities in our healthcare system, and protect the Affordable Care Act as we move toward a healthcare-for-all system. We need to guarantee every American free testing, affordable care, and equitable treatment immediately.

With tens of millions of Americans unemployed, we must protect families from financial devastation by:

Providing financial support to the individuals, families most impacted by this crisis

Helping small businesses

Helping non-profits and community organizations

Supporting our cities and towns

Like any crisis, this pandemic hits Black and brown folks disproportionately hard, and requires an intersectional solution. We must invest in communities of color and immigrant communities, and work to address and end institutional racism through reimagining systems in this country that weren’t built for everyone to succeed.

Healthcare

Healthcare is a human right. That’s why I support Medicare for All as the best way to make healthcare accessible and affordable for every single person in this country.

I was the first candidate in this race to endorse in the presidential primary, and I supported Senator Elizabeth Warren largely for her healthcare plan. It starts by strengthening the Affordable Care Act, which I helped champion in the White House.

We must protect people with pre-existing conditions and lower the cost of essential drugs like insulin on day one. Using a transition plan, we can work toward the goal of high-quality, free healthcare for every person in the United States.

Achieving a truly universal system will be an immense challenge and will require grinding legislative work. But I am prepared for this challenge. I helped defend the Affordable Care Act against Trump administration rollbacks as a senior advisor to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and I am ready to continue the fight for healthcare in Congress.

I’m also ready to help deliver a message to the American people that the best and most affordable system is a public system, where executive pay and marketing do not drive up costs. Here in Massachusetts, where we have a 98.5% rate of coverage and world-class hospitals and levels of care— it is our responsibility to lead the way for the rest of the country, and continue to invest in healthcare here at home.

Racial and Criminal Justice

I support The First Step Act, which makes progress on sentencing reform, but it needs to go further. By turning back mandatory minimums, making sentencing reforms retroactive and expunging records, we can provide justice for those who have already been harmed by the system.

We cannot continue to over-punish people and allow it to permanently stain their records for the entirety of their lives. The prison system must not be a tool to punish, but a tool for rehabilitation. Releasing inmates into a world and into an economy where they do not have the skills to get a job, a foundation towards success, or even a civic voice does more harm than good.

Deadly force must not be used unless there is an absolute and imminent threat. By requiring officers to give a verbal warning when possible, before using deadly force, there is time given to comply with the warning. Additionally, by requiring reporting and release of police killings and serious civilian injuries within 72 hours of the incident, we can hold our law enforcement accountable to a higher standard with the ultimate goal being no deaths or injuries reported.

It is clear that police officers who commit crimes are often not held accountable. A mere 1 out of 12 reports of police misconduct lead to punishment for that officer. I support the Campaign Zero Civilian Complaints Office framework, which simplifies the process of making a complaint for civilians and sets requirements for how the community should investigate such complaints. This framework also mandates more public disclosure of complaints, demographics of those making complaints, and the results of the Office’s investigations.

Today, police are being asked to do too much. Police are called during mental health crises. It’s time to see parity between police budgets and other forms of social spending, like spending on social workers, mental health counselors, healthcare centers and health clinics, and other much-needed community resources. By building out a wider array of non-police services, we limit the interactions and reserve our men and women in the police force for the essential duties that they signed up for. This approach is better for police and better for the communities they serve.

The US Constitution guarantees each American equal protection under the law. And yet people of color are constantly targeted by law enforcement and security agencies for unlawful interrogations, searches, and imprisonment “solely on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin or religion.” Some states have passed legislation mandating stop data collection, and the results point to profound racial biases within the police system. In Chicago, black drivers were 5.2 times more likely to be searched themselves or to have their cars searched than white drivers. By collecting, publicly reporting, and analyzing this data, we can point to the profound structural racism within our legal system and hold our police officers accountable.

Election & Government Reform

As a former Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts, I have worked to ensure that our government acts in the interest of its people. It’s time for Congress to get serious about reforms at the federal level and challenge the Trump Administration’s abuses. As your elected representative, I will work to see Congress take these steps to reform our government.

Reforming Our Elections

We must protect elections to ensure everyone has the right to vote safely from their own home.

We must dismantle the systems of disenfranchisement and voter suppression that silence Black, Indengonous, and Americans of Color.

We must reform the electoral college so that elections reflect the will of the people.

We must end the practice of gerrymandering, and redraw voting districts through equitable, non-partisan means.

We must work to overturn Citizens United.

We need a new Federal Elections Commission with professional leadership and real teeth to its enforcement powers.

We must replace our existing single choice, winner-takes-all voting system with Ranked Choice Voting (RCV).

Reforming Our Government

We must strengthen our ethics laws to prohibit government officials from engaging in self-dealing and self-promotion.

We must professionalize the government—no more unqualified political appointees serving as ambassadors, cabinet members, or heads of agencies.

We must enact legislation to provide stronger protections for whistleblowers and Inspectors General.

Climate Crisis

Climate change is an existential threat to the planet — and a call to action for all of us to make this world safer, healthier, fairer, and more secure.

We must pass the Green New Deal and do much more.

I have the right experience to take the fight for climate justice and clean energy to Congress. From seeing President Obama put together the Paris Climate Accords to working with Attorney General Healey as she investigated ExxonMobil and sued the Trump EPA to protect fuel standards on cars and stop offshore oil drilling off Massachusetts, I’m ready for these fights. Before releasing my detailed plan to confront climate change, let me tell you what I believe:

Climate justice is social justice, and we cannot allow the consequences of climate change to fall most painfully and directly on low-income communities and communities of color.

 Transportation — the leading cause of emissions — must be decarbonized, electrified, and simplified.

We need to create tens of thousands of good, union Green Jobs in the 4th District. There are only 50,000 coal jobs left in the entire United States. Today, there are 110,000 clean energy jobs in Massachusetts alone. We need to triple down on creating more jobs installing solar panels, building wind turbines, and growing our clean energy economy in Attleboro, Taunton, Fall River, and across the 4th district.

As a coastal community that relies on fishing on the South Coast, we need to pass new and stronger federal laws to protect our air and waters.

Education

My view is simple: every single student in Massachusetts and America must get a world-class education that starts in pre-K and continues into high school and beyond.

As a former 4th grade public school teacher in one of the poorest districts in America, I have seen the successes of our education system and the many challenges we have yet to address. I believe we need initiatives like the Student Opportunities Act, passed in Massachusetts last fall, at the federal level.

I believe in universal Pre-K for every single 3 and 4 year old in Massachusetts, as well as outstanding K-12 education in every community.

Student loan debt is crushing students and families in the 4th district and across the country — including me and my wife. I will be a leader in attacking student debt and ending the bankrupting of a generation.

A two- or four-year degree needs to be affordable at each of our public schools and community colleges. The 4th district is home to world-renowned private colleges and universities (from Boston College Law School to Stonehill College and Wellesley College) as well as outstanding community colleges in MassBay and Bristol Community Colleges, and Vocational Technical programs at Tri-County Regional in Franklin and Diman Regional in Fall River. We need to ensure all students are prepared for 21st century careers.

Immigration

We are a nation of immigrants, and we need to do far more to support those who come here in search of a better life.

1 in 6 of us in Massachusetts was born abroad. Our community is full of strivers and dreamers, people like my grandfather, who came to this country as a poor Jewish immigrant from Poland without formal education and raised a son who went on to be a Harvard professor.

I’ve represented a refugee in an asylum proceeding. As an Assistant Attorney General, the office sued ICE and the Trump Administration to protect Massachusetts’ immigrant communities from cruel and illegal policies like family separation, the travel ban, and indefinite detention. The office also prevented a citizenship question from being added to the 2020 Census.

We need to get President Trump and his cruel administration out of office and Congress needs to pass comprehensive, humane, and just immigration reform — so that no matter who is President, immigrant communities are safe, and our immigration system makes sense.

Combating Antisemitism

My Jewish faith and its values of tolerance and equality help define and ground me.

I also know that right now too many in the Jewish community are afraid to worship and celebrate. We aren’t alone — too many communities have seen new evidence of old prejudices in this era. We all need to stand together. As your member of Congress, I will work with you to combat hate, bigotry, and antisemitism in all their forms and make sure everyone in our communities feels safe and supported.

Dave is committed to transparency throughout this campaign and once in office. He is committed to releasing his tax returns yearly.