Justice for All

Criminal Justice Reform-  Randy believes we must transform our criminal justice system to end the state of violence perpetrated against people of color. Right here in Wisconsin, the incarceration rate for black men — 13 percent — is nearly double the rest of the country’s rate. Our justice system must be one that recognizes the dignity and humanity of all people. This will require action within our communities and on all levels of government. Specific steps Congress can take to end mass incarceration and police violence include:

  • End the privatization of prisons and policing, and instead insist on community oversight for police departments.

  • Eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing, laws that inhibit prosecutors and judges from using just, reasonable discretion in sentencing.

  • Support efforts to Ban the Box in order to end discrimination against people with criminal records.

  • Establish federal standards for police training and community oversight for policing so that officers are accountable to the communities they serve.

End the school-to-prison pipeline- Jobs and education are what make communities stronger and keep them safer — not massive spending on incarceration. The federal government should reallocate funding currently dedicated to policing and incarceration and invest those funds in long-term safety strategies such as educational, community restorative justice, and employment programs that have been shown to improve community safety. In Congress, Randy would prioritize investments in community-based drug and mental health treatment, education, and universal pre-K. One strategy for doing so is an amendment to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005. Congress can change the formula-based awards to end the mandated support of police departments, and make explicit that community based crime prevention and long-term safety strategies are permissible grantees for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program.

Voting Rights- Only five decades ago, African-Americans around the country fought for and won the Voting Rights Act, a law intended to end blatant discrimination at the voting booth. Today, discriminatory laws still threaten voting rights for so many. Gerrymandering, voter I.D. laws, and restrictions on same-day registration and early voting all contribute to the disenfranchisement of Black and Latinx voters. In 2013, the Supreme Court went so far as to strike down key parts of the Voting Rights Act. Here in Wisconsin, extreme partisan gerrymandering has intentionally separated minority votes in order to underrepresent people of color. Congress must take action to defend and extend voting rights, including restoring the “pre-clearance” formula of the Voting Rights Act, abolishing voter I.D. laws, expanding early voting, making Election Day a federal holiday, as well as immediately restoring voting rights of formerly incarcerated individuals.

Closing the Wage Gap for People of Color- In Racine, the median income for people of color is just 34.6% of what a white person makes for the same job. The pay gap for women and people of color face when compared to white, male peers has barely budged in decades. As a Congressman, Randy would support laws that would allow employees to refuse to disclose their current salary when applying for a new job, a question employers often ask to low-ball prospective candidates, and which has been shown to perpetuate the pay gap. Randy also supports a minority inclusion provision for the construction of FoxConn’s campus in Wisconsin’s First District, which would ensure 20% of the total construction cost went to minority and/or women business enterprises; 20% of the total worker hours were performed by minority and/or women workers; and 20% of the total worker hours were performed by minority and/or women apprentices.  Hear Randy talk more about the importance of expanding representation of women and people of color within the the Building Trades (video).

Provide Marijuana Amnesty and Legalization- People of color, and particularly black communities, have been targeted by law enforcement for marijuana usage. While black and white communities use marijuana at roughly the same rate, Black individuals are four times more likely to be arrested for a marijuana crime. Randy believes we must legalize Marijuana, and that we must release those currently incarcerated for non-violent marijuana crimes and expunge the records for people who have previously served their time for these crimes. The ACLU found that 88 percent of marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010 were for possession, not intent to distribute. We must pass legislation that expunges all convictions for simple possession of marijuana, so that these individuals do not face discrimination because of their record.

Raise the Minimum Wage- Randy is proud to stand with the fast food and low-wage workers leading the Fight for $15 movement. Everyone deserves dignity and respect at work, including a livable wage. A $15 minimum wage would help to bring resources back into communities of color, raising wages for about half of African-Americans and almost 60 percent of Latinos. Fifteen dollars an hour is not a stopping point, but raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour is a key first step to ensuring all people receive a liveable wage for their work.

Restore Federal Impact Aid for Wisconsin Schools- Schools that serve children living on federal land — such as Native American reservations or U.S. military bases — are at a disadvantage when it comes to raising funds through local property taxes. In order to help these districts pay teacher salaries and improve classrooms without burdening local taxpayers, Randy champions the restoration of funding for Impact Aid, a federal program that hasn’t been fully funded to meet Wisconsin’s needs since 1969. To ensure that all Wisconsin students, including children of servicemembers and students of Native American heritage, are given the resources to excel in the classroom, Randy will fight to restore full funding of the Impact Aid program.

Protect Federal Funding for Low-Income Students- Randy supports all education grants that flow directly from federal agencies to school districts and other qualifying education services. Among the largest are Title I grants, targeted for schools with high numbers of low-income students, which are also disproportionately black and brown students. Paul Ryan proposed cutting $2.7 billion from these grants, which between 2015 and 2016 helped 68,614 public schools offer more academic support and develop better teaching methods. IDEA grants are another type of flow-through resource to help schools teach students with disabilities. Last year, $185 million in IDEA funds benefitted Wisconsin’s schools and other education providers. Paul Ryan has also proposed cutting special education funding by $2.2 billion.

Pass a Federal Domestic Bill of Rights- All workers should have the right to join a union, but we have an active law — passed roughly 90 years ago — that does not allow people who work in the home to organize. These workers, including home health aides, are disproportionately minorities. They have some of the most important jobs in this country, and they should have the right to form a union.

Pass the Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act- All workers should have the opportunity for recourse when they are not paid for their labor. Wage theft is unacceptable and is far too common, especially in non-union construction and the service industry — two industries that employ a particularly large percentage of people of color. This legislation would increase the fiscal penalties for violating wage and hour laws, and business owners found to be stealing from their employees would be required to pay damages.

Pass the Schedules that Work Act- The service economy is growing rapidly, and an increasing number of Wisconsin families rely on these jobs to sustain them. It is important as this sector continues to grow that they provide workers with fair working conditions, which includes giving workers advanced notice of when they will be needed for work and how many hours they can expect to work. This lack of information makes it difficult for families to secure safe, reliable childcare or eldercare arrangements and makes monthly income highly unpredictable, increasing economic strain on families.