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On the Issues: Working Families

Labor and Employment

Qasim Rashid believes in the rights of workers to unionize and collectively bargain. Qasim spent part of his career working in employment law protecting the rights of workers, and believes a living wage is a human right. He believes it is appropriate to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour, to protect workers with the prevailing wage requirement on government contracts, and to remove bad actors who undermine the integrity of Union and non-Union contractors.

Additionally, Qasim believes in repealing Corporate Intrusion (generally known as ‘right to work’). Corporate Intrusion prevents unionizing and limits bargaining power, resulting in preventing blue collar workers from protecting their labor and employment rights. Corporate Intrusion prevents workers from demanding a living wage without risk or fear of being fired. Corporate Intrusion likewise lets the uber wealthy consolidate wealth and power against honest and hardworking Virginians. To protect Virginians, we must repeal Corporate Intrusion.

Repealing Corporate Intrusion ultimately means a stronger economy, more secure small businesses, and a growing middle class. Non-partisan think tanks have shown that even a, “10-percentage-point increase in the unionization rate would boost the average annual income for middle-class households—unionized or not—by $1,501 a year.” If Virginia’s unionization rate went from its current ~5% to 15%, it would mean an average gain for middle-class households of over $1800 per year.

Qasim supports the Jobs Guarantee the Green New Deal promises, and supports following the steps laid out in The Climate Mobilization Victory Plan that will help us achieve:

  • Guaranteed re-employment and training in the green jobs sector for coal miners and other fossil fuel workers
  • The opportunity for everyone to have work which helps build a better society free from the threats of the climate crisis
  • The right to unionize, the right to paid sick leave, family leave, and parental leave, safety and dignity on the job, and a livable wage

As Congressman, Qasim commits to combating Corporate Intrusion, removing bad actors from undermining Union and non-Union contractors, striving to ensure more wealth equality, eliminating wage theft, and will work, through legislation, to protect workers’ rights, and support apprenticeship programs.

Qasim seeks to deliver economic justice for all communities. Economic success and equity must be defined not just by the stock market and outdated metrics, but by the economic stability of all Americans through factors such as environmental security, educational opportunity, entrepreneurship, health equity, and closing the income gap. We can achieve these goals and more with a universal basic income, financed through taxes on corporations that will benefit the most from this new economy.

 

Transportation 

Qasim Rashid believes in making extensive transportation investments to upgrade Virginia’s crumbling infrastructure, improve public transportation, and in responding to the specific transportation needs of Virginia’s residents.

  • Virginia currently ranks an abysmal 39th nationally in infrastructure. This directly impacts transportation and reflects a legislature funded by, and for, major corporations, not a legislature focused on the needs of all Virginians – white and blue collar.
  • The 1st District is a large district that demands strict attention to a variety of transportation needs. Stafford County has seen immense development over the past several years due to an aggressive development campaign by those in power. Unfortunately, due to irresponsible planning this has resulted in horrendous traffic. Solutions that emphasize a reduction in the number of cars on the road should be prioritized. These include ride-sharing services such as van-pooling, slugging, commuter shuttles, incentivizing telecommuting when possible, and overall improvement in our public transportation infrastructure.
  • Data from a recent survey shows that residents of the Northern Neck aspire to maintain a rural character while enhancing public transportation access, which is not to standard.
  • Transportation funding needs to go to: maintaining already existing infrastructure for personal vehicle use; expanding affordable public transportation.
  • Traffic congestion leads to negative physical and mental health outcomes, lower quality of life, and monetary losses. The estimated cost from lost time and fuel waste is over $100 billion a year. Public transportation investments will reduce this crippling issue. Lack of public transportation helps is also a barrier to low-income individuals with many not having the transportation needed to fully participate in our economy and society.
  • Electrifying America’s Rail System & Develop a Continental High-Speed Rail Network.

As Congressman, Qasim will repair our crumbling infrastructure and create modern transportation solutions in coordination with the Green New Deal and The Climate Mobilization Victory Plan. Qasim knows we must begin these projects immediately and complete them at emergency speeds to prevent destruction brought by the climate crisis, improve the physical and mental health of our residents, and give back both time and money to Virginia’s working families.

 

Money in Politics 

Qasim Rashid believes in policy based on the public good, not personal gain. This is why he is running a grassroots campaign with zero donations from corporations or corporate PACS. Qasim knows that the reason behind bad policy, dysfunction, and political gridlock  can often be found by asking one question: where is the money coming from? This is why Qasim has signed the American Promise pledge to enact campaign finance reform. Qasim believes:

  • Politicians must sell their stocks before taking office, This is the only way to ensure that stock interests don’t influence policy decisions. Even if the stocks are kept in a blind trust this can still lead to conflicts of interest and politicians making decisions that benefit the stock market rather than everyday Americans.
  • We must end Citizens United, and we need to go even further than that, by banning campaign contributions from corporations and corporate PACS entirely.
  • Politicians must only be beholden to the will of the people, not to wealthy donors or corporations. Elected officials and candidates spend too much of their time in fundraising for election or reelection when they should be spent legislating on behalf of their constituents’ interests.

As Congressman, Qasim will act in the interest of the people, not corporations and wealthy donors. He will fight to remove the undue influence of money in politics by overturning Citizens United. When we eliminate the ease with which politicians can serve themselves and the interests of their wealthy donors, we will then be able to expect congress to truly serve the public’s interests.

 

Pay Equity

Qasim believes in ensuring gender pay equity and paid family and medical leave. These policies are not only economically smart but have the benefit of also being just and moral. They increase worker output, grow the economy, and help to foster a healthy family-work-life balance.

 

Immigration

Qasim Rashid believes that Virginia’s success is closely tied to a successful immigration policy. Qasim recognizes the need to work in a bipartisan manner. Accordingly, on the topic of undocumented immigration, Qasim largely agrees with Republican President Ronald Reagan and Republican President George H.W. Bush, who sought an immigration policy built on compassion, justice, and fairness. President Ronald Reagan declared in 1984, “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though some time back they may have entered illegally.”

Qasim is an immigrant and a proud United States citizen. Qasim and his family immigrated to the United States 32 years ago—first to Virginia. Since that time, Qasim and his siblings have attained higher education, remained active in the democratic process, and sought to build that more perfect union envisioned by the Founders. Qasim is proud that his brother, Tayyib M. Rashid, served in the United States Marine Corps from 1997 to his honorable discharge in 2003.

A strong immigration policy attracts innovators, strengthens our economy, and generates major revenue from taxes which helps build new schools, provides better resources for our children, contributes to improving our crumbling infrastructure, and helps fund healthcare for Virginians.

President Reagan went on to say when asked if children of undocumented immigrants deserve to attend public schools, i.e. use of American tax dollars, “I think the time has come that the United States and our neighbors, particularly our neighbor to the south, should have a better understanding and a better relationship than we’ve ever had. I think we haven’t been sensitive enough to our size and our power. They have a problem with 40-50% unemployment. This cannot continue without the possibility rising of trouble below the border. Rather than talking about putting up a fence, why don’t we work out some recognition of our mutual problems, make it possible for them to come here legally with a work permit, and then while they’re working and earning here, they pay taxes here, and when they want to go back they go back, and they can cross, and open the border both ways by understanding their problems. I think we could have a fine relationship.”

President Bush, similarly, declared when asked if the children of undocumented immigrants should be allowed to attend public schools, i.e. use American tax dollars, “I’d like to see something done about the illegal alien problem that would be so sensitive and so understanding about labor needs and human needs where that problem wouldn’t come up. But today if those people are here I would reluctantly say I think they would get whatever it is that society is giving their neighbors. But the problem has to be solved. As we have made illegal, some kinds of labor that I would like to see legal. We’re doing two things. We’re creating a whole society of really honorable, decent, family loving people that are in violation of the law, and secondly, we’re exacerbating relations with Mexico. I don’t want to see…six and eight-year-old kids being made totally uneducated and made to feel they’re living outside the law. Let’s address the fundamentals. These are good people, strong people.”

The facts show that undocumented immigrants contribute major revenue in taxes to our economy, commit fewer crimes than our own citizens, and as President Bush stated, are good, strong people. We should not demonize undocumented immigrants. Instead, Virginia should seek a sensitive policy that is grounded in America’s founding principles of fairness and justice.

As Congressman, Qasim will work to protect the rights of immigrants while ensuring a documented legal path to citizenship, like what was advocated by both Presidents Reagan and Bush.