Issues

Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis

As New Jersey continues to navigate the COVID-19 crisis, Valerie is dedicated to ensuring that the needs of her constituents are met. Valerie has continued to call for reforms at the Department of Labor so that New Jerseyans can access their unemployment benefits, and she has been working tirelessly to improve accessibility to the COVID-19 vaccine for her constituents. Valerie is also sponsoring legislation to improve access to unemployment benefits for New Jerseyans by allowing them to collect back-pay. This legislation would make the benefits system retroactive to when a claimant started the process, not when they ended it.

Safeguarding Reproductive Rights

In the face of a hostile Supreme Court, Valerie has authored landmark legislation, such as The Reproductive Freedom Act, which would not only codify Roe v. Wade into law but would expand reproductive rights in New Jersey by ensuring that everyone who needs to access reproductive healthcare can do so without barriers. Valerie believes that a right is only a right if you can access it. The Reproductive Freedom Act ensures that no one’s income, zip code or immigration status serves as a barrier to access.

Advocating for our Seniors

As Chair of the Assembly Aging and Senior Services Committee, Valerie championed the passage of landmark long-term care reform. Valerie is also sponsoring historic legislation to prohibit age discrimination in New Jersey. She is also dedicated to expanding access to affordable housing for New Jersey’s seniors. As District 37’s Assemblywoman, Valerie has also fought for the reinstatement of New Jersey’s Senior Freeze property tax program. And she is now championing the passage of legislation to provide eligible seniors with back-pay for the benefits that they had lost due to COVID-19 related budget cuts.

Improving Access to Transportation

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has been out of control for decades. It operates critical transportation infrastructure, including the George Washington Bridge. She also oversees a budget of $7 billion, which is larger than the budget of 26 states combined. Yet, it is unclear how those funds are spent or whether the public interest is truly served. As District 37’s Assemblywoman, Valerie has led the way for reform and transparency in the bi-state agency, including sponsoring the Port Authority Transparency and Accountability Act. In addition to her commitment to reforming Port Authority, Valerie is also dedicated to increasing access to transportation in District 37, including the expansion of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.

Tackling the Overdose Crisis

Valerie believes that addiction is a disease, not a moral failing. As District 37’s Assemblywoman, Valerie has championed legislation to support our loved ones struggling with addiction, expanding access to harm reduction services to help keep them safe and healthy. Valerie has also sponsored landmark laws to expand Medicaid coverage for addiction treatment. Now, Valerie is advocating for the passage of her legislation to increase access to narcan to prevent overdose deaths.

Fighting for Racial and Immigrant Justice

As a progressive leader in New Jersey, Valerie has been out front on issues impacting communities of color and immigrant communities. Valerie was proud to author landmark legislation to prevent black maternal deaths in New Jersey. She was also a leading voice in advocating for the passage of historic legislation to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license. Now, Valerie is working with her colleagues in the legislature to pass a comprehensive package of reforms aimed at preventing police brutality. These measures include legislation to require open access to law enforcement disciplinary records under OPRA, as well as a measure to prohibit officers from using a chokehold on subjects.

Prioritizing Education

All of our children deserve the highest equality education, which means ensuring every child has access to the resources that they need to be successful and that our educators are supported every step of the way. New Jersey has the best public school system in the country, but gaps to success still exist. Valerie believes that we must invest in our public education system and our educators. That is why she has been a leader in fighting for Chapter 78 reform and other policies aimed at bolstering our education system.

Protecting our Environment

Climate change is real, and addressing it should never be a partisan issue. Valerie has been recognized as an “Emerging Environmental Leader” by Clean Water Action for her work to promote environmental justice and expand access to clean energy in New Jersey. Valerie has also been at the forefront of curbing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting New Jersey’s public lands.

Increasing Access to Mental Health Services

Valerie believes that mental health is just as important as physical health. Valerie was proud to sponsor New Jersey’s Mental Health Parity Law, legislation that ensures mental health services are covered the same as physical healthcare. Now, Valerie is championing legislation to require insurance coverage for annual mental health screenings. She is also leading the charge to increase access to mental health services for our children in schools.

Ensuring Equitable Access to Healthcare

In the midst of a global pandemic, equitable access to healthcare is more important now than ever before. Valerie is proud to sponsor legislation to “Cover all Kids” which would ensure all children in New Jersey have access to health care coverage. Right now, at least 80,000 children in New Jersey are uninsured, and approximately three-quarters of them are children of color. As District 37’s Assemblywoman, Valerie has been a dedicated champion to ensuring access to healthcare for everyone in an effort to prevent disparities amongst communities of color.

Improving the State of Affordable Housing in New Jersey

As District 37’s Assemblywoman, Valerie takes her lead on policy from the issues impacting her constituents. Time and time again, Valerie heard from constituents that they were struggling to access affordable housing, so Valerie immediately got to work. Recently, Valerie championed the passage of legislation to prevent municipalities from converting affordable housing units into other forms of housing, ensuring that access to affordable housing is not further limited in our State.

Advocating for Working Families

Valerie has been at the forefront of fighting for workers during the COVID-19 crisis, authoring innovative legislation that would allow workers to refuse unsafe work if their employer is not taking reasonable measures to keep them safe. Valerie believes that now, more than ever, we must ensure that people are put before profits. Valerie is also proud to be sponsoring the Healthy Terminals Act, legislation that would ensure greater workplace protections for frontline workers in our airports. The Healthy Terminals Act would provide health insurance coverage for these workers, ensuring that healthcare is a right, not a privilege for our workers.