Brianna Westbrook is running for Congress in Arizona’s 8th district. She was kind enough to give us some insight into what inspired her to run and her positions on various issues.
What made you decide to run for office Brianna?
I suppose I unwittingly climbed a ladder of reactions, from concern over my finances to anger at the elected officials who were supposed to be protecting my interests. Instead, I saw wealthy corporations and lobbyists buying votes for laws that continued to attack my ability to provide for my family and save for the future. I began paying closer attention to politics, signing petitions and making phone calls. One day, my political beliefs and activities evolved into a realization that I didn’t have to wait for a strong leader to come along for my district – I knew I could take up that fight, and I was ready, so after discussing it with my family and friends, I decided to use the strength I’d found in my personal struggles to fight for the interests and rights of my neighbors, my district, and my state.
That’s great! I think more people are coming to the realization that they don’t have to wait for a strong leader.
Tell us about your district and who you are running against.
I am running as a Democrat for Congress to represent District 8. My district covers almost 10,000 miles north and west of Phoenix. Joining me in the race are: Bob Musselwhite (D) , Hiral Tipirnepi (D) , Chris Sylvester (R) and Augie Beyer (I).
That’s a large district. It’s good to see that more people are running and not leaving it to career politicians.
We’ve had our first female presidential candidate for a major political party. What do you believe it means to be a feminist? Do you consider yourself a feminist?
To be a feminist does not require a vagina, but rather to appreciate the many differences between men and women, and the wondrous variety and balance they contribute to our society.
Absolutely I’m an active and proud feminist, as are my male and female supporters and volunteers, in that we advocate for women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. As a citizen and a candidate for office, I have protested against the deplorable wage gap between equally qualified women and their male counterparts, our current administration’s attempts to strip women of their reproductive rights, and all attacks on women and families.
Excellent. It all goes back to equality!
If you are elected what will your legislative priorities be?
My legislative priorities are to secure the health and welfare of those in my district. Medicare for all should be among the inalienable rights extended to all Americans, as well as a quality education for all children. I will work diligently for a $15 minimum wage, because to remain competitive in the world, we must strengthen our nation’s strongest resource – her people.
Healthcare and living wages are incredibly important to working people and families, I think that will resonate with a lot of people.
Are there any specific laws or proposed legislation that you think infringe on women’s rights or reproductive rights?
My first thought is the reversal of the birth control mandate, which allows employers to deny provision of birth control to female employees based on “religious” beliefs.
Any and all legislation aimed at halting the valuable services provided to our communities by Planned Parenthood (H.R.354) would be among the first in my line of sight. I have vowed to work diligently to fight all legislation which discriminates against women and families.
The public eye does not focus on what is going through the House at every moment. We must return to a government that keeps the people of the country are informed. It is up to elected officials to inform their constituents of harmful legislation and encourage them to call and write letters to voice their opinions.
That’s very true! It’s a lot to keep track of for working people.
How about the wage gap? It’s even more pronounced between men and women of color. How would you address that?
I view this issue through an intersectional lens, because yes, while women in general often earn less than their male counterparts, women of color earn on average 15 cents less than white women. I will support the legislation of my colleagues, and introduce my own, which addresses the groups who are targeted by wage discrimination.
Another action that would improve the economy in general is the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, which provided the largest growth in our economic history, and 60 years of record-breaking productivity.
What do you think of the tax reform bill?
The appalling tax reform bill announced today is a blatant slap in the face to the average working-class American. It is a Trojan Horse, handed to us as a lovely package saying that the age-old trauma of tax-figuring and filing has been replaced with a simple post-card filing system to make our lives easier when in reality the simplicity comes with a hefty price. The new tax plan slowly strips income from those of us in the lowest brackets to provide further financial comfort and security for the most wealthy individuals and corporations in America. It’s some of the most un-American legislation ever introduced.
Tell us how you really feel! All joking aside, many people share your opinion about how harmful that bill is.
What do you think could be done to make it better for working Americans?
The entire tax bill needs to be reincarnated by a team who come from, and report to their constituents. Although I follow and admire many in Washington, too many of today’s politicians are tired caricatures of what they should be, and what America needs and deserves. It’s time for a new team to bring fresh energy and innovative ideas into Washington.
It seems that many people share your opinion!
A difficult but important issue – gun control. It has been in the news a lot, for tragic reasons. Can you share your thoughts on gun control?
We need a comprehensive, nationwide registration system, and to restrict private party sales. We also need to add to the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban (a.k.a. Lautenberg Amendment) and require that repeat Domestic abuse offenders surrender their firearms when found guilty in the court of law. Victims of abuse are five times as likely to be killed if the attacker owns a gun.
We also need ban sales of Bump stocks and any other accessory modifications that turn a perfectly legal firearm into an illegal firearm.
That sounds pretty comprehensive.
Immigration continues to be a hot issue. What are you positions on DACA and the Dream Act?
I believe that deportation of DREAMERS would first be an unjust, un-American and irresponsible action. The economic loss and widespread personal devastation of a rushed decision to halt the issuance of DACA work permits will drastically impact our communities, our state, and our world.
America can easily follow a plan which allows for legal immigration procedures of DREAMERS who have built their lives in this country and have contributed richness to our society and have become a part of our economic infrastructure.
Great point, many people don’t consider the economic impacts of ending DACA.
Let’s talk about education. If elected, what will you do to ensure every child receives a quality education?
First, teachers should receive tuition assistance, and should receive significantly higher wages. Class sizes should be reduced to allow for a quality education for all children. America’s public schools should not depend upon bake sales to educate our children, nor should they be punished by reduction of vital funding for not comparing to schools who have far greater resources.
Finally, public schools should definitely not be disbanded under the guise of a “voucher” system which will give a small tax break to wealthy families who choose to educate their children in private or parochial schools, and leave equally deserving children from middle- to low-income families and America’s special education students with nothing. This is a shameful plan for a country once hailed as a democratic world leader.
Great points, and that’s very thorough!
How can people find out more about you and find out about your events?
You can read my platform and blogs for current political events at WestbrookforCongress.com.
How can people support your campaign, even if they don’t live in your district?
Volunteer phone banking. It is something you can do from anywhere in the country from the comfort of your home, and it only takes 20 minutes a day. If you are interested, please visit Westbrookforcongress.com/volunteer.
Second would be donating because it makes my voice louder for more to hear. People can donate at WestbrookforCongress.com.
Thanks so much for taking time to talk with us Brianna, this has been great! We wish you the best of luck!