As the third-ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services committee, Kirsten has stewarded America’s national security interests, met with allies around the world and advocated for our service members and veterans. She’s also seen that reckless policy at home undermines our safety as much as many threats abroad. In order to regain respect on the world stage as well as keep our families, communities and service members safe, we have to restore our moral leadership in Washington.
We need to restore our leadership in the world with strength and compassion, not fear and hate.
Immigration is one of America’s greatest strengths, not a weakness. We need to secure our borders effectively, but also make loud and clear that racism and fear of our neighbor are not a national security strategy. Building a taxpayer funded wall, ripping families apart, banning Muslims and turning our backs on refugees and asylum seekers are cruel and ineffective policies. Maintaining America’s global standing as a fair and welcoming land of opportunity will make us far safer than kicking people out based on what they look like or what they believe. We need to return to American leadership rooted in our moral values—putting people over politics, protecting the vulnerable and promoting peace and progress rather than unilateralism and self-interest.
We need to end our gun violence epidemic.
Mass shootings and gun violence are a national crisis that threaten the safety of our families and communities. We can’t accept repeated tragedies and tens of thousands of deaths every year as normal, and we can’t accept politicians choosing NRA money over Americans’ lives. We need to pass universal background checks, stop gun trafficking, ban assault rifles and close gun sale loopholes to make sure guns can’t get into the hands of dangerous criminals, terrorists or domestic abusers. Kirsten has fearlessly and consistently stood up for commonsense gun safety and taken on the greed of the gun lobby in the Senate, earning her a proud “F” rating from the NRA.
We need a strong and strategic foreign policy, not endless wars.
We must work with—not alienate—our allies, maintain international commitments and leverage diplomatic and humanitarian strategies before resorting to military ones. Most importantly, military engagements should not continue without a clear strategy, defined and achievable goals and the consent of Congress through new Authorizations for the Use of Military Force. America’s commander in chief is not a dictator, and the decision to deploy our troops can never be made lightly or unilaterally. We must stop preparing for yesterday’s threats, as new technologies and capabilities present new challenges. We must invest in ensuring that America continues to have a high rate of innovation and prepares a diverse field of scientists and engineers who will make our country economically successful and help safeguard our security. And when we fight terrorism, we should use all the tools available to us, not just military force. We need a president who understands that education, economic opportunities and tolerance reduce the risk of war and terrorism, and excessive force and bigotry make us less safe.
We need to protect ourselves from attacks online and off.
Cyber security, election security and data privacy are crucial to our national security, and right now, America is behind the times. We should lead the way among our global partners to defend against cyberattacks, secure our elections against tampering, prioritize privacy and limit outside access to Americans’ data. Kirsten has pushed to step up our national cybersecurity efforts since 2014, including directing our armed forces’ integration of technology and cyberdefense into their operations and training. More recently, she fought for a national commission that would examine the cybersecurity of our elections systems—including during the 2016 election—and identify and protect against likely future threats.
We need to take care of the people who serve our country.
We undermine our security and military readiness when we don’t look out for our own service members. In her role as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, Kirsten has championed an agenda to improve access to benefits for our active military and has worked to ensure that when service members and veterans return home, they have job opportunities, educational and training tools, safe housing and other important services available to them. She’s also fought for the dignity and safety of all service members, including resisting President Trump’s hateful and pointless ban on transgender service members in our military and leading efforts to create accountability, justice and support for sexual assault survivors in our armed forces.
We need to protect all Americans from sexual violence.
Keeping Americans safe includes protecting them from violence and harassment, and nobody has led that fight more fiercely than Kirsten. She has tirelessly advocated for accountability and justice for survivors—on college campuses across the country, in our armed forces and in Congress—even before the crucial #MeToo movement gained a national foothold. Women and survivors have faced institutional bias and self-protection in favor of sexual predators for too long—we need to believe survivors so there can be investigations and accountability. Kirsten has fearlessly stood up to powerful institutions—including the Pentagon, major universities, this president and even her own party—to make sure women and survivors are valued and respected the way they deserve to be.