Money in Politics

In our political system, the voices of everyday Americans get drowned out by wealthy interests that have far too much influence. To reinvigorate the health of our democracy, we need to rid our system of the influence of big money and I will not stop fighting until we achieve this goal. It’s time to return our politics and government to the hands of the people where they belong.

Dana will fight to...

Overturn Citizens United, which has allowed unlimited corporate financing of candidates and campaigns. This decision has allowed corporate special interests to buy votes from our elected officials. They don’t work for us anymore, only for their wealthy donors. This must end.

Institute a small donor matching program to amplify the voices of everyday Americans so they can have influence in our political system just like the wealthy and powerful do.

Pass the Shareholder Protection Act which requires companies to disclose their political spending.

Prohibit Members of Congress from receiving a salary if they don’t pass a budget.

Implement a five-year ban on Members of Congress and executive branch officials becoming lobbyists and a six-year ban on lobbyists joining Congressional staffs or committee staffs that they previously lobbied.

You can find more details on Dana’s priorities for Congress in her Campaign Finance & Government Reform Agenda.

Healthcare for Everyone

Healthcare is a fundamental human right. No one should have to choose between buying food or buying medicine or between taking their child to the doctor or paying the electric bill. Yet many of us are forced to make those choices every day. We must ensure that every American has both affordable insurance coverage and access to high quality healthcare.

Dana will fight to...

Lower out-of-pocket costs for health insurance and care for families and individuals by providing the basic level of guaranteed services, including preventative care, that are currently offered by Medicare.

Guarantee coverage for essential health services that protect our families such as maternity care, hospital services, mental health care, and addiction support services.

Protect people with pre-existing conditions so they cannot be charged higher premiums or denied insurance.

Safeguard women’s access to reproductive healthcare. This includes well-visits, preventive care, cancer screenings, and safe abortion services.

Negotiate drug prices, like the VA currently does, which can save Americans up to 40% on prescription drugs costs.

Unburden small and family-owned businesses from the overwhelming cost and complexity of providing health insurance to their employees.

Liberate entrepreneurs to start new businesses without the fear of losing the coverage they and their families count on.

The efficient and economically sound way to achieve these goals is to expand a program that already works for millions of Americans and give everyone access to Medicare. In this commentary, Dana explains how we get there.

A Fair Economy

Our economy works very well for a select few in this country. While corporations see record profits and CEOs make tens of millions of dollars a year, everyday Americans are struggling to make ends meet. Too many central and western New Yorkers work too many hours for too little money. It’s time to build an economy that works for everyone with better-paying jobs, long-term economic growth, and a fair tax system.

Dana will fight to...

Make strategic investments in building a green economy. There is limitless potential for economic growth and in central and western New York. We have the scientific and manufacturing capabilities to lead the way.

Raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, indexed to inflation. No person in the United States of America who works full time should live in poverty. That means our minimum wage must be a living wage.

Ensure people have access to debt-free educational and vocational opportunities that will allow them to pursue well-paying jobs.

Bolster apprenticeship programs so that more people have the ability to join unions and secure good jobs for themselves and provide for their families.

Implement a fair tax policy that makes sense for everyday Americans. We need to prioritize working families, seniors, veterans, and students in our tax system and close loopholes so that the wealthiest and big corporations pay their fair share.

Close loopholes and collect the rest of the $750 billion in taxes owed on offshore corporate profits so we can invest it here at home.

Additional Priorities

Farming has always been an important part of the American way of life and in central and western New York, we take tremendous pride in our agriculture. We need policy that supports our small- and medium-sized farms, allowing them to compete and thrive. And we need to help our farmers be good stewards of our natural resources.

Dana will fight to...

Break up “big ag” and increase support to small- and medium-sized farms to ensure fair competition. For too long, giant agribusiness has dominated agriculture policy-making–another casualty of money in politics–and our family farms have been left behind. It’s time for change.

Promote sustainable agriculture by providing financial support and incentives for farmers to adopt climate-friendly techniques and practices.

Build local and regional food supply chains to help ensure that communities and institutions have access to healthy locally produced food and small- and medium-sized farms have accessible distribution for their products.

Allow SNAP benefits to be used on organic foods. Our organic farms need the biggest markets we can provide and everyone should have access to clean, healthy food.

In its current form, our criminal legal system often perpetuates injustice. We need to institute significant reforms to end mass incarceration, increase community safety, and promote true justice.

Dana will fight to...

Shift the system’s focus from punishment to rehabilitation by providing adequate mental health and job training services in prisons.

Increase fairness in sentencing by ending mandatory minimums and three strikes laws.

End the use of private prisons and detention centers because there should be no profit to be made on depriving people of their freedom.

Stop criminalizing poverty. No one should be deprived of their freedom because they lack financial resources. We have to end cash bail, eliminate fees, and adjust fines based on defendants’ ability to pay.

Reform policing by demilitarizing police departments, creating a national use of force policy, giving citizen oversight boards real power, and requiring transparency in police union contracts.

Legalize marijuana and expunge past convictions to begin to repair decades of damage done to communities of color.

Every person deserves dignity, access, and opportunity. The Americans with Disabilities Act was landmark legislation that moved us a long way towards justice these past 30 years. Now it’s time to push forward again because it is long past time to ensure that people with disabilities share equitably in all that society has to offer.

Dana will fight to...

Improve Social Security and Medicaid to better serve people with disabilities. This includes eliminating the marriage penalty, lifting the cap on assets, and phasing out benefits to get rid of the “cliff.”

End subminimum wage pay discrimination for people with disabilities and raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, indexed to inflation.

Fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. We have never funded this important legislation at more than 40%. We owe our children much more.

Implement a national paid family and medical leave program so no one has to lose their job to take the time they need to care for themselves or a family member with a disability.

Ensure that all new construction meets visitability standards. As we make massive investments in housing and infrastructure across the country, we must require that it is usable by and accessible for all people. 

End discriminatory policies that disproportionately affect people with disabilities in schools, housing, lending, employment, and healthcare. One of the federal government’s main responsibilities is to enforce civil rights and civil liberties. It’s time to step up.

Responsible gun owners across central and western New York agree: it’s past time to address the epidemic of gun violence in our country. I support the second amendment and responsible, law-abiding gun owners should be able to hunt and protect their families. We want our communities to be safe for our families, friends, and neighbors. That’s why I support common sense gun safety measures.

Dana will fight to...

Implement universal background checks and close the gun show, online, and boyfriend loopholes in our federal background check process.

Ban the manufacture of items that put our communities at undue risk, including military-style assault weapons, silencers, armor piercing bullets, high capacity magazines, and bump stocks.

Repeal the Dickey Amendment so that we can study the causes and impacts of gun violence. We need actionable information on which policies would be most effective in curtailing the epidemic of gun violence.

Oppose the Conceal-Carry Reciprocity Act, co-sponsored by my opponent, which our own law enforcement officials tell us makes our communities less safe.

Create real, effective “red flag” laws that let law enforcement officials take steps to remove guns from the hands of people who are found to be an extreme risk to themselves or others.

We are home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes and resources in the country. But our environment is facing unprecedented dangers from the climate crisis. More than ever, we need to continue the central and western New York tradition of protecting and preserving our land, water, and air.

Dana will fight to...

Reinstate the environmental protections rolled back by Donald Trump, John Katko, and the GOP Congress. We’ve made too much progress to watch it undone.

Institute a carbon fee and dividend. By putting a price on carbon emissions, we will reduce demand for fossil fuels and spur significant investment in renewable energy. This market-based solution is popular with both conservative and liberal experts and can be a great bi-partisan solution.

Invest in infrastructure. Replacing our aging water systems will ensure that our drinking water is safe and stop the catastrophic sewage spills that pollute our water supplies. And modernizing our energy grid will allow us to transport energy from renewable sources to every community.

Promote sustainable agriculture. Our farms play a very important role as stewards of the land, air, and water. Tax incentives and grants for the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices will help our farmers prosper and help keep our natural resources healthy.

Education is the cornerstone of democracy. Our public school system is under assault; Donald Trump’s Department of Education is trying to privatize it. We cannot allow that to happen. Providing quality education is one of the government’s most important obligations to the people.

Dana will fight to...

Fully fund our public schools. In too many places, under-resourced schools and districts are waiting for money from the state and federal governments. It’s time to fund our schools adequately. This includes fully funding IDEA for students with disabilities and expanding school meal and after-school programs.

Ensure quality public schools for all of our children. Every child deserves access to a public school that meets high standards of accountability, regardless of their zip code.

Codify civil rights protections for our vulnerable students so that safe learning environments are permanently available to every student no matter their race, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or other identity group. The right to these protections must never again depend on the whims of the Secretary of Education.

Establish universal Pre-K for all three- and four-year-olds so they have the best shot at success in school and beyond.

Revitalize civics education. We need to prepare students to become participants in our democracy. This requires knowing how all levels of government work, how to engage in public deliberation, and how to get along in a plural society. We must prepare them to understand not only their rights conferred by our democracy but their responsibilities as stewards of our democracy.

Treat educators as the professionals they are by paying them salaries commensurate with the value of the work they do and providing excellent mentorship and professional development programs.

Guarantee debt-free post-secondary options including four-year colleges, community colleges, and technical and vocational schools. This will require tuition-free options, expanded debt-relief programs, an end to predatory lending, and a cap on interest rates.

Opioids are ravaging our communities. If we hope to resolve this crisis, we must treat opioid use disorder as the medical problem that it is rather than as a criminal problem.

Dana will fight to...

Guarantee access to long-term substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment through universal healthcare. Currently, just 20% of patients who need Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder have access to it. We must do better.

Ensure first responders have the resources they need to save lives in emergency situations.

Increase the number of substance abuse treatment providers, especially in underserved communities, by incentivizing practitioners and investing in community-based programs.

Stem the flow of opioids into our communities. We have to prosecute drug dealers and hold the pharmaceutical companies responsible for knowingly flooding our communities with these harmful drugs. They must be made to pay for the damage they’ve caused and face criminal penalties where appropriate.

Donald Trump, John Katko, and the Republicans in Congress established a tax code that puts the desires of billionaires and wealthy corporations ahead of the needs of everyday people and their families. We need a tax policy that rewards hard work and puts people first.

Dana will fight to...

  • Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. The EITC and CTC are two of the most important tax provisions to support working families and prevent childhood poverty. In the midst of this economic crisis, expanding and increasing these tax credits is one of the most effective ways to deliver financial relief to those most in need.


  • Provide tax credits to make child care more affordable so that no family faces economic hardship just to cover this basic need.
  • Enact tax credits to support first-time homebuyers. With an advanceable tax credit of up to $15,000, we can help families build wealth by making the dream of home ownership a reality for working and middle-class families throughout our district.


  • Make millionaires, billionaires, and large corporations pay their fair share by rolling back the Trump tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations, imposing a tax penalty on corporations that ship jobs overseas in order to sell products back to America, and taxing investment income at the same rate as wages for those making more than $1 million.
COVID-19 has deeply affected communities across our district and across the country, and exposed many of the inequities in our society. We need a national plan to get this pandemic under control and provide individuals and families the relief they need in these unprecedented times.

Dana will fight to...

  • Ensure adequate supplies of personal protective equipment to keep healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential workers in our district safe and healthy as they work to protect and support our communities.


  • Adopt a national testing & contact tracing strategy. The Trump Administration’s failure to enact a national testing and tracing strategy has allowed this virus to spread rapidly in New York and across our country. In order to stop the continued spread of this virus, we need to put in place a comprehensive national strategy for testing and contact tracing.


  • Reinstate COVID-related unemployment assistance and provide another round of $1200 stimulus payments. As millions of working people and families struggle to make ends meet, we need real economic relief to ensure families can pay their bills and put food on the table.
  • Extend the federal moratorium on evictions and foreclosures so that no one is forced to face the crisis of homelessness or housing insecurity amid this public health crisis.


  • Provide economic aid for our states and municipalities, who are facing unprecedented budget shortfalls. The lack of aid has already forced some local governments — including those here in our district — to cut critical services and lay off and furlough workers. Without economic aid from the federal government, states and municipalities will be forced to make massive cuts, further harming families and communities. 


  • Keep our teachers and students safe. Since the beginning of this pandemic, our educators have made tremendous sacrifices to support their students. We must provide all of our schools with the resources to keep teachers and students safe and ensure their success whether they’re in an in-person, remote, or hybrid setting.
Our veterans have risked their lives to protect our country. We have an obligation to ensure they have access to the best care, support, and opportunities available when they return home.

Dana will fight to...

  • Guarantee veterans access to high-quality healthcare that meets their needs. We must make robust investments in the VA hospital system to ensure every veteran has easy access to physical and mental health care providers equipped to meet their specific needs. 


  • Ensure access to education and gainful employment for all veterans by promoting programs that match veterans with employers who can utilize the specialized skills they developed during their service. We must also protect veterans from predatory for-profit colleges looking to exploit GI Bill benefits.
  • Expand initiatives to end veteran homelessness and lower suicide rates. Our veterans continue to face unacceptably high rates of homelessness and suicide, often as a result of untreated Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. We have an obligation to expand mental health treatment and programs like the Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF), which is designed to provide wrap-around for veterans experiencing homelessness.


  • Improve the VA and rebuild trust. Too many veterans have been failed by a Veterans Health Administration that is too often overly burdensome and unhelpfully bureaucratic. By focusing on VA oversight and accountability, we can provide veterans the world-class care they deserve and rebuild trust in the system.
Every person deserves to live as their full and authentic self, regardless of who they love or how they identify. As the Trump administration works to roll back protections for LGBTQ+ Americans, we must fight to affirm full equality for all. 

Dana will fight to...

  • End legal discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. LGBTQ+ people can still be fired, evicted, and discriminated against just because of who they love. We must pass the Equality Act, which would  outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexuality or gender identity.


  • Support LGBTQ+ youth, who face disproportionate rates of bullying, homelessness, and mental health challenges. We must ensure our young people have the resources and support they need to reach their full potential and become thriving adults.


  • Prevent violence against LGBTQ+ people. We’ve made great strides in ending hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people, but there remains work to be done to end this crisis, especially the epidemic of violence against trangender women of color.
  • Ensure access to high-quality healthcare for LGBTQ+ individuals, including coverage for mental health care, gender-affirming care, and HIV treatment and prevention including PrEP and PEP.


  • Guarantee that our legal system treats LGBTQ+ individuals fairly. We must end the over-criminalization of LGBTQ+ people in our legal system, and ensure that those who are incarcerated are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Thank You!

Our campaign was guided by one simple principle: that everyone deserves a fair shot at success. To the countless people who so selflessly dedicated their time and energy in support of this message — thank you. I have learned so much from each of you, and am grateful for the still-growing community we’ve built together.

I entered this race because working families in central and western New York needed a champion to fight for them. We still do. I hope you’ll join me in remaining committed to this mission, because the stakes are far too high to sit this fight out.
Dana Balter

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