Fighting for public safety, working across the aisle

When introducing my recent legislation that involved instituting mandatory minimums for repeat offenders of violent crimes, I knew that it might raise some eyebrows. But I made a commitment to those who elected me to represent them – a commitment to be an advocate and make sure the needs and concerns of my constituents were strongly represented.

Communities in my district and others across the state are being ravaged by gun violence. Families are experiencing the loss of loved ones to senseless acts, our seniors in the community are afraid to leave their homes, and children are being robbed of their futures by being murdered. Simply put, this is not okay.

My action was aimed at offering a way to help combat the epidemic of gun violence. I know that this epidemic is not a one-solution-fits-all issue, and it will take a multifaceted approach to remedy it. That is why I have been working to get funds allocated to programs that address the systemic issues that plague so many communities. My question is: what about the right now? What are we doing to instill accountability and change the trajectory of the deadly violence?

It is clear many feel that my proposal is not the preferred policy solution, and that is okay. There are many other proposals to consider, but we will not be able to address the issue at hand, though, unless we come together across the aisle.

Communities in our state are getting decimated, and gun violence is a leading cause of this decimation. We must do something, and we must evolve in our thinking and in how we work together to help the communities impacted the most.

I will continue fighting for solutions aimed at strengthening public safety and curbing the gun violence epidemic. And I call on my colleagues -- Republicans, independents, and my fellow Democrats -- to continue the much-needed discussion that has come from all of this. I have and always will invite and welcome all sides and viewpoints. New ways of getting policy solutions enacted are needed: elected officials reaching out and working in the interest of the public, ignoring tribal allegiances and bumper-sticker politicking.

It’s time to advance on the issue of gun violence. We are going to lose generations to unnecessary violence if we do not act now – let’s find policy solutions we can advance instead of focusing on and arguing over ones we cannot.

The people need us to act. Let’s agree on something and deliver on our mandate.