About Me

Hi, my name is Luisa Parker. I am running for U.S. Representative for New York, in the the 19th congressional district of the Hudson Valley. 

Hudson Valley

The district I am representing has been home to my family for over 20 years. We made the decision to live here to raise our kids amid beautiful, natural surroundings; providing them with a decent education and with opportunities to pursue an array of interests, while providing ourselves with a certain peace of  mind for their overall safety. 

This region is located in one of the most beautifully scenic regions of New York State and encompasses the Hudson Valley RiverCatskill Mountains (of Dirty Dancing fame), and the Delaware River basin. It comprises the following counties:  Columbia, DelawareGreene, OtsegoSchoharieSullivan, and Ulster; along with parts of BroomeDutchessMontgomery, and Rensselaer,

Most of the area is rural with vast waterways, farmlands, and mountain ranges. Our environment might be called the jewel in the Hudson Valley crown - and attracts tourism year-round, though these numbers tend to drop dramatically at certain times of the year.  Sadly, big business interests, in contrast, have been steadily polluting our waterways for decades. 

My Vision for the Hudson Valley is as Follows:  

  • We must replace leadership and fully fund the Environmental Protection Agency. We have paid a terrible price for poor government oversight in places like Hoosick Falls and Newburgh, and need to increase monitoring of companies that use hazardous chemicals to eliminate the risk of further pollution to our Upstate drinking water systems. Companies that break these laws must be held accountable.
  • We must embrace clean energy solutions to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by investing in advances towards renewable energy and creating jobs around these industries, i.e., solar, along with  revitalization of our small businesses, investment in our infrastructure, and broadband development will bring about a resurgence to last for years to come.
  • We must ensure the safety of our children in their schools. Extensive background checks and restrictions on semi-automatic weapons need to be implemented.
  • We must acquire resources to fund prevention efforts to proactively address opioid use in the Hudson Valley and to acquire accessible professional mental health services.
  • We must partner with Public Health to explore and monitor the risks of tick-borne illnesses and rabies on the general population.
  • We must obtain full contraceptive coverage in Women's Healthcare.
  • We must secure affordable housing and address homelessness in the region.


More Information on the Issues:

Health

Severe health crises have arisen as a direct result of the pollutants and toxins (including cancer causing PFOAs) that have been systematically dumped into our waterways. This pollution has been further compounded by the incumbent voting to overturn the Stream Protection Rule allowing coal companies to dump coal dust to further pollute our waterways. In so doing, he voted against the interests of his constituents and endangered our natural resources. Also looming in our future is a potential threat from the by-products that will occur with the passage of fracking legislation. Notwithstanding, I support the interests of  our residents over those of big corporations and ultimately wish to see an accessible one system healthcare system available to all. There are also two health threats facing our constituents that have not had much in the way of dialogue or media coverage: Lyme's disease and rabies exposures. These have the potential of posing significant health threats if left unaddressed.

I wholeheartedly support House Resolution 676 which calls for a Medicare-for-All system. We have thousands of uninsured and under-insured  living in the Hudson Valley. All it would take is one catastrophic health event to bring financial ruination to a family or individual. Similarly to Medicaid or Medicare, a single payer health system would make all the difference to surviving devastation, especially as a majority of the Hudson Valley's residents live, paycheck-to-paycheck, or beneath the poverty line. I believe the levels of poverty and the feelings of hopelessness they engender continue to be contributing factors in the opioid crisis currently impacting our region. Wage reform, prevention, treatment, and mental health services will eventually ameliorate this community ill. 

The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Program brings actionable data and strategies to communities to make it easier for people to be healthy in their homes, schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods. The 2017 report, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, helps counties understand what factors exist that influence how healthy residents are, and how long they will live.   Under Rank for Health Factors (based on weighted scores for health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment) our region's rankings are acceptable. Conversely, this is not so with the Rank for Health Outcomes which gauges length and quality of life,  as it ranks one of our counties as being second to last for morbidity out of  New York's 62 counties. Yet, our congressional incumbent still attempted to make drastic cuts in funding - in the multi-millions of dollars range - to 13 of our rural hospitals. This was done in concert with attempts to make devastating reductions in the billions of dollars to Medicaid and Medicare; and voting to dissolve the Affordable Care Act. 

It is imperative that funding resources be secured for the following:

  • keeping local hospitals operational; and

  • funding mental health services. 

The former has already been placed in jeopardy. This occured when Rep. Faso proposed subjecting area hospitals to those multi-million dollar cuts in concert with devastating reductions in the billions of dollars to Medicaid.  Fortunately, the attempt failed.

As for the latter, especially in  light of the horrific behaviors we are witnessing more and more of in the media, the importance of having quality mental health services available  has become increasingly urgent. Still, we must work together to eradicate the stigma that still exists around the need for mental health services. 


Education

Adding more insult to injury, our incumbent representative supported ending the federal PELL grant for college students thereby making tuition even less affordable; and reducing Title I funding for our public schools, to the detriment of our special education and low income students. These decisions were not made in the best interests of our constituents. 

I have an innate love for people and for community. I see wrongs and grow impassioned over resolving them. I see injustices and want to see them righted. I see communities mired in hopelessness and strive to bring elements of hope back to those troubled in heart and mind. Taking $3.3 billion away from the PELL grant is not the answer. Tuition-free educational pathways must be developed for students as we are not all 'cookie-cutter' individuals all destined for college. Some may be better suited for vocational school, community college, the military, or apprenticeship, etc.


Women

We cannot succeed as a nation if we continue to discriminate against ourselves. More than half our population is female! We need specific legislation to protect women’s rights and to assist in leveling the playing field.  Equal pay for equal work needs to be protected legislatively and contraception needs to be covered by employer's insurance formulary plans. Additionally, we must commit to supporting childcare, universal Pre-k and kindergarten, and paid family leave; because women should not be made to sacrifice their careers because they love and care for their families. Besides, men will ultimately benefit too! 

The objectification of women in the U,S. is still problematic and education of the young seems the only place to start to change the tide. My volunteer work with R.I.S.E., a program that advocates for anyone who is or has been a victim of sexual abuse, really brought that issue home to me, as did the prominence of the #metoo movement, though I have concerns that it could be taken to the extreme if due diligence is not taken.

Yet, across the nation, women are taking the lead running for office,  which is so encouraging as we tend to exhibit an increased willingness to work across party lines to come to resolutions and, in the case of Congress, lend ourselves to crafting legislation that will benefit our country as a whole. I know I would thrive in such an environment, becoming a vital part of the solution we need to heal our nation. Once the basics are seen to, we can turn the nation's attention more readily to the very important issues of national security and reclaiming our position as leader on the international stage, beginning with our return to the Paris Climate Accords.


My Service to Community

My background is not in politics - so you'll find no smooth talking , soft-selling, glossy-looking individual here folks - but what I do have is a background in service and the skillsets required to achieve successful, measurable outcomes; so given an equally successful electoral bid, I should be able to serve honorably as representative for my fellow Hudson Valley constituents.  

I have held several positions in the not-for-profit sector. and currently work in the prevention field for Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange & Sullivan a premiere organization leading the fight against the opioid addiction impacting our region. Other services provided include: substance abuse prevention and treatment services, naloxone training, and evidence-based educational curricula for local school districts. I have both spearheaded and participated in a number of community coalitions that have promoted community activism and/or established environmental strategies to prompt positive behavioral change. 

Coalition affiliations: Community Unity, Prevention First-NY!, and Sullivan Agencies Leading Together (S.A.L.T.); Board affiliations: Cornell Cooperative Extension; Sullivan County Federation for the Homeless, and Refuah Healthcare; Volunteerism: Rape Intervention Services and Education  (R.I.S.E.) , St. Francis and St. George, and Holy Cross.


My Background

Mine is an immigrant's tale, thus I readily relate to our Dreamers.  My grandparents came to New York, from Cuba, in the early 1950's, prior to the restrictive communist regime of dictator, Fidel Castro. My mother was a young girl when they left all they knew for a new life in America.  They settled in the Bronx and eventually made their permanent home in Manhattan. 

My grandparents worked hard to earn their living and to eventually become naturalized citizens. My mother attended grammar school and learned to speak English by way of immersion; then went on to attend high school and eventually went on to Columbia University where she met my father.  Upon graduation, they married, but my father, here on a student visa,  had to honor a commitment to return to West Africa to 'pay forward' the educational opportunities he had been given. This resulted in a five-year absence, resulting in my first stepping foot on American soil at 14 months of age.

Growing up in New York with my extended Cuban family was a phenomenal experience. The City was as equally diverse as my family. The Immigration Act was in its heydey, with many, including my family, able to sponsor other members for entry to the U.S., courtesy of the family reunification clause. I considered it a remarkable gift that I had the opportunity to enjoy our extended family, including our beloved abuelita, who we lovingly called Lala.  Our great-grandmother eventually left us into her nineties, but what a joy she was. 

Well, as time went on, I achieved what were deemed the usual milestones;  and went off to attend university; and eventually met my husband, just prior to beginning my senior year at university. Following graduation, we married. Now, almost 35 years later, we have raised five American children and are the proud grandparents of nine. The Hudson Valley Region has been our home for over 20 years, and now our children are proudly raising our next generation here.


National Perspective

From a national perspective I foresee many battles ahead of us, and I am up for the challenge. I will fight to:

  • ensure safe schools for our children; 
  • support universal common sense background safety checks and FixNic for gun purchasers;
  • increase Title I funding for students;
  • commit to supporting childcare and paid sick and family leave;
  • improve educational standards and the implementation of more equitable services for students across our public school system;
  • secure funding for tuition-free traditional and non-traditional educational pathways for high school graduates;
  • end extreme formidably stringent and punitive recoupment methods around defaulted college loans;
  • safeguard PELL grant funding and tuition free university, trade, and community college; 
  • pass a clean DACA bill and safeguard the family reunification elements of the Immigration Act;
  • secure prevention funding to continue the fight against opioid abuse and promote mental health wellness;
  • safeguard our invaluable rural hospitals; 
  • fight to make a working wage a living wage by raising the minimum to $15;
  • close the wage gap and demand equal pay across industry sectors, including enforcing equal pay for equal work passing the Paycheck Fairness Act;  
  •  ensure that there are safety regulations established in the workplace;
  •  uphold the rights of workers to collectively bargain and organize; 
  • pursue equitable access to affordable healthcare for all via the passage of a single-payer healthcare system; 
  • contraception inclusion as part of insurance package coverage;
  • fight against the privatization of Veterans Affairs' Health Administration;
  • increase in lands designated organic; 
  • increase taxes on the wealthy and protect Dodd-Frank to guard against Wall Street greed;
  • target dark money lobbyists/funders furthering their agendae at the expense of the American people;
  • remove corporate and Super PACs donations from political campaigns; and
  • for term limits in Congress, putting an end to lifetime appointments.                                 


In conclusion...

As a nation, we have seriously been put through the wringer during the past year - from Russia's continued interference in our democratic processes, to the utterly disgraceful conduct of our representatives in Washington! Congress has succeeded in reducing access to affordable, quality health care; to allowing pharmaceutical companies to run amok with their endless price gouging; in threatening Medicare and Social Security; in basing policy-making, or the lack thereof, by the amount of dark money received from lobbyists and corporate donors to the detriment of their constituents; and last but not least, in the perpetual and systematic attack on women, including the unending sex scandals and the continued existence of a not so secret slush fund to tacitly settle sexual harassment complaints - using our tax money! And the list goes on!  Sounds pretty dismal but there's always hope. 

We are overcomers. Together, we can put this House back in order.

I am ready and willing to serve.  Will you join  me in Making the I'mpossible Possible?

                                                             

Your financial support is greatly appreciated.  Also, please let me know if you interested in providing assistance with canvassing, telephone calls, and/or mailings for the campaign.

Use of Contributions

I will use all contributions to mount the best campaign I can against the incumbent, who already has raised quite the war chest and whomever the second candidate is who is selected  to run on June 26, 2018. Expenses will be kept to a minimum as we will mount a grassroots effort, soliciting mostly earned media opportunities. Funds will be used for canvassing purposes; towards office operations, for traveling expenditures, printing and some advertising costs.



Show your support for this campaign by endorsing it and sharing why!

  • endorsed

    “Luisa is a neighbor, and a part of the solution in regard to our County of Sullivan. Luisa has a connection to our community that the other candidates do not. After years of promises not kept. I am more confident in my neighbors, than I am with folks I do not know. Luisa has demonstrated a commitment to our community that has not been matched by those seeking political employment.”

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Luisa Parker I have known her for 10 years, She is always helping people who can not do for their selfs”

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Luisa Parker because I have known her for years working in collaboration on community coalitions to serve the underserved and educate about substance abuse prevention. She is dedicated to the youth and in seeing a better future for them in the Hudson Valley.”

February 21, 2018

Campaign created!

Show your support for this campaign by endorsing it and sharing why!

  • endorsed

    “Luisa is a neighbor, and a part of the solution in regard to our County of Sullivan. Luisa has a connection to our community that the other candidates do not. After years of promises not kept. I am more confident in my neighbors, than I am with folks I do not know. Luisa has demonstrated a commitment to our community that has not been matched by those seeking political employment.”

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Luisa Parker I have known her for 10 years, She is always helping people who can not do for their selfs”

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Luisa Parker because I have known her for years working in collaboration on community coalitions to serve the underserved and educate about substance abuse prevention. She is dedicated to the youth and in seeing a better future for them in the Hudson Valley.”