No More Shootings

I still can’t believe that I was the only candidate at this event! I’m taking a stand to end gun violence.

We have to look at gun violence as a public health emergency, and untie the hands of the CDC and Department of Health and Human Services to do the research. The answer isn’t to arm teachers, it’s to do the research, look at what other countries have done as natural experiments, run our own experiments, and put reforms in place. We have to act NOW!

Fighting for New Mexican’s Healthcare

We have serious healthcare problems here in New Mexico, and I’m running for Congress to fight for Medicare for All and solve the problems that we’re all facing with our healthcare. I’m a health economist and have worked on healthcare problems around the world. I know how healthcare works, and together, we can fix this. Will you join me?

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Taking Action Against Gun Violence

The tragic deaths of 19 brave people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida has once again placed gun violence and gun access in the minds of every American, every New Mexican, every student and every parent. What can be done? What should we do?

This question was asked again at the NM CD1 Democratic Congressional Forum, held at Edgewood Middle School. To talk about gun violence while standing inside a school cafeteria is a difficult thing, and we must continue to have these difficult conversations. Moderators asked each candidate:

“What will you do in congress to help prevent the kind of mass shooting we saw this week in Florida, while at the same time protecting our second amendment rights? And we specifically are asking also whether or not you would vote to ban AR-15 style semiautomatic weapons.”

First, while my prayers are for the families, we know that thoughts and prayers are not enough. There are several things I will do in Congress to address gun violence in our country.

  1. I will support legislation for an assault weapons ban. I recognize that New Mexico has a long heritage of hunting and recreational shooting, but assault weapons have no place in a home or in a school. Unlike our current senators, I would support and co-sponsor legislation like the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017 (S 2095) introduced in the Senate last November.
  2. I will support legislation to keep guns out of the hands of those who have committed domestic violence.
  3. Mass shootings and gun violence are public health epidemics and the Center for Disease Control should be not be prevented from addressing this epidemic. I will support legislation like HR 1832 and S 834 to fund research into firearms safety and gun violence prevention.
  4. I will pursue funding and policy solutions to improve treatment for mental health for all Americans. I will work to elevate and destigmatize the conversation around mental health. Improved access to mental health resources will strengthen all of our communities. Addressing mental health effects every part of our lives and communities.

What Would Jesse Do? – I stand with the Dreamers

The US democracy hasn’t represented us, the people, for quite a while. It’s especially obvious right now as Congress is trying to decide what’s next for undocumented people who were brought to the US as children and are now facing the possibility of being arrested and deported back to the countries that they happened to be born in. They grew up in America, speak English, are a part of our community, are our friends, spouses, teachers and co-workers.

According to polls, 73% of Americans support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This support is across party lines: Republican, Democrat and Independent. With that widespread support, how can our representatives even suggest that they are representing the American people? They can’t.

I stand with the Dreamers, and will continue to stand for a pathway to citizenship for all child immigrants. I also oppose any legislation that would break apart families. We New Mexicans know how important family is, and we know how important immigration is. The first Heitner in my family to reach the U.S. got here illegally from Austria-Hungary during WWI by learning English, tattooing an American flag on his back, and convincing crew-members on U.S. naval ship that he was already an American immigrant and needed a ride home. Except for the pueblo peoples, and those latinx families that didn’t cross the border but had the border cross them, we’re all immigrants here. New Mexico is a land of immigration, and it’s our responsibility to carry that torch.

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Jesse Heitner for Congress

Photo of Jesse Heitner

I’m pleased to announce that I have formally launched my campaign for the US House of Representatives for NM Congressional District 1.

We’re entering the race later than most of the other people running for the seat, but the right-wing attacks on the ideals that make our country great has convinced me that it is my moral imperative to run and stand up for the immigrants, the poor, and every New Mexican who is being affected by the decisions at the highest levels of our government.

I personally have been affected by the Trump administration’s decisions to defund healthcare support for countries around the world. I am a healthcare economist who has worked on solving serious health problems in South America, Africa and rural China, and I had a front-row seat to the devastation that was caused by Trump when he slashed healthcare aid funding worldwide. People couldn’t get the care or medications that they needed. The more I researched the problem, the more I realized that the problems I saw in these impoverished areas were nearly identical to the problems that we experience here in New Mexico.

We are in the middle of an opioid and drug addiction epidemic. Rural health clinics are closing. People have to travel for hours to get to Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces in order to get their basic healthcare needs handled. Elderly New Mexicans are being left behind as their doctors move to the cities. Mental health clinics have been forced into bankruptcy by Governor Martinez, leaving tens of thousands of patients in limbo or forcing them into the prison system because their needs were no longer being met.

Healthcare is an intersectional issue. If people aren’t healthy, then they can’t work. If they can’t work, they risk poverty and homelessness. If they are impoverished, they can’t afford the healthcare that they need in order to get healthy. And medical expenses are the #1 cause of bankruptcy in our country. Lack of healthcare can create a downward spiral in all areas of our lives, and receiving affordable healthcare can help lift someone out of an endless cycle of poverty. This is a foundational issue of our time, but is by no means the only one.

Throughout my campaign, I want to give you hope that these problems ARE solvable. I will talk about research that is happening around the world and solutions that governments are using to solve healthcare, poverty, inequality, racism, and many other issues. And I’m going to show you how these solutions can be implemented here in NM, and across the country, in an affordable, moral and compassionate way.

But this campaign will only work with your help. I want to hear your stories and ideas. I want to know what is affecting you. Together, I know that we can improve New Mexico. Will you join me?

Sincerely,

Jesse Heitner

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