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Morgan McGarvey is proud to represent the people of Kentucky’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a lifelong Louisvillian who, before being elected to Congress, served for a decade in the Kentucky State Senate, including four years as the Minority Leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus.
As a state Senator and Minority Leader, Morgan fought back against conservative attacks on public education, organized labor, reproductive rights, and Kentucky’s working families. But he did so while building relationships with his colleagues in both parties to pass legislation that helps and protects Kentuckians every day. Across 10 years in Frankfort, Morgan wrote and passed 18 bills into law. Those include passing the first insurance mandate in Kentucky history to make sure that low-birthweight babies get the nutrients they need to survive, laws that protects victims of human trafficking and domestic violence, and a law that allowed Simmons College – Louisville’s only HBCU – to lower tuition costs for its students and re-start its teacher training program, putting more Black teachers into classrooms across Louisville and Kentucky.
Morgan graduated from Manual High School in Louisville. He earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Missouri, where he met his wife Chris, and a J.D. from the University of Kentucky School of Law. Morgan, Chris, and their three children – Clara, Wilson, and Greta – live in the Highlands of Louisville.
My goal is always to figure out how to help, and then work to get it done. As a legislator in Frankfort, that included mandating that insurance companies cover the vital nutrients that extremely low-birthweight babies need to survive, passing Jeanette’s Law to ensure that survivors of domestic violence don’t have to pay for their abusive spouses’ attorney fees, and changing the law to decrease the cost of tuition at Simmons College – Louisville’s only HBCU – and allow them to create a teacher training program.I’m running to take this same approach to Congress: to show up, listen, find where I can make a difference, and work with our communities to deliver. I want to help build a future in which all Kentuckians can thrive, by having access to quality, affordable health care, high-quality public education, and economic prosperity.
I believe health care is a basic human right. No one should receive a diagnosis and have to worry about going bankrupt, or be forced to choose between their prescription medications and paying for groceries. That’s why I support Medicare for All to ensure that everyone is covered with quality, affordable, accessible care.
When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act and Kentucky expanded Medicaid, we brought health insurance coverage to over 400,000 Kentuckians, many for the first time. It was a game changer for thousands of families in our commonwealth and was one of the greatest economic development policies ever passed in our state.
But there is still more work to be done. We need to shore up our rural health care systems. We must allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. We must expand health insurance coverage to include vision, dental, and hearing. In Congress, I will continue this work to ensure that all Kentuckians have health care coverage that allows them to regularly see a doctor, access affordable prescription medication, and survive an emergency or catastrophic health diagnosis without incurring financial hardship.
Every kid should have the opportunity to go to a good public school that prepares them for a successful life, no matter your zip code. My wife and I are products of public schools, our kids go to public schools, and I have championed the interests of our teachers and public school employees, including stepping in to oppose Gov. Matt Bevin’s illegal gutting of the teacher retirement system and fighting to give our hardworking public education employees a raise. I am proud to have the backing of the Jefferson County Teachers Association, the Kentucky Education Association, and the National Education Association in my campaign for Congress.
At the federal level, it is time for the United States to expand public education to include universal pre-Kindergarten and free community college so that every Kentuckian can gain access to the skills they need to get a good, family-supporting job. I further believe we must sufficiently fund our public universities to make them affordable for all Americans.
Especially now, our teachers and public education employees deserve our gratitude and a raise, as they have taken care of our loved ones and risked their own health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am running to address the existential threat of climate change so that future generations have a livable planet and aren’t constantly dealing with natural disasters like last December’s tornadoes that devastated entire communities in Western Kentucky or regular extreme flooding in Eastern Kentucky.
We must act now.
I support federal spending and tax incentives to dramatically expand renewable energy buildout in the United States, infrastructure spending to speed the deployment of electric vehicles, and tax incentives for consumer purchase of union-made and American-made electric vehicles. I support a federal clean energy standard that incentivizes investor-owned electric utilities to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions while creating millions of good-paying jobs to build the clean energy infrastructure necessary to make this transition. And I will fight for federal spending to incentivize rural electric cooperatives to transition to clean, renewable energy by relieving debt associated with coal-fired power plants, and conditioning such relief upon the coop’s investment in a clean energy transition.
The United States’ long history of racist economic policies has created a racial wealth gap between white Americans and Black and brown communities. I believe that it is the federal government’s duty to implement policies that acknowledge and address the systemic racism that is endemic in so much of our daily lives – from the education system to the justice system to banking, housing, and health care.
I support anti-poverty measures that would disproportionately pull Black and brown Americans out of poverty and allow them to prosper, such as making the Child Tax Credit permanent, passing the BOOST Act, expanding public education to include universal pre-K and free community college, and increasing access to quality, affordable health care.
We must also address the disparities with which Black Kentuckians are treated by police and by our criminal justice system. I support passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to ban some of the worst practices we’ve seen in policing and to take a step toward ending police brutality. After Breonna Taylor was killed by police in Louisville in the spring of 2020, I was proud to vote for a ban on no-knock warrants in Kentucky in Frankfort. I support a federal ban on no-knock warrants in Congress.
I support full legalization and decriminalization of marijuana at the federal level. Full legalization will not only create economic growth and tax revenue from a new, booming industry for Kentucky – it will also decrease our prison population, save millions in taxpayer dollars spent on incarceration, and undo decades of racist, unnecessary criminal convictions. Even though white and Black populations use marijuana at the same rates, Black people are exponentially more likely to be incarcerated for the same crime. Any bill that legalizes marijuana must also ensure that the legalization process commutes sentences and expunged convictions of low level offenders, and that profits from marijuana go to the communities most harmed by unfair drug laws and policing practices.
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended every aspect of American life – from the economy to education to the tragedy of nearly 1 million deaths. The U.S. Government has the ability and an obligation to not only end the COVID-19 pandemic, but to do everything we can do to prevent the disruption, economic damage, and suffering caused by a future pandemic.
When the H1N1 health emergency hit we were able to tap into the national stockpile but because of short sightedness we didn’t fill the stockpile back up. There is no question lives were lost in COVID because of this. We cannot allow that to happen again. We must refill the stockpile and expand it for the next pandemic.
We also must invest more in research of likely pathogens, and developing prototype vaccines that will allow for rapid development and deployment of life-saving vaccines the next time a highly transmissible virus takes hold.
It also means enhancing our ability to review and assess biosecurity risks. We should be treating research labs that deal with pathogens with the same level of caution that we apply to nuclear material and airline safety. The work done here is incredibly important but one only has to look to the influenza A epidemic of 1977 or the more than 1,000 incidents between 2008 and 2012 to see that our current oversight system is simply insufficient.
We must ensure independent oversight of labs conducting dual-use research of concern and creating consequences for noncompliance with safety and security protocols. The safety oversight of this work should be controlled by those concerned with preventing the next pandemic, rather than by the scientist funding this important research. That is why such supervision should be moved away from the NIH and to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.
We can save lives and prevent potentially trillions of dollars in economic losses by planning for the next pandemic, by incorporating air filtration, ventilation, and sterilization mechanisms into building codes – especially for our schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and transit systems. Just as sprinklers, fire extinguishers, and maximum occupancy requirements for public buildings have made catastrophic building fires a thing of the past in the United States, we can implement changes that make airborne pathogens like SARS-COV-2 less damaging and harmful to our families and our communities.
AN ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR KENTUCKY FAMILIES
The United States needs policies that grow our economy from the bottom up, by expanding the middle class with good-paying jobs that can support a family. In Congress, I will work to build an economy in which workers can thrive and get ahead, including by increasing wages, protecting workers’ rights to collectively bargain, and making it possible to raise a family while participating in the workforce.
We have to have economic policies that allow people to work, raise a family, and care for their loved ones. That’s why I support at least four weeks of paid family leave, subsidizing affordable child care and passing universal pre-Kindergarten so that young parents can afford to take care of their children and keep their careers.
I support increasing the federal minimum wage to $15/hour, and then indexing the minimum wage to inflation so that workers don’t start falling behind the moment they get a raise. And I believe we should require equal pay for equal work. I’ve proposed such an increase as the law in Kentucky and think it should be the law everywhere in our country.
And because I am serious about ending generational poverty, I support making the Child Tax Credit permanent. While it was in effect, the Child Tax Credit lifted nearly 4 million children out of poverty. Cutting child poverty has positive effects in both the immediate and long term. Aside from the immediate effect of giving families the resources they need to survive and thrive, It is associated with better lifelong outcomes for children in education, earnings in adulthood, and health.
I have stood shoulder to shoulder with organized labor in the state Senate, opposing Right to Work, protecting prevailing wage requirements for state contractors, and fighting against efforts to undermine the retirement benefits of our teachers and public employees.
In Congress, I will step up to level the playing field between workers and employers, not only to protect unions, but to grow them. If it doesn’t pass this year, I will be a cosponsor and a staunch supporter of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, to protect the right to form a union and collectively bargain, to ensure access to worksites, to protect workers during the critical period by banning captive audience meetings, and by mandating stiff financial penalties for employers who use union-busting tactics to keep their workers away from the negotiating table.
But we need more than just the PRO Act. In Congress, I will fight to ensure that the investments we make in infrastructure, expanded public education, renewable energy, and electric vehicles and batteries – like those that will be made in the proposed Ford plant in Hardin County – go to companies with union workforces. When we’ve seen real economic growth in this country; it has come because we have had a government willing to invest in our country’s infrastructure, and we have had union density near 35%. In Congress, I will be a vote and an advocate for ensuring that we get back to both.
I’m proud to be endorsed by over a dozen labor organizations from Louisville and across Kentucky, including the Kentucky AFL-CIO.
Immigration reform must reflect America’s democratic ideals and not create a second class of workers. A broad path to citizenship must be the centerpiece to any serious immigration reform that moves 11 million people out of the shadows. Instead of supporting commonsense, bipartisan reforms, too many in the other party want to make it hard for undocumented women to report crimes under the Violence Against Women Act, want to turn Census workers into immigration agents to reduce resources to communities in need, and want to force local law enforcement to take over immigration enforcement from the federal government instead of making our national immigration authorities better. All of these approaches are wrong and I will oppose them in Congress while fighting for comprehensive reform that provides a pathway to citizenship.
VOTING AND DEMOCRACY
Our democracy works best when we hear from all Americans, and we need voting reform that allows more Americans to vote. Congress must pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to guarantee access to the ballot for all Americans. We must expand absentee voting, allow for automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, allow for early voting and ballot dropboxes to make it more convenient for more people to vote, and make election day a federal holiday.
In 2022, we have seen a wave of anti-LGBTQ hatred and discrimination from Republican-controlled state governments across the country. Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law prohibits teaching about sexual identity and orientation, and Texas has begun attempts to prosecute parents of trans kids for child abuse. Republicans passed a bill that disallows trans kids from participating in sports right here at home in Kentucky.
In Congress, I will be a voice to protect the rights, dignity, and safety of LGBTQ Americans. I will be a vote for and a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity, as well as the LGBTQ Youth Act, which expands programs that prevent and treat child abuse and neglect to address issues facing LGBTQ Youth.
I will always fight for a woman’s right to an abortion. In the wake of the Dobbs decision in June of this year, Kentucky immediately activated one of the most extreme and inhumane abortion laws in the country. Right now, in Kentucky, women don’t have access to legal abortion — this ban does not even include exceptions for rape or incest. This has immediate real and devastating consequences for Kentucky women and girls. For example, if an underage girl becomes pregnant as the result of rape, she will be forced to carry that pregnancy to term or have to cross state lines.
This is despicable, and Congress needs to step up in order to fix it. I will be a vote to put Roe v. Wade into federal law, so that a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy and make healthcare decisions that are right for her cannot be taken away by state legislatures across the country. I will also continue to fight in Congress for increased access to quality, affordable health care, especially comprehensive reproductive, maternal, and newborn health care, and will vote to require that health insurance providers cover birth control.