Hunter Avery is a candidate in the Democratic Party primary for Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District, a seat currently held by Rep. Trent Kelly, on June 7, 2022. The Mississippi Free Press sent the following questionnaire to all Mississippi congressional candidates prior to the June 7 primaries. We are are presenting the answers as we received them with only light edits.
What are your policy proposals for education?
My policy proposals for education would consist of legislation that would make all public colleges, universities, and trade schools free. I would also support making all school lunches K-12 free for all students. Finally, I support giving educators a raise of at least $20,000 per year.
What are your policy views when it comes to guns, gun violence and mass shootings? What specific gun regulations do you support, if any?
At this time, I am reluctant to say that we should ban or majorly restrict access to weapons mainly because of the growing threat of fascism/white supremacy in the country. I think we need to be ready to defend our democracy with force against these domestic terrorists. That being said, however, I would support legislation that would make schools safer.
What are your criminal justice policies and your ideas regarding police violence and brutality?
I believe we need to federally decriminalize & legalize recreational marijuana. As someone who works in corrections myself, I can say imperatively that locking up drug users is the worst thing you can do for them. There are more drugs readily available in prisons than the outside world. I believe that any allegation of police brutality should be cause for an administrative leave of said officer(s) and if an allegation is proven true then the officer(s) should be charged to the full extent of the law and there should be financial repercussions to the police departments responsible.
What will you do to improve health-care quality and access in Mississippi, including for mental health?
I support a universal healthcare system. I believe us having something similar to the UK’s NHS is not out of the question. The support from the people is there, we just need to start holding elected officials accountable.
What is your position on abortion access and what sort of federal legislation, if any, would you support related to abortion? Please describe any penalties you would support for those who obtain abortions.
I believe that abortion should be between a woman and her doctor and the only time a man should be able to have a say is if he is the spouse and his wife is unable to make her own medical decisions. I think everyone wants there to be fewer abortions, but outlawing abortion is not the way to do that. The proven way to lower the number of abortions is access to quality medical care, family leave from work for mother and father, affordable child care, etc etc.
Please list any forms of contraception that you believe should be banned, including birth control pills, Plan B/the morning-after pill, IUDs or others.
I do not believe that any form of contraception should be outlawed.
What are your ideas for improving our voting and election systems?
I support a ranked choice voting system, as well as the ability to register to vote from any smart device and to also be able to vote from any smart device.
What is your view on systemic racism and taking its impacts into consideration when crafting policy?
Systemic racism is a fact, not an opinion. If someone has trouble believing that systemic racism exists, then they’re probably benefitting from it. I believe it should always be considered when crafting policies.
What proposals do you support regarding the environment and climate change?
Well, I am not a climate scientist but I do believe we must tackle climate change and we must tackle it now. We’ve ran out of time. I believe we should set up a committee of climate scientists to brief congress on what should be done, and I believe congress should do what they say regardless of their personal beliefs.
What are your policy views on our nation’s immigration system?
I believe our immigration system needs serious improvement. There is no reason why we should still be separating parents from their children at the border.
What are your views and policy ideas related to LGBTQ rights?
I personally believe the LGBTQIA+ Community needs its own Civil Rights Act. These last few years have brought to bear the price of relying on a Supreme Court decision to protect vulnerable individuals’ human rights.
What are your views and policy ideas related to the rights of people with disabilities?
As the son of a disabled mother, I hold disabled people’s rights dear to my heart. I believe we need to do more to help them. I would venture to say that almost all of them are living below the poverty line right now. That is unacceptable.
What changes, if any, do you support making to federal marijuana laws?
I believe marijuana should be federally decriminalized and legalized.
What are your economic policy ideas?
I think we need to start taking care of what actually makes this country go around: the people, not corporations. I support raising taxes on the top 1% of earners and closing the loopholes they use to get out of paying their fair share. We can use that tax revenue to give the people healthcare, access to healthy food, access to affordable housing, and etc etc. which will raise millions out of poverty and allow them to take part in the economy.
What is your vision for addressing our infrastructure needs?
I support a national high-speed rail system, as well as eco-friendly city planning. I believe we should invest in more electric car charging stations, as well.
Congressional District: 1st (Incumbent is Republican Rep. Trent Kelly)
Party: Democratic Party
Profession: Correctional Officer
Social Media Links: Linktree