Melquiades Gagarin is a Queens native, a community organizer, a policy advocate, a father of three, and a punk rocker running for Congress to fight for you.
Mel was born in Elmhurst to a Puerto Rican working-class mother and a Filipino immigrant father, and raised by his mom and abuela. He went to Resurrection Ascension and Archbishop Molloy in the district before attending American University in Washington, DC. He worked as a congressional aide representing large parts of the 6th Congressional District, advocated on the Hill alongside criminal justice reformers, and organized across Queens as part of a movement to build a more just future for the nation’s most diverse county.
Mel has always been dedicated to fighting for progress. He is running to fight for working-class people, people of color, immigrants, the elderly, and our future. He won’t be accepting any money from corporations, the fossil fuel industry or real estate developers. The only interests he will ever answer to are those of neighbors in the district. Mel lives in Kew Gardens with his wife Aleda, their three beautiful children, and their dachshund, Chewbacca.
Affordable Housing for All
A housing guarantee affirms Mel’s belief that housing is a human right. While an improving economy has benefited real estate and land development corporations, wages are not keeping up with rising housing prices and rent. In Queens alone, countless working families are being priced out of their neighborhoods, and the number of people experiencing homelessness is increasing.
When the scales are tipped in favor of wealthy developers, a new vision for social housing in America is necessary. Mel will introduce legislation to create 25 million new social housing units by 2050 building upon recommendations by the People’s Policy Project and The People’s Action Homes Guarantee.
This comprehensive plan aims to meet the sustainability goals of the Green New Deal, create new jobs that pay prevailing wages, desegregate poverty, eliminate re-entry barriers for formerly incarcerated people, and create housing that is affordable to all.
Green New Deal
Climate change is the defining challenge of our time. Yet as global temperatures continue to rise and extreme weather events become more frequent, vulnerable front-line communities are forced to wait for insufficient market-based solutions. A Green New Deal is not only a possibility, it is now a necessity.
Mel can be trusted to implement bold policies to reform our failing energy infrastructure because he is the only candidate pledging to reject contributions from fossil fuel executives, lobbyists and their front groups.
To start, he will fight for public ownership of utilities to ensure critical access to basic utilities are not at the mercy of for-profit corporations who continue to hike rates while our communities face outages. In an ever-digitized world, access to the internet is a necessity. Mel will fight for a public option to the internet to end the stranglehold monopolies have on Queens’ residents on-line access, creating new jobs for local labor and providing high internet access to all communities.
Mel will lead on policies to ensure workers can transition into new sectors and working families can earn a livable wage. He supports a federal jobs guarantee and jobs training for workers to transition into the new economy, because workers are at the heart of our economy and should be valued as such.
Medicare for All
In the 1970s, when other countries around the world had implemented or were implementing national health insurance plans, we put our health in the hands of private enterprise. Decades and billions of lobbying dollars later, the results are clear: the United States spends far more on healthcare than any other nation, with significantly worse outcomes — including the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world.
Executive salaries and compensation packages in the pharmaceutical and health insurance industries are astronomical, while medical bills steadfastly remain the leading cause of bankruptcy in this country. Over 30 million Americans remain uninsured, while tens of millions with coverage still face inadequate or denied care. Healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and it’s time to focus on the American people and their health over the profits of billion-dollar corporations.
Mel supports Medicare for All — a federal universal single-payer program. No longer will our health be weighed against the balance sheets of massive corporations; with a single-payer program, all residents of the United States will be covered for their medical services, including doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs. Eliminating co-pays, premiums, and deductibles means that lower- and middle-income Americans will no longer have to weigh the cost of paying for life-saving medicine against feeding their families.