Voter's Guide, 2020 Fall Elections, Louisiana
Position U.S. Representative, District 5
NameMartin Lemelle

Campaign Information

Campaign Web Site

Bio Information

Party AffiliationDemocrat
ProfessionCorporate Finance and Higher Education Administration
Present Employer / positionGrambling State University - Chief Operating Officer
Length of residence in Jurisdiction26 years cumulatively
List of educational institutions and degreesGrambling State University, B.S. Accounting
George Washington University, MBA
SKEMA School of Business, Doctoral Candidate 2021
Prior elected and appointed positionsNone.
Civic involvement and affiliationsUnited Church of Christ
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Questions specific to the position

1. Would you support more federal funding to expand voter access and enhance election security? Yes. Additional funding is needed to achieve the following: enhancement of cybersecurity protections for elections, upgrades to voting machines, contingency planning resources to ensure safe and fair elections, and post-election audits comparing electronic to paper records.
2. In recent years, voters have expressed concern that their votes don't matter due to election security concerns, the possibility of foreign influence, and the role of large money in elections. What measures would you propose to address these issues? We must protect the right to vote and ensure that there is not unfair influence in the electoral process. We must make voting by mail more secure, inclusive of adequate funding for the USPS. All elections should include additional risk-limiting audits to provide further validation of results.
3. What can the Federal government do to raise the basic economic health and even the playing field so all U.S. citizens have equal opportunities? What measures would you support to address the following goals (please provide examples of specific legislation or programs)? a. A living wage for all workers:
I support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026. The impact of a livable wage for hard-working people will eliminate the burden of working multiple jobs to support their families. We must prioritize the passage of the PRO Act and stand with the American labor unions. Farm and domestic workers who have been left unprotected for years must have equal rights.
b. Paid sick leave for all workers:
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act must be expanded to include paid sick leave for all American workers. Too many Americans face the unfair burden of deciding between their paycheck and their health. This reality is exacerbated by communities of color and those earning wages by the hour due to their inability to work remotely. Paid sick leave is a necessity and a fundamental right.
c. Ensuring pay equity for all workers:
For far too long, the feminization of poverty has been a problem. We must continue to champion for pay equity. A new social and economic contract with the American people is needed. We must focus on job growth and creation supported by a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity. We will implement legislation that provides a pathway to equal pay for women, closes racial gaps in income, and safeguards a respectable retirement.
d. Providing access to quality child care and early childhood education:
Parents and guardians too often find themselves trying to balance the equation of caring for their children while managing the emotional, financial, and logistical realities. I genuinely believe that college begins in preschool, and we must invest in early childhood education funding universally. I support increasing the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit so that we can expand access to help low-income and middle-class families afford child care.
e. Improving the quality of K-12 education for all children:
Funding for Title I should be increased to three times its current funding level. The current formula for funding is inequitable and unstainable. We must enhance our focus to support investment in rural schools, including expanding critical support services. Wraparound support services such as after school programs and adult education classes are also vital to the improvement of K-12 education.
f. Providing affordable higher education:
Money should not impede earning a degree beyond high school. I support tuition-free opportunities for students whose families earn less than $150,000. Pell Grant awards should be increased and made available year-round so that low-income students can access the American dream without the burden of education debt.
g. Removing barriers to financing and housing:
Every American should have access to the American Dream of homeownership. From predatory lending practices to rising income inequality, many citizens have been left out of this opportunity. With a nationwide shortage of affordable housing and the crisis of homelessness, we will provide a plan to make housing affordable and accessible.
h. Providing access to affordable healthcare for all:
Healthcare is a fundamental human right. Universal healthcare is achievable and necessary. I will continue to support the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and Medicare. We will work with states to evolve Medicaid to ensure more low-income people have access to quality healthcare without premiums.
4. What can be done at the Federal level to improve public safety and confidence in law enforcement? Would you support measures to address the following (please answer yes or no and provide examples of specific legislation): a. Reallocate resources and funds from policing/law enforcement to address social ills that plague many disinvested communities:
Community policing requires revitalization. We want our officers to be well prepared with cultural competency and ingrained in the communities that they serve. We support the continued use of body cameras with the expansion of compliance requirements. Resources should be regularly reviewed and reallocated to the areas of greatest need and largest impact. It is only through collaboration and accountability that our communities become safer.
b. Reform qualified immunity:
The doctrine of qualified immunity should be reined in, affording victims of federal, state, or local law enforcement abuses of power to seek justice through civil litigation.
c. Ban use of excess force (e.g., chokeholds, shoot to kill):
I support banning the use of excessive force.
d. Establish a nationwide database of law enforcement officers found to have used excessive force:
I support establishing a national database that allows for accountability and transparency related to the excessive use of force.
e. Ban the providing of local police departments with military equipment:
Weapons should not be used in our communities. I would support banning the sale of surplus military weapons.
5. Do you support a system for undocumented immigrants already in the country to earn legal status and to have a path to citizenship? If so, what steps do you consider necessary? I fully support a pathway to citizenship. As Americans, we are a family, and protecting the unity of families is a top priority. We must eliminate unfair barriers to naturalization, streamline the process, and eliminate backlogs.