Marianne Williamson is a best-selling author and lecturer, and a friend and advisor to Oprah Winfrey. Williamson believes that America is in need of a “moral and spiritual awakening,” a large part of the reason she is running for president.
The Houston native’s first book, “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracle,” published in 1992, triggered a phone call from Winfrey and helped propel Williamson into the national spotlight.
In 2014, Williamson unsuccessfully ran to represent California’s 33rd Congressional District. Last week Williamson qualified for the first 2020 Democratic primary debates by crossing the unique donor threshold of at least 65,000 individual donors.
Here is where Williamson stands on eight key issues.
CLIMATE CHANGE: Support the Green New Deal and Paris Climate Accord
Williamson believes action is needed to address climate change, and she has said she supports appointing a “world-class environmentalist” to head the Environmental Protection Agency. She supports halting all new fossil fuel projects, and restarting the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. Williamson would also place a temporary ban on new oil and gas fracking, and invest in electric vehicle production and high-speed trains.
ECONOMY/TRADE: Increase minimum wage by region, repeal corporate tax cuts in 2017 tax law
Williamson has put forward a four-step plan to reduce income inequality. It includes providing cash relief through a universal basic income; creating jobs through Green New Deal legislation; boosting government funding for early education and childcare services, paid family leave, sick leave, and caregiving; and introducing a universal savings program, which would be available to children at birth. Williamson has proposed paying for the plan by rolling back tax cuts to the wealthy and big businesses.
EDUCATION: Free higher education, universal preschool, reduce (or forgive) college loan debt
Williamson is in favor of universal preschool, and believes in increasing funding to provide free or affordable lunches and breakfasts for students. She supports making reforms to standardized testing, and boosting teacher training and education infrastructure.
The author also believes in free college or technical school tuition, and investing in trade schools. Williamson supports the idea of student loan-forgiveness programs, such as eliminating interest rates and fees on federal student loans.
GUNS: Ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, mandate universal background checks
Williamson supports banning the sales of assault rifles, semi-automatic weapons, bump stocks and high capacity magazines. She also supports universal background checks, and her campaign website says she backs stricter regulations for gun use “among children.” She has also voiced support for legislation that would revoke gun ownership from people believed to pose a danger to themselves.
HEALTH CARE: Backs universal healthcare
Williamson supports universal health care coverage. She has also backed policies that would restrict the marketing and production of highly-processed and sugary foods.
She has also called for greater government investment in programs aimed at reducing patient overcharges and environmental toxins and diseases.
IMMIGRATION: Strengthen DACA, close private detention centers
Williamson supports the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, which protects young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children. She backs providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants with no serious criminal records. She also supports providing affordable health care to undocumented immigrant families, and reducing the number of immigrants in detention centers.
SOCIAL ISSUES: Supports LGBTQ rights, access to abortion
Williamson supports the Equality Act to protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination in the workplace, housing, health care and service industries.On her campaign website, Williamson said she is “one hundred percent pro-choice.”
Williamson has also proposed providing reparations to descendants of African American slaves. Her original proposal was $100 billion, distributed $10 billion per year over 10 years. She’s since proposed $200 billion to $500 billion over 20 years.
FOREIGN POLICY: Re-examine foreign relationships.
In an interview with CBS News, Williamson called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hypocritical for, in her words, seeming to believe “you can promote values around the world and still have strategic partnerships with countries that display no such values,” she said. “You are not promoting your values if you’re not willing to stand on them.” She’s specifically criticized the relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, tweeting in February: “Any sane person would realize that if you do something completely immoral (selling arms to the Saudis while they’re killing people in Yemin[sic]) then it will probably come back at you in unintended ways?”
She has also commented on Afghanistan on Twitter. In a tweet in February, Williamson wrote:“The Taliban’s violently oppressive attitude toward women isn’t something we can change, but we should be led by a president whose concern for the well-being of Afghani women is a major factor in determining our policies there. We should always bear witness to the agony of others.”
Williamson also offered her perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and peace process, saying in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “I don’t think the ultimate answer will be about settlements or checkpoints,” she said.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect Williamson’s latest reparations proposal.