Below is an excerpt from my profile on www.vote411.org. Visit the site to view your own personalized ballot and prepare for the Michigan Primary on August 4, 2020.
EDUCATION: What is your position on the role of public funding of education in Michigan? What measures do you support/propose to improve educational outcomes and accessibility for all Michigan students?
I strongly believe that we need to respect teachers, value students and fully fund our public schools. Public schools are the cornerstone of sound government. Private and for-profit charter schools should seek other sources of revenue.I would explore the possibility of giving students the option of taking the GED test or some other high school equivalency test in the 11th grade. This would provide a safety net for students who drop out before graduating high school. It would also give a wake-up call to those students who couldn’t pass the test to buckle down their senior year.
ECONOMIC SECURITY: What policies do you support to increase jobs and help Michigan residents improve their economic positions, in general and given the pandemic?
It is especially important during this time of pandemic to balance the state’s economic well-being with the public’s health.To reduce the obvious economic hardship and challenges we will face for years to come, we must first see what the federal response will be. We need to strengthen the partnership between our schools and business leaders, so that the students of today will have the skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow. Data should be what guides our decisions. In general, my legislative philosophy would mirror the steps I used as a teacher. Namely, we must: Assess, Address, Achieve
ELECTIONS: What state policies do you support regarding Michigan elections, voting and campaign funding? Do you support mailing ballots to all eligible voters?
I am grateful that the Michigan electorate had the wisdom and foresight to overwhelmingly pass essential amendments to our state’s constitution in 2018 which will impact our democracy for years to come. Proposal 2 ended political gerrymandering making our state’s legislature more representative of the people. Proposal 3 made voting more accessible, as Michigan finally joined the majority of states who already had “No excuse absentee ballots." I strongly support mailing ballots to all eligible voters. Voting is our duty and responsibility. Its availability to all who are eligible should be unencumbered.
ENVIRONMENT/ENERGY: What actions or policies do you support to protect Michigan’s water, air and land for current and future generations? What is your position on energy efficiency and renewable energy?
We must preserve Michigan’s water, air and land resources. For example, because of the federal government’s slow response, I support PFAS rules which were recently initiated in our state. However, I am also aware that these rules may impact rural areas disproportionately, as they may have to adjust their water systems in order to comply. The impact of environmental issues should always consider the needs and wishes of local communities. Likewise, we should lessen our dependence on fossil fuels, encourage energy efficiency and move to using renewable energy sources wherever possible.
SOCIAL JUSTICE: How would you address the racial, economic, health, education, etc. inequities, including Michigan’s 20% of children and 17% of seniors living in poverty?
Our nation has yet to come to grips with racism. The mistreatment of Blacks, women and others is a sad legacy of our past. The battle for civil rights and social justice needs to continue. The current pandemic exposes the extreme level of inequality which persists today, as the coronavirus impacts African Americans and those living in poverty disproportionately.Government policies since the 1980’s have focused on lessening the role of government and implementing a “trickle down” approach. Yet I believe "a rising tide raises all boats," and that we must focus our attention on addressing those most in need first.
GUNS: Do you believe that Michigan has a gun violence problem? If so, what measures would you support to alleviate this problem?
Having worked at the Genesee County Jail in Flint for nearly seven years, I have seen the effects of gun violence firsthand as it largely decimates urban, poverty-stricken communities. I have lost too many students as the result of gun violence, so I take this matter personally.We must keep guns away from domestic abusers, and educate parents about safe, responsible gun ownership. Yet, the primary victim of gun death is suicide, which especially impacts farmers and our military veterans. This is a testament to the inadequate provision of services to those who suffer from mental illness: This must be addressed.