FAIR ELECTIONS - GERRYMANDERING
Today, legislative districts are determined by the top five members of the majority party
and confirmed by the majority party. This process means politicians pick their voters. We need to find a way to finally approve legislation for our districts to be determined by a bipartisan redistricting commission outside of the legislature. This process has been successful in six states - Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, California, Montana and Washington. At some point what’s right for Indiana has to become more important than partisan politics. Similar to increasing voter access to ensure against extremism on both sides of the aisle, we need bipartisan redistricting now to ensure we, the people, are picking our politicians and not the other way around.
FAIR ELECTIONS - VOTER ACCESS
In 2016, even after opening additional early voting stations in Hamilton and Boone County,
many Hoosiers stood in line for over four hours to vote. After all that effort, only 58% of Hoosiers voted. More discouraging is the knowledge that the voter percentage dropped to almost half of that figure in 2014-which by some accounts was the lowest in the nation! Imagine if all counties had multiple early voting stations or access to vote by mail or Automatic Voter Registration–a hugely successful program that increased the number of first time voters by over 35% in Oregon in the 2016 election. Indiana needs voter access programs that actively encourage and increase voter turnout. It ensures a fairer system that does not favor the most extreme elements on either side and more accurately represents all Hoosiers.
EDUCATION AND KEEPING OUR CHILDREN SAFE IN SCHOOL
Our district has some of the strongest public K-12 education programs nationally
with 68 National Merit Semifinalists across Carmel, Zionsville and Westfield in 2017, as well as four of Indiana’s 13 national Blue Ribbon schools in the past two years. But, we cut salaries for our teachers in 2015-16 by 3%-the second largest cut in the country. We need to keep eye on retention rates of our teachers to ensure they are recognized and competitively rewarded for their work. We also need to continue to invest in vocational education for our future statewide workforce.
The brave and articulate students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have asked us, on behalf of all children in schools across America, to keep them safe. We have a responsibility as parents, as members of our communities and citizens of the state of Indiana to respond to that request. I support the Sandy Hook State Platform that advocates for "the creation of new and enforcement of existing gun violence prevention policy in the areas of :
- Mental Health & Wellness - Identification, intervention and help for individuals who may want to hurt themselves or be violent toward others.
- Firearm Access - Ensuring that those who should not have access to a firearm are restricted and that all firearms are kept safe and secure from at-risk children and teens.
- Research - Funding for research to identify evidenced-based policy and education programs that help stop individuals who may want to hurt themselves or be violent toward others."
I support the right of law-abiding individuals to keep and bear arms but also believe there is no need for non-military personnel to have access to assault weapons in our country.
There is a great deal of uncertainty in the healthcare market and there may continue to be for some time.
I strongly urge our Governor to align Indiana with the group of states advocating bi-partisan legislation based on a set of guiding principles to build a stronger healthcare market. This legislation includes: immediate federal action to stabilize markets; responsible reforms that preserve recent coverage gains and control costs, and an active federal/state partnership that is based on innovation and a shared commitment to improve overall health system performance.
CLEAN AIR AND WATER
Indiana consistently ranks near the top of many lists of the worst states in the country
when it comes to air quality, water quality and pollution. In 2016 our state ranked sixth worst in the country in terms of toxic chemical release into the environment. A 2017 statewide poll, commissioned by the nonprofit Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, found Hoosiers are ready to do something about this vitally important issue. 70% of those polled agree the government needs to do more to tackle environmental issues. Chuck Pagano is famous for saying, “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” An investment in our environment is an investment in our health. We need to create strong policies and reprioritize investment in our environment to ensure clean air and water so our actual environment makes Indiana a great place to live, learn and stay.
ALCOHOL AND CAR SALES ON SUNDAY
We are the only state in the union that still bars the retail sale of any form of alcoholic beverage on Sunday.
A study by Indiana Retail Council in 2014 estimated Indiana lost about $10 million per year in potential sales and excise tax revenues from those who buy their liquor from neighboring states. We are also only one of 13 states where it is illegal to open car dealerships to sell cars on Sunday. Restricting business in our state makes less and less sense in the 21st century. Now is the time to modernize these laws in Indiana.
Today our only mass transit system consists of buses that run as far north as 86th street.
We have so many components of a world class region: low cost of living, a home to multiple global companies, great K-12, universities and vocational schools, and a burgeoning restaurant scene. Not having a comprehensive rapid transit system comprised of light rail and electric busses with routes that run between Indianapolis and surrounding counties is a huge missing piece we need to attract and retain a future workforce. It would also work to ensure the ongoing viability of our economy. Mass transit is especially important to younger generations who want to be able to get around quickly and easily without necessarily owning a car. This investment benefits Hoosiers of all ages and builds on our great tradition of being “the crossroads of America,” moving Indianapolis towards its rightful designation of being named a world class city.