INVESTMENT IN PUBLIC EDUCATION
Indiana’s teachers are the lowest-paid in the entire Midwest. However, the current supermajority has consistently neglected to address this issue. In 2019, the Indiana legislature approved five times more funding for private and charter schools than for public schools. In 2020, House Republicans rejected a proposal that would have directed extra tax money towards teachers’ salaries. Our district has one of the strongest public K-12 education programs nationally. We are home to four of Indiana’s 103 national Blue Ribbon schools, and we had 56 National Merit Semifinalists in 2019. As District 24 grows, it is essential that our schools are equipped to take on more students without sacrificing this excellence. We must invest in public education to ensure that our schools have continued access to well-trained teachers and valuable educational resources.
KEEPING OUR KIDS SAFE AT SCHOOL AND HOME
An estimated 3 million American children are exposed to shootings each year. Whether in their schools, their communities, or their homes, witnessing shootings can have a devastating long term impact on children. Gun violence is a serious threat, and we need a smarter approach to keeping our children and our families safe. To keep our children safe, we must enact common sense gun safety laws including requiring background checks from everyone purchasing a fire-arm, educating the public on safe storage practices and providing greater financial support for mental health services.
SAFE AND FAIR ELECTIONS
COVID-19 has completely transformed public life. For many Hoosiers, voting in person is now a hazardous and potentially life-threatening endeavor—one that means potentially exposing themselves to the exact kind of crowded environment in which this virus spreads best. This is a gross affront to our democracy. People should not be forced to risk their health and their lives in order to exercise their right to vote. We need to remove needless complications from the vote-by-mail process to make voting as safe and as accessible as possible while the pandemic lasts.
In 2016, Russian hackers successfully infiltrated Indiana’s registered-voter databases and gained access to the personal information of tens of thousands of Hoosiers. According to the Deputy Indiana Secretary of State, Indiana voter rolls have already been targeted by similar Russian and Chinese cyberattacks this election cycle. Despite these attacks, Indiana is one of the eight states still using voting machines that produce no auditable paper trail—leaving us with an extremely high risk of election interference. Our state legislature’s response has been to upgrade only 10% of Indiana’s voting machines. This is unacceptable. We must replace antiquated equipment and invest in voting machines with paper trails as soon as possible in order to ensure safe and fair elections in Indiana.
To restore faith in our election process, we also need to finally approve legislation that allows for Indiana district lines to be drawn by an independent panel. Only 42% of Hoosiers describe themselves as Republicans—but, since re-drawing their own districts in 2011, state Republicans have inflated their Indiana House majority to 67 out of 100 seats and their Senate majority to 40 of 50 members. Indiana needs legislators that will put fairness before partisan politics. The people should be picking their politicians—not the other way around.
THE HIGHEST STANDARDS FOR CLEAN AIR AND WATER
In 2019, the US News and World Report ranked Indiana as the second-worst state in the country for pollution. We have 259 days of unhealthy air quality each year and release industrial toxins at three times the national rate. This is deeply shocking and extremely dangerous. Residents of polluted areas suffer from increased rates of disease, chronic health problems, and early death. An investment in our environment is an investment in our health. Our clean air and water makes Indiana a great place to live, work, and raise a family—and we need to make changes now to keep it that way.
Equal Justice Reform
Inspired by the equal justice reform movement sparked by the killing of George Floyd, I am taking it very personally to unlearn my own biases, to be a better ally to the Black community, to support informed and immediate action and not stay silent*.
That's why I believe the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus' call to Governor Holcomb to immediately ban chokeholds, require body cameras and establish a statewide criminal justice commission with civilian representatives to examine our criminal justice system is critical.
Economic Recovery during COVID-19
It will continue to be up to the states to ensure both the safety of and invest in the economic recovery of our residents.
- We need to continue to invest in small businesses
- We need to reintroduce incentives that create high paying clean energy jobs
- We need to provide affordable childcare so more people can find higher paying jobs
- And we need to increase the minimum wage - no one can survive on $7.25 an hour
In 2020, Indiana healthcare costs are expected to rise 9%. This is unfair and unsustainable—Indiana residents should not have to pay more money for the same services they’ve always received. Our state supermajority, however, has done nothing to counter this trend. We must keep health care costs down by making premiums more affordable, reducing out-of-pocket expenses, and capping prescription drug costs, while maintaining protections for those with pre-existing conditions and prohibitions on lifetime coverage caps.
I got into this race to be a voice for change. We need it now, more than ever.