Expanding Medicaid is a top priority in Missouri. Year after year the Missouri legislature has rejected funding from the federal government to expand Medicaid, leaving too many of our neighbors without health insurance. Meanwhile, millions of dollars are being left on the table that would grow our economy, and already four rural hospitals have been forced to close as a result. Taking advantage of this expansion is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do for Missouri.
Education drives economic development, community stability, standards of living, and overall mental well being and satisfaction. All children deserve a quality public education and parents deserve a choice within the public school system to meet the unique needs of their children. I support creating opportunities through the public school and public charter system – raising academic standards and empowering educators. The foundation formula that is supposed to support our public schools has been underfunded for years, and I will fight to ensure our schools finally get the funding our state has promised them. I will also work to cap tuition at Missouri colleges and universities, because we can’t expect young people to achieve economic success if they have to graduate with a mountain of debt.
St. Louis has proud people and proud neighborhoods. While crime is first prevented by filling our neighborhoods with educated citizens, decreasing poverty, and reducing guns on the street, I am interested in exploring evidence-based public safety programs that bring the community and law enforcement together to actively communicate and engage to reduce violence.
I also support incentives to reward police officers that choose to live in high-crime neighborhoods.
I recognize that job growth may be the most significant need for Missouri right now. For that reason, I will work to find ways to streamline business startups, and to attract good jobs to the state. I will push to fund strong job training programs for all Missouri residents seeking work, and for reentry programs for those returning to society from the prison system. I support developments like the NGA and infrastructure projects that create jobs. And I will work to get businesses the incentives they need to stay in Missouri instead of going out of state or overseas.
MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE
Whatever business you’re in, it’s time to get on board with increasing Missouri’s minimum wage as a more equitable way to share profits with employees. I will support a bill that raises the state’s minimum wage to an amount that is livable for individuals and their families. I also believe that more money in the hands of our lowest paid workers will translate to greater consumer demand for the businesses that are paying them.
Unions and labor organizations are essential in fighting to represent the needs of the working class. As your State Rep, I will continue the fight to prevent the Republican majority in Jefferson City from enacting so-called “right-to-work” legislation and other political efforts that would seek to undermine the strength of organized labor.
I’ll work with businesses to pass the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA), which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace and extend the existing Missouri Human Rights Statute to include LGBT people. I’ll also fight so-called “religious freedom” bills that legalize discrimination.
Reforming the criminal justice system is a critical civil rights issue of our time. I will fight to focus our justice system on addressing victim’s needs, not simply punishing offenders. Incarceration should target rehabilitation and treatment, should not be used for unpaid fines or victimless crimes, and should not be a for-profit business. I will work to get our police the resources they need to allow them to be a part of and get to know their communities. I’ll also advocate for legislation requiring body cameras for on-duty police officers to protect them and the people with whom they interact.
WOMEN AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
In Missouri, rights of women are under attack year after year. I will stand strong in defense of women’s reproductive autonomy and will not allow the government to get between women and their doctors. I refuse to villify or criminalize women or their doctors for making tough medical decisions. Instead, I will work for contraceptive coverage for all women, sex education, paid leave for new parents, daycare assistance for working mothers, equal pay for women, and other measures that will empower families and create more options for women who choose to become mothers.
ACCESSIBILITY. ACCOUNTABILITY. TRANSPARENCY.
Too often lawmakers lose touch with those they serve and the values they were elected to uphold. As your state rep, I will be accessible to you and your needs, accountable for the decisions I make that impact our district and state, and transparent about how my office operates. I also believe that special interests have too much power at the Capitol, and I would propose ethics reforms that end the practice of unlimited campaign contributions, unlimited lobbyist gifts and unlimited influence over politicians. What will drive my actions in Jefferson City are your needs and the best interests of the 80th District, our city, and Missouri.
Ultimately, I believe my job as state rep will be to represent the needs and wishes of the people in my district — you are my boss. For that reason, I welcome your ideas for policy changes, or your help identifying the problems you see needing solutions. Together, we can create solutions and work to bring them to life in Missouri. Contact me anytime and let me know your thoughts!