Michigan’s education system now ranks 42nd in the country and is declining. Other states have drastically improved academic achievement by restructuring their school funding system, expanding free public education from pre-school through college, and expanding technical and trade schools. We must take prompt, bold, action to reform our state’s education system if we hope to provide opportunity for our children and a vibrant economy for the state.
I believe every Michigan citizen has a right to quality, affordable healthcare. We pay twice as much for healthcare as do others throughout the developed world, cover fewer people, and have poorer outcomes. Clearly, we can do better. We must work to lower healthcare costs, expand access to care for working families and expand Medicaid coverage to include those in need.
The representative from Grand Traverse County should be the leading voice on the environment in the state. The precious natural resources in northern Michigan are a major reason we all live here, and a key driver of our economy. Leaving our children with clean air to breathe, clean water to swim in, and a stable climate is our duty as citizens and parents. Responsible stewardship demands that we take prompt action to transition to a renewable energy economy. Line 5 poses an unreasonable risk to our drinking water and the economies of the Great Lakes region and must be shut down immediately.
Jobs and Economy
40% of working families in our region struggle to afford their basic needs-- housing, food, transportation and childcare. This is unacceptable. Our state legislature must work with the business community to assure sure that all employees have access to affordable childcare and paid family leave, and that companies can afford to provide their employees fair wages with benefits. We must also invest in infrastructure such as high-speed fiber and better roads to support our business community and attract new companies that can offer high paying jobs with benefits.
I support the Second Amendment. However, as an attorney, I know that nothing in the Second Amendment prevents the adoption of reasonable measures to protect ourselves and our children from gun violence, including vigorous background checks, mandated training and certification, and prohibiting the sale of weapons to people who have a demonstrated disregard for public safety.
I believe we must protect women’s access to reproductive health care and the right to make choices about that care. Decisions regarding healthcare belong to women and their doctors. I support Planned Parenthood and its critical role in providing affordable healthcare to women, men and teens.
Citizens’ United and Money in Politics
A tiny minority of citizens make substantial contributions to political campaigns. Studies prove that public policy is distorted in favor of those funders. As a result, government tends to serve the interests of a narrow segment of society with the means to purchase influence. We must fight to reduce the influence of money in our elections. We should begin by requiring full disclosure of all contributions including those of corporations and political action committees (PACs). I believe money corrupts our political process and distorts public policy in favor of the funders.
Reforms to end gerrymandering are long overdue. The right to vote is meaningless when the system is rigged in favor of one party before the election begins. Our current redistricting process is far too political and serves to disenfranchise thousands of Michigan voters. Our partisan Supreme Court has proved unwilling to protect our rights. I support the Voters Not Politicians ballot proposal to create a fair, transparent, and impartial process for drawing voting maps.
We all agree that no person should suffer discrimination because of who they are, yet Michigan provides no legal protection to our LGBTQ citizens. We must immediately amend or our state civil rights act to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Each year we dump six billion gallons of raw sewage into the Great Lakes because we have failed to make adequate investments in our existing treatment systems. We must make immediate and significant investments in our roads and other infrastructure to protect the environment, support working families and build the foundation for Michigan’s economy. Fairness requires that all Michigan citizens pay their fair share to fund this investment. I oppose current proposals that place the burden of road repair on the shoulders of working families.
I believe the state should be an active partner in assisting communities to address the shortage of affordable housing in northern Michigan. Housing becomes more affordable as incomes rise. Improving education, providing support and retraining for displaced workers, and interim supports like paid family leave and childcare subsidies have all proven to increase family incomes. We must also embrace land use policies that promote a mix of housing types in our communities. Most state housing programs are designed to help urban communities but don’t work well here. That needs to change.