I have dedicated my life to the pursuit of social, criminal, and economic justice. Societies can be measured by how they treat their most vulnerable. In our society, as with most societies, it is those whose incomes are lowest and whose life choices are fewest. I want to do everything I can to alleviate their burden. Acknowledging their needs and attempting to make their lives better is not just a feel-good opportunity. Their success means that we all succeed.
As I take the next career step in an effort to serve the people of the 45th House District in the Missouri legislature, there are five overarching issues about which I am most passionate:
Education: Access to quality education for all is what defines America. From pre-K to elementary to secondary to technical or professional education, it is our collective federal, state, and local responsibility to ensure that no child is excluded. This means that:
Jobs: Livable wages, available jobs, and the job training they require are critical in our shifting economy where high-tech jobs have replaced or brought many manufacturing and blue-collar jobs to the point of extinction. This means that:
Housing: Access to affordable, quality housing is essential to maintaining a minimum quality of life. This means that:
Prison Reform: Incarceration without rehabilitation is simply revenge. This means that:
Covid Relief: Until this overarching problem is dealt with, we have little opportunity to achieve any of the above. This means that:
Community policing is an important law enforcement strategy if implemented well. The challenge is to get officers to buy into and embrace a largely preventative vs. punitive approach to policing.
I believe they should be made universal. They are a means of protecting all involved—victims, perpetrators, and police.
I oppose the death penalty. Too many people sentenced to death are disproportionately poor and lack adequate representation. There is simply too much inequality in the criminal justice system to justify the imposition of death sentences.
As a person of faith who is passionate about social justice and protecting human rights, I believe that God loves everyone without exclusion. That includes the LGBTQ+ community.
I fully support gender equality and a woman’s right to choose. Denying any woman the right to have control over her own body is dehumanizing. I am a stalwart advocate for the right of women to achieve their goals without gender-based restriction.
The Missouri Nondiscrimination Act has failed in the Missouri legislature for 21 years in a row. Sexual orientation and gender identity must finally be added to Missouri’s Human Rights Act.
Separation of Church and State
In our society where both church and state exist, one should not be subordinate to the other. For me, this means that private schools should not be subsidized with public funds nor should the state dictate the curriculum in private schools.
Early Childhood Education
Access to early childhood education should be a fundamental right of every Missouri child. It is the most cost-effective means of ensuring subsequent educational and economic success as an adult.
We have both an educational and constitutional obligation to uphold, maintain, improve, and provide adequate funding for public education. I oppose the use of public dollars in support of private charter schools or of public charters that do not have the same requirements or enrollment standards as their public school counterparts.
Just as climate change needs to be addressed, so too is the need for awareness and action by every citizen and political jurisdiction. Few issues impact our future more. Our state must realize and assume its role in helping to ameliorate the contributing factors across nearly every sector of our economy, i.e., energy, transportation, agriculture, business, housing, etc., while mitigating the damage to our health, safety, and quality of life.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
In August 2020 Missouri voters approved a state constitutional amendment expanding Medicaid eligibility. With the expansion of MOHealthNet to include low-income adults earning less than 138% of the federal poverty level, i.e., $18,000/yr in 2021, Missouri will join 37 other states on July 1, 2021. The federal government will pay 90% of the costs for new enrollees, enabling health coverage for more than 230,000 Missourians. It remains the purview of Missouri legislators to ensure that funding for the state's match is budgeted and available.
I do support the Second Amendment in its constitutional intent, I also support the imposition of reasonable safety measures that will help to prevent the accidental or criminal use of firearms.
Online Sales Tax
Local businesses are at a competitive disadvantage because of the continuing increase in out-of-state online sales on which taxes are not collected. The single largest impact to our state and local economies would be the state's passage of the "Wayfair Fix", which would allow sales tax to be captured for online retail purchases. Missouri remains only one of two states collecting sales tax that have not implemented this mechanism to level the playing field for brick-and-mortar businesses.
I support the doctrine of local control with respect to public schools, environmental restrictions, county ordinances, and health, except insofar as emergency measures implemented at the state level may be necessary and justified in order to protect our population.
Transparency in Government
The failure of government to be transparent is in large part the cause for citizen skepticism and distrust. Regaining widespread faith in government will not be easy or quick. It depends on the willingness of our elected leaders at every level to pull back the curtain, interact with their constituencies, and perform their governmental duties with the highest level of honesty, openness, truth, and integrity.
Initiative petitions are a means by which citizens can propose and enact or reject laws and amendments to the Missouri Constitution. Initiative petitions proposing amendments to the constitution must be signed by eight percent of the legal voters in each of two-thirds of the congressional districts in the state, and petitions proposing laws must be signed by five percent of such voters. Such petitions are a valid and important means of providing citizens a direct say in their state government, especially when the legislature, controlled by any one party, fails to respond to the will of a majority of voters.
Other position statements will be added based on your questions, as they arise, and current topics of interest. Please check back often.