Here are some of my plans for leading
Alabama’s 2nd district forward towards
a better future.
U.S. House of Representative Candidate | Alabama District 2
Americans shouldn’t have to pay exaggerated prices for health services nor should they overpay to purchase health insurance. Every American should have access to affordable high quality health insurance. I support the Affordable Care Act. Therefore, I believe that instead of trying to repeal the legislation, Congress should find ways to improve it. I also support giving citizens the option to decide between a public option or private insurance.
Throughout history, it has been an expectation that when soldiers went to war to protect their country, their country would later honor the soldiers. The U. S. Government has established the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to assist serving the healthcare needs of the nation’s veterans. I firmly support Supplemental Social Security benefits, Medicare, and Medicaid for the elderly, sick, and disabled. We must set the example of valuing those who have taken care of and protected us. A society is judged by how well it takes care of its most vulnerable population.
Modernizing Veterans’ Facilities
Much has been done to improve the facilities that treat and house the brave men and women who have served in our armed forces. They took an oath to support and defend the Constitution and our way of freedom. We owe them the dignity of quality healthcare and elderly care facilities. Each veteran care facility should be safe and up to the standards of building code requirements and American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant. The Second Congressional District is home to many veterans, and I support all efforts to provide the best quality of life for those who defended this country and were willing to risk their lives for the Constitution of the United States.
Increased Support for Mental Health
Mental health is a national concern for our veterans. Since nearly fifteen percent of Alabama’s Second Congressional District are veterans, we must take care of this valued population. If we lose the life of a veteran to suicide, as a nation we failed a hero. I will support legislation to expand the number of sites where veterans can receive mental health services, perhaps working with private or nonprofit providers. Increasingly, there is a mandate on the government to provide transitioning services for at least one year to all veterans when they exit active military duty. Alongside, the mental and physical health services needed, there must be providers to inform veterans of education and career choices available to them as prior military personnel. The need and impact of expanded services are even more critical to veterans living in rural Alabama.
Support Cost of Living Adjustments for the Elderly
The most vulnerable groups among us are babies and the elderly. Those who have worked and contributed to society should not be allowed to be hungry or worried about their rent when they get old. I strongly support Medicaid and Medicare for the elderly. Also, I will continue to support federal grants and programs for the elderly, and I will continue to assist in funding the Older American Act which helps with home healthcare for the elderly to keep them out of nursing homes
A good quality education lays the foundation for success in life. Our public schools are an important part of our children’s growth, and we must work to make sure that our schools are well funded and have the resources they need. We must also move towards giving teachers the pay raise that they deserve.
Pay Increase for Teachers
Teachers are an essential part of our education system. For so long teachers have been on the front lines fighting for the right to teach our youth to be prepared to live and contribute to society. Teachers work long hours and spend their own money for school supplies. As a former classroom teacher, I know the sacrifices teachers make every day as they consider the lives they touch. I will speak truth to power on behalf of teachers. I will demand pay raises and embedded professional development.
Include Teachers In Education Policy Decision
Too often, teachers are left out of the policy-making decisions that directly affect their lives. You cannot create education policy without those on its front lines. Teachers deserve to be a part of the policy-making process. No one knows better than those that live and breathe education everyday. I will work to create a space for our teachers to be included in these policy decisions.
Reinstate Civics in Curricula
Our democracy works best when we have an engaged and informed citizenry. We must place civic studies back in our schools. It is imperative that our youth learn how their government works. We have many young voters confused about how government functions and which branch does what. We must teach our children that they are also part of the process of our government because they vote on representation. Young potential voters should understand that they have the final say in governance because of their vote; an engaged and informed electorate creates a more responsive government. Further, youth need to be knowledgeable about the process to organize and impact how government responds to issues confronting their quality of life.
Incorporate Financial Literacy Studies in High Schools
I believe that students should have the opportunity to learn financial literacy during their high school years. Life after high school begins independence and adulthood, and many of our youth are unprepared for the financial responsibility that comes with the territory. Financial literacy and business classes should be incorporated in high school curriculum as required content. These courses could encourage youth to organize and plan out their goals for the future.
Imagine future generations of high school students graduating with written plans, as well as, the knowledge and literacy of business to accomplish their goals. This could create a generation of financially stable families and communities while, simultaneously, creating jobs and new businesses in the future. We teach our youth to prepare to go work after high school, but we should also give them incentives to create businesses which could lead to a different path of success.
More Guidance Counselors
We must provide our public schools with more counselors so that schools have the capacity to provide early intervention for students experiencing mental health issues or social adjustment issues. There is a mandate to make schools safer for our children. Additionally, we need to embrace counseling from a holistic point of view in order for students to feel safe enough to seek professional guidance without feeling judged or afraid of ridicule. Healthy children grow into healthy adults.
Improve STEM and STEAM Learning for K12
Students today live in a world where they need to see how subjects and disciplines overlap. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) teach students how to problem solve and think creatively about real life issues. Education today is teaching students how to problem solve, how to think critically, and how to evaluate information. Education was intended to provide well rounded and informed citizens who will be able to contribute to a thriving society. In order to have a world-class economy, we need a world-class educational system. Education is the bridge to a better future for all of us. Consequently, there must be 21st century teaching and learning paths to success—academia, trade, technology, and or entrepreneurship. Yet, each educational track must provide necessary foundational, relational, and analytical skills. Our government must invest in our youth in order to see the return that they will give back to the country.
Currently the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and that is unnacceptable. It is urgent that Congress pass legislation that will increase the minimum wage to $12 an hour. Then, over the course of the next 3 to 4 years, we should increase the wage by $1 until we reach a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour. People must have the opportunity to earn a decent living without needing to work two to three jobs to make ends meet.
Today, rural development includes small college towns, travel destinations, and a section of almost every county in Alabama. Rural communities are not all heavy agricultural areas. As factories and small farms have diminished, rural development encompasses more than the agricultural sector. Most economists agree that there must be a focused collective action to improve the conditions in rural Alabama. In order to reduce or halt the decline of the smallest rural populations, development strategies must be aligned to meet the needs of the communities. It has been noted that rural communities are confronting more healthcare issues due to hospital closings and lack of access to healthcare providers.
We must provide technological innovations that will be needed for world class learning and beneficial for small businesses. I wish to further leverage broadband internet access for towns seeking avenues for revitalization. Infrastructure is more than just the roads and buildings that support a society. It is also the communication systems available for the area. I wish to see safe roads in all rural and urban communities, and I wish to know that every area has access to high speed internet. Recently passed gas tax legislation will help rebuild roads and highways in Alabama, and I will ensure that any related federal revenue be allocated. We want our roads to be in good condition for our children’s safety as they travel to and from school.
Agriculture feeds America. Moreover, agriculture is the number one industry in the state of Alabama. The 2018 Farm Bill was passed, and it brought stability to our farmers. The Farm Bill, also, provided permanent funding for veteran and minority farmers; it provided permanent funding for farmers markets, too. We need to continue to support our farmers as they continue the hard work of feeding Alabama and the rest of our country. I would like to see the expansion of agricultural programs in schools and an increase in specialty farms for fruits, vegetables, and organic produce.
Workforce development was first discussed in urban areas. However, within the last two decades, the concept has been applied to rural areas. Policies and activities need to be tailored to help those living in rural areas to learn for work. Policies and other efforts must be allocated to sustain a viable workforce for current and future businesses. There must be more support for incubators to grow and support entrepreneurship. Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and our country. Small business accelerators can bring talent back to rural communities.