It is official!
We won the House District 50. Much love to the voters, the supporters and the team of people behind the scenes. We did it! See you in Helena.
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Expansion of affordable, quality healthcare
Healthcare must be recognized as a right and not a privilege. On a national level, I support Medicare for All which would include all medically-necessary services. Examples being primary care and prevention, inpatient care/outpatient care, emergency care; prescription drugs, durable medical equipment, long term care, palliative care, mental health services, dental services, substance abuse treatment, chiropractic services, basic vision care and vision correction, hearing services, & podiatry care.
On the local level, we must work towards making it affordable for all Montanans. The prices of co- pays, premiums, and deductibles are skyrocketing. We’re paying more for less every year. Too often I hear people are strapped with medical debit and some even fear seeking medical treatment because of the potential debt. People are going without prescriptions because they are unable to afford them. We are facing a crisis in the welfare of humanity and we must work to change it.
In our next legislative session, it is important that we reinstate Medicaid Expansion. The expansion has now allowed 94,000 Montanans to have health coverage! Evidence shows that access to healthcare saves the state money in the long run. One analysis reported the program puts $270 million back into the pockets of Montanans and creates 5,000 jobs a year. Also following the expansion, labor force participation among low-income Montanans ages 18 to 64 increased by 6 to 9 percent.
pROTECTING OUR LANDS/Wildlife & LOOKING TO SUSTAINABLE ENERGY
In Montana, you can see that across party lines we are able to prioritize protecting public lands and access to streams and rivers. In the state legislature I will work to ensure protection of clean, safe drinking water as well as safeguards for the rivers and streams we all enjoy access to. We must resist wealthy out of state groups from trying to sell off Montana’s federal public lands to the highest bidder. As a state we cannot afford to manage the lands if federal funds are stopped.
We treasure our Montana lands and its wildlife. As a representative I will work to preserve them for future generations which leads to moving forward in sustainable energy. This can mean removing government barriers preventing home and business owners from making the energy decisions that make sense for them. Net metering, such as rooftop solar panels, are an affordable, renewable, and safe way for families, businesses, ranchers, universities to use less coal-generated energy and even put more clean energy on the electrical grid to be used by other energy consumers.
The fossil fuel industry actively works to block progress on combating climate change by spreading mistrust of science and government and by promoting fears of job losses if we try to transition to more green alternatives. We can work to protect workers and their families during this transition. The rise in destructive storms, droughts and wildfires are not something to ignore.
Labor Solidarity and protecting workers' rights
Some employers seek to undercut existing bargaining relationships and roll back many hard-won contract terms and conditions. Unions continue to fight for the intrinsic rights of working people and restore the balance of economic power in our country through collective bargaining agreements.
In the legislature I will oppose "Right-to-Work" legislation which are direct attacks on union members and any group of workers who might be seeking to form unions. We cannot weaken these laws to allow the gutting of pensions for workers who contributed for years to their pension plans, leaving broken promises with no retirement security. This type of legislation is pushed by political extremists and greedy corporate CEOs. Evidence shows that “right-to-work” laws drive down wages for all workers, including non-union members, and women. "Right-to-work” states earn about $1,500 less per year than workers in states without these laws. This can also disproportionately affect women and workers of color. The rate of workplace deaths is 52.9 percent higher in right-to-work states as well. Passing this type of legislation won't improve the employment rate. Eight of the 12 states with the highest unemployment have “right-to-work” laws.
Critical services for our Seniors, veterans, & individuals with disability
.We must not forget the individuals who depend on services especially our elderly, our persons with disability, veterans and/or low-income. Services for our most vulnerable citizens have always played a fundamental role in building America’s economy. They are smart investments that end up paying for themselves. These services exist to provide for the common good, to protect our communities & to address public problems before they occur. Policies that isolate disabled people from their communities are inherently oppressive. The marginalization and exclusion of any social group diminishes our collective capacity. That's why It is a vital that we reinstate Medicaid Expansion in our state. Nationally 72 million Americans rely on Medicaid and two-thirds of Medicaid spending supports senior citizens and the disabled.
In the legislature I will advocate to restore the cuts made to the critical services that our most vulnerable depend on to live a dignified life.
public education, higher education, and & trade School
Investment in our public education is an investment in our future. We when value education and provide adequate funding to our schools it can improve the chances of better paying jobs and infrastructure and the success rate of those considered most at-risk, We must invest to provide a more safe, nurturing environment that promotes the physical, social, emotional and cognitive development of young children.
To improve our education system we should look to smaller class sizes; more parental involvement; up-to-date textbooks and technology; early childhood education; better teacher preparation, mentoring, and evaluation. These solutions put children, not profits, at the center of school improvement.
I do not support the use of tax-payer money funding charter schools. Charter schools have a dismal record, drain funds from our already underfunded public education and are susceptible to fraud and misuse of public funds. A 2009 study from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes found that nationally: • Almost half of charter schools (46%) were no better than neighboring public schools. • Over a third (37%) were significantly worse. • Only 17% were better than the local public schools. This is true even though many charters weed out the hardest-to-teach student.
Higher Education has become less and less attainable which is why I hope you'll support reauthorizing the Six Mill Levy. This is not a tax increase- only a continuation of an existing tax which go directly to fund colleges and universities. The average cost of the 6-mill levy on a $200,000 home is $24 annually. Montana students are paying 60% of tuition costs out-of-pocket, more than double a generation ago. Without the levy, tuition could rise by 18%, making college unaffordable for many Montana students and families. We must be able to look at all options allowing high school grads more accessibility to continuing education.
Another important trend to keep in mind is the rise in enrollments to Trade Schools which can also be attributed back to the increasingly high costs associated with a college education, as well as other drawbacks. The demand for these jobs are also on the rise.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING and renters
We are facing huge problems today--rising rents, stagnant wages, and landlord-tenant relationship drifting further apart each day. When some folks are spending 50-70% of their income towards rent, that's a problem. Workers making minimum wage cannot afford rent. People in Montana need to make $16.13 to pay rent on a two-bedroom place, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s 2018 Out of Reach report. That’s almost double Montana’s minimum wage and about $4 more than what the state’s average renters make
Home is the foundation of a family’s health and financial security. A child’s academic and future success is at risk when households are burdened by unaffordable rent costs leaving little left over to pay for food, transportation, and health care. People are finding themselves one financial setback from losing their homes...Expanding rental assistance to all eligible families would add $110 million in new consumer spending for local economies and housing the homeless is less expensive than having them cycle between shelters, hospitals, and other emergency facilities.
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