There are many issues that are important when it comes to representing this district. I can not speak to them all here but I do want to highlight the top issues that I see as high priority. If there is an issue you care about deeply please share it with me and I will be happy to reply and share where I personally stand.
Funding Public Education:
- Fully funding education is imperative if we want students that are productive and well-prepared. Over the past six years on the Grand Rapids Public Schools Board of Education I have worked hard to lobby at the state and national level for equitable funding of public education.These lobbying efforts have played an instrumental role in getting state leaders to recognize that the more barriers a child faces, the more expensive it is to educate that child, and that an effective public education system must meet those barriers with effective solutions. Impoverished students, students that speak English as a second language, students with special needs—these are all layers that must be addressed before a child can even begin to learn. Urban public school districts do not turn away any children, and take pride in educating students that come from a variety of complex backgrounds, even if that means educating a more “expensive” population of students. It is far past time for public schools to be funded to the extent that reflects their true costs, which includes fully equipping teachers, counselors, and administrators with the resources and pay that their work warrants.
Women’s Reproductive Rights
- Abortion rights are human rights. Taking away a woman’s right to choose what is best for her body is not only a setback for the state of women’s reproductive rights in this country, but it leaves us all unprotected by opening the door for the rights of all vulnerable groups to be challenged. As your state representative I will vote to repeal the 1931 abortion ban and support legislation that will preserve women’s reproductive rights in the state of Michigan.
Safe, Attainable & Affordable Housing:
- Safe and affordable housing is something that everyone deserves access to. Due to the pandemic, poor zoning laws, and a rise in construction costs, we have seen an extreme housing shortage that is only getting worse. We must take drastic action to address this issue. As a small scale real estate investor and developer, I work diligently to provide affordable housing in this district. My strategy has been to acquire vacant and abandoned buildings to develop housing and remove blight from our community. I have had to get as creative as possible to keep costs low so that rent can be affordable, and I plan to bring this creativity to Lansing by writing legislation that will create more incentives for local governments to provide tools and subsidies for developers. We must be intentional as we strive to solve this housing crisis, making sure that we are not just letting large corporations capitalize off of these incentives, and that we are both avoiding displacement and investing in the communities that suffer the most from housing shortages, laying a foundation for those families to build wealth.
Gun Safety Reform
- While I believe in our constitutional right to bear arms, I also believe that we must pass gun safety legislation, for the safety of all Americans. These common-sense reforms include increased educational requirements for ownership, stricter and safer storage requirements, background checks for all firearm sales, and most importantly banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
- Our community deserves to feel safe, respected, and reflected in those who we hire to protect and serve us. The police department is needed, but some reform must occur. Our officers must receive extensive implicit bias training and we must hire more officers directly from local neighborhoods. As we look at funding for the department, I also believe that we are asking our officers to address many issues and crises in our community surrounding mental health, abuse, counseling, and otherwise, that they are not equipped to deal with. I am an advocate of diverting those dollars to those individuals and organizations who are trained to do this work. Many of the entities that can have the most positive impact and provide preventative care are severely underfunded—this is a positive way to address it.
Economic Development That Supports Small Businesses
- This district in particular needs a strong economic plan, especially as we brace to weather the storm of the current economic uncertainty. For several decades this area has seen under-investment. To move past that tragic history and preserve the history and culture of the area we must be intentional with zoning, planning, incentives, grants, and tools that will boost the local economy and protect those who have personally invested in this district when the local and state government would not.