Affordable Health Care – Expanding Coverage to Working Families, Lowering Premiums for All Tennesseans

Healthcare and how to pay for it is one concern we all share, especially as the price of healthcare seems to rise yearly. With more and more rural hospitals shutting down, new burdens are placed on the remaining tax base and healthcare services in the adjoining suburbs.

Unfortunately, the state legislature is putting up roadblocks to potential solutions, even those that Governor Haslam supports. Governor Haslam was correct that expanding Medicaid is the fiscally responsible choice.

If the legislature had voted to expand Medicaid, it would have brought in over 3 billion in federal dollars to help working families in Tennessee. Sadly, politics got in the way of common sense once again.

I will advocate for Medicaid expansion because covering more Tennessee families will lower everyone’s health insurance premiums by reducing the number of uninsured and the snowballing costs that are associated with unpaid healthcare services.

 

Education – Keeping our School Districts in Control of our Children’s Education

Our local schools are what make Collierville and Germantown communities of choice in Tennessee. We have some of the best schools in the state, and we need to fight to ensure our local school boards and teachers can maintain these high standards.

That is why I favor protecting and enhancing the power of local school boards to make the decisions about how our school districts operate.

Likewise, I support efforts to ensure that we have a well-educated population that has the training necessary to find good-paying jobs and take advantage of economic opportunities that move into Shelby County. Whether this comes in the form of four-year universities, two-year community colleges, or trade schools, I support full access to education for all.

By continuing to fund state programs such as the Tennessee Promise and Hope scholarships, I will ensure that students of all economic levels and talents are able to take full advantage of the post-secondary education our community has to offer.

  

Economic Growth – Ensuring the State Invests in the Infrastructure Collierville, Germantown, and Shelby County needs

Everyone wants good job opportunities that provide our citizens with the means to enjoy life and make our communities strong, vibrant and beautiful.

One of the key pillars of economic development is providing businesses and the communities they serve with the infrastructure necessary to support them.That is why one of my top priorities in Nashville would be fighting to ensure Collierville, Germantown, and Eads all receive their fair share of road and infrastructure development dollars. In recent years Nashville and other communities have received a disproportionate percentage of development funding compared to their population and economic output – this needs to change.

District 95 needs an advocate in the State House who fights for our economic interests – not just another ‘yes’ vote that upholds the status quo.

DIVERSITY

My family moved to America when I was two, so I have grown up here, and I believe deeply in the values of this country. I love Tennessee! I believe in its diversity and in how that diversity enriches our neighborhoods, businesses, schools, and places of worship.

Some do not realize that District 95 is quite diverse. For instance, in Collierville alone, over 10% of the community speak a language other than English at home. One reason for this is since the 2016 election, there have been forces in our community that are telling us there is only one right way to think and vote. Yet, you all know that we come from many backgrounds and perspectives, and it is our strong commitment to our shared community that brings us together.

As your State Representative, I want to hear your concerns and speak on behalf of everyone’s values here in District 95, so that our state government becomes a resource that we can all shape.

 

LGBT – Protecting the Rights and Freedoms of All Citizens

I fully believe in the equal protection clause of the 5th and the 14th Amendments. All citizens, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identification, should enjoy the full rights of citizenship under the law - to marry, to receive health benefits and to have legal protections. I'm willing to say it loud and repeatedly until we see the change we are looking for.

 

Criminal Justice – Rehabilitation, Not Just Incarceration

As an Assistant Public Defender for Shelby County for 17 years, I have ample experience with the criminal justice system. Based on this experience I support making the criminal justice system more transparent and less reliant on incarceration for two simple reasons:

First, it is important that all people in our community trust that the criminal justice system is fair and working in our best interests, that our rights are being protected and that the laws apply equally to all.  Being transparent accomplishes this and protects law enforcement officers as much as offenders. When people in the community feel they can trust the police and officers of the court, they become partners, and the community is safer as a whole.

Second, it’s cheaper. Investing in alternatives to incarcerating criminals for minor crimes would save the taxpayer millions of dollars, and with less recidivism, individuals who might have been career criminals have a chance to become contributing members of the community.  

These research-supported measures are practical and long overdue. I hope I can count on your support for a compassionate, responsible, common sense approach to updating and improving our criminal justice system in Tennessee.

 

Reproductive Rights – Protecting a Woman’s Right and Access to all Healthcare Services

In this country women make up approximately 50% of the population, but they are responsible for bearing 100% of the the population. As such, their access to a full range of reproductive healthcare should never be hindered.

Let me say that I FULLY and WITHOUT reservation support a woman’s right to choose her medical care. It is not the job of the state to make personal medical decisions, and it is a blatant case of government overreach and invasion of privacy when it occurs.

Furthermore, the facts are incontrovertible on this issue. When women have access to the full range of healthcare services - including cancer and STD screenings, birth control, and maternity care, they are better able to protect not only themselves, but also their partners, their families, and the future children they will bear.

For this reason, as a State Legislator, I would support state funding for Planned Parenthood - as it provides a full range of healthcare services to women.

While citizens of District 95 may not all make the same decisions on this issue, I will always work to protect your right to have the access to healthcare that all people deserve.

 

Protecting the 2nd Amendment – A Constitutional Right

With the recent epidemic of shootings, there is a good deal of discussion about protecting 2nd Amendment rights while still protecting our citizens.

I fully support the 2nd Amendment and an individual’s right to own firearms, but common sense and common decency tell us that with every right comes responsibility.

For that reason I also fully believe in common sense firearms regulation at the state level. Law-abiding citizens should be able to own and, with proper training and licensure, carry firearms without undue burden or regulation from the state government.

At the same time, sensible laws regarding concealed carry training requirements, adequate background checks as a part of all gun purchases, and regulating items such as “bump stocks” are just common sense and should not be controversial.

Lastly, common sense tells us that those individuals who have shown that they cannot be responsible for their actions due to mental illness or violent criminal behavior must not be allowed to threaten our community.

 

Opioids – A Growing Scourge in our Communities

Our state, like the rest of the nation, is suffering due to the opioid crisis. From 2015 to 2016, Tennessee’s opioid deaths jumped 12%, and is expected to have jumped by 21% in 2017. Clearly, this is a suburban problem often caused when a person becomes unknowingly addicted to pain medication prescribed after surgery or for chronic joint pain.

The State Legislature must act to address the growing opioid problem within our local communities with legislation designed to curb opioid prescription fraud and by providing state-sponsored treatment programs for those who have developed an uncontrolled dependency.

Solving the opioid crisis should be one of the top priorities of our legislature, and honestly, already should have been addressed by those we have sent to Nashville. That it has not, is a failure in leadership to understand the problem and address it appropriately.