These are some of the categories that I’d like to tackle to improve the lives of Tennesseans.
The ability to live safely and affordably near our state’s capital is paramount. Housing is the lowest rung in the ladder for a thriving society. Stable housing is a building block for better mental and physical health and higher educational achievement for both children and adults. Consequently, it is imperative that the state of Tennessee focus on expanding affordable housing, reducing the challenges to obtaining housing, protecting those who rent and responsible landlords, while also investing in our services for the unhoused throughout the state.
The last two years have been difficult for the country and in particular the state of Tennessee. While some states were able to rebound out of the pandemic faster, Tennessee has continued to grow in some arenas, but has seen wage stagnation and is more acutely affected by the inflation eating away at the country due to the nature of our economy. Tennesseans must dedicate ourselves to building an economy for every rung on the socioeconomic ladder. Tennessee has signifcant work to do towards: paid family leave, paid vacation, and childcare subsidies. Additionally, we must advocate for the right to organize and bargain collectively and be wary of corporate consolidation that hollows out opportunities for growth for working and middle-class families.
Tennessee needs to return the power to the people. Currently, large corporations and lobbyists have usurped our institutions. Elected officials representing the desires of their constituents should be battling for Tennessee’s interests, not their own. I believe in a ban on political contributions from lobbyists and for-profit corporations and redistricting reform.
The traffic in Nashville has gotten progressively worse and our average commute times are now twice the national average. Traffic is more than simply a headache as it has a tremendous effect on our economy, our health, and our future. A refusal to invest in adequate public transit twenty years ago is already beginning to reduce our capacity to compete as a state.
In the TN legislature, I plan on fighting for investments in public transit, pedestrian safety, and better roads.
I will keep advocating for:
Using the $630M in the infrastructure bill marked for TN to improve public transit including not only the WeGo Star, but also public buses and an initiative to see what small steps we can take to reduce the number of cars on the road.
I have spent numerous years teaching in Nashville and Vermont and believe that we must recommit ourselves to public education and comprehensive education. I reject the idea that Tennessee’s students are not ready to learn our actual history as a nation.
If elected, I will fight for competitive teacher salaries to attract and retain highly skilled teachers, better loan options for those hoping to become teachers, and for Tennessee to meet the highest standards when it comes to educating our growing population.
Climate change is our biggest issue as a society. There are a number of issues pressing Tennessee right now directly related to climate change including the Smoky Mountain Fires of 2022, the rapid filling of our landfills, and the devastation of our waterways and native species by pollution and rising temperatures.
As a state senator, I will incentivize the diversion of waste from landfills, hold repeat polluters accountable, protect our land and waterways, and focus on creating sustainable jobs in the climate sector.
I believe every Tennessean should have access to affordable healthcare. I understand how unexpected medical bills can destroy a family’s finances in an instant. In the legislature, I will support efforts to rein in healthcare costs and develop protections for patients facing staggering medical debt.