In Lower Alabama, the question isn’t “if” a weather emergency will happen, the question is “when”. We have seen time and again that an imminent disaster leaves us to our own devices, and we are left hoping that the federal government will come and help us after the fact. We need a federal emergency management budget that aims to primarily mitigate disaster damage rather than provide for disaster relief. We need raised roadways, capacity insurance in our wastewater system, studier bridges (that are NOT profiting internationally-held corporations) that can withstand 100 ft storm surges, an improved emergency early-warning system, and detailed emergency management plans. In this arena, a pound of cure is worth an ounce of prevention. Let’s focus on prevention.
Access to Quality Healthcare for All
We can’t afford to get bogged down in the current debate about health insurance. It’s all too big and too long-term to make a difference for my friends and family who NEED treatment NOW. While I firmly believe that Alabamians pay far too much for their health coverage, the most pressing issue is that even with great coverage, too many Alabamians are left without access to healthcare. I am committed to finding ways to leverage existing facilities to increase care for all Alabamians, from expanding Medicaid and supporting rural hospitals to keep them open, to expanding the staff and services offered at existing Department of Health offices. I will not allow my constituents to continue to die due to lack of access and exorbitant cost of healthcare. I will get to work on immediate progress while committing myself to a more perfect system in the long-term.
With recent events, my district is very aware of infrastructure costs and benefits as it relates to roads, bridges, and tolls. First off, let me state, I always have and continue to believe that a “freeway” should be FREE. But, we must also pay attention to the other important facets of infrastructure: power lines, sewer systems, water supply, and, importantly for equitable opportunity across the district, broadband access. The population growth of our district is outpacing our infrastructure updates. We must invest in the backbones of our community now in order to allow our economic expansion to continue in a meaningful way.
Common Sense Gun Laws
My family and I enjoy the privilege of gun ownership, so I support and practice the Constitutional Right to Bear Arms. But, as a college professor, I have been trained annually in “Active Shooter Drills”. I have fielded dozens of panicked calls from loved ones (mostly my dad) once they heard of a college shooting in my area. I have once been on a conference call with a woman when she was instructed to “shelter in place” due to an active shooter. Yes, I support the second amendment, but I also understand that we must apply common sense in all areas of legislation. I support expanded universal background checks, firearm registration, and Red Flag laws. I will work toward making “Active Shooter Drills” in our schools and workplaces a tragic footnote in our nation’s history. I will work to ensure that “shelter in place” is a foreign concept for my young sons.
Educating and Retaining Our Best and Brightest
Alabama is experiencing a boom of working professionals and families moving into our metropolitan areas. But, we are also seeing a devastating flight of promising young native Alabamians out of our state. We need to invest in our young talent and create opportunities for them to build their adult lives here, at home. This begins with increasing the availability of higher education pathways, including career-technical programs, while limiting the out-of-pocket expense to students. As we prepare Alabamians for all available industries, we must also build training and apprenticeship programs that ensure fulfilling and profitable jobs for our citizens. It’s not enough to have great Alabama schools anymore – we need great Alabama schools that secure great Alabama jobs for their graduates.
Investing in Families
For far too long, Americans have had to choose between protecting their jobs and championing their families. But the reality is, that for most Alabamians, our family is the reason that we maintain our careers. We deserve policies that aren’t just “family friendly” but are stringently pro-family. This includes paid family leave (for all primary caretakers of children, the elderly, the ill, and the disabled), affordable and safe childcare for working families, and quality pre-K programs available to all of Alabama’s children.
Protecting American Democracy
The ability to elect our leaders is one of the greatest rights and privileges of being an American. But, that right is under attack, both foreign and domestic. We need to expand access to the ballot box by restoring the critical components of the Voting Rights Act that prevents voter suppression. I support: a non-partisan commission to draw electoral districts, the prevention of voter caging – as practiced in Alabama – and other reprehensible actions to purge voter rolls, restoration of voting rights, and campaign finance reform that requires transparent donor information for Super PACs and dark money.
We need election security for the 21st century. America’s intelligence agencies agree that our election systems have been breached by cyberattacks and remains vulnerable to future hacks. Every American should be able to confidently cast their ballot knowing all measures have been taken to sustain the integrity of their vote.
Too much legislating happens in darkness, behind closed doors, and hundreds of miles away. Even if you are in full support of your representative, it’s impossible to actually talk to them and hold them accountable.
As your future representative, I believe it is my job to serve as your voice in Washington D.C., and to do that, I want to hear from you. In May 2019, I quit my full-time job as a college professor so that I can be accountable and available full-time to my district throughout this campaign. You want to get in contact with me? Do it: email@example.com or call/text 251-235-1012 (please be respectful that bedtime for my kids is 7:30pm). Or, find me at PTA meetings, T-ball games, church service, or the supermarket. I live here, in AL-01. I will be here, in AL-01, for my constituents, for my family, for my friends. Once I’m your House Representative, that won’t change.
I also believe transparency should not be left up to individual legislators to define for themselves. As such, I will push for stronger open-records legislation across the board.
Protecting Our Alabama Resources
Let me be clear – Climate Change is real. And, it’s affecting our coastal areas in a particularly devastating way. We are losing homes, wetlands, and businesses. We must also recognize that a major strength of our economy is our beautiful environment. Protecting our waterways and removing coal ash preserves our fishing and tourism economy. Protecting our lands allows for the continued responsible development of residential and commercial properties. Protecting our unique flora and fauna maintains the quality of life that makes AL-01 an idyllic oasis. Alabama is a magical place to call home – I dare defend it!