EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
Kent County is a leader in Early Childhood Education with our Ready by Five millage. I'll strongly support the extension and expansion of this millage. But not enough families have access to quality early childhood care, reducing participation in the workforce. It's disproportionate by zip code. I'll work to expand the work of the millage to ensure every child is ready by kindergarten and that no one is left behind.
REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS AND CHOICE
With the historic ruling overturning Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood we must ensure champions for choice and reproductive health are at all levels. I'll fight tirelessly against further attacks at reducing access to abortion, and support efforts to increase access to reproductive rights for all women. I'll be a strong voice at the County Commission level. We Won't Go Back.
I am a strong advocate for a sustainable future for Kent County, including the Sustainable Business Park.We must do more to reduce our landfill use as a whole county or we will end up with more dumping and environmental disasters in our townships. I'll also fight to hold polluters accountable and work to keep PFAS out of our water.
PARKS, TRAILS AND THE OUTDOORS
West Michigan is home to beautiful outdoor spaces that should be open and enjoyed by all. I will advocate for everlasting support of our parks and trails in Kent County and its municipalities, including greenways and Grand River restoration, shared multi-use trails, and protecting our environment from overdeveloping.
Our children are our future. As an educator, I know the power of an inspiring educator. I will advocate for our schools and educators, and support connections between in-school and out-of-school learning. My work in place-, project-, and problem-based learning in the MiSTEM Network highlight the importance of engaging students in career development from an early age, balanced with the skills needed for an informed citizenry.
Too many families don't have access to affordable health care, and the system is hard to navigate. I'll fight for common sense reform to systems to ensure transparency in billing practices, advocates and translators for our most vulnerable, and increased mental health services, especially for our communities of color.
VOTER ACCESS AND PARTICIPATION
Our democracy hinges on active participation and well informed voters. I'll fight for everyone to have access to voting, including supporting transportation needs, paid leave to vote, and participating in no-reason absentee ballots. I'll also work with our county and city clerks to communicate the transparency of our election process.
Too many Americans are paid too little: And the problem is getting worse. In East Grand Rapids I worked with our Personnel committee to increase wages for all city employees to at least $15/hr. As a county commissioner, I'll fight to ensure that all government workers, and those that work with us, are paid a living wage.
Unions make a strong middle class: They're responsible for 8-hour work days, paid sick and vacation leave, and safe working conditions. But more and more they're under attack, with Right-to-Work and Prevailing Wage laws passed at the state. CEO pay has rising over 1300% since 1978 while worker pay only 18%. I'll support union work, including Community Benefit Agreements and PLAs, as well as responsible contracting for the county.