As State Senator, I promise to ignore petty politics and fight for the interests of Southwest Kansas. I am a lifelong moderate running as the Democratic candidate for Senate District 38. We need someone in the state capitol fighting for the interests of the people who live in this district, not the interests of Topeka politicians. As an attorney, I have listened to the needs of those in our communities. I’ve represented people who were survivors of abuse and saw them flourish as they started new lives. I’ve learned about the issues affecting our community firsthand by advising local governments and schools. We deserve better representation and that's exactly what I'll provide.
Agriculture is the major economic driver in Kansas. From beef packing and dairy to ethanol and hemp, our district is represented by a wide range of agricultural industries. When elected, I will support legislation that provides our agricultural producers with the support they need to thrive while standing up for their rights. As the global economy changes, we must focus on increasing the viability of farms and finding local solutions whenever possible.
COVID-19 has shown that healthcare can no longer be ignored as a priority. Even before the pandemic, our rural hospitals and health clinics struggled to recruit providers and keep their doors open. Over 17% of people living in District 38 are uninsured. I’ll address these issues by supporting programs that invest in our rural healthcare systems. Medicaid expansion is favored by a majority of Kansans and the legislature’s failure to expand has forfeited millions of dollars of federal funding. Due to inadequate reimbursement standards, many of our hospitals are forced to choose between providing the care their patients need and maintaining their bottom line. Medicaid expansion won’t fix everything, but it is a positive step toward alleviating the issues facing healthcare in Southwest Kansas.
Students and schools in Southwest Kansas have diverse needs. The schools in this district range in size from 1A to 6A and teach students from numerous immigrant backgrounds with multiple languages represented in our school systems. Rural school districts often face unique challenges with fewer classroom resources and students with limited access to broadband. We must ensure our schools and students are receiving the resources they need to respond to the changing dynamics of education. Partisan bickering turned the simple task of funding our schools into a decade-long battle. It is unacceptable for there to be another partisan battle over school funding. Our students deserve a quality education and an advocate that stands up for the needs of all students.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
Effective criminal justice reform is possible if we start listening to the right people when reforms are being made. Both law enforcement and advocacy groups are calling for better informed changes to our criminal justice system. Prison overcrowding, mental health, and the unintended consequences of recent changes to the juvenile justice system all need attention. Solutions will never be a one-size fits all and it is important for reforms at the state level to pay attention to the different needs of local communities. No matter which reforms we study and implement, we must bring stakeholders to the conversation and listen to the voices of those with the most hands on experience so we can bring practical reforms to our corrections, sentencing, and juvenile systems.