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Jobs and Workforce Preparedness

We are seeing the closing of many brick-and-mortar stores across the State of Indiana. When this happens, what happens to these employees? We should be prepared for when this happens and have the ability to re-train these employees. Moreover, almost gone are the days of finding a factory job. In today's world, most factories have some sort of robotic component, but it takes specialized skills to operate this robot. 


Voting Rights

In Indiana, I would like to see our state government officials do more to get people registered and not "dump" them from the rolls. I would also like to see Election Day as a holiday, where people can do their duty and not have to be worried about rushing to the polls and being late to work. If we cannot do that, then at least we can move Election Day to a Saturday, thus making it easier for people to vote. 


Gerrymandering/Redistricting Reform

For the perfect example of a gerrymandered district, look no further than Senate District 29. This district stretches from Main Street Carmel to Main Street in Zionsville and all the way down to 10th Street of the west side of Indianapolis. This is a clear example of legislators picking their own constituents. I was disheartened to see that House Bill 1014 died in the General Assembly. 


Keeping Talent Here

Please ask yourself this question. Do you or someone you know have a recent college graduate who has left our state or planning to leave our state? If the answer to that question is "yes," then we have a serious problem on our hands. It does not make any sense that our students are studying at some of the best colleges and universities, receiving an amazing education, and leaving our state. Indiana needs to be doing all that it should to attract and retain this talent. We should be doing all in our power to try and keep them here. Let's face it, we don't have attractive mountains to ski or fantastic beaches, so we should be thinking creatively on how to keep them here. In my humble opinion, our State Senate is composed of mostly of the Babyboomer generation. Yes, their ideas are important, but to get at the heart of millennials, we need to have a millennial in the State Senate to voice ideas, concerns, solutions, etc. 


Education

Our youth are our future. The education budget makes up half of the state's budget. I support public schools.  I am a product of public schools. I believe that education is the way for people to be lifted up. I also believe in providing the children nutritious meals, which will allow them to focus while in the classroom. I believe teachers are on the front lines and they know what's best for their pupils. We ought to allow them to do their jobs. 

I believe the General Assembly did not do enough for Pre-K, an issue I am passionate about. We must give the kids the tools and knowledge in their earlier years. This will help them in their later years.

For higher education, I worked on a college campus and understand the burden students have with their debt. In fact, I am still paying off my school loans. I, like many of you, had to work a few jobs to put myself through school. 


Raising the Minimum Wage

The minimum wage here in Indiana is $7.25. I would like to see the minimum wage increased to $10.00. In today's world, feeding a family off the current minimum wage is just not possible. 


Campaign Finance Reform

We've got to take money out of politics. Special interest money is stifling the voice of our constituents. Politicians are listening to the source of money rather than to the people he/she represents. I whole-heartedly disagree and would like to level the playing field. I would like to see a cap on the amount a campaign can spend. As you know campaigns can be costly. Money is spent on t.v., radio, direct mail, flyers, etc. Thousands of dollars is spent and for what? Think of all the money that is spent on a campaign and how much money we could be spending on kids' education, veterans, the sick, the poor, the homeless, the elderly, etc. There is room for improvement for campaign finance reform. 


Mental Health Services

During the last legislative session, I was surprised that the Indiana General Assembly did not do more. During my graduate school years, I completed my Master of Science in Education with a specific emphasis on human services. I completed a 300-hour internship with the Midwest Center for Youth and Families. The Center is a residential/inpatient facility and I had the opportunity to work (under supervision) with adolescent males who all had different diagnoses. This was an eye-opening experience and a very humbling experience for me. It was also here that I realized that we must be doing more. Additionally, I would love to see our State assist with putting more School Counselors in schools. I would love to convene a commission with some of the best mental health professionals from around the state to discuss what we can be doing better for Mental Health Services in the State of Indiana.


Our Water

According to the IndyStar Editorial Board (5/21/17), more than 60% of Indiana's lakes and rivers are polluted. They should be classified as impaired. 80% of utilities reports that pollution hinders their ability to deliver clean water to customers. We appreciate this precious resource until it's severely polluted or even gone. Indiana should takes steps now to protect this precious resource. 


Choice

I believe a woman should make decisions about her body-not government. 


Equality for ALL Hoosiers

Although our country has marriage equality, here in Indiana you can still be fired from your place of employment for you are and who you love. I would also like to see housing protections in place too.

I was honored to help organize and speak at several RFRA rallies after former Governor Mike Pence couldn't denounce discrimination in our state. I was also honored to play a small part in helping pass the human rights ordinance for the City of Carmel where I gave testimony to the Council. Let's not forget that Governor Mike Pence and his crony legislature cost us taxpayer dollars to quell the media firestorm that they created.  

In previous legislative sessions, we saw legislators try and divide the LGBTQA+ community by trying to leave out our trans brothers and sisters. This is not acceptable.

I am not advocating for special treatment, which is what I hear often. All I am asking for is equal treatment and protections under the law.


Veterans

We owe our active duty servicewomen/men and veterans a debt of gratitude for their service and sacrifice. When they are finished, I want to make sure that Indiana has jobs waiting for them upon their safe return. I will tirelessly work for them as they have worked for us.

I'd like to look into the Military Family Relief Fund and make sure that all veterans can have access to those resources.

I would like to see the re-reinstatement of the Women Veterans Coordinator.



Quality of Life

Although I will never understand fully what it's like to be a person of color, as a candidate; I want constituents to know I hear them and see them. I do not have all the answers but I am willing to listen. In short, I respect the dignity of all people. Below is a list I am aware of:

Black babies are dying at twice the rate of white babies here in Indiana 

Indiana ranks number 2 for parental incarceration

Indiana ranks number 2 for in/out-of-school suspensions. The majority of these students are students of color.

Indiana is ranked 10 least diverse states (Wallethub)

Voters are being purged from the voter roll

Members of the latinx community who are living in shadows and afraid of being deported. Particularly, our DREAMERS

We need criminal justice/bail reform here in Indiana

Again, the above list is not exhaustive. There are many more issues. Please let me know what you think would improve our quality of life.

Being a melting pot and celebrating diversity is a gift. We should embrace and cherish those who do not look like us, talk like us, etc. 

 


Healthcare

I believe in health care as a human right. 


Medical Cannabis

Hoosiers are beyond ready to have an adult conversation with their elected representatives to reassess the impact that the current marijuana laws have had on our society.  I believe that it is time to work with law enforcement agencies, healthcare groups, and other stakeholders to legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize the possession of small amount of marijuana.

According to an article in TIME magazine, 85% of Americans favor legalization of medical marijuana and according to a recent Gallup Poll, 64% of adults believe recreational marijuana should be legal. Although this issue has been around for quite some time, we are finally starting to see this issue gain momentum.

29 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico allow certain patients to use medical marijuana. That’s almost 2 million individuals who use medical cannabis to treat their pain.  

I personally know people who have benefited from the recent availability of CBD oil in Indiana.   The science clearly implies that medical marijuana could have the potential to have a positive impact on issues like seizure prevention, Parkinson’s disease, migraine headaches, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, autism spectrum disorder and diabetes treatment.  Medicine derived from marijuana has the potential to improve the lives of thousands of Hoosier veterans too, just ask the American Legion for the State of Indiana.

Here in Indiana, the Hoosier state is grappling with the Opioid Crisis. I strongly believe that medical cannabis can play an integral role in fighting this crisis. The Journal of American Medical Association has shown that opioid overdoses are as much as 25% less common in states where medical cannabis is legal and the Journal of Health Affairs found that states who legalized medical cannabis saw a significant drop in prescriptions for painkillers and other drugs where marijuana may be an alternative. This is a serious issue that deserves serious attention as opioid abuse racks up more than $72 billion in medical costs alone each year in the US.

In addition to the potential health care uses, the harsh penalties inflicted for possession of small amounts of marijuana has led to the unnecessary incarceration of thousands of Hoosiers and a huge waste of resources related to our court system.  Furthermore, the potential benefits, as seen in the example of Colorado, are too great to ignore.  The only fiscally and socially responsible path forward requires significant reform to the current laws that regulate marijuana.  Join me in bringing some sanity back to the Indiana General Assembly on this very important issue and others.


Your Issues

What keeps you up at night? What issues has your family been discussing around the table? Drop JD a line. He wants to hear from you!



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