Every politician will tell you “children are the future.” I believe we should fund schools like we really believe that. It’s time to refocus the state’s budget priorities and fully fund our classrooms.
Today, Michigan is one of only a handful of states that provide substantially less funding to its highest-poverty districts, compared with our lowest-poverty districts. This lack of equity leads to further imbalances in our educational system. As your State Representative, I will work to change the conversation on education funding equity in Michigan.
In Lansing, I will fight to end diversion of taxpayer money to for-profit charter schools.
As your Representative, I will work to increase the support to both our vocational and technical education programs, as well as our world-class universities. There is a distinct misalignment between worker skills and job openings, and we need to correct that. We must urgently invest in job training programs to put people back to work and increase incomes for working families throughout Michigan.
We need to do all we can to improve the quality of life for veterans in Michigan. Detroit is currently ranked as the worst city in America for veterans to live and Michigan is ranked 49th in the country when it comes to providing service to veterans. I am on a mission to improve those statistics by 2022.
We begin improving the quality of life for veterans first by fully funding the Michigan Department of Veteran Affairs (MDVA). Currently MDVA has a $1.4 million budget. As your state Representative, I will work to triple the veterans affairs budget to $4.2 million, to help give our state a better opportunity to fully serve the men and woman who served us.
Second, we can only improve services for veterans by lowering the bar needed for veterans to receive much-needed benefits such as housing, education support and access to the medical care they have earned.
Next, we need to insure family-friendly and retiree-friendly environments for veterans and their families in Michigan.
There are many military-related jobs that need to be advertised and promoted more to our residents who are veterans. When focusing on reducing the unemployment rate in Michigan, we need to concentrate more on increasing job growth for veteran-owned businesses.
Office of Trade Policy - Michigan needs an agency that will help its businesses compete internationally. The payoff from this will be immediate. Pennsylvania is a prime example. In December 2004, after the loss of 170,000 of Pennsylvania’s 860,000 manufacturing jobs since 2001, Pennsylvania Governor Rendell set up the Office of Trade Policy. Ever since, it has been helping the state's businesses compete better internationally and make themselves heard by federal decision makers.
From insurance red-lining, to problems with obtaining an ID, it often seems that the government is working against us, rather than with us.
Discriminatory Insurance Practices. We will fight to end discriminatory home, auto, and business insurance practices. Redlining disadvantages people living in urban areas such as Detroit. This insurance fight is not over!
IDs - Returning citizens should receive IDs upon release from prison, instead of having to wait for it. Those who can’t afford IDs should be able to receive certificates from certain community organizations that enable them to get free IDs.
As the Green and Climate Equity Organizer for the Detroit NAACP, I learned that Detroit is not only a food desert, but a hotbed for environmental injustice practices.
As your Representative, I will fight to protect our environment by changing the conversation about funding in Michigan. When we get to Lansing together, we will fight to increase funding to protect our lakes, rivers, and streams, but also fight to increase funding for infrastructure improvements to help protect our communities from the impact of climate change and rising water levels.
Toughening our Renewable Energy Standard will result in an immediate increase in demand for alternative energy, and bring jobs to the state. Plants that used to make engines and axles will make wind turbines and solar panels. Michigan will be able to power the entire Midwest. Moreover, these are the kinds of jobs that can never be outsourced to China or India.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal tax credit available to people who work but have low incomes. The credit helps workers pay for things like transportation costs or child care and other daily necessities, and because the credit is refundable, money is put back into local economies. Michigan supplements the federal credit with its own state credit, but it’s one of the weakest state EITCs nationwide. It once was 20% of the federal credit before Gov. Snyder took office, but is now just 6%.
As your next State Rep. I will work to restore the Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) which would have an immediate positive effect for working families all around the state. I will work on lifting the credit further by restoring it to its original 20% of the federal credit.
Property Taxes in Detroit - No part of the country is feeling the pain of property taxes like Detroit. Al Williams understands this well, and will work hard to bring about a foreclosure moratorium, and work to reduce and/or eliminate property taxes for Detroit residents.
Michigan is home to a number of struggling cities and counties. Since 2002, the State Legislature has withheld more than $8 billion in funding earmarked for local governments. As your Representative, I will work to restore investment in local communities to improve public safety and jumpstart local economies.