A Campaign About Investing in People
This campaign is about providing access for all Alabamians to good-paying jobs and affordable health care, and it is about revitalizing our infrastructure. It is about making our government work for all of us, and improving the quality of life in one of the most beautiful places in our nation.
Put People First: Attack Corruption in Alabama's Politics
We need to roll up our sleeves and work to end the endemic corruption in Alabama. Corruption in Alabama politics costs jobs, economic growth, and opportunity.
I will fight to—
- End the corrupting influence of money on our state politics. It’s time to enact laws to end the disturbing practice of unlimited campaign contributions in Alabama.
- Establish term limits that reduce the number of consecutive terms that an individual can serve in one office, thereby creating more opportunity for citizen-centered leadership.
- Close loopholes for Lobbyists and interest groups that allow them to work in the shadows.
- End the ruinously undemocratic practice of gerrymandering by forming a truly independent commission to oversee redistricting.
- Hold the Alabama Ethics Commission and Attorney General accountable to elevating ethical conduct of those in public office.
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The Institute for Corruption Studies at Illinois State University ranks Alabama as the most corrupt state in the country when it comes to “legal corruption” — conduct by public officials that is technically legal but unethical. Alabama will not move forward until we put people in the legislature who work for the citizens of Alabama, not for the corporations and special interests.
Make Health Care Affordable: It Is a Public Good
Health care is as essential to life today as the automobile, food, and shelter. A serious lack of competition in the health insurance market in our State is adversely impacting the cost and availability of insurance for Alabama families and businesses. The American Medical Association says that Alabama has the least-competitive health-insurance market in the nation; that’s right—we are 50th.
- Expanding Medicaid today, which could prevent additional hospital closures, closures that will undermine the health care structure upon which we all depend.
- Investing in a sound health care infrastructure, which will allow Alabama to more effectively recruit industry, offer quality jobs to its citizens, and support the education and training programs that are vital to its future well-being.
- Reducing the regulations that work to exclude competition in our health care insurance market to make it more competitive and responsive to Alabama’s families and businesses.
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Alabama citizens have a life expectancy three years less than the life expectancy for the rest of the nation; this is because our health care system is deficient. Alabama has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the nation and ranks in the top ten in heart disease, cancer, stroke, influenza, pneumonia, and kidney disease.
Sadly, nearly 660,000 Alabamians go without health insurance; most of these Alabamians are the working-poor. For those who do have insurance, it is often too expensive.
Lack of competition in insurance markets creates higher premiums: The State has constructed regulatory requirements that discourage outside insurance carriers from doing business in Alabama, and these barriers allow existing in-state insurers to charge premiums above the market competitive levels. The lack of a genuine free market in health insurance in our State produces rising insurance premiums which impact everyone.
Alabama paid a big price for not expanding Medicaid: One of the major factors stressing hospital budgets is that Alabama passed up the opportunity to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Healthcare Act. As a result, ten hospitals have closed in the last three years, 17 have closed since 2000. Most, but not all, of the hospital closures were in rural areas.
Alabama offers the absolute minimum in Medicaid services necessary to qualify for federal matching funds—coverage for children, people with disabilities, and low-income elderly. The working-poor have been excluded. Alabama’s decision not to expand Medicaid resulted in a loss of $1.5 billion to the State in the year 2016 and an overall projected loss of $14.4 billion for the years beginning in 2013 through 2022. Additionally, the State lost out on the approximately 20,000 jobs that would have been created to support the expanded demand for health care, as well as the economic stimulus those paychecks would have produced. The expansion of Medicaid could have prevented hospitals from closing.
Improve Training and Education: Create Quality Jobs and Livable Wages
Alabama’s’ economic future depends on education and workforce training because a well-educated workforce can attract businesses that will bring more high-paying jobs to our State.
I will work to—
- Aggressively reduce barriers to and expand access to adult education.
- Expand Alabama’s excellent pre-kindergarten program statewide, investing in the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs.
- Build public/private partnerships for job apprenticeships and connect individuals currently in training programs at community colleges with jobs through local employers.
- Increase the minimum wage to a livable wage.
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Numbers tell an important story about our state: Alabama’s economy is ranked 48th in the nation. Our education system is 46th. Our quality of life is ranked 43rd. Our unemployment rate is among the highest in the country, and the percentage of our residents with high school diplomas and college degrees are among the lowest. Our median income at $42,278 is the third-lowest in the country. And Alabama has a 17.1 percent poverty rate.
The citizens of Alabama deserve better!
Minimum Wage: On January 1, 2018, 18 states raised the minimum wage; Alabama was not one of them. It is time to increase the minimum wage; $7.25 an hour is not a living wage. A person working two jobs at this pay rate for a total of 60 hours per week, after taxes brings home approximately $1,400 per month. This is not adequate income to cover the cost of shelter, transportation, food, or medical care for one person, not to mention those workers who may also have dependent children. Alabama’s low-wage index also hurts access to medical care for seniors, because it is a factor in determining Medicare reimbursement rates to the State and to medical providers.
Protecting the Environment is Good for Business
As stewards of the land, it is our duty to ensure that future generations are able to enjoy a healthy environment, that they have clean air and water and ample natural resources. A cleaner environment means a stronger economy.
We enjoy a wealth of natural resources in Alabama, including more navigable waterway miles than any other state in the union. These resources, and the wildlife in our streams, forests and fields, are the basis for our social and economic prosperity.
Many of Alabama’s industries, including farming, fishing, forestry and tourism, are tied directly to the health of the environment. The good news is: it is possible to safeguard our economic interests and the environment at the same time.
New and emerging technologies that protect the environment, such as solar and wind energy, can create new high-paying jobs, even new industries and spin-off opportunities. Public health and well-being are improved by a healthy environment. One notable example is the reduction in heart attacks and asthma rates when air pollution is decreased. And commercial productivity is impacted as well, because lost days of work decrease when air pollution is curtailed. This is just one example of how taking care of the environment is good for business. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget has estimated that the Clean Air Act saves Americans considerably more money than it costs.
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In 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice forced Alabama Power Company to bring one of its highest emitting coal-fired plants, the James H. Miller Plant, into Clean Air Act compliance. This is shameful—the Alabama Department of Environmental Management should have the tools and the independence needed to enforce the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and hazardous waste laws without citizens having to seek a remedy at the federal level.
Fulfill our Solemn Promise: Aid and Support Our Veterans
I am a member of a military family. My former husband, a Vietnam vet, served in the Marine Corps. My sister, her husband and their son are Army Iraq war vets. And dearest to my heart, my son, a Marine Corps vet, served two tours of duty in Iraq in 2004 and 2005 – 2006.
Additionally I worked as a military contractor for 15 years, doing research on a variety of problems, all with the objective of providing effective tools and keeping the war-fighter safe.
We as a country make a solemn promise to our military personnel to care for them after their service and to provide education and opportunity. I believe we should be as vigilant in upholding that promise on the Federal, State and local level, as they were in protecting us against those who would do us harm.
Upgrade Roads, Bridges, and the Internet: Highways Improve Our Quality of Life
In Alabama, we have serious infrastructure deficiencies. While many development decisions are made by local communities and zoning boards, it’s time for the State to work with the communities to assist with infrastructure planning.
The State must—
- Work more closely with local communities to ensure that Alabama’s infrastructure planning supports local needs and that plans for mass transit are included in long-term planning and budgets.
- Take more leadership in making Broad Band access to the Internet a reality for homes, schools, and small towns in our state.
- Set a goal that all Alabama households and business will have Internet access by 2023.
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Roads, bridges, and congestion: A report released by the Federal Highway Administration in January 2017 stated that about a quarter of Alabama roads are in poor or mediocre condition, and 23 percent of our 16,000 bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Alabama also has an ever-increasing problem with traffic congestion in our large metropolitan areas.
The Internet is a vital component of our infrastructure and commerce everywhere. Alabama’s economy will depend on the entire State, including rural areas, having Internet access for commercial activity, remote learning and job training, and access to health care services that can be provided remotely
Common Sense Gun Safety Measures
The vast majority of Americans favor measures that promote safe gun ownership. They have made it clear that they want their leaders to take action to end the obscenity of mass shootings in our schools and public spaces. They do not want our children practicing active shooter drills as a routine matter of daily life.
As a member of a military family, I have great respect for firearms and the privilege of gun ownership. When it comes to firearms, we can learn some lessons from the military. Soldiers prepare conscientiously and thoroughly in their use of firearms—they practice responsible gun ownership. With 350 million guns in America today, measures that promote common sense gun safety can have a profound impact on public well-being. Law enforcement throughout the country is asking for this.
It is time for us, as a community, to talk openly with one another about guns and violence. It is time for us to truly listen to one another and to work together to find solutions that will help foster responsible gun ownership and curtail gun violence.
- Background checks prior to purchasing a gun (you have to have a background check before you get a job).
- State laws that prohibit high-risk groups, such as perpetrators of domestic violence and the severely mentally ill, from possessing firearms have been shown to reduce violence.
- Closing the gun-show background-check loophole.
- Lifting the ban on federal funding for research into the causes of gun violence. We cannot solve this problem if we do not understand it, and we cannot understand it if we do not study it.
I will always vote my conscience on gun safety measures, and therefore, I will not accept donations from the NRA.
I will work for what is best for Alabama.