The middle class has not been sufficiently represented in the Statehouse. While the unemployment rate is at near record lows, hardworking Hoosier families continue to struggle, and many have to work two or three jobs just to make ends meet. Since 2009 we have seen the median household income drop by more than $4,500. At the same time the cost of living has continues to increase. This is directly attributable to the current legislature passing laws that incentivize low wage jobs. I will be a strong voice for the hard working Hoosiers who deserve the highest quality of life.
TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
All Hoosiers deserve equal protection under the law. I believe this is the right thing to do morally, ethically and economically. The recent Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was a major embarrassment and economic blow to our state. Because of RFRA, Central Indiana lost more than $60 million in convention and tourism business. I will support and vote for pro economic legislation that promotes inclusiveness and equality for all citizens.
Transportation and infrastructure literally drive our economy. It is vital to Indiana's economic future that we invest in our roads, bridges and public transportation systems. Last year’s 50 mile closure of I-65, due to emergency bridge repairs, cost drivers and businesses an estimated $100,000 per day. This is just one example of how, as the Crossroads of America, we can no longer afford to neglect our crumbling infrastructure.
Indiana's economic viability is dependent on a strong middle class. A strong middle class is dependent on a strong and active labor movement. Our unions improve wages, benefits, work-life balance, and workplace safety for workers throughout Indiana and across the country. I promise to stand up for workers organizing and collective bargaining rights. I will fight to repeal the dangerous and mislabeled "right to work" legislation and will work every day to reinstate the common construction wage.
All Hoosiers deserve to breathe clean air and have access to clean water. From contaminated ground water to areas with heavy smog, we are exposed to preventable environmental factors that are making us sick. Just north of the district, sits several unlined and improperly capped, coal ash ponds. Coal ash is a byproduct of burning coal and is full of toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Independent tests show that some of these toxins are leeching into the ground water. This is a serious public health risk and needs to be addressed. I will work with state agencies and other stakeholders to ensure that our water is safe to drink and our air is safe to breathe for generations to come.
When was the last time you heard from your State Representative? Unfortunately, for the citizens of District 93, after 26 years in the legislature our opponent has become a lazy legislator and a complacent campaigner. I will be responsive to email, active on social media and engaged at neighborhood meetings. I promise to be visible at community events, hold regular constituent meetings and ensure that all citizens are able to participate in the legislative process. I will never lose focus of why I am in the Legislature or who sent me there. I promise to reverse the complacency and restore real responsive leadership to District 93.
Medical cannabis is a must. From veterans suffering with PTSD, to chronically ill patients, to people living with epilepsy, and so many more, medical cannabis has the potential to improve the quality of life of Hoosiers across the state. We have seen positive results in our neighboring states and as your State Representative, I would be an advocate for similar legislation in Indiana.
I would also support the legalization of recreational cannabis. It is my belief that Indiana needs to control and tax cannabis in the same way we do with alcohol. Every year we fail to act on this, the state is losing out on millions of dollars in tax revenue.
Education touches every aspect of our community. We know that more educated communities enjoy lower unemployment rates, lower crime rates, lower healthcare costs, higher incomes, longer life expectancy and increased civic engagement. It is imperative that we support a strong public education system. In doing so, we empower our youth, support our teachers and lift up our communities. I promise to always stand with our teachers and fight for our students by ensuring that pro education issues remain a top priority at the Statehouse.
Perhaps nothing will affect our district more than the final phase of the I-69 Project. From major traffic issues, to increased noise pollution, to citizens losing their homes and businesses - this is going to affect our community in drastic and unpleasant ways. While I believe the route is unfortunately set, I will fight every day to ensure the impact on our community is as minimal as possible. I will also use the power of the Legislature to ensure that business and homeowners are respectively, properly, and adequately treated and compensated for their losses.