I have seen firsthand what can be accomplished when people make their voices heard in Topeka. I’m running for the Kansas House of Representatives to elevate the voices of Kansans and continue to fight for change.
Budget and Economic Equity
Kansans should be able to support a family with their wages and benefits, and we should all be able to retire with dignity. Lawmakers must lower or reduce the food sales tax and review current tax policies in support of an equitable tax system.
Local governments should have the authority to make their own property tax decisions and pass measures requiring private employers to pay a wage higher than the state or federal minimum wage. The State of Kansas bans local governments from doing so or from requiring private employers to provide any employee benefits or to pay compensation for leave. I support the reinstatement of prevailing wage and reversing the property tax lid.
I have a background and education in public administration and professional local government management. I interned with the City of Grandview, MO where I orchestrated the budget process, and I was assigned the Museum and Planning Department budgets while I was a Senior Analyst in the Johnson County Manager’s Office. I know that the state budget should meet the needs of citizens while being fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars.
Criminal Justice Reform
Kansas was once a national leader in justice reinvestment. Now, our lawmakers face the challenge of recovering from years of neglect that resulted in sending incarcerated Kansans to private prisons outside of our state; this cannot be a permanent solution. Employees with the Kansas Department of Corrections must be given the resources they need to avoid staff working back-to-back shifts and optimize the safety of employees and inmates. Kansas should find opportunities to provide nonviolent drug offenders with treatment rather than incarceration and invest in alternatives that are more effective for rehabilitation than long prison sentences.
Our justice system is in distress, and I believe that we are imprisoning too many people. It is essential that we find solutions to overcrowding in prisons and restore criminal justice best practices. A report by the bipartisan Kansas Criminal Justice Reform Commission will be released in December 2020, and the legislature must urgently address sentencing reform at the beginning of the 2021 session.
I know the importance of a quality public education, and I value teachers and school staff. I volunteer in the classroom and on the Rising Star PTA executive board. Teachers should have access to training, the right to due process, and the state must have high standards for licensing and hiring teachers. Schools should have the capacity to hire student support services staff and prioritize the needs of our most vulnerable students. We have to make sure that our policies help schools attract and retain excellent teachers.
Kansas students have the right to an adequately funded education. The Kansas Supreme Court found the 2019 school funding formula to be adequate, and the court will make sure that the legislature fully funds schools through 2023. Kansas lawmakers must ensure that school funding reflects the changes in educational costs. Kansas schools lost more Federal Title I funding than any other state in 2019, and 5 out of 13 Title I schools in the Shawnee Mission School District lost their Title I status after the district lost over $1 million in funding.
My son attends one of the schools that lost Title I status, so I see the continued impact that these cuts have on education. Funding cuts over the years have led to larger class sizes, program cuts, and a greater difficulty in teachers being able to meet the needs of their students. We are on the long road to recovery, and I understand the need to continue to invest in education.
Industry and agriculture provide livelihood for our state and bolster the Kansas economy. They provide jobs for our citizens and food for our tables. Corporations and individuals operating in these fields must conduct their businesses in a way that is protective of human health and the environment. One-size-fits-all regulation won’t work.
I believe that industries have an inherent responsibility to be stewards of the environment and have a seat at the table to find solutions. We must work together to protect our air and water resources by leveraging technologies and implementing industry-specific best practices. Kansas should invest in biotechnology, infrastructure, wind and solar energy, and transportation alternatives.
Kansas must close the coverage gap and make sure that all Kansans have access to healthcare. The Medicaid rate was finally increased in 2019, but it was only increased to where the state was ten years ago. If our lawmakers fail to listen to us during the 2020 legislative session, I will be an advocate for KanCare Expansion when I take office in 2021.
We need lawmakers who will make sure that we utilize the services that the Federal Government offers such as the Excellence in Mental Health Centers Act. Kansas currently receives zero dollars, because we chose not to participate. We are missing out on federal dollars for healthcare that should be used right here in Kansas. Help me bring those dollars back to the Sunflower State.
Sensible Gun Laws That Save Lives
We need to do more to keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories by building bipartisan efforts to:
Support background checks on all gun sales
The Federal Government requires background checks at all federally licensed gun dealers but not on unlicensed sales at gun shows or online. Background checks have stopped over 3.5 million sales to prohibited purchasers since 1994. Kansas must close the gun show loophole.
Pass a red flag law
Family and law enforcement are the first to know when a person is in crisis or at risk of hurting themselves or others, and most mass shooters show signs before they commit a crime. A red flag law allows for the temporary removal of firearms through an Extreme Risk Protection Order and due process. Red flag laws save lives.
Keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers
The Kansas legislature overwhelmingly passed our state’s first Domestic Violence law in 2018, which keeps guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, and it was signed into law by Governor Colyer. I worked tirelessly with the Kansas team of Moms Demand Action volunteers to support this bill that will save lives. However, there still needs to be an enforcement mechanism so that domestic abusers are required to relinquish the guns that they may already have to law enforcement for as long as they are prohibited from possessing them.
Reinstate permits and training
Guns in the hands of untrained people do not make us safer. Kansas should pass a law that requires a permit and training for carrying a concealed weapon.
Educate families on safe gun storage
Children and teenagers should never have unsupervised access to firearms. As a parent and a gun owner, I practice responsible gun ownership. Guns should be stored locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition.
Reverse guns on campus policy
Our state government should not force public universities to have to allow hidden, loaded guns on their campuses.
Oppose dangerous gun laws
I will continue working to prevent our gun laws from being rolled back. I oppose bills to arm teachers or lower the age to carry hidden, loaded guns from 21 to 18.
Governor Kelly took important action to restore LGBTQ+ protections for state employees, and her administration will allow residents to change their gender on their birth certificates. No one should lose a job because of who they love or be forced to go through life without the government recognizing their identity. I will fight for equal rights for all Kansans.