I benefited immensely from my own public education in the North Kansas City School District, and we must push for continued excellence.
As a teacher in a middle school in KC’s urban core, I learned firsthand the problems of a struggling school system. Lack of funding meant teachers bought their own sets of classroom books. There was uncertainty around testing and performance. Cuts to programs meant our students missed out on enriching opportunities. These experiences informed my decision to run for office, and my greatest commitment is to advocate for students.
Our schools must challenge students academically with a rigorous curriculum, while also supporting students' curiosities and passions. We must guarantee that our teachers, parents, staff, and administrators feel supported. We must invest in education as our highest priority. Missouri's future depends on it.
We know a highly educated and skilled workforce is key to a strong economy and positive society. We must pass laws that demonstrate our commitment.
From designing policy that promotes educational achievement to talking with students about ways to reach their potential, I am passionate about education. It must be a top priority, and we must ensure everyone has access to a quality education from early childhood to post-secondary.
A few years ago, we experienced the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Like a lot of people, I conducted a job search in that difficult economic climate. Hard-working Missourians continue to struggle to find jobs in this economy, and an understanding of their fear motivates me to support legislation that addresses both the short-term and long-term jobs problem.
In the short-term, we can and should put people to work by funding projects to rebuild roads, bridges, and water systems, creating more positions for educators, and investing in research and innovation. To encourage economic prosperity in the long-term, we should support small, local businesses by simplifying regulation and giving incentives to hire workers. We must also prioritize investing in education, research, technology and innovation, and entrepreneurship.
At every turn, we must respect workers and support legislation that protects their right to request fair wages and good working conditions. A strong middle class is key to bettering Missouri, and we must guarantee that we put policies in place that protect and grow the middle class.
I understand the need to approach the budget in a sensible way. Funds are not limitless, and taxpayers deserve responsible use of their money. But as our legislature determines its budget, it is worthwhile to prioritize programs that stimulate economic growth in the short-term and guarantee a better Missouri in the future.
All Missourians deserve access to affordable, quality healthcare.
An unexpected trip to the emergency room should not result in crippling debt, and one should not be denied access to affordable care based on income or a pre-existing condition.
In 2013, the Missouri Senate voted against expanding Medicaid coverage. That decision resulted not only in loss of coverage for 300,000 lower-income adults in Missouri but also meant a loss of federal dollars – an estimated $1.7 billion. This is unacceptable, as it hurts individuals and the hospitals that try to serve them.
The North Kansas City Hospital, with its wonderful staff and the high quality service they provide, is an integral part of our community. I will fight for the hospital's autonomy and work to ensure the hospital continues to thrive.