Civil Rights & Equality
The work and urgent need to create a society where equality, fairness, justice, and compassion flow like that mighty stream Dr. King envisioned is present now more than ever. In our state, and in communities across the country, the unquestionable truth that injustices and inequality persist is rising up like a mirror, forcing many to finally see that change is desperately needed. In Frankfort, immediate and deliberate focus is needed to continue the work of our trailblazers. This includes vigilant mobilizing to finally ensure the Automatic Restoration of Voting Rights. The right to vote is precious and powerful, and we cannot be silent or passive in the fight to protect that right. Quite simply, we must consider efforts that make it easier for our citizens to vote, including ideas such as opt out voter registration and increased provisions for those unable to get to the voting booth. Along with restoring and empowering the right to vote, we must mobilize our voices toward efforts such as felony expungement. The importance of this work cannot be overstressed. By creating a process of authentic engagement that harnesses the power of our collective voice, we can chart new courses of discourse in our state that present these civil rights issues and priority issues for every Kentuckian.
The conversation of civil rights and a more perfect union must certainly include equality, but it must also include empowerment. In every policy, program, development, and investment, we must fight to ensure a direct connection to generational advancement and wealth creation. In short, we must raise the bar of our discourse, and ensure our vision for the community settles for nothing less than expansive opportunity, ownership, and immediate advancement. Any economic or financially related efforts put forth in our state should be assessed toward this goal, including disparate impact assessments, empowerment targets, and sustained deliverable requirements. To help in this work, we must push a vision that fosters diversity on every board, commission, task group, leadership cohort, and decision-making body.
As your State Representative, I will fervently continue the work for equal rights, protections, investments and opportunity. I will be an alarm against the institutional, structural, direct, and indirect barriers to justice, and challenge any status quo that impairs the progress of our district and the state as a whole.
Safety & Security
As we put our efforts and energy into rebuilding our community, it is essential that we invest efforts into ensuring our neighborhoods are safe, welcoming, healthy and thriving. With major attention on police relations and the judicial system, incentives for community policing can go a long way toward making the motto “Protect and Serve” a resounding sentiment felt by all citizens. In addition to improving the environment of public safety, priority should be placed on the issue of criminalization in our community. National initiatives like Campaign Zero provide a thorough framework to consider in this work. To build trust, accountability on all sides is paramount. This should include work to strengthen tracking of misconduct and violent encounters, and expand training resources. Realizing the substantial ramifications of entering the jail system, attention should be placed on exploring broader diversion and alternative strategies for first time and minor offenders in our community. Additionally, we must raise the discussion around mass imprisonment, including a holistic look at the root causes, as well as realistic strategies to stop this trend. Before the criminal justice system enters the equation, it is important to target resources and structural support toward assisting individuals and families suffering from trauma, illness, drug abuse, physical and mental abuse, and quite simply, oppressive poverty. Grass root outreach strategies like Louisville Metro’s “Zones of Hope” should be enhanced and invested in with state level support. Every individual and every inch of every block should indeed be a zone of hope!
As your State Representative, I will be a champion for equality, justice, accountability, unity, peace and compassion. I will work on the ground with you, organize with you, mobilize with you, and carry your voice to Frankfort and across the state. We will fight to create an environment that inspires hope and drowns out despair. Every policy and program will be evaluated to ensure that it adds to that goal.
Economic Development & Empowerment
To create realistic pathways from educational excellence to wealth, it is an imperative that we create and drive an economic vision that promotes empowerment, job creation, supports for organized labor, entrepreneurism, sustainability, and innovation. There is tremendous potential in our community, and it is vital that we use our leverage as a major artery and entry point to the state to drive greater state allocations and investment. For decades, the infrastructure that would support economic viability in our community has seen devastating deterioration. Infrastructure investment must be a priority. This entails a particular focus on the substantial vacant and abandoned areas and corridors in our district. Building on the vision for empowerment zones, it is crucial that we aggressively incentivize and support business and job growth within the community, while attracting statewide and national employers to locate right in the 43rd District. We have tremendous human capital. With focus on targeted investment, small business and entrepreneurial support, workforce trainings, workforce investment boards, certification programs, soft skill trainings, and holistic employee support, we can empower our citizens to obtain and sustain gainful careers.
We must harness and inspire the innovative spirit in our community. We must raise the standard for economic empowerment, by facilitating an environment that fosters direct ownership and lifelong benefits. Efforts to raise the minimum wage and fight for pay equity are urgently vital, but they must not end the work. As we work toward the goal of generating wealth in our community, we must look to create avenues for immediate and substantial career opportunities that provides accessible channels for advancement. This requires a holistic focus on the supports and barriers to economic revitalization, and an aggressive commitment to connecting the resources, trainings, investments, financing, and employment opportunities to all of the people of the 43rd District.
As your State Representative, I will work to build bridges of economic growth to establish the 43rd District as a booming driver in the state and the region. I will work with you to break through perspectives that hinder development, and create an environment that expands the wealth generating capacity for families and business in our District.
True, sustainable empowerment must include substantial and intentional investment in our educational system. We want our youth to achieve greatness and grow to live gainful lives, therefore we must be urgent in our efforts to provide greater resources, close achievement and advancement gaps, and strengthen a thriving environment of lifelong learners. As a student, tutor, and former street law teacher in the 43rd District, I can personally affirm that we have some of the most brilliant minds right here in our community. However, we must take immediate steps to connect students with every resource they need to excel. Further, we must shape our programming in ways that are ever mindful of the stress and trauma many of our youth carry into the classroom. Greater investment in mentoring, tutoring, counseling, after school services, holistic support and career planning is vital. Stronger social services must accompany any curriculum decisions we make. We need to look at ways to improve and increase access to culturally relevant curriculum in our schools. In addition, we must strengthen efforts to reduce the time spent “teaching to the test”. Overall, our students deserve a rich, inspiring learning environment that celebrates innovative spirit and fuels pathways to gainful living.
It is deeply important that our school system gets the investment and support needed to grow and expand proactive measures like the “Schools of Innovation” initiative. Providing our educators with the flexibility they need to overcome various barriers to learning can have impactful benefits for our students. Greater equity in our schools, and greater support for our teachers and students is an absolute necessity. Our work to ensure equality and empowerment in education must cover the full lifetime of our learners. This includes greater investment in trades, apprenticeships, and certifications, as well as access to our colleges and universities. Where you live and what you make should never be a barrier to career advancing education. Instead of accepting an environment where college tuition rises annually, we must work to drastically reduce the cost of obtaining an education. Further, we must encourage and support our city and state universities in expanding their classroom spaces, administrative offices, and dormitories further into West Louisville. Again, where you live and what you make should never be a barrier to career advancing education. As your State Representative, I will fight without rest for education equality, and walk hand in hand with you to ensure a vision of sustained educational advancement and excellence for all students and lifelong learners.
Public employees work hard for us, and they should be able to rely on us to keep our promises. As a former state government employee myself, I had the honor of working alongside men and women that thanklessly give their all for this state. They took smaller salaries and worked difficult hours, all because they love Kentucky and the people we serve. Although the pay is not as competitive with the private sector, government employees had peace in knowing that a stable retirement plan was promised to them. Every Kentuckian should have access to low-cost retirement plans. I believe that everyone who works hard should have peace of mind and retire with dignity. That’s why I will work to protect current and future retirees from benefit cuts, fight to ensure adequate funding of our pension system, and push to make low-cost retirement plans available to all Kentuckians.