It’s about Opportunity for Everyone!
Nobody working full-time should have to live in poverty. We have all witnessed prices for basic necessities rising year after year, but the federal minimum wage has only increased twice since 1997. If you are willing to work hard you should be paid wages that will allow you to provide the basic necessities for you and your family. I will fight for a living wage and advance the rights of workers to organize to improve their working conditions. We need a more balanced approach to economic growth that benefits everyone, workers as well as the businesses.
We can no longer view education as an optional expense, it is an investment in our future. Public schools that provide high quality education for all students is where thriving communities begin. I will support early childhood education, to give children a fair shot at success from the beginning. I will support school lunch programs so that no child is forced to juggle managing hunger pains with trying to focus on learning. I will fight for every child to have access to quality public education. Investing in our children will pay the highest dividends and must become one of our highest priorities.
Women are twice as likely to retire in poverty than men. This is largely due to gender discrimination in pay, being forced to leave the labor force due to lack of access to affordable quality childcare and paid parental leave. I will fight to ensure that women receive pay equal to their male counterparts, and have access to affordable quality childcare and have access to paid parental leave.
For the past 3 years I have fought along side community organizations to pass the Family care act. The Family Care Act is a bill that would allow workers to use the sick days they have earned under their employers current policy, to care for a child, spouse or parent without being penalized by their employer. Losing a day’s wages, or even worse your job, for keeping a sick child home from school or taking an aging parent to the doctor undermines families’ ability to cover the basics like groceries and rent. In Georgia, an estimated 878,000 people do not have access to family care days.
Criminal Justice Reform
We have a problem with mass incarceration in Georgia. People should not be incarcerated because of their economic status. Unlike most states, Georgia places many productive citizens on probation not because they need supervision, but because they simply need time to pay off traffic fines. The overall cost of an offense often doubles once probation fees are added to the tab and many end up in jail over the original inability to pay a $200 speeding ticket on demand. Georgia leads the nation in states with the highest incarceration. Impractical policies like these cost millions to the state, tax payers foot the bill and the those incarcerated come out even further behind economically then from where they started.
Police officers have a tough job but systems work best when accountability is present, and our criminal justice system is no different. There are many examples of neither police policies or the constitution being followed during police encounters. The result is that individual’s constitutional rights are injured. When this happens time and time again within the same communities, a mistrust of law enforcement begins to build. Having both members of law enforcement as well as victims of unfair police targeting in my family, has allowed me to understand both sides of the issue.
I will work to foster new relationships built on trust between local police officers and the communities they serve. I will fight for better screening and training of law enforcement, representative community policing, and a deeper understanding of the role that conscious and unconscious racial bias plays in policing. I will also support banning the use of grand juries to decide whether law enforcement should face criminal charges in excessive force cases. These are just some of the solutions needed to tackle this complex issue. A working relationship between the community and officers means increased safety for both police officers and the citizens they serve.