We have all witnessed prices for basic necessities rising year after year. The state minimum wage is still $5.15 per hour, and the federal minimum wage is only $7.25. It is wrong for corporations to grow making record profits at the expense of workers living in poverty. Workers deserve livable wages to afford the necessities of life like food, shelter, transportation, and daycare. I will work to advance the rights of workers to organize to improve working conditions. We need a more balanced approach to economic growth that benefits everyone — workers as well as businesses. Working people are the majority in this state, and it’s long past time that policy reflected that.
Healthcare is a fundamental human right. The uninsured rate is steadily rising, and Georgians are finding it harder and harder to afford healthcare costs and COVID-19 has only exacerbated the problem. More than 1 million Georgians have no insurance whatsoever, and our uninsured rate is the 3rd worst in the country. That number is expected to reach 25% by 2026 if no action is taken. Georgia needs to immediately expand Medicaid and begin working to ensure that everyone has access to healthcare, regardless of income.
One of the most important life decisions we will ever make is whether or not to become a parent. Reproductive justice includes the right to give birth and raise children in safe and supportive environments, as well as access to contraception and abortion care. Georgia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates, and Black women are significantly more at risk. I will work to protect and advance access to the full spectrum of quality reproductive healthcare and end healthcare disparities so that everyone can access the care they need and make decisions that are best for their situation.
Criminal Justice Reform
We have a problem with mass incarceration and police accountability in Georgia. The state of Georgia is a global leader in incarceration. Georgia’s incarceration rate is even higher than the national average (which is the highest globally), and Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and poor people are disproportionately locked up and with longer sentences. Georgia overuses the criminal justice system by placing many productive residents on probation, not because they need supervision but because they need time to pay off traffic fines. The overall cost of an offense often doubles once probation fees are added, and many end up in jail over the original inability to pay a $200 speeding ticket on demand. Impractical policies like these cost millions to the state, taxpayers foot the bill and those incarcerated come out even further behind than they started, often increasing crime. We can’t police our way out of the most significant drivers of crime — poverty, addiction, and mental health issues.
Systems work best when accountability is present, and our criminal justice system is no different. There are too many examples of neither police policy nor the constitution being adhered to during police encounters. I will fight for real accountability for how police officers operate and for justice in situations of police abuse. I will work to end the systemic racial and economic bias built into many of the policies that govern us today.
We must ensure public schools have the tools to succeed; we must comprehensively fund public education to do that. The quality of education depends largely on funding, and students from low-income families often lose out when we use traditional methods to assess the need. Educators are consistently being asked to do more and more with less. Many have to pay for school supplies out of pocket while already working a second or third job to make ends meet. I will fight for comprehensive education funding so that every student receives the quality education and opportunity they deserve.
Voting is a fundamental right and every citizen should have equal opportunity to exercise that right. Modern voter suppression efforts are relentless, effective, and they impede democracy. Black and brown voters are being targeted with precision for suppression. I will work to ensure that our elections are free, fair, and accessible for everyone.
It’s long past time we end legal discrimination and erase health inequities for LGBTQ+ Georgians. Current gaps in the law make it possible for discriminatory practices to undermine recent Supreme court decisions affirming LGBTQ+ protections. This means discrimination in housing, education, and public accommodations for LGBTQ+ Georgians can persist until ligated in court. LGBTQ+ individuals face health disparities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and denial of their civil and human rights. Enhancing efforts to improve LGBTQ+ healthcare is necessary to ensure that individuals lead long, healthy lives. I will work to advance equality and erase disparities for LGBTQ+ Georgians.