Every parent wants the best for their children, but too many public schools lack the needed facilities and teachers. It’s time that North Carolina invests boldly in our children’s future.
Our Kids deserve nothing but best, so we must stop cutting and start investing in education. North Carolina has always put a tremendous value on education. If we prioritize education ahead of corporate tax breaks we can find the money. The workforce of tomorrow is in the classroom today, so we need to get our kids the resources they need to succeed. The best jobs plan in North Carolina is a first class education system.
Our Teachers have to be put in the best possible position to do what they do best - educate our kids. Teacher pay needs to be raised to the national average. We need to reverse education budget cuts that have forced our schools to do more with less, swell class size and cut or even eliminate important programs and resources.
Our Schools are underfunded. Kids don’t have textbooks. Teachers, like my daughter who’s a 3rd grade teacher, have to buy classroom supplies with their own money. North Carolina has more than $8 billion in unmet construction needs. Besides new construction needs, many of our schools need renovations to comply with safety and building code requirements and address deferred maintenance. Our children and our teachers deserve better.
Health care is biggest concern for most families and burden of taking care of a sick child or parent can be crippling to the family finances. We can lower healthcare costs for all, put a cap on out-of-pocket costs and engage in preventative public health rather than expensive emergency medicine, all while increasing life expectancy.
Reducing Costs of Medical Insurance is critically important so that families won’t have to worry about the skyrocketing costs of health care. More affordable insurance means more North Carolinians will get screening for diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease before problems arise. More women will have access to preventive care, including birth control and breast cancer screenings.
Medicaid Expansion will provide affordable health care to every North Carolinian. Expanding Medicaid means more doctors and nurses in rural areas. One of the best and fastest ways to improve mental health care in North Carolina would be to expand Medicaid. We need to help those with mental or substance abuse disorders in county or regional mental health centers that feed into state psychiatric hospitals. Finally, North Carolinians are already paying federal taxes for Medicaid expansion, but our money is being sent to other states. If we expand Medicaid we will bring billions of dollars and jobs back to North Carolina.
Establishing a statewide health insurance exchange will allow individuals and families to have expanded access to medical insurance. This will foster competition in the marketplace and drive down prices for health insurance premiums. Decreasing the number of uninsured people will lower health care costs for everyone.
Without clean drinking water, clean air to breathe and clean land on which to live, work and play, its game over for all of us. The other issues we face will be inconsequential if we elect not to protect our environment.
Clean water, air and land are not just a privilege but a right for every citizen in North Carolina. Protecting our environment must be our top priority, and we must stop big polluters who threaten our water, air and land. Additionally, we need to invest in water and wastewater infrastructure to address upgrades and maintenance that have been deferred over the years. North Carolina must meet these infrastructure challenges to ensure local communities have viable utilities and keep us ahead of other states for economic development. The majority in the General Assembly have sided with polluters and big corporations over average citizens.
Having stood with my community against the Supercollider, the Hazard Waste Incinerator, the National Bio-Agro Defense Facility, fracking and having served on the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission, I know firsthand that we can do better protecting our environment. We have got to stand up to the Republicans that are stripping away environmental protections under the guise that it promotes economic development and cuts red tape.
Stronger Legislation is needed to:
Adequately fund capacity of our state agencies and programs that protect and conserve our environment.
Help local governments meet today’s infrastructure capital needs and plan for tomorrow.
Promote investments in renewable energy and efficiency.
Provide funding to ensure residents are protected from toxins in consumer products, rewrite state laws to emphasize a proactive approach of preventing toxic exposures, rather than waiting to address contamination crisis.
Promote green storm-water infrastructure in new development and look for opportunities to retrofit existing developments as well.
Make environmental justice a routine step in the rule-making, permitting processes and enforcement processes.
HIGH SPEED INTERNET
Expanding high speed internet access in North Carolina will give every region the chance to compete and thrive.
This is one of the ways to help bridge the Rural-Urban economic divide. Individuals and businesses must have access to fast reliable internet; this is a requirement in the 21st century economy.
The economy is improving. But it’s not improving for all of us, just the big and powerful. We need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. We can do more to help hardworking citizens get ahead and stay ahead.
LOCAL AUTHORITY PREEMPTION
Local people know what is in the best interest of their community. Their local elected officials should be able to make their own rules about how they live, as long as it isn’t negatively impacting their neighbors.
Starting in 2010, we saw a General Assembly – elected to return control to local communities – start an unwarranted intrusion on local authority.
Time and time again North Carolina Republicans have preempted local government decision-making saying they know best. They really don’t and need to stop it.