Economy that Works for All of Us
We need to ensure that every worker and family in Michigan has what they need to thrive – that includes fair wages, fair taxes, and fair work environments. I proudly introduced legislation to ensure that every Michigan worker receives earned paid sick time. Small businesses make our economy and our neighborhoods thrive and we need to do more to support small business owners with the resources they need to grow. I will continue to fight to protect collective bargaining rights as well as Michigan’s prevailing wage law. I was proud to help advocate successfully for $10 million local job training funds connected to the Gordie Howe International Bridge project. I passed legislation to clarify and enhance Business Improvement Zones - an innovative economic development tool.
Quality Education for Our Kids
I will continue to advocate for policies that would help ensure that every child in Michigan, regardless of where they live, receives a quality education. I am a product of Michigan’s traditional public schools and am a mom who wants the best possible education system for her daughter when she reaches school age. As a State Representative, I introduced legislation to address school closings, literacy, and school environmental assessments. I proudly co-sponsored legislation to help teachers with the resources and support systems they need to teach as well as legislation that would bring about greater transparency and accountability in our charter school system. I believe we can do more to ensure that our education system values the whole child – not over-testing our kids and instead making sure they have access to arts and extracurricular options that keep them engaged in learning.
Clean Air, Water, and Land
I will continue to fight for clean air and affordable, safe and accessible drinking water. Michigan is a beautiful state with great natural resources – including the Detroit River. I strongly believe that we need to protect these resources because a clean environment means healthier people. As the State Representative for the district where the Gordie Howe International Bridge will be built, I have been part of the team that successfully advocated for historic environmental and public health protections for the residents near the bridge. I led a bipartisan group of legislators to introduce legislation to improve accountability and transparency from asbestos abatement contractors. I am a strong supporter of clean and renewable energy. I was honored to be the League of Conservation Voters 2017 Legislator of the Year in recognition of my work introducing legislation to address air quality in Southwest Detroit and Downriver, successfully fight back against legislation that would have given a no-strings-attached tax break to a large polluter, and convene a bipartisan workgroup that has led to legislation addressing Michigan’s water crisis that has support from both sides of the aisle.
Safer Communities and a Smarter Criminal Justice System
We need safer communities so that our families and neighborhoods can thrive. I am proud to sponsor and co-sponsor common sense gun violence prevention legislation that would institute universal background checks and extreme risk protection orders and allow school districts to opt out of open carry. I will continue to work hard to pass bipartisan legislation to bring more common sense to our criminal justice system. Michigan spends 2 billion dollars on corrections. We have made progress in reducing the prison population and I am proud to support bipartisan legislation that will help ensure that we are getting individuals out of the prison system who are medically frail or eligible for parole who are most likely to succeed back in the community. As State Representative, I passed legislation to ensure that exonerees who were wrongfully imprisoned receive reentry services. I also passed legislation to prohibit the sale of nitrous oxide "whip its" to minors and ensure that stores check identification before sale.
Fixing Our Infrastructure
From the pipes that bring water into our homes to the roads and bridges we drive on and the public transit systems that don’t quite connect the dots, Michigan has a lot of work to do. I have been a leader on issues related to clean drinking water (see environment section) and a fighter for community benefits related to the Gordie Howe International Bridge. I will continue to work with stakeholders to identify solutions to the railroad crossing problems in Southwest Detroit and Downriver.
We need to do more so that every Michigander can live a healthy life and access quality health care when they need it. I am proud to sponsor bipartisan legislation to address nurse overtime. There are too many stories of nurses working 16 or 20 hours and not being able to refuse overtime. This jeopardizes patient safety and unfair for the nurses. In addition, much of our advocacy for environmental protections is directly linked to public health issues. High rates of asthma in our children can be addressed by cleaning up our air. I was honored to receive a 2017 Friend of Nursing Award from the Michigan Nurses Association. In my first term as State Representative, I helped restore $2 million in funding for school-based health centers, which improve health and academic outcomes for Michigan students.
Women and Girls
I will continue to be a champion for women and girls at the Capitol. We still have a long way to go to address sexual assault and domestic violence in our communities. Michigan still has not passed equal pay legislation and continues to face issues in women’s and infant health. In 2018, as the leading Democrat on the Committee on Law & Justice, I helped lead the development and passage of a bipartisan 24 bill package to protect sexual assault survivors, prevent sexual assault, and improve accountability.* My bill would ensure that every student in grades 6 to 12 receive educational materials about sexual assault and available resources. In 2017, I co-led a bipartisan effort to pass the strongest laws in the nation to protect young girls from female genital mutilation. I have been proud to serve as Chair of the Progressive Women’s Caucus and am helping to lead efforts to address sexual harassment in and around the state capitol.
Equity and Inclusion
Michigan is great because of Michiganders– and that means every single one of us, no matter one’s race, ethnicity, gender, immigration status, religion, or sexual orientation. I will continue to be a vocal advocate for immigrants’ rights, LGBT protections in our civil rights law, and solutions that address disparities in our criminal justice system, voting system, and throughout our society.
*The bills have passed the House and Senate Judiciary Committee. They are awaiting action from the full Senate.