Preventing a climate crisis is beyond the ability of one city or state to control, but that does not mean we are powerless or that we should fail to act.
In fact, it gives greater urgency to what we can and should do.
This begins by embracing and supporting the growth of renewable, carbon-free energy. We need to invest in conservation and renewable energy, not the technologies that created the climate crisis we threaten to leave our children. We should not expand the LNG facility in the City of Providence.
We need a responsive, innovative public transit system that works for the way people live today and transportation planning that includes consideration for all the ways people move around our city: bikes, pedestrians, buses, and cars.
I will do everything I can to combat climate change. Clear-eyed realism requires us to act now to mitigate the realities of climate change like more extreme weather.
Every child deserves a good education – and so we must invest in the education of all of our children. Every child should have the opportunity to learn in an environment that is safe, healthy, and fully equipped to provide a twenty-first-century education.
We should have high expectations and ambitious goals for every student enrolled in our schools. Our school system must recognize, and celebrate, the unique assets of our diverse student body.
Rhode Island made an important step forward when it adopted an education funding formula. But that was just a first step. We need to improve the funding formula so that it better recognizes the funding needs of students in the City of Providence.
As a parent, I am vested in our public schools and know the value they have to our community.
I know that the hopes I have for my children depend upon a high-quality education. As your Representative, I will work tirelessly to make sure all children in Providence receive the education they need to have the best future possible.
We need a healthcare system that truly works for all. As we work towards healthcare for all, whether through a single-payer system or another way to get there, we must continue to work to improve the system we have. Access to affordable, high-quality healthcare is essential. Without it, children cannot learn, adults cannot hold down a job or raise a family, senior citizens cannot live in dignity as they deserve.
I have spent years fighting to expand access to healthcare, and we have made great strides in recent years, but, as experience shows, those achievements remain vulnerable, and those with the most need face the greatest risk.
Because of this, we need to take steps to ensure we protect key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, no matter what happens at the federal level. We should act now to maintain the insurance mandate. We should ensure that gender-based ratings remain a thing of the past because women should not pay more for insurance just because they are women.
We need to protect a women’s right to make healthcare decisions about her own body. We must pass the Reproductive Health Care Act, and ensure that Roe v. Wade protections for abortion access remain the law in Rhode Island, no matter what happens at the Supreme Court. We also must make sure that birth control remains available without a co-pay.
We can build on the progress we have made by continuing to expand access to preventive care, to oral healthcare, and to behavioral health services, and to work to make sure that healthcare is accessible to all.
Experience shows that is possible to provide better care, achieve better outcomes, and spend more efficiently when the healthcare system puts the needs of patients and their families first, and when we incentivize quality over quantity.
This will not be easy. What we have achieved in recent years is the product of decades of hard work, but it is essential if we are going to realize a healthcare system that truly works for all.
As your representative, I will bring my years of policy, advocacy, and legal experience to the State House every day to fight to make sure we protect the gains we have made and to make sure we continue to improve our healthcare system.
Rhode Island is, famously, the smallest state in the country. It is also a state where small business is the backbone of our economy.
We need an economic development plan that recognizes this fact. We need an economic development strategy that invests in supporting the creation, growth, and success of small business. Because it is a plan that invests in our inherent strengths and the real engine of job creation.
As a person who has recently launched a small business, I know how complicated this task can be. How many promising ideas have been lost in the earliest stages because of this? We need every good idea to have the opportunity to launch and thrive.
We need to make it easier to start and build and sustain a business in Rhode Island.
That will require making sure that local and state regulations are aligned and simplified. It means we need to make sure government is an avenue to success, not a barrier to innovation. We can do this by assigning a role in key state and local agencies to actively assist business owners to navigate the process.
The goal should not simply be to make sure a business dots every i and crosses every t. The goal should be that every good idea succeeds.
More than half of all working Rhode Islanders, are employed by small businesses. It is time that we invest in small business, the engine of job creation in our state.
Everyone has the right to healthy housing they can afford. Too many of our neighbors struggle with this challenge every day.
We must pursue housing for all. This means housing for young adults just starting out, housing for young families, housing for those who live alone, housing accessible to people with disabilities, and housing where seniors can age in place and not leave the neighborhood they call home.
In recent years, Rhode Islanders have enthusiastically supported bond referenda to create more affordable housing through rehabilitation and new construction. We need to join other states that have a regular, permanent, reliable, predictable, and sustainable funding stream for affordable housing.
At the same time, the public should not be the only investor. We need to find an effective way to ensure that those who create and profit from high-end housing also contribute to the expansion of affordable housing.
It is time for us to pass effective gun safety legislation – in fact, it is past time. There are too many guns, including weapons of war, on our streets, and there are too many gun deaths and injuries.
I was proud to help fight for legislation that will restrict access to guns for those with records of domestic violence – and pleased when it passed. But we need to do more. We need to restore Rhode Island’s ban on assault weapons and keep guns out of our schools.
Aging In Place
As I have gone door-to-door across the district, I have met many older residents who want to make sure they will be able to continue living in the neighborhood they call home, as well as family members working to help older relatives remain in their homes.
Responding to this need will require a comprehensive strategy encompassing policies, services, and programs so that seniors can continue to stay in their homes.
We need to find ways to provide the supports older residents need to continue living independently at home.
This can mean affordable home rehab and retrofit programs for simple modifications like grab bars, railings, no-slip treads, and ramps can make the difference between staying at home or turning to an expensive institutional setting like a nursing home. This means providing services like flexible home care, safety check-ins, or help during weather emergencies.
Our neighborhoods are strong when they are diverse. We need to ensure that our vision of diversity includes one that spans generations and ensures people can age in place and continue to contribute to the neighborhood they call home.