PRIORITIES:

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Defend Reproductive & Civil Rights

Reproductive and civil rights The Michigan legislature will be at the center of critical human rights and civil rights decisions over the next few years. The loss of federal abortion protections for women means Michigan lawmakers will decide the future of reproductive care in our state. I’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with Governor Whitmer and Democratic legislators and fight like hell to protect abortion access, contraception, and reproductive freedom. The choice to end a pregnancy is between a woman, her doctor, and the loved ones she includes in her decision. For my daughters, your daughters, and you – we will not go back.

Additionally, the Michigan Supreme Court just ruled that our statewide anti-discrimination act, the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, makes it illegal to discriminate against people who identify as LGBTQ+. We have been fighting for decades to fix this. While the ruling is cause for celebration, the legislature should still pass a law to make it crystal clear that it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  I know how to get this done – I passed a non-discrimination ordinance in East Grand Rapids, and I’m ready to get to work in the Capitol. 

 

If we want our residents, communities, and economy to thrive in the future, we need to make sure Michigan is a place where people feel welcome now. Young adults, like my daughter Lainey who just graduated from college, are watching to see how we treat others when they make their decisions about where to start their careers and grow their families. I’m ready to represent you, and show them Michigan cares about everyone.

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End Gun Violence

Each mass shooting or incident of domestic violence is a painful reminder that our lawmakers have wasted opportunities to reduce senseless gun deaths and injuries. Our children’s lives – any lives – are too high a price to pay for others’ refusal to accept common sense gun safety laws.

I'm the only candidate in this race -- Republican or Democrat -- with the Moms Demand Action Common Sense Gun Safety distinction. It’s time to act: require universal background checks; require firearms in homes with minors be properly secured; pass Extreme Risk Protection orders – “red flag” – laws; prohibit large-capacity magazines; limit the open carrying of assault weapons in public; and renew the prohibition on the manufacture, sale, or transfer of assault rifles.

I’m not afraid to stand up to the gun lobby to do what’s right – we have suffered the loss of far too many Americans to gun violence. We don't have time to wait, we need to act now and start saving lives instead of continuing to lose them, every single day.

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Protect Our Environment

At this critical moment in human history, we must take decisive action to counteract climate change. There is so much to do, but the state can support more renewable energy and a better ecosystem for electric vehicle adoption to get us started on reducing carbon emissions. Investments in solar and wind power, improving the grid, and adding electric vehicle fast-charging stations will all propel us toward a status as an innovative state for both environmental and energy policy. We can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, create new jobs, strengthen our infrastructure, and keep our lakes and air clean.

There are countless ways we can live up to our Pure Michigan name, but we need brave representatives to start pushing those ideas in the legislature. We can expand greenspace by investing in our local and state parks, continue efforts to keep drinking water safe from toxic lead and PFAS, hold polluters accountable, and make common-sense environmental protections law. Critically, we should safeguard our groundwater from E. coli with a law requiring routine septic inspections. We have beautiful land and water to work with, and I would champion parks projects, like the Grand River Greenway, to make Michigan even more appealing to residents and visitors. 

Even with greater efforts to compost and reduce usage, we will always have waste to take care of. I’ve taken on a big role in our waste processes as a member of the Kent Board of Public Works, so I know what’s broken and what works. The state can support communities to improve recycling and help create a modern waste management system that supports a circular economy, including bio-digesting organics. I’ve always been an advocate for innovative policies that will save our environment, and my track record shows this. Let’s make a more sustainable Michigan a goal for our entire state.

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I’m the son of two public school educators, so I know great public schools that parents can count on are the foundation of a successful community. Above that, a great public school system is what will take our community from one that thrives to one that pioneers. We need to fully and equitably fund Pre-K and K-16 education to make our aspirations as educational leaders a reality. Our teachers are one of the biggest groups of influencers in our communities, and we need to support them as they turn our children into the next generation of leaders and Michiganders. With that, we need our teachers to have the appropriate resources for our children. We need modernized facilities with up-to-date technology and smaller class sizes so each child gets individual attention. Teachers need to be able to focus on encouraging critical thinking, writing, and STEM skills rather than high-stakes multiple-choice tests. After graduating high school, we need to encourage continuing education and staying in Michigan by providing tuition-free community college and career-skills training, make college more accessible and affordable, and incentivize college graduates. There’s no getting around it: our schools need some work. Our teachers are struggling and it shows. We need to show that Michigan prioritizes our children and their education by finally fixing our system.

Invest in Our Students

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Accelerate Michigan's Economy

We all deserve a fair deal in the workplace and a real opportunity to provide for ourselves and our families. We need livable-wage jobs with good benefits. Our state minimum wage is not livable, and that lack of support stops people from putting money back into our economy. In addition to livable-wage jobs, having well-built infrastructure is a giant push for our economy that we need to put focus on. Thriving small businesses make Michigan a unique economy, and we need to continue to support them and their workers with advanced skills training, protection for collective bargaining, and the ability to retire with dignity. I have a unique track record of supporting our economy and businesses without ignoring our families and citizens, and I want to keep this track record up in the House.

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Support Families

Michigan families need critical investments to secure a more just and prosperous future. To end cycles of poverty and systemic racial injustice, we must invest in early childhood development and universal 3-year-old preschool so children are kindergarten ready. I championed Kent County’s unique “Ready by Five” initiative and I’ll work hard for our children in the capitol. Inequalities are everywhere in our system, but I have lots of ideas. We need to restore the Earned Income Tax Credit, end cash bail, fix sentencing guidelines, and improve our treatment courts so people get the help they need to improve their lives. In healthcare, I’d improve and expand Healthy Michigan to include a public option so more people are eligible for coverage. There are countless ways to support families in Michigan, and I am prepared to be a leader for our families in the legislature.