Vote in the Democratic Primary August 9
Wisconsin's diverse natural landscapes and beauty provide us all with a shared natural heritage and character that makes our state largely what it is. And what it is is worth protecting and preserving, and can unite us in a common cause through a shared identity: for our public land and water resources belong to us all, collectively. I aim to bring leadership to our state legislature for the stewardship of our natural resources by forming new coalitions between diverse stakeholders with a common interest, and by creating landscape enterprise zones to advance greater local, state, and regional cooperation in developing effective management strategies at the whole landscape level. Critical objectives include a comprehensive plan to improve our water quality, increasing the number of acres of state lands in our state parks, state forests, public waters and other natural areas, and rapidly advancing our clean energy goals to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
In the legislature, a core advocacy of mine will be excellence in public education. This requires smart state level investment, beginning with centering on valuing teachers. Wisconsin is experiencing a growing teacher shortage, a complex problem accelerated by the pandemic, and certainly not helped by the fact that our average starting teaching salary has slipped to 34th in the nation, something we as a state must address in the upcoming session. In the legislature I will push for targeted state investment in the recruiting and retention of teachers, micro-grants to pursue special projects in the classroom, and a program to form new partnerships between our 26 University of Wisconsin system campuses and our K-12 schools to encourage innovation in our classrooms. I also will work to advocate for the development of a state comprehensive reading plan that includes the emerging consensus in the science of reading in order to address our concerning early reading outcomes in Wisconsin.
We need to reframe the way we think about our health care in Wisconsin as a proper part of our public infrastructure, similar to what we have done with state investment in broadband access in the last couple of years. State investment and new public-private partnerships are key to increasing access to health care in unserved and underserved communities, a challenge laid bare during the pandemic. With targeted state investment, we can increasingly address the disparities in access to care and improve health outcomes. A strong health care system as a public asset improves educational outcomes as well, and attracts employers and families to our communities, strengthening our economy.
We have a moral imperative to address our epidemic of gun violence both federally and at the state level by both implementing responsible gun reforms and investing in expanded mental health initiatives. In the state legislature, I will work for a multifaceted approach that includes comprehensive background checks for all gun purchases in Wisconsin, the adoption of red flag laws to suspend gun access for those who are showing signs of imminent violent behavior, raising the legal age of ownership from eighteen to twenty-one for certain military style weapons, and supporting community based violence intervention programs.
Wisconsin's aging infrastructure rates a “C” overall and a “D+” specifically on our roads, as graded by the American Society of Civil Engineers. This is the cumulative legacy of not adequately investing in our infrastructure over the span of many years. This negatively impacts all Wisconsinites in a myriad of ways, including acting as a drag on our state's economic future and worsening disparities. We need experienced leaders with knowledge of infrastructure issues, which is what I intend to bring to the state legislature next term. I aim to advocate for our state and our district in particular, as Wisconsin is slated to receive federal dollars through the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. We need to capitalize on this opportunity to actually address Wisconsin's infrastructure challenges and make things better for all of us.