Priorities and Issues
The foundation for a great community, great state, and a great nation is education. Education is the bridge from poverty to a better life. We know our children are the future. The education of our children rests in the hands of our elected representatives in Columbia. They have failed. We know the many reasons why they have failed and every one of these issues can be solved with immediate action by State Senators who care.
SC is one of the worst states for public education in the country. I shall work with local educators and administrators to create a plan and bring it to the Senate floor to raise our educational system to the quality our children need. We see many inequities in the education of our poor vs. our middle and upper class. A state-wide program of facility modernization, teacher pay increases, classroom supply, textbook provisions, and state-funded post-graduate teacher education will show immediate results. We must accept every penny the federal government offers us in education and not reject it. We must address the need for preschool education if our poor are to rise up and get a fair share of America’s wealth. We can do better, and when I am in office, we will do better!
Healthcare costs are the number one reason for personal bankruptcy causing more than two-thirds of filings, and for that, South Carolina ranks 36th in the nation. South Carolina has not adopted Medicaid expansion - why? Republican leadership has blocked valuable healthcare benefits - why? This has caused the closure of medical services in rural areas of Lancaster and York. Our percentage of uninsured residents is too high, and when the uninsured get seriously ill or injured, it is the local hospital that carries that cost, making it harder for hospitals and clinics to stay in business. Finding a way to cover all South Carolina residents is a priority. I will defend and expand senior healthcare as best I can and work across the aisle in Columbia to gain support from both parties. We can do better, and when I am in office, we will do better!
Unfortunately, Covid-19 pandemic will last a longer time than we hope. We know there is a vaccine on the way and we pray it will be effective. South Carolina’s Covid-19 response under Governor McMaster and the Republican leadership has been devastating. I have a logical and flexible Covid-19 plan. As we learn more about this virus, we must be prepared to react swiftly and never, ever put politics over people.
1- Create a South Carolina Pandemic Center (SCPC) to lead our effort. Staff it with the best of the best from science, medicine and enterprise. Have them report openly to all three branches of our state government.
2- Improve and increase testing so that we identify every hot spot and control the spread immediately.
3- Put together a strong team of retired law enforcement and medical professionals to develop and institute the best contact tracing
4- Stockpile PPE and other life-saving drugs and materials while we can.
5- Educate and motivate South Carolinians as to what they can and must do to help control the spread. This includes social distancing,
personal hygiene, masks and respect for the good and welfare of all.
6- Open the economy in areas of low threat and relax restrictions on schools where and when advised by the SCPC.
7- Take Medicaid expansion.
Like you, I drive the roads of South Carolina with my precious cargo in the car, my family. Your eyes and mine see crumbling and dangerous roads, substandard bridges and inadequate safety on our roads.
US 521 and state highway 160 are just two examples of local arteries in South Carolina’s fastest-growing areas that have not had enough attention. These are no longer country roads; they are suburban roadways with the type of traffic and congestion seen in northeastern states. We need lighting and intelligent traffic light synchronization to lower the danger and allow traffic to flow better. We need a 5'-wide accessible pathway at least on one side on arterial and collector roads. South Carolina exceeds the national obesity rate, substantially because people don't feel safe walking or cycling anywhere. We have increased our tax on gas to apply it to our roads. We must spend the money better and not award contracts to party favorites and relatives.
Infrastructure means providing internet access for all. Be it for education, communication or for business, no county or area should be without internet access. I consider it a public utility in the same category as power, water, and other services. This utter failure of the current system poses an imminent threat to our quality of life. We need leadership with an aggressive plan to build our infrastructure – a plan that will bring investments to support residents and local businesses. We are not a third world nation. My background in information technology will allow me to present a fresh vision and solutions to this problem. We can do better, and when I am in office, we will do better!
As a young immigrant, I worked my way up to achieve the American Dream. I am grateful for the opportunities provided in our country. That makes me passionate about preserving opportunities and the possibilities of achieving success for every person in South Carolina and, certainly, for the poor and under-educated. To me, it is personal to keep the American Dream alive and create equal opportunities for others.
What is alarming to me is the fact that South Carolina today is ranked as one of the worst states for raising a family. We are in the bottom 10 when it comes to poverty, life expectancy, affordable housing, education quality, median income, debt outside of a mortgage, and rate of foreclosures. In addition, our state is in the bottom 10 for family income, the share of families living in poverty, and the share of families getting food stamps. People in our state, especially in rural areas, continue to struggle to meet their basic needs. South Carolina has a history of poverty disparities and income inequality that is intensified by racial and ethnic factors. All these adversely impact all other parts of family life. Families do well when they live in communities with economic opportunities and a quality education system. As your Senator, I will work to ensure that children and families have the opportunities they need to succeed. I will focus on increasing incomes and reducing income inequality. We can do better, and when I am in office, we will do better!
The state of South Carolina is a place of economic growth compared to other states, but so many of our counties have high unemployment rates. Since February of 2020, our life has been heavily impacted by COVID-19, which so far, has forced over tens of thousands to file for unemployment. Many South Carolinians are currently in financial desperation and cannot see a better future. As your State Senator, I will focus on restoring economic growth and cutting unemployment that is sure to linger. We do not know what the next few years will bring. The Republicans have failed us for too long and we must have fresh eyes, fresh solutions, and bold initiatives to go beyond recovery and make South Carolina a winner in quality of life and economic opportunity. We need to invest in the people of South Carolina more and dig for money from the Federal government. We need only look at West Virginia to see how poorly South Carolina has done in obtaining a fair share of federal funding.
It has been a long time since manufacturing hit its peak in Lancaster and York Counties. We can, and must, bring it back. Our Republican district leadership did not bring us a car or airplane manufacturer. We play second fiddle to Charleston, Greenville, Spartanburg, Columbia, and other areas. I will promote our area and will work to attract new investments HERE. I will support an investment tax credit for abandoned mills and factories on a state level. We can do better, and when I am in office, we will do better!
I believe in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which affords us rights as individuals. Our Constitution is what has always made America a beacon of hope and freedom. We have a constitutional right to own a gun, but we need reasonable gun laws. We must tighten gun registration. Weapons of mass destruction are not muskets. While the mentally ill should not own a gun, mental illness can strike a gun owner a day or two after they get a permit. How often do you hear “now is the time” after a mass shooting? Then, let this November be the time you put a State Senator in office who will tirelessly work for gun sanity, common-sense gun safety laws, universal background checks, and red flag laws. We can do better, and when I am in office, we will do better!
We cannot, and must not, restrict a woman’s right to choose. It is a constitutional right. Our liberty life and pursuit of happiness are explicit in the Constitution. I am not pro-abortion; I wish there was no need or reason for it. However, I am an advocate of a woman's right to control her own body and do what she must, when she must. As a State Senator, I will not only be a loud voice and advocate for a woman’s right to choose but for the 28th amendment as well. We can do better, and when I am in office, we will do better!
Our democracy stands because of those who have already served and those who serve us now. I will work with all levels of government to improve access to veteran’s benefits in South Carolina. I will work towards increasing access to mental health resources to treat veterans with PTSD. We can do better, and when I am in office, we will do better!
When 1 out of every 6 people has prescriptions for anti-depressants, it is easy to understand why the Opioid Crisis has taken hold in America. Additionally, study after study has shown that addictions to prescription painkillers lead to addictions to a more lethal drug, like heroin and crystal meth. The crisis has also put enormous burdens on our county jails and healthcare facilities. As a State Senator, I will work with representatives from the federal government to extend and expand federal grants that will assist districts and rural counties to address the opioid epidemic. We can do better, and when I am in office, we will do better!
What should the State Senate do to address these issues?
Let me hear your voice, your concerns, and your ideas. I promise, going forward your voice will be heard and NOT dismissed. My priority is to serve and be responsive. Your perspective on this issue is important to make sure the State Senate finds solutions that work for all of us.
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