RESPONSES TO QUESTIONNAIRES & SURVEYS
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
EDUCATION: What should Michigan do, if anything, to 1) provide an equitable, quality public education for all students and 2) address the shortage of teachers?
Taxpayer funding only for established districts ensuring resources for students in the community they live in. “Weighted” school funding to establish equitable school budgets and with necessary resources, including reliable transportation, for socio-economic disadvantaged communities. Establish staggered student loan forgiveness programs and stipends for student internships; tax credits for advanced education coursework; low cost professional development; expand healthcare and work benefits; strengthen retirement programs; establish safe work environments; strengthen collective bargaining.
ECONOMIC SECURITY: What policies do you support to help Michigan residents improve their economic positions?
I support tax reform to end public pension taxes and restore private pension deductions, and taxpayer relief with State subsidies of essential first responder services. I support the repeal of “Right to Work” laws, which make it difficult to negotiate better pay and working conditions; accelerate minimum wage increases; subsidize tuition for vocational education; pass legislation for accessible housing and low cost healthcare and childcare. Also, I will work with pharmacies to lower prescription costs, and invest in local small business agricultural farming for farm-to-table lower food prices.
ELECTIONS: What state policies do you support regarding Michigan elections, campaign funding and voting rights?
I support all legislation and policies for accessible voting, including providing unsolicited absentee ballot applications with prepaid return postage, and accessible drop boxes. I would legislate for general election days as a mandatory State work holiday; automatic voter registration with State-issued identification (better yet, at age 18); allowing overseas military family members to return their ballots electronically, and voting rights for incarcerated persons. I support State funded elections and personal financial disclosure for candidates and elected officials.
ENVIRONMENT/ENERGY: What actions or policies do you support to protect Michigan’s water, air and land for current and future generations? What is your position on energy efficiency and renewable energy?
I support ecologically responsible infrastructure and low-impact development. This includes increased funding for water and public lands infrastructure and management policies. I support strict regulatory enforcement, business transparency, and sensible zoning laws. I will legislate for accessible solar and alternative energy for homes and businesses, and will increase funding for home energy updates, and invest in alternative energy for public transit. I will legislate for LEED certification of state and municipal government construction. I am committed to legislating for environmental justice.
SOCIAL JUSTICE: How would you address racial, economic, health and education inequities, including Michigan’s 23% of children and 17% of seniors living in poverty?
As a start, investigate race, class and (dis)ability inequities within each government agency. Extend eligibility and funding for food and healthcare programs. Increase child tax credits for low and middle income families. Introduce “weighted” school funding for equitable budgets. Focus on local government policy changes to address inequalities in ordinances and zoning regulations, and repeal laws that prevent cities from establishing and enforcing those policies. End criminalization of poverty with court and sentencing reform. I support reviewing tax policies for economically distressed cities.
GUNS: What steps, if any, should be taken to curb gun violence in our communities?
Prohibit firearms sales to people charged with domestic violence or convicted of violent misdemeanors. Require unlicensed firearms dealers to abide the same laws as licensed retailers for rifle purchases. Mandatory gun storage laws in homes with children. Increase funding for suicide hotlines and mental health services. Encourage current “smart” gun technology, which disables a firearm if anyone other than the registered owner or authorized user attempts to use it. Grants to cities for neighborhood watch groups, blight cleanup, and increased visibility city planning design.
GROSSE POINTES - HARPER WOODS NAACP
The GPHW NAACP had a candidate forum on June 23 and asked each candidate what they have done to support the MISSION Statement of NAACP, which is:
The Mission for the National Association for theAdvancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all person and to eliminate racial hatred and discrimination.
My response is I believe I have lived the Mission in my work life, my volunteerism, my life as an artist, and as a City Council member. That is, I believe my personal life is a reflection of the NAACP Mission.
I worked for Focus: HOPE, a civil rights organization founded in 1967 in response to that summer's Detroit Riots, as a Community Arts Coordinator with youth in community and diversity programs. One of those programs was the Pen Pal Program, with third graders from Detroit and suburban schools meeting each other and writing letters to each other. Another was the Focus on The Mission program -- an annual program with 50-60 high school students in the tri-county area meeting for cultural diversity "ice-breakers" and discussions and exploring their lives and Detroit -- through photography and mentorship (photographers and other artists) and a culminating photo exhibit. I later volunteered with this program for ten years, and still keep in touch with a couple of kids (now adults) from the program.
I was later the Executive Director of Casa de Unidad, a cultural center, in southwest Detroit. We worked with the community, including the largest Latino community in Michigan at that time. Programs ranged from literacy to arts, and we partnered with other local organizations including Southwest Detroit Business Association and Southwest Solutions, and the Mexican Consulate. I conducted cultural seminars, including for New Detroit, and a teachers cultural arts workshop for the University Musical Society (University of Michigan).
Artistically, I have been part of arts exhibits for the Day of the Dead celebrations, including at the Detroit Institute of arts (where I conducted a day long education workshop).
As a member of the Harper Woods City Council, I was one of three original draft writers of the Resolution in Support of Restorative and Transformative Justice.
As an Executive Board member of the Michigan Democratic Party Hispanic Latino Caucus, I have been a part of reaching out to Hispanic and Latino people throughout Michigan, and advocating on behalf of equity for all Michigan residents.