Southpaw's Questions are in Purple and Jennifer's answers are in Green
Our healthcare system has been ravaged by politicians who are putting insurance, hospital, and pharmaceutical interests above hard-working families and the providers who care for them. How should our government tackle the healthcare crisis and work to expand coverage and lower costs?
We must remove the profit from our healthcare and move to a singlepayer system. In Michigan we can create a "gap" insurance until we can create a true federal singlepayer system. What that means is a creative way of using loopholes in our current system to continue receiving federal dollars from medicare and medicaid, the VA, etc, and filling in the "gap" for everyone else with a state-run insurance.
Has your campaign ever taken corporate PAC money, and/or will it do so in the future? If so, from where?
No, and absolutely not.
What initiatives would you support in order to both reform our campaign finance system and increase government transparency?
We must create true public elections, having publicly funded elections, create legislation requiring all candidates to have equal time in the media, and create a true audit system for paper ballots. We must open all aspects of government to FOIA as well.
What is your position on K-12 education reform, and what actions will you take, if any,towards reforming our education system?
We must end the charter school system and properly fund public education. This includes funding school infrastructure from the state level, funding curriculum - both in curriculum purchasing and with funding curriculum director positions in all public schools, and funding teacher professional development. We must also ensure that all students in K-12 schools across our state have access to technology in the classroom, STEAM/STEM curriculum, and access to Early College and trades programs.
How will you work to make higher education more affordable and accessible?
We can first make public (2-year) colleges free, ensure that the model works there and then branch into making public universities free. The largest hurdle in making public universities free is the bloated salaries at the top (ie: the MSU President's salary being approximately $750,000 + bonuses/benefits), and we must ensure that a free model works first at the level of public colleges (which should also be funded to branch into more trades-training), and them push that model to change the nature of public universities and make them free.
What actions do you believe need to be taken to address Michigan’s environmental concerns and the increasingly urgent reality of climate change?
We must move to 100% clean, green renewable energy with a Green New Deal. We can put tradespeople to work with good union jobs and transform manufacturing in Michigan to green jobs of the future by making wind farms and solar panels, and also funding innovation to become a leader in hydro power with our Great Lakes as a natural resource. We must also change how Michigan gives our permits to pollute and start charging the true cost of doing business including health care costs, clean-up costs, and requiring companies to carry insurance plans that cover all of the above. If we price out pollution and charge the true cost of business to corporate polluters, that will financially force them to change their business models to clean, green energy.
How will you work to advocate for women’s equality, both in the workplace and in access to healthcare?
We can create legislation to end pay discrimination and give the Civil Rights Commission teeth to be able to enforce these issues with real investigative funding and authority to levy fines on businesses that violate such a law. When creating a "gap" insurance to create a singlepayer system in Michigan, we must also include access to abortion, OBGYN care, and birth control as part of women's healthcare coverage.
How would you propose reforming Michigan’s criminal justice system?
We must first end the war on drugs and expunge all possession records, past and present. We must end the cash bail system, and work to keep non-violent offenders out of prison, with programs like community service requirements and other alternatives to imprisonment. We must require cultural proficiency training and non-violent deescalation techniques for all police officers, and move to a true community policing system. We must also transform our prisons from a place of punishment to a place of rehabilitation with wraparound services for all incarcerated individuals, and ensure that we properly fund mental health institutions to end the incarceration of those who are mentally ill who truly need mental health services instead of imprisonment. We must also ensure there are protections within prisons to end prison rape, and fair treatment for women, especially those who are pregnant, and those in the LGBTQIA community.
What are your stances on Right to Work, Prevailing Wage, and raising the minimum wage to $15/hr? What efforts will you make to stand with unions and the labor movement?
I am against Right to Work legislation, and believe we need to keep the prevailing wage, including raising the minimum wage to $15/hour with further protections to include consistent increases of the living wage by tying it to other factors like housing costs, insurance costs, food costs, etc. I believe workers need to have more rights, and will stand with workers over union bosses who are too often tied to establishment politicians and CEOs, and push for more worker-owned businesses, profit sharing, proper benefits, and will push for more unionization across all industries.
What is your position on water affordability and water rights? What kinds of policies and legislation do you feel needs to be enacted to address water shutoffs and water poisoning across our communities?
Water is a human right. We must end all water shutoffs across Michigan, as it is a public health issues as well. I have been on the ground in Flint since the beginning of 2016, and believe that as we fix our road infrastructure we should also be replacing our aging water and sewer infrastructure at the same time. 43% of Michigan's counties have children with lead poisoning, and only those children on public assistance is tested, so that percentage is likely much higher. This is a larger crisis not simply of lead paint, but of lead leaching from our aging infrastructure which must be addressed with the replacement of all lead water and sewer lines across our state.
How will you work to amend systemic inequalities that perpetuate racial injustice? What,specifically, is your stance on police brutality?
The first step is to erase the records of those with possession convictions after the legalization of recreational marijuana, and evaluate all others who have possession charges with other offenses such as resisting arrest. We must end the practice of solitary confinement because it is a form of torture, end the prosecution of minors as adults, and ensure that we treat all incarcerated individuals as human beings. We must encourage the creation and/or continuation of citizen review boards for the ability of local communities to be a part of accountability of police officers, and end the cash bail system, properly fund police departments so they don’t need to rely on civil forfeiture or ticket quotas. Anytime a person is killed by a police officer, it must trigger an automatic review by the Attorney General’s office, including consultation with the local citizen review board if applicable.
What is your position on civil rights? Do you support protections for Michigan’s LGBTQIA communities? If so, what?
I believe that civil rights are human rights. I completely support protections for our LGBTQIA communities including job protections, housing protections, and adoption protections. My Lieutenant Governor, Charin Davenport, has also been a longtime advocate and activist for LGBTQIA rights. We must give the Michigan Civil Rights Commission teeth and the ability to investigate issues and complaints, impose fines on businesses that violate civil rights laws, and strengthen Elliot Larsen to include the full LGBTQIA spectrum.
What is your stance on the government’s federal approach to immigration? How will you work to address immigration reform in Michigan?
We need to create a comprehensive path to citizenship for all, including undocumented individuals, and those who fall under other programs like DACA. One of my first steps for immigration reform in Michigan is to direct the new Attorney General to investigate any Michigan agencies who had a part in the separation of children from their families to ensure they have all been reunited and to find out how and why they were involved in that program. I will also work to ensure all Michigan residents who may be at risk of deportation from the new federal changes have access to legal services and representation.