We're Better Together.
Through my work with Birmingham AIDS Outreach (BAO), I have gained firsthand knowledge of our community health practioners’ dedication and hard work. I have also witnessed the suffering caused by limited access to healthcare and public health resources. Too many of District 54’s critical hospitals remain closed or overstretched--while community health clinics are few, far between, and often out-of-reach. We need a comprehensive plan to rescue this failing healthcare system.
- Fight for Medicaid expansion in Alabama, a policy that will help the most vulnerable in our community and will pay for itself through economic growth.
- Fight for environmental and social justice.
- Equip health departments with the tools and resources needed to deliver effective public health strategies in collaboration with the community.
- Empower health organizations to educate the members of our community about the health risks they face.
- Work to reduce food deserts, fight obesity, tackle addiction and the opioid crisis facing our community, address the lack of mental health resources, and ensure that everyone in our community has access to the healthcare they need.
Moving Birmingham Forward
Economic and neighborhood development needs to work to preserve Birmingham's lifelong communities. Finding the shared benefits for everyone requires cooperation among local communities, local governments, and the state to make sure all voices are heard and represented. I pledge to listen to and engage District 54’s communities to bring smart solutions to the challenges facing them directly.
- Listen to our neighbors and constituents from every corner of District 54 to find out what YOU need to preserve and improve your lifelong communities. Anyone who knows me knows how accessible I am. That accessibility will continue throughout my tenure as HD 54 representative.
- Work with the City of Birmingham, Jefferson County, and local organizations to focus on developing comprehensive and responsible economic development.
- Focus on affordable, safe housing within the district and preserving lifelong communities.
- Fight to make sure our children have access to quality, affordable education, healthcare resources, and improved transportation and infrastructure.
- Fight for a livable minimum wage that allows working families to support themselves in the communities they call home.
I am a proud Veteran of the United States Marine Corps, having served as a Marine and deployed for Operation Enduring Freedom. I have witnessed firsthand the difficulties that many of my brothers and sisters face with life post-deployment. There is a dearth of the specialized support our veterans need to quickly transition their proven work ethic into strong civilian careers and lives.
- Work with Alabama college administrations to ensure that each campus can accommodate an active and well-supported student veteran group.
- Focus on job-training opportunities for our veterans within our community.
- Advocate for easily-accessible veteran resource centers and mental health care alternatives outside the VA.
I believe in public schools, and I believe that today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders, deserving of access to a first-class education. An investment in Alabama’s struggling public schools is an investment in Alabama’s future, ensuring that this ambitious generation of young people will gain the necessary skills to drive economic growth and development for years to come. Every student that graduates our public schools should be college or workforce ready.
- Prioritize access to education, with a focus on reducing the cost of pre-K programs and community college tuitions.
- Support our teachers and school administrators by fighting for proper investment in our educators.
- Strengthen job training for secondary school students by expanding fast-track and dual enrollment programs at two-year colleges.
- Fight for increased public school funding and personnel raises, which will reduce class size, attract and retain talented teachers, and encourage curricular collaboration and creative development.
Healthy communities require a healthy environment. The environmental challenges facing our planet will directly impact Alabama. Climate change is real, and we must act as stewards for the planet that our children and grandchildren will inherit. Key to that stewardship is focusing efforts to properly managing and protecting our natural resources, like our water and air. We must make steady and consistent efforts to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Working with environmental professionals and the Sierra Club, I have become a champion of “the fair and just transition” in which, “affected workers, their unions, and communities are equal partners in a well-planned, carefully negotiated, and managed transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. A just transition brings job opportunities to those traditionally left behind and brings job security and livelihood guarantees to affected workers.”
- Hold coal plant owners accountable for the clean-up of communities whose land and drinking water have been polluted by coal ash and industrial waste.
- Advocate for the proper management of our natural water resources and supporting bills such as the Alabama Water Conservation and Security Act.
- Work to attract investors to create stable jobs that strengthen the economy and sustain working families, particularly jobs related to clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate-resilient infrastructure.
- Fight to make sure that Alabamians employed by traditional energy industries do no lose their pensions or healthcare and that they receive right of first employment for any jobs that are created by plant decommissioning or site reclamation.
One in five Alabamians have a mental health issue, and we are failing those with the most need. Alabama has the fourth worst health ranking in the country and the lowest number of mental health professionals per 100,000 residents, and that failure comes with a steep price. Without the proper support for our mental health services in this state, reforming the criminal justice and prison system or addressing the opioid epidemic are futile endeavors. In 2008, the state legislature gutted the mental health budget by $35 million and closed facilities without creating suitable community resources. Alabama has a legal and moral obligation to treat mental illness, and failure to properly address these issues will cost us even more through federal lawsuits, increased recidivism, and overburdened emergency rooms and primary care providers.
- Support the backbone of mental health care: our community health centers and hospitals.
- Address questions and concerns of constituents who have unmet mental health needs.
- Fight for appropriate care and transition programs for our mentally ill inmates.
- Support the appropriation of money for our law enforcement and court systems to effectively interact with persons with mental illness.
- Advocate for high quality, evidence-based services in all settings.
- Provide oversight to state expenditures for the Department of Human Resources and its role to protect children, adults, and seniors with mental health needs.
Drug Use and Addiction
Study after study has shown that drug use increases in communities where its citizens have lost hope. An artificial high is sought out to replace the internal sense of accomplishment and joy that comes with economic and personal success. Drug use, particularly opioid use, is at an epidemic level as our friends and neighbors try to find ways to numb the pain of today’s societal ills, distract from personal struggles, and self-medicate for physical and mental maladies for which they do not have access to proper medical treatment.
- Work with mental health professionals to identify and promote alternatives to illegal drug use.
- Investigate the use of CBD oil and medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids and other more dangerous drugs for pain management, PTSD, anxiety, and other related conditions.
- Promote treatment rather than incarceration for community members with drug addiction issues. Our citizens, particularly our young men, are being disproportionately jailed for minor drug offenses – especially marijuana-related offenses – and this trend must end immediately.
I proudly marched with our community’s students in the March for Our Lives, an effort to raise awareness about the gun violence epidemic facing not just our Nation, not just Alabama, but Birmingham in particular. Birmingham lost 101 citizens to gun violence in 2017, and statistics suggest that this number will continue to rise. The gun violence epidemic must be faced head-on with real, common sense solutions that can garner bipartisan support while still respecting American’s Second Amendment rights.
- Continue the conversation as to ways to prevent even one more death as a result of gun violence in our community.
- Work to make sure that our schools are a place of learning, not a place of violence. Guns do not belong on campuses, and arming our teachers is a poor solution to a difficult problem.
- Protect the rights of law-abiding citizens as to private ownership of appropriate firearms, to include but not limited to encouraging funding the Centers for Disease Control to study and recommend safety guidelines for responsible gun ownership.