Health is a Priority
As a physician, I understand that health and coverage for medical expenses are of primary concern to the people of South Carolina. The COVID-19 pandemic has created real struggles for our community.
Health challenges and worry for our schools, job security, and economic viability are real concerns. South Carolina made the news as one of the worst places in the WORLD regarding COVID-19 infections. Our current elected leaders have been quiet and offered little input on bringing us back from this pandemic. Too many people in South Carolina have been left out and ignored when it comes to having access to quality, affordable health care. In the midst of a global pandemic, the issue is clearer than ever – we need better, more effective leaders who will address these challenges straight-on, not wait until we are all suffering.
In the South Carolina legislature, I will make health care one of my top priorities.
By advocating for public health measures, protecting coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, and expanding access to care, I will work to improve the social determinants of health that keep South Carolina at the bottom of national rankings.
As your senator, I support the expansion of Medicaid as a key strategy to improve the health outcomes in South Carolina.
South Carolina could have millions of dollars to expand Medicaid – money in taxes that South Carolinians have already sent to Washington. The current legislature has allowed us to subsidize other state’s Medicaid expansion, while South Carolinians suffer without the added benefits this money would provide. Failing to expand Medicaid works against our economy and is illogical. By expanding Medicaid, we can provide coverage to over 300,000 more South Carolinians, and improve our dismal health statistics in areas like infant mortality, maternal mortality, and cancer deaths. We could do more to promote health and prevent illness, hospitalizations, and early death.
I will support legislation that outlaws discrimination against women, older Americans, and people with pre-existing conditions.
I understand that we have responsibility to make sure those who are sick receive medical treatment, and make sure that we do everything to increase access to preventative care for people to remain healthy. We need to create incentives to attract and retain physicians, residents, nurses, and other health care providers to practice in rural areas of our state.
We need leaders in the South Carolina Senate with expertise and character who will fight for public health policies that keep all our citizens healthy and protect our economy as well as our environment.
As we know, the negative effects of a pandemic threat are not just limited to the immediate dangers to public health and climbing death rates, but also threaten our economic viability. We have a moral obligation to help families now, and be good stewards of the health of our citizens. That’s why I will continue to discuss, debate and fight for the funding to expand health care coverage.
Jobs and the Economy are Priorities
The best measure of our economy is whether families have income security.
We will need innovation to create new jobs – many in the South Carolina workforce lost their jobs due to COVID-19. As our economy reopens, we must make sure that people are safe as they return to work, to prevent industry and local business shut-downs that occur when COVID-19 infects workers. We must also be better prepared for future emergencies.
District 12 encompasses a huge, busy and growing corridor in the Upstate.
The spine of the district, and key to its prosperity, is the business corridor along Interstate 85 from the WestGate Mall in Spartanburg to Pelham Road in Greer which includes the BMW Manufacturing plant and Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. With the successful inland port nearby, economic trade is a key issue for Senate District 12, and we should capitalize on this by safeguarding our economic opportunities and promoting job growth.
Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability
I believe in fiscal responsibility and accountability that serves our community needs. I want to aggressively reduce government inefficiency, so that we can best utilize every taxpayer dollar and address the great challenges of our day: protecting our country, investing in a new economy after this virus shutdown, and ensuring the education and health of our children and workforce. We must prioritize smart structures in our economy that work with creative private-public partnerships and depend less on taxpayer dollars.
Living Wage and Small Business Support
The best way to grow the economy is for workers to make a livable wage and believe in their future, and for small businesses to get the support they need. Small business is the lifeblood of the American economy, and I will foster bipartisan relationships in order to cut bureaucratic red tape, level the playing field, and create beneficial economic conditions for businesses of all sizes to thrive and succeed.
Protect Women’s Economic Security and Close the Wage Gap
Working women are more likely to work in low-wage jobs. 3/4 of South Carolina’s low-wage workforce is female. This is one of the highest rates in the country. African American women earn about $0.53 cents on every $1 earned by white men and white women earn $0.74 cents to a white man’s dollar. South Carolina ranks 49th in the country for working mothers, and I will advocate for closing the wage gap. I support policy strategies that will make it easier for women to earn a living, advance in their careers, and support their families.
- I will fight for equal pay for equal work, expanding paid family and sick leave, and increasing access to affordable childcare
- I will push for tax policies that reward people for hard work, support small business, incentivize job growth in our burgeoning clean energy market, and attract & keep good jobs here in South Carolina.
- I will support legislation to ensure that all workers earn a livable wage that can provide for a family.
- I will work to make sure that our high school graduates have the education and skills they need for today’s economy, whether they are headed to college, trade school, or straight into the workforce.
- I will support the vital role of government in promoting innovation by increasing investments in scientific research and development.
- I will prioritize investment in infrastructure, such as public transit and access to high-speed broadband for all households and small businesses throughout the district.
- I will fight against age discrimination in the workplace. Older workers make vital contributions to society and to their workplaces – they deserve these important protections.
Investing in the Green Economy
I understand that investment in the green economy – from expanding public transportation options to renewable energy and pollution clean-up – will help South Carolina’s economy thrive for future generations.The US Green Economy is currently worth an estimated 1.3 trillion dollars annually, with established environmental businesses, as well as newer ‘low-carbon’ sectors. These businesses will continue to grow, and represent a huge opportunity for job growth in South Carolina that will also safeguard our natural resources.
Education is a Priority
Education is transformational for a student, and for the community. With our recent COVID-19 public health crisis, we have all come to appreciate how vital our teachers are to the health and well-being for our students, and how important schools are to our community. As our students get back to school, I want them to be supported in having the resources they need to be safe, to learn, and prepare for their future. The health and safety of students, educators, and staff should be our number one priority as we plan for a return to school. We need plans and resources in place immediately that allow for flexibility in education as we navigate this current public health crisis.
Fully Fund South Carolina Public Schools
Public education is the backbone of South Carolina and our nation, and should ensure the health of our democracy, development of our economy, and strength of our communities. As a mother and as a physician, I know that fully funding our public school system is a top priority if we are going to improving South Carolina rankings in education, job growth, and safeguarding public health. As stewards of our state economic growth, funding our public schools and supporting our teachers is a focused responsibility of our legislature for the future of our citizens. Every child deserves a high quality education, and all parents should be able to trust that our children are receiving that education every day.
As your District 12 Senator, I will make education funding and teacher support a top priority. I will work to:
- Ensure that the per-student spending is improved for public schools, and brings South Carolina up to the national average.
- Reduce class size by incentivizing the training and retaining of educators for South Carolina schools.
- Advocate for early childhood education, including affordable pre-kindergarten education for the children of South Carolina. By investing in our children early, we set them up for success later in life.
- Work to improve outcomes in our public schools, with a focus on science, technology, engineering, and math. This includes supporting specific funding for STEAM programs and enrichment activities in school.
- Provide the infrastructure for low cost, high speed internet (broadband access) throughout South Carolina.More than ever, we know that this access is not a luxury – it is essential for learning, for work, and health.
- Support annual pay increases for teachers, who should be treated as indispensable professionals, and for those who support our children throughout the school day – bus drivers, food workers, custodial staff, teacher’s aides, etc. Our teachers currently make less than the median salary for teachers across the country, and that needs to be corrected.
- For students who choose to pursue higher education, whether at vocational schools or public universities, I will work to make it affordable, with no-interest loans and grants to students who need them. I would advocate making state-colleges free for in-state residents who meet threshold requirements.
- Expand our vocational education system. The South Carolina Department of Commerce lists the advanced manufacturing, aerospace, advanced materials and automotive industries among the state’s main economic sectors, and each one of those fields contains a range of vocational jobs at the entry level and beyond.
Infrastructure is a Priority
Better infrastructure is key to keeping jobs in South Carolina, and attracting new businesses to our state.
Communications access like broadband support, and other forms of updated, vital infrastructure is key to creating good jobs and promoting full economic recovery. We need to utilize funds that keep our people and economy moving safely, and provide transparency in how those funds get directed. It is a flawed economic growth strategy to promise to cut all taxes and offer corporate giveaways. We need to identify and make investments in infrastructure that provide the foundation for a strong economy with a focus on developing technologies.
I have been living in District 12 and driving my children on these roads, going to work over these bridges, and just like you — I know we need better road, bridges and dam maintenance for safety. We also need more regional public transportation investments. As your state senator, I promise you I will always listen to your concerns about the condition of our infrastructure and bring about reform that makes sure the legislature is transparent in how these projects get funded. Take a look here to see where projects in your area of Spartanburg and Greenville are taking place, and how much of your taxes is going to improvement in our area.
Conservation is a Priority
Conservation is about enjoying the natural resources of our beautiful state and preserving its beauty and function for the future.
Wise stewardship of our environment is essential to public health and economic issues. The citizens of Senate District 12 deserve a leader who will actively defend, protect, and enhance the environment and natural resources of our beautiful district and state for people, industry, and small business. Clean water for drinking and for industrial use, development of clean energy alternatives to relieve our dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear energy, and protection of public lands and watersheds for tourism, hunting, and fishing — we can both protect and utilize these resources.
To protect our state’s magnificent environment, we must focus on these conservation priorities:
*Clean Energy Development – the United States ‘Green Economy’ already represents an annual 1.3 trillion dollar business that offers a huge opportunity for job growth in South Carolina.
*Land Conservation Protection for public, private and business use
*Surface Water Protection to protect the neighborhoods and businesses that are so important to District 12 and the I-85 corridor.
Most importantly, I will focus attention to how climate change is having a dramatic impact on the lives of people in South Carolina as a major public health challenge. The effects of climate change include extreme weather events such as flooding, tornadoes and hurricanes, spread of disease, destabilization of infrastructure, malnutrition, and poor obstetric outcomes. This has a tremendous negative impact on future generations. We must be willing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit further climate destabilization in order to preserve the health and prosperity of South Carolina.
Women’s Health is a Priority
We need to consistently invest in women’s healthcare to better promote the specific health needs of women and to ensure that every woman has access to and coverage for comprehensive family planning services. I am proud to be a champion for women’s healthcare.
As an OB/GYN, I know just how dangerous attempts to restrict access to family planning care are for women and families. Women still face huge medical risks during pregnancy and childbirth, especially without access to care. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any industrialized country in the world, and South Carolina has one of the highest rates in the country, especially for women of color. The women of South Carolina deserve to have a legislator that stands up for their needs and protects their health. I have always been an outspoken advocate for women’s healthcare, and I pledge to continue that fight in the South Carolina Senate.
Racism is a Priority
Racism is a public health crisis, and needs a collective response to change our culture.
I see the inequities every day that get played out in the lives of marginalized populations. I am committed to eliminating disparities and to confronting bias and racism. This means recognizing and examining our own prejudices and bias and addressing the way in which our current systems perpetuate inequality.
The systems and institutions in place that perpetuate racial injustice right now are producing exactly the results that they were designed to produce, and that needs to change. As South Carolina District 12 Senator, I plan to partner with people who have lived the experience of racial oppression, and include their realities and concerns as I work to create plans to improve our systems. This work is about all of us. The NAACP, focused local organizations, and our community partners have end points to inform our shared progress, and I know the people of South Carolina are ready to respond to the current situation.
Accountability is a Priority
I believe in communication, building relationships, and showing up for my community ready to work.
As a taxpayer in District 12, you deserve to be informed about issues that are before the legislature, and how our tax dollars are spent. You deserve to be able to talk to and be heard by your elected officials, to have your say. I am a citizen just like you, a working mom who wants the best for my family. As a doctor, I know that women and parents are better able to make better health decisions when they have more information to educate themselves, and partner with me in their plans.
As your senator, I pledge to always give you as much information as I can, and to always be available to you. I will keep you informed through my website and social media, email newsletters and town hall meetings. I will answer your phone calls and respond to your email messages. You will continue to see me out in our community, and I will work hard in Columbia to make the legislative process easier to understand. Too many state government decisions are made behind closed doors, and citizens are told what has been done rather than be asked to be part of decision-making. It’s time we opened those doors, and brought integrity into our government.
Gun Safety is a Priority
I proudly support the 2nd Amendment, and I also know how important it is to take action on common sense gun safety. Both of my sons are Eagle Scouts who have trained in gun safety, and my family believes in responsible gun ownership and education.
Treating Gun Violence as a Public Health Crisis
The impact of gun violence on the health and safety of women and children is of great concern to me. I have the opportunity to take care of thousands of women and hear their stories behind closed doors. Women disproportionately experience domestic violence, and the presence of firearms within those relationships is a key risk factor for intimate partner homicide.
*Homicide is the 2nd leading cause of injury-related deaths among pregnant and postpartum women, and the majority of these homicides are carried out with firearms.
*South Carolina has the 12th highest death rate in the country due to gun violence.
*Americans are 25 times more likely to die from gun violence than in any other developed nation, and guns are the 3rd leading cause of death in American children.
The majority of South Carolinians want common-sense gun safety policies and elected leaders who will enact laws to protect the community.
I will be a leader with the courage to protect our families.