I attended a private, faith-based school in Maysville, Kentucky, grades 1-12. My parents, both of whom had graduated from public schools, value our faith and wanted a faith-based education for me, and the education I received instilled in me a lasting gratitude for all they sacrificed to afford to send me there. Naturally, I envisioned one day that my own children would receive a similar faith-based education. This was all I’d ever known and was very important to my husband and I. Fast forward to my oldest child being diagnosed with autism, one month before his third birthday. My child needed preschool. My child needed early intervention, he needed speech therapy and occupational therapy services. He needed additional resources, like a weighted vest. My child needed a public school setting. I knew nothing about this world, and I was fearful of the unknown.
Today, eleven years later, all three of my children attend public school and are all thriving. All three needed preschool services. All three have had WONDERFUL teachers. At one point, all three have had an Individualized Education Plan. I’ve sat in countless meetings with a team of people brainstorming ways to help my child with special needs. I’ve received phone calls from my child’s teacher, in the evening, because she was thinking of ways to help my child reach his full potential. I value public education as a resource in my family’s lives more than I could have ever imagined and I’m terrified that our government is driving away the very people our children need most. I want all teachers to know I appreciate you and the role you play in our children’s lives. I appreciate that despite stagnant wages, long hours and now a diminishing retirement that you continue to protect and fight for my kids. We know your value to our families and our society in general and if your pensions could be funded on gratitude, you would all be fully funded forever from my heart alone. It would be my honor to fight for you and support you as you have fought for and supported my kids. Public dollars should fund our public schools and pay our teachers with more than just gratitude. Thank you, Kentucky Educators.
Education is the key to a strong economy. We must build human capital in our region to be competitive in our state, country and globally. Schools, businesses, industry, and healthcare must develop strong public private partnerships that prepare students for successful careers that align with cutting edge demand and opportunities.
With a background in nursing and having been at the bedside of end-of-life patients, I am passionate about ensuring that nurse-to-patient ratios are safe for both the patients and the nursing staff. I have been assigned a patient load of 32 on a night shift where I was the lone nurse in the building. We must end this dangerous and failed attempt at providing quality healthcare for those in long-term facilities. Currently, Kentucky legislation needs safer nurse-to-patient ratios, and I can speak personally to the detrimental effects this can have on our healthcare providers as well as the most vulnerable citizens in our communities.
As a parent of a special needs child and the director of a non-profit whose mission is to employ and empower those with disabilities, I have experienced firsthand the lack of resources and support available in the 70th district. We must do more as a community to ensure that our children and families have access to therapies, treatments, respite care and providers.
Across Kentucky we spend millions of taxpayer dollars and private investment on addictions, crime, and homelessness instead of identifying and addressing the real issues. In our area over 90% of all crimes, incarcerations, criminal court cases are drug and mental health related. Our DNA and environment can lead to crime and drugs, but our chemical makeup (brain mechanisms) determine addiction and recovery outcome as well as our ability to process choices. If we don’t address the cause, we will continue to get the same outcomes. Real change for chronic problems requires chronic responses by individuals, families, schools, and communities.
I will advocate for:
I have no doubt in my ability to work effectively with Republicans – I’ve been married to an incredible one for fourteen years. I plan to reach across party lines to bring shared issues to the forefront instead of furthering divisiveness and party-focused agendas. We must put our differences aside and learn to listen to the perspectives that each house member has to offer as a fellow Kentuckian, a fellow American, and a fellow human one and all, to make the right decisions and provide fair, just legislation to our constituents and communities.
I have always been taught that Kentucky’s most powerful resource is Kentuckians. As the founder and director of a non-profit that operates with a small business model, I understand the importance of growth to a small business and the challenges to that growth that a small business owner faces every day in getting that business off the ground, to begin with. We need to empower existing small businesses in the Bluegrass as well as support those Kentuckians seeking to bring their dream to life. To help a Kentuckian grow their business is to grow all of Kentucky.
Historically the 70th District counties were leaders in the state with thriving businesses and industries. In the last twenty to thirty years we have lost higher paying skilled labor positions resulting in the majority of our opportunities being minimum wage jobs. Many of our most talented Kentuckians are driving up to 90 minutes one way or working two jobs to support their families. We have seen some improvements but need to strengthen infrastructures, communication systems and our workforce to attract and retain meaningful career options for our citizens.