More funding as a percentage needs to go towards the education of students and less towards administration. With the inevitable fall budget crisis and uncertainty looming, schools are going to have to be innovative in their approach towards classroom learning and remote learning. I would support unlocking and expansion of the 529 program, as well as limitations to the increase in tuition costs for higher education, and maintaining tuition vouchers for two year postsecondary education for Grand Rapids high school graduates. For K-12 schools, I think it’s important for us to be honest about the administratively-driven policies which have not worked, and how these unsuccessful policies have impacted our community’s economically underprivileged and ethnic minority children the most, so that we can design new solutions which are responsive to the needs of parents and children. Schools must be able to provide teachers with the livable wages and tools they need to help students learn—not merely to accommodate outmoded testing standards and federal funding requirements. Parents and children need flexible, adaptive, safe schooling options. Due to the compounded effects of decades of disinvestment in public schooling, racial inequality, and our nation’s recent health and economic crises, communities, parents, and educators have never had a greater need to create innovative solutions together. I trust the parents, educators, and members of our community to create solutions which work the best for them, while being held to the same universal standards for safety and excellence.
For these reasons, I do support school of choice, such as alternative schools, vouchers for private schools, and tuition credits on Michigan income tax returns—but NOT for the purposes of siphoning off funds from economically underprivileged communities into wealthy ones without accountability. All schools must be held accountable, not only for meeting academic standards, but for providing a safe and nourishing learning environment. I’m eager to explore other innovative opportunities and advances which are brought forth by the community. I believe in empowering our community to create the organic network of educational structures which best fit our children’s needs.
For too long, small businesses and solopreneurs have been burdened by unfair taxation and lack of access to incentives, affordable credit lines, and small business owners do not have the same access to healthcare as large businesses. As a certified CPA and Enrolled Agent who has both operated my own small practice and worked with small business clients for over 25 years, I have unique insights into the hurdles small business owners face. I’m committed to making it easier for small businesses and solopreneurs to open and do business, and for increasing their ability to make sustainable profits by supporting tax credits and meaningful incentives for new small business startups, implementing a Michigan tax deduction for contributions to charitable organizations and food banks, and creating better access to banking, credit lines, and healthcare. I would support innovative approaches which are transparent, evidence-based, and can prove results, such as The Renaissance Zone in Michigan, and Enterprize Zones in nearby States.
Michigan permits registering online, absentee voting, early mailing in of votes and voting in person without having your identification if you sign an affidavit. I support all of the above; voting access is important to our citizens, and the low instances of fraud and safeguards against it shouldn’t be a barrier to making voting accessible to our citizens. During the last election, I witnessed a voter who had forgotten his wallet, and although the affidavit process slowed everything down and not everyone was happy, it was executed fairly, with a fair and constitutional outcome. Additionally, I support the end to district gerrymandering, and I support campaign finance reforms which would encourage more of our younger generations of up-and-coming civil servants to successfully run for elected office.
As stewards of our natural resources, we need to create sustainable balance between environmental health and our economic activities, while prioritizing citizens’s rights to access to the beautiful natural resources under the state’s stewardship. I would independently evaluate each piece of legislation involving the environment using this criteria. Specifically: I support reevaluating the policies in place which allow private companies to utilize Michigan's water supply for profit, and I feel further scrutiny of the ancillary effects of such operations deserve further inspection, and possibly regulation. I also support scrutinizing and closing down the Enbridge Pipeline 5, which poses a serious threat to the health not only of Michigan’s ecology, but also of the health of our citizens and local economies. Companies need to be held to the highest standard when working with our collective resources; profit should never be an excuse for the exploitation of resources which belong to Michigan’s citizens.
In regards to energy, I support innovation towards energy efficiency and alternative energy sources which empower our citizens and our local economies—without devastating our natural resources. I would support tax incentives and financing for residential solar panels, geothermal systems, and energy-efficient appliances. Our energy alternatives at present are far from perfect, so I would support the harnessing of Michigan’s manufacturing sector to innovate (through incentives, tax breaks, and regulating new agricultural pilot programs) new sustainable and material solutions, such as the in-state production of hempseed biodiesel and working with new packaging materials such as mycelium and hemp fiber. I believe that Michigan’s manufacturing sector is uniquely tooled to solve many of today’s energy and waste crises, if we empower them to do so.
It is the responsibility of society that we contribute to the greater good, and to re-empower the members of our community who have been disenfranchised by marginalizing past and present policies. In terms of taxes and income, Michigan residents need to have the ability to individually contribute to social welfare programs and receive their fair share of tax benefits and tax credits, without being overburdened by administrative barriers. Likewise, I would support the initiation of tax credits and tax abatements for projects and programs which can demonstrate that they are fulfilling designated social contracts—such as home maintenance and improvement projects and retail renovations in economically depressed and/or historically redlined neighborhoods and districts. These are likened to investments that can be simply enacted as tax credits used as programs to promote energy efficiency and improving home values.
I personally do not hunt or own guns but the second amendment protects those rights and should not be infringed upon. However in the interest of public safety I would support measures that keep guns out of the hands of criminals, felons, and those diagnosed with severe mental health disorders.