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PLATFORM

I am running not only to help bring fresh ideas and perspectives to Albany, but to make sure that each issue impacting our area is adequately addressed. I want to hear from you about what issues are most impacting you and this area. This is a campaign built by the community, for the community, and we will go to Albany to amplify your concerns and get results.
Education

Did you know that NYS spends 90% above the national average per pupil on public schools? (Democrat & Chronicle)

 

Because of the ways in which we use property taxes to fund education, many schools are able to levy more money, which unfortunately contributes to large disparities in funding.

 

There are constantly new reforms aimed at improving public education, but if these actually worked then we wouldn’t need school reforms every year.

 

On top of property taxes, our schools are also funded based on the Foundation Aid Formula; an outdated formula that determines school funding. This formula used to distribute funding equitably; however the state borrowed money from this particular pot during the Great Recession, (using the Gap Elimination Act) and never replaced it. Funding once again became based more on who in the legislature has the power to get the money they want for their districts.

 

Policy Plans:

 

  • Cap the income for Superintendents.

  • Statewide conference involving the input of teachers and district administrators discussing how we can truly reform public education in a meaningful way.

  • Pilot a community school program in a rural district to expand student learning, expand resources, and strengthen the community. 

    • The idea behind this is to further incorporate the school into community life. By utilizing the school to host food banks, flu shot clinics, health fairs etc., we can address all areas of a well-rounded education. This encourages students to become more involved in the community, and further expands their education. In order to truly educate the students we serve, we must focus on their curriculum within the school and within their community.

  • A new school funding formula based solely on need. 

    • A great example of this is the Constitutional Cost Methodology, something that has been proposed by the Executive Director of the Center for Educational Equity at Columbia University, Michael Rebell. This methodology would combine a panel of top educators, public engagement, and an independent commission that would oversee these two areas. 

 
Healthcare

I believe that we’re heading towards a future centered around healthcare for all - We need to start making strides towards that future, rather than being left behind. No person should face the difficult choice between paying for healthcare or other necessities in their life. No person should have to declare bankruptcy because of healthcare bills. 

 

Many people put off their basic healthcare needs for fear of the financial concern, risking their health, and, unfortunately, can lead to worsening health problems. Healthcare should be a basic human right, not a financial burden. 

 

The Plan: 

The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) and Physicians for a National Health Program supports a system rooted in the idea of healthcare for all. They have some wonderful information on how this would work: https://pnhp.org/what-is-single-payer/faqs/

 

We will work to afford Universal Healthcare in NY, but how can we afford it? By slashing administrative waste, retaining current public funding of care, and introducing modest new progressive taxes. With the savings from the replacement of inefficient, profit-oriented, private insurance companies and system wide admin waste, we will streamline a nonprofit public payer system. Savings like the ones above were estimated to be about $500 billion annually (in 2017).

The system would be funded in part by the savings obtained from replacing today’s welter of inefficient, profit-oriented, private insurance companies – and the system-wide administrative waste they generate – with a single streamlined, nonprofit public payer. According to a 2016 study American Tax funded expenditures already account for ⅔ of US health spending.

 
Broadband

While it started as a useful tool to have, in today’s society and workforce, Broadband has become a necessity. We need to ensure that everyone has access to broadband coverage. 

This kind of access provides so much privilege to those that have it:

  • With a rising trend in telemedicine visits, being able to attend visits virtually allows patients to save money on transportation costs, have more productive and efficient visits, and prevents exposure to others that may be ill. 

  • Remote work has become more popular amongst businesses, and many are choosing, and preferring, to work from home. With widespread access to broadband, the option to work remotely allows people to save money on transportation and daycare costs, have access to more job opportunities and better benefits, and creates more jobs. 

  • Receiving your education, whether that means through a GED, undergraduate, graduate, etc., can be life changing for many people. But between the financial and time constraints, many people are excluded from getting an education. Access to broadband eases these constraints, allowing many people to continue their education online.

 

Access to reliable broadband can change a person’s life. 

 

We must make this a reality, by investing more in broadband infrastructure. We need to ensure that everyone is able to easily afford access through continued and better subsidies - not just for high-speed broadband access, but for other tools, such as laptops or tablets, that are required for broadband usage.

 
Mental Health

There are a variety of barriers to accessing mental health support especially in rural areas. 

 

In rural areas:

  • Children have an increased risk of developing mental, behavioral, or developmental disabilities

  • Women have 2x higher rates of depression

  • Older adults have higher rates of depression, suicide, and alcohol misuse

  • Veterans are 70% less likely to receive mental health treatment

  • Residents are more likely to be uninsured or underinsured 

  • The suicide rate is 2xs higher than in urban areas and 1.5xs higher in farmers

 

The lack of available mental health professionals is a huge reason for this gap in access, because over 90% of psychologists and psychiatrists work in metropolitan areas. 

 

There are a few ways that we can help combat not only access to mental health, but the stigma around seeking help as well. For some of these options we are looking at individuals themselves, how the workplace can help, and finally what we need from NYS to assist as well.

 

Workplaces should be encouraged to spotlight mental health among their employees and should have the resources available for their employees as well. Those organizations that provide EAP (employee assistance program) benefits for workplaces should be fully funded so that those services are offered consistently and without interruption. 

 

The state should expand grants to community schools in rural areas allowing them to increase the access their students have to mental health professionals. Ensure that the NY Farm Net Program is, and continues to be fully funded; invest in rural economies to draw mental health professionals to these areas, increase funding for public mental health and salaries of public mental health employees to attract and retain these professionals. 

 

You can help end the stigma of mental health by sharing your stories (if you are comfortable in doing so.) Speaking out in as much or as little details about your own mental health journey can help others feel like they are less alone in the process and be more encouraged to seek help when needed. 

 
Child Care

Every family has the right to quality, affordable child care. Parents with one child needing care can expect to pay up to, and oftentimes more than, $12,000 per year. This is unaffordable for many families and can cause harm to women, especially women of color, who have to choose between leaving the jobs that support their families or relying on free and not always reliable child care, which again, endangers their jobs. In rural communities, finding child care, let alone affordable child care is even harder as many rural areas are child care deserts. 

 

Some middle-income families are left out of subsidies when they make just too much and then face the same difficult decisions - whether a parent is going to stay at their job or leave to take care of their kids. We must support the Universal Child Care Act