Our kids deserve a public school system that meets their educational needs and fosters a safe, inclusive community for each and every child. As a special education advocate and a parent to kids with disabilities, I know that some kids have different learning needs than others. I want our schools to be equipped with the resources to meet the needs of every child they serve.
We need to pay our teachers like the professionals they are. Faculty and staff are exhausted, overworked, and underpaid. Teachers are leaving schools in favor of jobs that offer them what they’re worth, and our districts are struggling to fill the positions. We must do better for teachers in Arkansas.
I am running to support parents, students, teachers, and schools.
As a licensed social worker, I’ve seen first hand, face to face, the effects of stress and trauma on communities and individuals. Over the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for mental health services has increased drastically. Meeting this need is vital. I believe mental health care should be accessible to all Arkansans. To do this we must remove the barriers of stigma, lack of coverage, and narrow coverage that takes away your choice of provider.
I am running because I know we are falling short on delivering mental health services.
When we adopted our son, Beau, I became aware of many issues within the foster care/adoption system. Often these issues are distilled down to one big issue: the need for more foster homes and adoptive parents. It is true that we need more foster homes and forever families for our children in the foster care system. We also need to address the systems and issues that bring kids into foster care in the first place, such as poverty, generational trauma, untreated mental health needs, and so many more.
I am running because waiting to fix our broken foster care system is not an option.
My priority in reducing abortions is to reduce unplanned pregnancies through adequate sex education and access to birth control. Above all, I support self-determination and the individual’s right to choose the steps throughout the course of their life — that includes reproductive choices.
As an expert in trauma, I know that removing choice lays the foundation for traumatizing individuals and collective populations. That’s why autonomy, agency, and choice are cornerstones of my trauma-sensitive values.
I am part of the approximately 58% of Americans who have been affected by gun violence. I respect and appreciate the practice of intentional, safe gun-ownership. At the same time, we must do better for our kids than the constant fear of school shootings. I’m deeply concerned with children being safe and feeling safe in their schools so that learning can occur and every child can thrive.
I support common sense gun laws, like mandatory background checks and denying guns to those who have proven themselves dangerous to society, like domestic abusers.
Every single child in Arkansas deserves access to an outstanding public education, regardless of their disability status, skin color, home address, or family’s income level. I support an equitable system of school funding that allows every child to reach their potential.
Our state’s teacher shortage is a crisis that we must address as soon as possible. Public school teachers are overworked, under-resourced, and underpaid. It is imperative that we pay teachers like the professionals they are, and stop expecting them to do the job of countless others.
As an advocate in the special education system, I understand how hard educators, paraprofessionals, therapists, parents, and administrators are working to meet the needs of every child. Our state serves 56,000 students through special education and related services. Kids with disabilities deserve to be full members of their school community, and that can only happen if every school is equipped to meet their needs.
It is important to mention that when Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1990, Congress promised to fund 40% of states’ special education needs. It has not met even half that promise. State legislatures must urge Congress to fund special education. In the meantime, our states must still meet the needs of every student.
Workers should have the right to organize for the purpose of increasing their work conditions, safety, and pay. Collective bargaining power is a necessary option for improving the lives of thousands of Arkansans whose labor keeps our society functioning.