In the coming term, I intend, as your Senator, to focus my work on finding solutions to the long-term structural challenges our state faces. With a growing economy, a $100 million surplus, and an increased rainy-day fund, I believe that we can, and we must, invest in the following efforts.
1. Reduce the high cost of post-secondary education and training by greater state investment in our university system and our community colleges.
2. Rebuild and modernize all aspects of our infrastructure – roads, bridges, water systems, and the expansion of broadband to all corners of our state – in order to retain and grow businesses and manufacturing.
3. Invest in developing a diverse transportation system, including rail, to meet both the needs of an aging population and attract millennials to our state
4. Improve, modernize, and adequately fund our public schools to better align the education of our young people to the needs of today’s jobs and those of the future. We also must restore state school building aid to assist the more than 120 local communities needing to replace their aging facilities.
5. Reduce the growing income inequality in our state by raising the minimum wage over time to a livable wage and funding additional job training programs like Gateway to Work so lower income individuals can move into better and better jobs as their careers develop.
6. End the opioid epidemic. The preventable deaths of hundreds of our neighbors are not acceptable and must end. The state must continue to partner with healthcare providers, federal officials, non-profits, and law enforcement to put resources where they are most needed, including providing adequate treatment centers where they are most needed, to end this deadly epidemic.
7. Reduce the high cost of energy to business, manufacturing, municipalities, and residences by enacting policies that will increase investment in renewable energy — especially solar – and further support greater energy efficiency, knowing that the cheapest energy is always the energy we don’t use.
8. Restore revenue-sharing to our local communities to reduce local property taxes.
9. Ensure adequate conservation of agricultural lands, working forests, wildlife, drinking water, and recreational opportunities.
10. Greater promotion of the role that arts and culture contribute to our economy.