Preserving Public Education
Education is the key to individual, family and business prosperity. It is core to a booming state economy. To ensure innovation and opportunity in the future we must never lose sight of the need to invest today in all levels of education: pre-K, K-12, the community college system and the university system. This means recruiting and retaining the best possible teachers, keeping schools structurally and technologically up-to-date, and making higher education affordable.
Ensuring Access to Quality Health Care
As a nurse practitioner of more than 30 years, I believe that everyone deserves access to health care. There are two sides to the health care access coin: insurance coverage to help pay for care and an adequate supply and mix of health care providers to deliver care.
Health insurance allows individuals to seek primary and specialty care in the community,
rather than through hospital emergency rooms that by federal law cannot turn away anyone needing care, even when their illness is not an emergency. When people are sick and they have no other options they will go where they know they will be cared for. Hospitals bear the burden as well with over-crowded ERs and the financial drain of uncompensated care. Those of us with health insurance ultimately pay the price with higher insurance premiums. Expanding health insurance coverage benefits everyone.
Even for those with insurance, many areas of our state are still considered ‘medically underserved’. Individuals in these communities often forego care until they are very ill because they cannot travel the long distances necessary to receive care. To meet a growing demand for health care and to give health care workers and taxpayers a return on their investment in health care provider education, our health care workforce must be utilized to its full capacity. Restrictive and outdated state laws and regulations preventing full utilization of licensed health care professionals should be repealed.
Strengthening Our Economy
Growing our economy requires investing in our current and future workforce through appropriate education, support for small businesses and strategic recruitment of new companies. When it comes to innovation and research, North Carolina is a leader in the South. We need to build on this rich history by preparing our citizens for good paying,
highly-skilled jobs. I know from my 7 years on the Cary Town Council that businesses considering relocation put ‘quality of life’ high on their checklist: excellent schools, diverse housing options, sufficient infrastructure (including roads and other forms of transportation), and amenities like sports venues, leisure activities and the arts. These are important to new residents just as they are to those of us who already live here. Quality education, attractive communities, and infrastructure investments stimulate innovation and attract new businesses to our state.
Protecting Our Environment
Every citizen deserves access to clean air, clean water, and open spaces. It is the duty of the legislature to be good stewards of these resources and to ensure they are protected and available for generations to come.
As a health care provider I understand that prevention is more effective and less costly than treatment. This requires strong environmental regulations and effective oversight by the Department of Environmental Quality to protect our state’s drinking water from toxins and runoff rather than depending on promised remediation or the threat of fines.
The preservation of open space improves quality of life, naturally mitigates storm water runoff, provides recreational opportunities, preserves some of our state’s rural heritage and protects fragile ecosystems. That is why I support conservation tax credits and increased funding for the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. These programs promote public-private partnerships that preserve unique environments and protect our natural resources.