Policy

Get to Know the Candidate

What political party do you represent?

I am a Democratic candidate running for State Senator - District 31 in Shelby County, Tennessee.  I am passionate about serving my community because I have small children and want my children to grow up in the community we live in. As a working mother, COVID-19 and the legislation passed in 2020, 2021, and 2022 are not meeting the needs of hard-working families now or setting up communities for long-term recovery.

Our community needs leadership that is not disconnected from the problems. 

Education Inequalities

How do you hope to close the education and achievement gaps in your District?

My Stance:

As the great Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, said, “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.”  Education is the cornerstone for a better life and provides individuals a jump start in becoming well-rounded citizens. Unfortunately, in our state, there is an achievement gap between those from lower socio-economic backgrounds and wealthier Tennsessans. 

 

  • Identify and recognize educational barriers and unconscious bias towards students of color and those who come from low-income backgrounds 

  • Provide unconscious bias training statewide for educators to learn from each other

  • Implement programs that engage students both in and outside the classroom

  • Provide mentors to students 

  • We support the funding of at least one mental health counselor for every school that has more than 50% of students who are eligible for free and reduced lunch in all local educational agencies

  • Support capital improvements so our students can learn in healthy, safe and modern schools

  • Continue to create scholarships and programs that create social equity for disadvantaged students

Healthcare

In what ways do you plan to assist those who are wanting/need more affordable healthcare?

My Stance:

Access to healthcare is a human right. Expanding affordable healthcare helps to not only eliminate obstacles that arise when a person falls ill but assists individuals and families in making their livelihoods easier without the mental burden of “what if?”

 

  • Expand affordable healthcare to families and children across the state

  • Promote education regarding our healthcare system so families and individuals are better prepared for the future

  • Travel time to healthcare providers and medical facilities play a large role in whether a person decides to see a provider or not. Individuals from low-income backgrounds are less likely to see a provider as transportation means and other factors could come into play.  We must seek funding for medical centers around areas that are more isolated from medical services and treatment

Gun Reform/Gun Control

Do you support the permitless carry legislation that makes TN a permitless carry state?

My Stance:

Tennessee is 11th in the nation for firearm mortality according to data from the Centers for Disease Control, and since 2014 there has been a spike in gun homicides and gun suicides across the country.  The ease of access at which a person could carry a concealed handgun without a permit already has devastating consequences on the general public.

 

  • Continue to fight bad actors that promote permitless carry legislation

Criminal Justice Reform: Reshaping Criminal Justice

What are your goals in reshaping our criminal justice system?

My Stance:

Mass incarceration, police brutality, and racial profiling of minorities has been a persistent problem for decades. Our criminal justice system needs to be examined and reshaped so as to better benefit the people most impacted by its policies. 

  • Require all police personnel to take part in racial bias classes

  • Run thorough background checks on all incoming officers and 

  • Increase the length of law enforcement training by adding a college degree requirement. 

  • Repeal laws that promote discriminatory tactics often used on minorities 

  • Require the use of body cams and/or other recording devices on all law enforcement officers 

Reproductive Rights

What is your stance on reproductive rights?

My Stance:

Reproductive rights are tied to better mental and physical well-being which benefits overall health. Having the right to choose and make important decisions about your own body should be a basic human right, while having easy access to services that provide individuals with advice, contraceptives, STI testing, and more should be viewed as a safe place for those who are seeking specific needs.

  • Continue to support the efforts of organizations like Planned Parenthood and SisterReach

  • Provide age-appropriate comprehensive sex education in communities that are underserved and under-resourced

Violent Crime

Memphis is often viewed as a city with high crime and is frequently listed as one of America’s most dangerous cities.

 

How do you hope to not only change the narrative around this but implement ways in which crime can be reduced?

My Stance:

The state of Tennessee is ranked number 3 of most dangerous states in the country, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, and 5th in women being murdered by men according to the Violence Policy Center. Violent crime needs to end.


We support the policy recommendations proposed by Safe Tennessee Project in their fall 2019 report: Tennessee Gun Violence: An Issue of Public Health and Safety. Some policy recommendations include: “Provide funding to community groups and violence interrupters working in communities most impacted by gun violence” and “Provide funding for research to study key drivers of gun violence in Tennessee.”

Mental Health

What is your stance on facilitating more mental health resources for those who are seeking/need treatment?

My Stance:

There are millions of people worldwide who suffer from mental or neurological disorders. Many struggle to access help or don’t know where to turn for treatment.

  • Continue to challenge the public stigma regarding mental disorders and self-care

  • Make mental health services more affordable to the public so as to not discourage individuals from seeking services 

  • We must ensure that all mental health providers are non-discriminatory towards clients and patients 

  • Provide more funding towards mental health wellness and suicide prevention

  • Provide transportation services to those who do not have easy access to mental health care facilities

Income & Poverty

What steps do you plan to reduce poverty levels across District 31?

My Stance:

There are noticeable disparities between non-Hispanic whites and the Black and Hispanic communities across Shelby County. Race and its historical roots related to poverty in our state need to be addressed. We need to erase this trend of racial economic inequality and hold our leaders more accountable to enact change.

  • Target poverty-stricken areas and areas with high unemployment rates with career development programs such as expanding Coding Classes for Adults and Green jobs training

  • Increase our state’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour

  • Adhere to fair hiring practices, particularly for individuals with arrest records

  • Extend free childcare services for individuals and families living at or below the poverty threshold 

Drug/Alcohol Abuse Rehabilitation

How do you hope to help those suffering from substance abuse?

My Stance:

According to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, every day in Tennessee, 3 people die due to opioid-related overdoses. We must recognize that drug addiction as well as alcoholism is a disease, and should be treated as such.

 

  • Addiction can be a scary thing that affects both the person and his or her friends and family. Public support is one small way we can begin combating this disease. 

  • Increased funding for therapy and rehab services for individuals seeking substance abuse treatment help

Legalization of Cannabis

What is your stance on the legalization of cannabis (recreationally & medically) in the state of Tennessee?

My Stance:

The criminalization of marijuana has placed countless Tennesseans in jail. Possessing half an ounce (or less) of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable for up to a year in jail as well as being required to pay a fine. Possessing anything more than that is considered a felony. These convictions have negative impacts on communities that have been overly criminalized. The legalization of marijuana will not only assist those who could benefit from its medicinal effects but also help to slowly reduce incarceration rates across our state.

  • Legalize the possession, use, and sale of marijuana medically with limitations on the quantity that can be sold per transaction. 

  • Expunge records of those who were convicted of illegal possession, sale, or cultivation of cannabis, hash, and concentrates including those who own or had at one point owned any paraphernalia 

  • Use no less than 50% of all funds collected from cannabis sales (and the sale of cannabis licenses) to fund public education (including providing special scholarship programs for students who have one or parents who are incarcerated and monies earmarked for education salary increases), libraries and raising wages to $15 per hour for all state employees.

  • Require that social equity programs be implemented to ensure that MBWE represents no less than 15% of all cannabis business owners.

  • Limit all requirements that cannabis license holders must guarantee vertical integration to qualify for a license. 

Discriminatory Practices

What are some ways you plan to end discriminatory practices?

My Stance:

Discrimination against black and brown people, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community needs to end. It must be asserted that discrimination is not always vocal, and often the covert practices that are tethered in institutions across the United States, and beyond, encourage the upholding of long-held prejudices and profiling of marginalized groups. 

  • We are in full support of the CROWN Act which defines race and protective hairstyles for purposes of the TN Human Rights Act.

  • Encourage the creation of policies that focus on diversity and inclusion in the workplace and beyond

  • Repeal laws that adhere to unfair treatment towards racial minorities, women, and members of the LBGTQ+ community 

  • Increase the creation of community support groups for people(s) that have been historically discriminated against

Small Business Investment

In what ways do you plan to accelerate local business development in District 31?

My Stance:

Increased economic investment in small businesses is a key factor in helping boost our district’s thriving community. 

  • Support policies that make an active effort to invest in small businesses

  • Fund business development classes for those who wish to jump-start a career in the business sector

  • Advocate for increased transparency and funding for COVID-19 related business loans and grants for small business owners that historically struggle to access financial capital (i.e. sole proprietors, small businesses with few than 250 employees)