Our state and country currently use a top-down strategy that pays out billions of dollars in corporate welfare. This approach has continually failed us. It’s time to invest those dollars back in our people to rebuild our state from its foundation in the following ways.
Prioritize Education and Job Training
Student funding in Michigan today is lacking, plain and simple. We are underfunding our greatest resource and alienating our educators. We need to start by fully funding education in Michigan. While many students choose the traditional path towards higher education, there are far more students that need a recognizable path to prosperity. We need to support Career Technical Education (CTE) programs so our young people can be career ready 0-18 months after high school graduation. Once we invest more in education and local workforce training, our children will be well equipped to help rebuild the American middle class and achieve prosperity for their families.
Career Technical Education career clusters:
Hospitality & Tourism
Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
Architecture & Construction
Arts, A/V Technology & Communications
Business Management & Administration
Education & Training
Government & Public Administration
Promote Infrastructure Growth
We need to expand high speed broadband internet service to the UP. This will help tackle two different problems. It will further the education of thousands of rural students and help create an environment for high tech business and job creation. We also need to make sure our logistical infrastructure is up to par; such as rural air service, roads, rail, and the Soo Locks. This will give businesses access to the tools, resources, and avenues they need to create more and better jobs. Additionally, the students that we trained through CTE programs will be on the forefront of expanding and upgrading our local infrastructure moving forward.
Lower Energy Costs
Rising energy costs are a major frustration of many in the UP, where residents currently pay some of the highest rates in the country. This issue is especially tough on elderly individuals who have fixed incomes. My plan to address rising energy costs goes hand and hand with our region’s need for infrastructure upgrades. We also need to have reliable and affordable sources of energy, including renewable energy. I’m committed to working together to find ways to bring down energy costs, provide relief to ratepayers, and foster a competitive and diverse business environment that will ultimately lead to job growth.
Improve Healthcare and Tackle Opiate Abuse
Healthcare is a national issue, but a lack of affordable and accessible healthcare would have especially devastating effects for people in our district. Not only would a lack of care cost thousands of people their lives, it would also hurt the regional hospitals — some of the largest employers in the western UP. Everyone I’m listening to in the western UP says they want more healthcare, not less. I don't believe that your life, whether you live or die, should be determined by what kind of job you have or how much money you make. That’s why I will fight for better, affordable healthcare in our district.
Healthcare is also on the front lines of our fight against the opiate epidemic sweeping the country. I will develop a comprehensive plan to curtail drug abuse and deaths related to opiate overdose.
As you can see, many of the problems in our district and state are connected. We shouldn't be exporting our strong and talented youth. We should create such an environment that high value jobs can't help but want to come to the UP. If we educate and train people, we are better able to modernize and improve our infrastructure, which means our people are healthier and better off.