As a working mom my priority has always been children and working families. We must lead with a lens focused on the needs and values that protect children, now and in the future. Issues like global climate change, health care and housing affect our children most of all. We must make every decision with them and our future generations in mind.
Taking into consideration the profound impact of COVID-19 and the expanded movement for racial justice and equity, what do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?
The top three issues affecting children and families are the digital divide, lack of affordable housing and the global climate crisis. The digital divide and lack of equity in education are affecting academic and social development. The vulnerabilities of students with parents who are working out of the home, or are not tech literate are being exacerbated by virtual learning. We must ensure that every student has access, support, and technical instruction. Children are now being handicapped by a lack of social education. City leadership needs to provide social activities and recreation to replace this void. Economically vulnerable children are too worried to concentrate on their academics, succumbing to the stress and anxiety that losing the stability of a roof over their head brings. I will champion renter protections and homelessness prevention to help alleviate these issues so children can get the education they deserve. The changing climate is the most pressing issue on Earth. Our young people deserve clean air and water, healthy food and the right to reproduce if they want to. We need to initiate ideas and solutions that we never thought of attempting before.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
I approach the budget process as a mom, as a woman, with my values in hand. The initiatives I will pursue include steps to achieve the solutions to the issues I have laid out as a priority. We need to invest in our needs as a statement of that which we value.
What steps will you take to address the high cost and lack of availability of quality child care and preschool programs in our communities, especially for low-income children and English language learners?
We allow too many corporations to come in to our communities without obligating them to contribute their fair share, only to profit and utilize our infrastructure. These funds can help pay for the needs they contribute to for our local families.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
Our local school district has to be held accountable for not providing the adequate resources for children with special needs and/or disabilities. I will work with families to support them and to ensure their voices are heard and the District is doing their due diligence to provide for the needs of every student.
Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the "opportunity gap" that low-income children and children of color experience, including lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors and enrichment activities. If elected, what steps will you take to address this issue?
When we improve the wages and benefits of working people, their families have greater opportunities and more successful educational outcomes. As a city council member I would raise the minimum wage, provide protection for renters, and take other measures to improve the quality of life for our families. This stability allows families to thrive and establish healthy habits and routines, including educational ones.