Issues can be complicated. But where you are listening to the people, no matter how diverse the thoughts, I believe we can get to a sound agreement.
ISSUES CAN HIT CLOSE TO HOME
I believe perseverance is the key to success and I will run this race until every citizen has access to the table. I understand that there are times where politics and personal issues targets the voice and silences the citizen. To that I say, we are here and we are not afraid. I vow to continue working with individuals, as I always have, listening and trying to make situations equitable in our communities. I have experienced challenges but resistance makes me work harder.
I also have to live in the same conditions created and know it is my responsibility to live up to the expectations of those who have paved the way at home and abroad. I have stayed the course at all times, not just when seeking your vote, fighting for civil rights, voting rights, women's rights, veteran's rights, children's rights, and basic human rights. I fought for our country and I will fight for you!
North Carolina has the 15th highest poverty rate in the nation. People are struggling to make ends meet while having to work multiple jobs to keep food on the table. Further, one in five children are living in poverty and the wealth gap is widening. This indicates that far too many households have been socially, politically, and economically disenfranchised. I believe we can do better by creating opportunities for economic growth, raising stagnant wages, helping small businesses, investing in education, reducing healthcare costs, equitably granting contracts to local workers, dismantling oppressive systems, and so much more. If we truly agree that "a rising tide lifts all boats," then we must change the narrative, not just in words, but in sound policies addressing the needs of everyday hardworking citizens in the 6th district and across our country. People are dying. This is not an option.
My wife Angela and I have helped shape the minds of thousands of children over the past 22 years in the ownership and operation of our early childcare learning center located in the triad. In this, we have always believed, "without education, no other profession would exist." We are also convinced education is an equalizer for obtaining economic wealth and the earlier children learn the better equipped they become for the academic, life, and cultural challenges ahead. There are more than 20 higher learning institutions in the triad waiting to receive our children when they become of age. How well prepared they are, how financially, socially, economically, and mentally sound they are upon arrival, is up to us. We have an opportunity to change course and ensure every child receives a quality, safe, affordable, education that's free from outside barriers-poverty, systematic and institutional racism, mental health, drug addictions, gun violence, domestic violence and other forms of abuse. In a monologue written by a mother she said,"There's money attached to keeping people uneducated." It's tied to our prison systems and low wage jobs preventing self-sufficiency and the ability to lift oneself out of poverty.
Healthcare is a basic human right and essential to the upkeep of our district. We believe that all healthcare should be affordable and of exceptional quality. The big pharmaceutical companies seem to own us, lock, stock, and barrel. We must control drug prices and hold the industry accountable in getting America hooked on opioids. There is no acceptable excuse for people having to choose between life sustaining medications and a loaf of bread. We must also reduce stigmas associated with mental illnesses that prevent people from receiving care while simultaneously ensuring we are reaching those in need. Further, our research tells us that "the average amount spent on healthcare per person in comparable countries is half that of the US." I believe capitalism has its pros and cons; however, without quality affordable healthcare, profits over people should never be the norm.
Criminal Justice Reform
We know that the "United States locks up a greater portion of its population than nearly any other country in the world." North Carolina has 56 correctional institutions and we spend more money on incarceration than in education. Although we are not alone in this, it doesn't give us an excuse not to change. We know that black and brown people are overrepresented in our criminal justice system. We also know that concentrated poverty is on the rise in NC that has been caused by policies creating barriers, access, and opportunities. Poverty and crime have a direct correlation because when you turn areas into the hunger games violence is bound to erupt. Folks, we have a responsibility to do better. We must invest in all of our communities, cut off the school-to-prison pipeline, and pass policies to reduce recidivism.
The affairs of men and women must also include the affairs of our nation's veterans. There are more than 736,000 veterans currently live in North Carolina. We must fight as hard for their rights as they have fought for ours at home and abroad. We are losing our veterans to incarceration, death, and suicide directly related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other mental health concerns. I am a veteran having served 20 years active duty in the US Marine Corps and as I speak with fellow soldiers, they express similar concerns. We enter the service taking a solid oath, "I do solemnly swear that I will protect and defend the constitution of the United States of America against all enemies; foreign and domestic" This commitment works both ways and should extend far beyond an enlistment contract. Our veterans deserve our lifetime commitment to protect and defend their rights.
Climate Change & Agriculture
There are approximately 6,000 farms in the North Carolina's 6th District with 26% of sales in crops and 74% sales in livestock, poultry, and products. Our farmers along with other farmers across the US continue to face challenges due to climate change. Scientists have warned that Global warming is impacting food production at an alarming rate. I believe science is real. I also believe they are speaking truthfully when stating Global warming effects agriculture with changes in average temperatures, rainfalls, pest, and disease. We need policies to protect our planet and to secure the economic growth of our farmers. When we consider that every living thing has to eat, depends on clean water, and a healthy environment, this should be a top priority.