EDUCATION: As you might expect, as a third generation educator, I have some pretty STRONG feelings about the education of our children and young adults. We need to remember that education is a four-way partnership. The teacher is responsible for teaching, the student is responsible for learning, and the parent is responsible for making sure that the student is learning, and the government is responsible for supplies and resources. If the parent has concerns, he and/or she is responsible for working WITH the teacher. We're all in this together!
I think vouchers are nothing more than using public tax money to allow some people to send their kids to a for-profit private school - a form of economic segregation. I firmly believe that all private and public schools in all of Georgia should be in compliance with national goals which is not the case now. Charter schools, which receive more money per pupil in public, have no "report card" requirement and do not have to show Annual Yearly Progress (AYP), so how do you as a parent know which charter school is better and, for that matter, if the charter school is really any better than the public school your child would attend? Private schools have their own ways of measuring success. They look at the colleges who accept the students from their schools.
If you want your child to take a school trip overseas, private or charter schools have done that. Public schools let parents be in charge of those excursions. However, look at where FFA, FBLA and other educational programs take their students.
MUCH more emphasis is needed on our Tech schools because not every student wants to or will go to college. We're still going to need plumbers, electricians, car fixers, welders, and other trades. We need to include vocational high school diplomas.
Finally, remember that it costs MUCH less to educate a student than it does to imprison the adult that gave up on school or chose to take "another way out" (and in prison, we offer to educate them anyway.)Unfortunately, suicide and achievement are sadly linked; look at the statistics for suicide in children. Social media and pressure to succeed or find a better future inextricably linked.
JOBS: Every individual and citizen needs good paying jobs that cannot be off-shored. We need to create Green jobs in Cherokee County and Georgia that not only provide immediate paychecks, but provide us with less dependence on people who don't like us. We need our people and natural resources to benefit each and every Georgian and all of America. For the Christians reading this, read James, especially chapter 5.
TAXATION: In Matthew 22:21, Jesus said, ". . .render unto Caesar the things which are Caesars". I believe we all have a responsibility to pay our fair share of taxes, but that is not to say that I am a proponent of the deliberately misnamed, in my opinion, "Fair Tax". Tax rates in Georgia are average in comparison with tax rates in other states. Ironically, Fair Tax hasn't been mentioned for years. The middle class person has struggled to keep their businesses and family needs met.
I believe the Fair Tax would unfairly tax those earning the least at a higher percentage rate than those earning the most, and would drastically lower taxes paid by those making over $200,000 and I don't believe that is fair at all. This graph tells it all.
About ten years ago, the only
proponent for getting rid of property taxes that I heard from was a
lumber company in Oklahoma which owned property in Georgia. Now, the
Republicans in Georgia seem hell-bent on doing away with property taxes
altogether and relying instead on sales tax revenue. It didn't work
for Gwinnett County several years ago link
and I believe it's a truly bad idea that I can't believe that
purportedly educated people are still fostering. Property taxes (as
opposed to sales taxes) have long proven to be the most efficient,
stable, and effective means of funding our important community
resources, like our fire and police departments, our libraries, and our
schools. An example of middle class people paying for the rich's taxes is the Timberline Property Amendment. ONLY if you own more than 200 acres, are the taxes cut in the owner's behalf. How many middle class people own 200 acres of undeveloped woods in Georgia?
ENVIRONMENT: Georgia is truly blessed. You can be laying on the beach on Tybee Island in the morning and camping on the Appalachian Trail that night. As a teacher, I have participated with students and other teachers in environmental, geological and biological activities. Many Georgians take our fresh air and water for granted. I don't ever want to see Ducktown (or any other place) looking like a Mars landscape as it did in the 1970's due to strip mining. Photo In the north Georgia streams, trout are dying from a rise in water temperature. On our beautiful beaches, endangered turtles and other sea creatures begin their lives, but with the temperature only one sex may develop. Clean soil, water, and air should be an American right, a part of a safe place to live. But many companies deny that their operations could ever endanger our quality of life. I hope we've seen the danger of "drill, baby, drill" in the Gulf and how well prepared the company was in the event of a disaster. Did you know that there are over 4000 oil platforms ( ticking time bombs? ) in the Gulf of Mexico right now link and we saw the effects of only ONE failure, BP in 2010? Now they are talking about an oil regulation commission in Georgia to consider FRACKING in north Georgia!!! These money grubbing politicians have forgotten they are here to be public servants, not self serving carpetbaggers!
ENERGY: We have a major opportunity in Georgia to tap into Green jobs. We already have dams, nuclear, and coal fired power plants, but I'd like to see Georgia invest more in wind, water current, bio-waste recycling, and solar energy. I'm glad to see the corporations beginning this progress. I am a firm supporter of clean, renewable energy and believe we should use it as much as possible. This is where some of the future business opportunities lie and they could be VERY profitable.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Many Georgians are suffering physical and mental ailments. At this time, an opioid crisis is gripping the country, but there appears to be a better way to treat chronic pain - medical marijuana or CBD. I believe there are many better remedies than addictive opioids and will work to make it easier for those Georgians that need it to get it. This leads me to remind people doctors only practice what they know. In 2018, we have more choices than physicians offer and people need to research them.
HEALTH CARE: Many people forget that the ACA (a.k.a Obamacare, a derisive name as- signed to it by Republicans that absolutely hate the law that a Republican (Mitt Romney) put in place in Massachusetts) was supposed to be a taxpayer-funded plan like Medicaid. It's primary benefits were affordable coverage of pre-existing conditions and expansion of Medicare and Medicaid, and keeping students on their parents plan until they reached 25 years of age. For the interesting complete history, see this link and scroll down to the Legislative History section. Pre-existing conditions were only part of the program.
We also are paying medical care of
employees of certain companies who underpay the workers in order for us
Georgians to pay medical costs that should be the companies responsibility to pay. A livable wage (see below) would help alleviate this.
I believe that we need the Medicaid expansion aspect in Georgia to cover those that make too little to afford coverage, but make too much to get financial assistance. We're sending WAY too much of our state's tax money to other states that could (and SHOULD) benefit OUR state's citizens that need it, some of them being our . . .
VETERANS MEDICAL CARE: We owe a HUGE debt to our military veterans that came back from conflict injured both physically and/or mentally. Way too much lip service is paid to these veterans and that's just wrong. "Thanks for your service" just doesn't get it for me. Although much of this federal, I will work to improve the ability of our vets to get the care they need and deserve from a grateful nation on the local level.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING: In 2004, I saw this first hand in Cherokee County and felt powerless to change the situation. Today, I know better. Human trafficking is an abhorrent blight that needs to be totally eradicated in Cherokee County and the metro Atlanta area. Georgia is reported to be one of the most active areas due to the Atlanta airport and our interstate system. I will work with anyone and everyone, regardless of political party, race, religion, etc. to get this reduced and eventually stopped. Each person has value. Any life is precious and our ALL children and their parents deserve better!
LIVABLE WAGE: Did you know that the federal Minimum wage has not changed in at least 10 years? Many states base their minimum wage off the federal. What HAS changed is inflation and, thus, the cost of living. When I started teaching in Georgia in 1977, my YEARLY salary was $8000 before taxes. My car cost $6,000 and was considered expensive. Here we are 40 years later, and the annual salary of a minimum wage person is $15,000 (at $7.25/hr) before taxes. How can a person live on that? I support a livable wage, which some companies (i.e. Amazon) and cities have set at $15.00/hour, which equals $31,200/yr before taxes, which still may not be enough, but it's certainly better. When Henry Ford proposed $5, he had people rioting to get a job. Times have changed.
GUNS: Given recent incidents, I'm shocked that people say nothing can be done about gun violence, so let's just sit back and watch. God has patience, but I think He's tired of people who say they trust in Him, but think they need a gun to protect themselves. Who do you think is more powerful? Is the NRA more powerful than God? I'll trust God any day. I have no problem with sensible gun ownership, but I'm tired of these paranoid people who think God wants people to shoot other people. Jesus told his servants to carry a knife; they were fisherman. They needed to cut bait, not people.