I will not seek to divide people. We all live here together and I am asking for the honor of serving everyone here. We have to get through the anger, fear, and distrust of each other to get to good ideas. I don’t see this as fighting against people. I see this as finding ways to work together.
In late March of 2016, I first considered running against a long time unchallenged incumbent for this seat. I wanted to run as an Independent. I didn’t know back then that the one week window to qualify had already ended, nor did I know that tens of thousands of petition signatures would be required to get my name on the ballot as an Independent. As someone with a full time job and a family, that just wasn’t realistically possible. This year when the incumbent was set to run unopposed again, I qualified to run as a Democrat. I have voted for Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents over the years. I always take time to look at the person, their views, and their character before their party affiliation. I hope you’ll give me the same consideration. I am a regular person who would appreciate the honor of representing my neighbors. I will take your calls. I will meet with you. I will listen to you. I will treat you with respect, even if we disagree.
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Reform
Money Out of Politics
I don’t know about you, but I am sick of all the political ads on TV, all of the signs littering our roadsides, all of the campaign mailers that go right in the trash, and all of the unwanted campaign text messages, emails, and phone calls. I chose not to do any of that for my campaign. I’m not taking any campaign contributions so you don’t have to wonder about me being in anyone’s pocket and you can rest assured that I will respectfully discuss issues with anyone who lives here. I figure if I don’t like that stuff, you probably don’t either. Instead, I have chosen to get to know people in person and through social media. It creates no trash, costs less, and I have found it to be a lot more meaningful. When elected, I will remain as accessible to ALL of my constituents as I am now and have been throughout this campaign.
I think we should accept Medicaid expansion. I was afraid of it for a while because politicians told us it would bankrupt us and make people more dependent on the government. As I’ve read more about it myself, I see that just isn’t true. The people who would be able to get Medicaid with the expansion are working people who currently make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to get regular insurance. They can’t afford to see a doctor when a problem is small so it isn’t until something really serious happens that they end up in the ER.
Take something that could be managed inexpensively with medication like high blood pressure – if left untreated, that person could likely end up in the ER with a stroke or heart attack. Then the cost will be astronomical. I’ve heard Republicans say that’s the person’s “personal responsibility” to find a way to see a doctor. That’s fine except if they can’t, we will end up paying a lot more for the catastrophic event, and then the person may truly be dependent on the government because of being permanently disabled.
As for the cost, we are already paying in to Washington for this. All we have to do is say YES and we get 90% of the money back to pay for insurance for tens of thousands of people. We just have to pay the other 10%. Even 10% is a big amount, but we are already spending that when people who have no insurance go through the ER for medical care and we foot the bill through higher costs for healthcare and state appropriations of our tax dollars to the hospitals for indigent care. Several “red states” including Mike Pence’s Indiana have accepted Medicaid expansion. To me, it just makes sense to accept that huge amount of money back that we are paying in every year and it seems like we are cutting off our nose to spite our face by not doing it.
I think the decision to receive this medication should be between a patient, his or her family, and the physician. If they think it’s the right choice, who are we to say otherwise? Doctors swear an oath to “first, do no harm.” Can any of us say the same? I think it’s interesting that we don’t dictate who can and cannot receive opioids, anti-seizure, stimulant, or anti-anxiety medications, yet these medications can have serious long-term effects and can be highly addictive.
I have personally worked with children who had seizure disorders and witnessed some terrifying seizures. I saw the lasting damage that each seizure caused. I have volunteered with a veteran-focused organization and I’m sure you are familiar with the statistic that we have 22 veteran suicides occurring each day. We have thousands of patients at the end of their lives receiving hospice care for various diagnoses, meaning that they do not want any heroic efforts made to sustain their lives – they just want to be kept as comfortable as possible during the time they have left.
Who are we to tell them “No”?
Who are we to tell one person they can’t even try this medication while others here in the same state can? Are some not worthy of relief while others are? Should we make people fight for options for their kids, parents, or spouses one diagnostic group at a time? No. They should be spending that time caring for their loved ones – not fighting their own state for relief. Medical cannabis should be available to all when the physician, patient, and family so choose. While I do not agree with the annual battle in Atlanta to add a few more conditions to the list while excluding others, if this is the only option for more people to get access to this medication, I would not stand in the way of adding more diagnostic categories to the list.
Medical Cannabis: In-State Cultivation
Currently, if you or your loved one is lucky enough to have an approved diagnosis, your next problem is how to obtain the medication. Since in-state cultivation is not currently legal, someone will have to go to a great deal of expense and effort AND commit a crime in order to get relief. This is just wrong on every level.
Many years ago when I was in graduate school, I volunteered at a summer camp for kids with disabilities. Each volunteer was assigned a child and we volunteers were solely responsible for meeting all of our child’s needs for the week. Twenty-four hours a day, all week – bathing, dressing, feeding, toileting, medication, and safety; managing wheelchairs, splints, braces, crutches, walkers, and communication devices, all while facilitating the child’s participation in camp activities and having FUN! It was EXHAUSTING. And it was only for a few days. Meeting any child’s needs is a lot of work. When you add all of the additional needs a child with disabilities has, it is completely overwhelming.
Why would we add to these families’ distress by making it illegal, expensive, and extremely difficult to get relief for their kids?
If your mama is in pain, or your husband is struggling with PTSD, or your daddy is suffering with ALS but isn’t yet considered severe enough to qualify, the last thing you need is to have to search out a back-channel way to get a medication that could help, and risk arrest while doing so. Medical cannabis should be grown and produced here in Georgia and should be readily and consistently available just like any other medication.