Violent crime and public safety issues have plagued our city long enough. Every day it’s the same thing — cars burglarized, businesses robbed, carjackings, robberies… the list goes on and on. And according to police reports, some of the culprits are barely teenagers.
For a better, safer New Orleans, we need to do better for our children. That is not a problem from which we can arrest our way out. We need to engage and educate our youth and their families to show them that there are better options than a life of crime on the street. We need to intervene and redirect non-violent offenders by forging meaningful relationships in the community that provide a pathway towards success and a good-paying, stable job. Here are my thoughts:
- We have to offer programs that make gainful employment and quality education more attractive than pathways to crime;
- We need “parent centers” within our public schools and daycare centers to help parents participate in and encourage their children’s quality education, from the moment they are born;
- We need more police walking and biking through neighborhoods in District 97;
- We need quality and meaningful community restitution programs that allow low-level offenders to give back to the area they wronged;
- We need to restore funding for the treatment of mental health and substance abuse disorders.
Once again, the rainy season has shown how inadequate our basic infrastructure is in the City of New Orleans to protect our homes and businesses. Whether it is street flooding from a summer rain, boil water alerts, potholes that never get fixed, or power outages during peak seasons of usage, it is getting more and more questionable as to whether the city has the capacity to provide the basic protections and services that our homes, schools and businesses need to operate on a regular basis. We must address this, and here’s how I would start:
- I will work with members of the legislature to ensure that New Orleans receives its fair share of tax revenue to fix our crumbling infrastructure;
- I will work to secure funds to conduct an independent financial and resource audit of all City of New Orleans infrastructure programs which receive state funds;
- I will convene a series of public hearings on these reports so that every resident and business person in this city understands the tasks before us;
- I will work with the State of Louisiana to identify ways to utilize existing resources to help address these needs with sustainable funding.
I believe that it is inhumane for Louisiana to follow the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. I believe that no individual working 40 hours a week should live at or below the poverty threshold.
- I will fight to set a living wage in the state by 2025, allowing small businesses adequate time to prepare;
- I will fight to end preemption. This will allow municipalities, such as the City of New Orleans, to set its own minimum wage;
- I will fight for our small business owners, who employ more than half of Louisiana’s workforce. This means providing small and disadvantaged business enterprises increased access to capital to start or grow businesses and making sure they are meaningfully engaged in the bidding process for government contracts;
- I will fight to allocate more funding for STEM incubator programs that primary and secondary students can attend to foster innovation and entrepreneurship;
- I will fight to keep our residents in the district and lock in tax rates for long-time homeowners. I will start with fighting to lower the age and income threshold eligibility qualifications for the ‘senior tax freeze’ on property assessments.
Presently, our society is plagued with toxic rhetoric and hate-filled speech that is not only divisive but also deadly. We are in dire need of leaders who can mend fractured relationships and serve with compassion and strength. I believe every individual is important and valuable and should be treated as such. I will always stand for the rights of women and children.
- I support equal pay for equal work;
- I will continue building upon the work in the legislature to increase the protections and rights of survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence;
- I am for paid family leave policies.
My family has a deep history promoting quality education. I am keenly aware from my own experiences that education is the key to personal advancement and lifelong success.
- I will fight to allocate more sustainable state funding to early childhood education so that more children from birth to age three can receive high-quality care and learning opportunities;
- I will always fight to raise the salaries of teachers and support staff;
- I will draft legislation to get more schools access to STEM and vocational training programs, as well as programs that help high school graduates stay in college for those first 12 months of transition;
- I will draft legislation to require more oversight and direct supervision from the Orleans Parish School Board so every public school meets basic standards of performance and demonstrates how they will grow and improve;
- At the state level, I will monitor reports from the Department of Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on how we are closing the equity gap.
This issue is close to my heart as I have spoken with so many families with members who have accepted plea deals as defendants because they were not fully aware of the ramifications. Thus, we perpetuate a cycle of crime, rather than promoting rehabilitation and re-entry. We can end this cycle of oppression and inequality with education and good laws that uphold everyone’s constitutional rights. I will draft and support legislation to accomplish the following:
- Reform our prison system so operators are not incentivized to achieve extremely high occupancy levels;
- Make the plea-bargaining process transparent so that defendants know all the ramifications of their decision;
- End bail for non-violent crimes and end unfair and inhumane punishment in our state prisons;
- Better rehabilitate and prepare our people once they leave prison by requiring private prison operators in Louisiana to fund GED, technical training and educational programs;
- Secure adequate funding for public defenders’ offices to ensure a fairer criminal justice system.
With so many legislators term-limited, it is crucial that we elect public servants who can work with the Governor to pass a fair, balanced and bipartisan state budget;
- I will work to continue fully funding TOPS;
- I will work with all members of the legislature to ensure that New Orleans gets its fair share of tax revenue from the state;
- I will support programs to create a fairer tax environment with more stability;
- I will support reforming our state budget so that spending cuts stop being borne overwhelmingly by education and health-care programs.