It is likely that we will be dealing with the consequences of the novel Coronavirus after the 2020 election. When election, I will prioritize ensuring every Idahoan has what they need to continue to live a safe, healthy life by working to expand paid leave, unemployment benefits, renters rights, and ensuring our local hospitals have the funding and supplies they need.
As Idaho and the world grapples with the novel Coronavirus and its impacts, it is of the utmost importance that we ensure that every Idahoan has access to what they need right now. Whether that be testing, medical care, unemployment benefits, eviction/mortgage payment reprieve, or answers to important questions such as "how do I know if I have COVID-19?" or "should I be wearing a mask?"
Thankfully, Idaho has a great resource with information about COVID-19, click "learn more" to view.
There is no greater example of why we need broader health care coverage and options than being in the middle of a public health crisis and knowing millions of Americans are losing their health insurance as they are laid off from their jobs. We need better access to affordable health care for every Idahoan, which includes the expansion of Medicaid and health care plans with affordable premiums and deductibles.
Most of our state is considered rural, and those that are lucky enough to have hospitals need more resources and support, including adequate personal protective equipment.
In order to prevent another lockdown that will further harm our economy, we need to begin widespread COVID-19 testing. I support the Crush the Curve effort spearheaded by commercial real estate developer and retired physician Tommy Ahlquist to bring testing to more communities across the state, and those tests should be free to all regardless of insurance status.
In 2018, the people of Idaho and District 20 voted overwhelmingly to improve health care options for the state by expanding Medicaid. My opponent voted to ignore the will of his constituents and pass a version with work requirements for recipients, which will likely lead to more court battles that will cost taxpayer money and keep Idahoans from receiving the care they need. This is one of many examples of why District 20 needs new leadership. I will vote yes on a clean Medicaid expansion bill as the people demanded!
Roads in Meridian and across the state of Idaho are becoming increasingly difficult to travel due to the increase in population and lack of investment in maintenance and planning. We need a representative who wants to prepare for the future and focus on improving transportation in a way that will allow people to spend more time at home instead of stuck in traffic.
With schools closed through the rest of the academic year, it will be more important than ever that they are adequately funded for the fall semester. However, the governor has also ordered a 1% budget cut for every state-funded organization, which means schools will be affected as well. When the legislature reconvenes in January, the new budget should emphasize more funding for schools to make up for this deficit.
Idaho is ranked 51st in the nation when it comes to spending per student, according to the U.S. Census. Our state also has the lowest average weekly wages in the country. We can do more for our students to ensure they receive an excellent primary education and the necessary post-secondary education to obtain high-quality jobs and remain in Idaho. I am committed to achieving this goal and investing in our children, our teachers, and our future.
Small businesses are a critical keystone of the economy. They are among the hardest hit by the pandemic, and some of those that aren’t forced to close permanently will need significant assistance to stay afloat. The state should make it a priority to provide small business loans to those who need them and any other resources they may need.
The coronavirus/covid-19 public health emergency has exposed how many people work without paid sick leave. Not only does this pose a risk to workers, it is a risk for customers at businesses that serve the public. Paid sick leave should be a standard part of any employment package, regardless of wage or industry.
This crisis has shown the gaps that exist for employees. Millions of people have filed for unemployment, and many of the hardest hit sectors are largely minimum wage jobs that don’t allow workers to save enough money to get by in a time of crisis like this. Idaho has not raised its minimum wage in 10 years, and it is currently the lowest in the nation. It is long past time to raise minimum wage and allow people in every corner of the state to make a decent living.