Not every part of Tennessee is in the same economic condition. While some communities are thriving and seeing job growth, others are still struggling to recover from the Great Recession. As your representative in congress, she wants to bring economic opportunity to West Tennesseans. Erika believes a job in the private sector is better than any government assistance program. She will work to bring good jobs to West Tennessee, which means jobs that provide a living wage and solid benefits. This involves direct business recruitment as well as creating an environment where businesses can thrive. She will work to ensure our workforce is ready for 21st century job opportunities.
Erika knows what it takes to recruit top businesses looking to relocate or expand. As your representative in congress, Erika will aggressively work to recruit businesses to communities across Tennessee.
Growing companies need the right location with access to infrastructure and a skilled workforce. Erika will help identify, develop and capitalize on these assets, like the Memphis Regional Megasite in Haywood County. The megasite sits in one of more than a dozen economically distressed counties in Tennessee, meaning it’s in the bottom 10 percent of counties in the nation based on poverty, income and unemployment. Erika will work to recruit the right business to the megasite in Haywood County and help other economically distressed counties find business recruitment opportunities.
Most of Tennessee’s fastest growing industries and occupations require some type of post secondary education or training. Erika supports Tennessee’s current focus on increasing the number of college graduates.
However, Erika also knows that college isn’t the right fit for every high school graduate. As your representative in congress, she will work to expand access to vocational training programs across Tennessee, and she will work to align them with the industries and jobs that are growing in our state.
The health of West Tennessean is a active role in our state’s economic viability as it affects worker productivity and educational outcomes for students. Erika believes every Tennessean deserves access to affordable, quality healthcare as well as opportunities to live a healthy, active lifestyle.
She understands that our country is in a period of uncertainty when it comes to our federal healthcare law. Erika will advocate for access to quality healthcare for all Tennesseans.
Healthy Living & Preventative Care
Tennessee has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the nation. Childhood obesity is commonly linked to chronic health problems such as heart diseases and diabetes. Children who are obese are also more likely to face social and emotional issues, such as bullying and depression. Erika believes we have a moral obligation to provide Tennessee’s youth with access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity, especially in our public schools.
Erika believes helping Tennesseans live healthier lives must include improving access to preventative healthcare. She applauds the state’s work on promoting value of healthcare over volume of services. This has included the phased implementation of healthcare initiatives called Episodes of Care for Tenncare participants, which has lowered healthcare costs and improved patient outcomes. Erika is committed to continuing and furthering this work.
Under the Affordable Care Act, states have the option of expanding Medicaid and receiving additional federal tax dollars to provide health coverage for low-income persons and families. Erika believes our country should act immediately to do this. She supported President Obama’s Healthcare plan, as did over 75 percent of all Tennesseans. The plan would expand coverage to those who do not fit in a category to qualify for Medicaid and do not make enough money to afford health insurance.
By not expanding Medicaid in Tennessee, the state loses $2.5 million a day of federal funding. This means billions of our tax dollars are going to other states and more than 300,000 Tennesseans have been left without affordable health insurance. Veterans and those with a mental health diagnosis are among the vulnerable populations most detrimentally impacted by this, including those in the throes of opioid addiction who need treatment.
By not serving all Tennesseans in need, our state is also at risk of receiving fewer federal dollars for Medicaid in the future. This is because federal healthcare overhaul plans propose using current Medicaid spending as a benchmark for allocations going forward.
Erika has pledged to make public education her top priority as your representative in congress. She made the same commitment as a educator in the classrooms and as the wife of the founder of Memphis Academy of Health Science. As your representative in congress, Erika will make education a funding priority every year she is in office with specific emphasis on:
· increasing teacher pay
· investing in high quality early childhood education
· expanding afterschool program opportunities
· ensuring all schools get the resources they need
· investing in school safety and security
While Erika believes parents should have choices in their child education, she opposes the use of for-profit charter schools and vouchers. She understand that school vouchers would allow taxpayer dollars to fund private schools, directly impacting public schools. Erika believes charters with a profit motive can’t focus on doing what’s best for their students. Erika believes nonprofit charter schools have a role to play in large urban districts, but they’re not the magic fix.
Erika knows that education is a direct linked to economic opportunity – for individuals and communities. When young people are prepared to successfully go on to college and career, the communities in which they live and the state as a whole is positioned to see economic opportunity expand. And it all starts by giving children the high-quality public education they need and deserve.
The quality of a teacher in the classroom has the greatest impact on student achievement. The average teacher salary in Tennessee is nearly $10,000 less than average teacher pay nationwide. Erika knows to closes the gap in education teacher pay in west Tennessee has to be competitive with other states in order to attract the best educators for our children.
It all start with Early Childhood Education providing high-quality and age appropriate instruction. Tennessee must develop pre-k quality standards emphasis on professional development for teacher and support student learning.
Erika knows firsthand the importance of providing support for students outside of school time, especially for low-income families. Erika understand unsupervised time right after school puts children at greater risk of being involved in juvenile crime and becoming victims of crime. High-quality afterschool programs assist parents staying employed and it helps their children do better in school.
President Trump’s Congressional Committee voted to cut 191 million dollars to eliminate federal funding for after-school programs. this has impact over 22,000 students in more than 550 communities across Tennessee. As your congresswoman, she will focus on federal funding and dollars for afterschool programs.