The important stuff
Collaboration fosters a more inclusive decision-making process. Drawing upon diverse perspectives allows us to work together to address the needs of our community.
Labor & Jobs
Illinois’ diversity is one of our greatest assets, but systemic barriers prevent us from achieving true equity. Our community only becomes stronger when everyone– especially those that have been historically underserved– can experience opportunities to reach their full potential.
I support expanding diverse hiring programs and working with organized labor to recruit new pipelines for underrepresented populations. I also believe in simplifying the state’s procurement process and making it more accessible for minority and women-owned businesses.
Our students deserve to be taught by educators that look like them. It is important we invest intentionally in teacher training and recruitment so that children across the state are taught by diverse and inclusive instructors.
As I think about how to continue Scott Bennett’s legacy, I think about how dedicated Senator Bennett was to breaking down barriers that prevent access, be it to an education, a job, housing, or health care. Scott understood the financial and racial barriers. I seek to understand these challenges better and listen to others’ lived experiences to help foster a more just community.
Traditional four-year universities are not for every high school graduate.
My experience working with Champaign County’s Cradle2Career program strengthened my belief in supporting apprenticeship programs to ensure a well-rounded workforce with good wages and solid benefits. As State Senator, I will continue to work with our local partners to enhance these efforts to build a diverse, qualified workforce.
Here in Central Illinois, we know how important higher education is. That is why, in my first few months in this role, I passed HB 3760, which allows Illinois residents to be automatically admitted to an Illinois public university after completing 36 transferable credit hours. I will always support making college more affordable, inclusive, and funded to provide the best education for students and to serve as an economic engine in communities across the state.
I was proud to support the governor’s budget this past session which includes the largest higher education funding increase in two decades. The increase to the MAP program would allow nearly all community college students and 40% of public university students at or below median income levels to have their tuition and fees covered by MAP and Pell grants.
Years of budget cuts to higher education have only served to cut us off at the knees. The 7% budget increase for operating costs for public universities and community colleges will allow universities to hold the line on tuition and maintain their role as critical economic engines.
Climate change is real, and it’s here. Our summers are hotter, our winter storms are more severe, and our air quality has reached dangerous levels due to wildfires in Canada. We cannot ignore what’s right in front of us, especially when so many people in the 52nd district depend on agriculture to make a living.
That’s why I support moving to clean energy solutions and doing everything we can to meet and exceed our climate goals and provide cutting-edge, green jobs to generations of Illinoisans.
Labor & Jobs
I’ve spent my career working in economic development and was a union member of AFSCME for several years. I understand that organized labor is much more than supporting higher wages for workers: it means someone is in your corner fighting for you.
As State Senator, I will always vote to protect prevailing wages so we can work toward closing racial pay gaps, promoting quality work, and protecting union workers’ gains. I will also work to close existing loopholes government contractors might use to gain an unfair advantage.
As a small business owner and an economic development professional, I’ve been attending the Danville Area Labor Management meetings since 2004 and have seen what the positive impact of regular, open conversations between labor groups and management entities can have on the local economy through industrial retention, expansion, and recruiting efforts. As State Senator, I am committed to working with every stakeholder to bring better-paying, high-quality jobs to central Illinois.
This past session, I voted for SB 1701, legislation that supports farming practices that will yield healthier, stronger soils and cleaner water across the state. This legislation places special emphasis on socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and was passed along with $18 million to support the Partners for Conservation Fund.
I supported SB 250, which includes millions of dollars to support agriculture in Illinois. This funding strengthens local food production and supply chains, supports underserved farmers with Local Food and Infrastructure Grants, and encourages the next generation of farmers through the Future Farmers of America.
I am honored to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee and am committed to supporting Illinois farm families and other ag-related issues facing Illinoisans.
My focus as your State Senator is to ensure that all families are able to provide a stable future for their children, especially kids with disabilities. I commit to promoting policies that expand opportunities and access for everyone. That’s why during my first session in Springfield, I fought to expand opportunities for students with disabilities during school emergencies by passing HB 3680.
Bringing better quality, more accessible healthcare to rural communities is critical to supporting the hard-working families that farm our food and generate over $50 billion annually. Our farmers work tirelessly to feed the world; they should be able to see doctors easily, get specialty care, and receive mental health support without traveling for hours to access services.
I am a proud pro-choice Democrat and will oppose any attempt to limit or criminalize individuals seeking reproductive care, including an abortion. In the wake of the Dobbs Supreme Court decision that reversed Roe v. Wade, there haven’t been fewer abortions; there have been fewer safe abortions. That’s why I support legislation that enables people seeking safe reproductive health options to do so in Illinois and to remove barriers for doctors looking to transfer their medical licenses from other states in order to provide safe reproductive care here in Illinois.
During the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, I watched my then 13-year-old daughter Ellie come to grips with the fact that a shooting could happen in her school too. Like any father, seeing that fear in her eyes motivates me to do anything I can to keep her safe. Illinois averages 14 deaths per 100,000 residents, which is slightly higher than the national average. I know we can do better. That’s why I support common-sense gun reform and seek to increase mental health resources.
Everyone deserves to live in a safe community. I believe in enacting criminal justice reform to ensure that our criminal legal system treats people accused of crimes and those who’ve been convicted fairly. I support specialized training for our police officers who put their lives on the line to keep us safe.