My Vision for Progress: Protecting Our Democracy

The Missouri Supreme Court recently heard arguments on Missouri’s voter ID law.  Last year, a Missouri Circuit Court judge struck down a provision that would require Missourians who lacked a valid photo ID to sign a sworn statement in order to cast a ballot because of its misleading language.  To make matters worse, Missouri lacks many mechanisms that make voting more convenient and accessible. As a state, we must do better.

Voting is a fundamental right granted to each citizen in both the United States and Missouri constitutions.  In 2018, I volunteered as a registered attorney poll monitor to protect voting rights. In this role, I manned a polling station from open to close, so as to ensure that each person entitled to vote was allowed to cast a ballot.  As your state representative, I will continue fighting to protect this fundamental right.

In Jefferson City, I will endeavor to expand access to voting.  I will support and sponsor legislation that increases access to voting, such as early voting and no-excuse absentee voting.  Moreover, I will introduce and support legislation to streamline the registration process. For instance, if we permitted students, upon turning 18, to register to vote in their high schools, we could increase voter registration rates astronomically.  Moreover, same-day registration is a must because it simplifies the process and allows more people to exercise their constitutional rights.

We should endeavor to protect every single eligible voter’s right to vote, and encourage each and every eligible voter to exercise that right. I believe we should do this for no other reason than because that is how a democracy is supposed to work. Politicians who would create barriers to voting and then barriers to the barriers do not believe in democracy, they believe in oligarchy with themselves at the top and everyone else underfoot. For the people’s will to be done, the people must have no barrier to having their say in government in the Show-Me State.

My Vision For Progress: Affordable Housing

In recent years, Kansas City has experienced a boom in economic development.  But, with prosperity comes unique challenges, including maintaining quality, affordable housing.  We, as a community, need to ensure that everyone who wishes to live here and share in the prosperity can access quality, affordable housing. 

According to the City of Kansas City’s CHAS Data Analysis, 34.4% of those making between $40,001 and $64,000 are cost-burdened or extremely cost-burdened when it comes to housing.  In other words, these residents spend at least 30% (and sometimes more than half) of their income on housing costs. Indeed, utility burden is also impacting families. The Spring 2018 KCMO Housing Survey showed that the average Kansas Citian’s utilities constitute 23% of their housing costs, which is the 7th worst in the nation in terms of utility cost burden.  We need to provide more resources - both at the municipal and state level - to alleviate these issues. 

While in law school, I worked with Legal Aid of Western Missouri to help with an affordable housing program on the City’s eastside.  Additionally, I worked double time to not only earn a law degree, but also earn an MBA with an emphasis in real estate. So, I understand the distinct and complex facets of housing to effectuate positive change.  

These experiences inspired me to draft a bill enabling the establishment of Community Land Trusts (“CLTs”), which is a mechanism that locks in affordability subsidies in housing stock for generations.  Modeling the bill on other successful CLT programs across the United States, I am committed to working with the General Assembly’s leadership to create more cost-effective housing solutions. Likewise, I support measures that ensure tax incentives are used to help the community, not corporations.  I am ready to hit the ground running in Jeff City to ensure that economic development benefits all, rather than just wealthy out-of-state corporations.