Every policy we pursue must start with a focus on justice and equity.

 

As our state representative, Jonah will approach every policy question with an equity lens, challenging himself and his colleagues to ensure that their policy prescriptions advance the needs of communities of color and historically-marginalized communities.

THE ISSUES

Priorities

K-12 AND EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Every North Carolinian has a constitutional right to high-quality education. We deserve great public schools that serve all students equitably and where teachers are properly valued and empowered.

As our state representative, Jonah will:

  • Work to dramatically increase per-pupil spending and early childhood education and literacy opportunities for children ages 0-5, to help improve equitable academic outcomes when students arrive at school.

  • Fight for significant pay increases for public school teachers, teaching assistants and other school support staff, with restored pay scales rewarding teachers with advanced degrees and experience.

  • Develop new state-funded programs to recruit and retain teachers of color.

  • Oppose measures to censor teachers on issues pertaining to our country’s history of racism and discrimination.

OUR COMMUNITY COLLEGES

Our community colleges do great work to meet people where they are,  offering the education, skills, and training that can help them realize their dreams.  We need to do more to support that mission.

As our state representative, Jonah will:

  • Fight for free community college education for students who meet attainable academic benchmarks, so that community college is affordable for all working families.

  • Facilitate innovative, community-rooted private-public partnerships to prepare North Carolinians for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

  • Work to expand the ability of students to easily move between our public community college and four-year university system, to receive an education that is the best fit for achieving their goals.

OUR UNIVERSITY AND UNIVERSITY SYSTEM

Our University and University System are crown jewels of American higher education, central to the intellectual, economic, and cultural life of our state.  We need them to lead and to prepare generations of students to engage in critical inquiry and scientific pursuit, free from political censorship and interference.

As our state representative, Jonah will:

  • Fight for UNC and UNC system governance reform to end destructive political interference and ensure the institutional independence that will allow them to fully serve the people of our state for generations to come.

  • Collaborate with Carolina community leaders to advance a comprehensive vision for inclusive, equitable higher education in the state, promoting programs to recruit and retain faculty of color at UNC and at all of our UNC system schools.

  • Work to ensure free tuition, cost of living support, and student loan forgiveness for students who need that economic support.

  • Increase state funding for our universities to help keep student tuition costs and fees low.

HIGH-QUALITY, AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE FOR ALL

Good, affordable healthcare is a right.  As a state, we need to treat it like one.

As our state representative, Jonah will:

  • Fight to finally expand Medicaid for the hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians who cannot afford private health insurance, yet have been denied access to quality healthcare services by North Carolina’s GOP leadership for the past decade.

  • Work to make healthcare more affordable for all our citizens by holding insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and providers accountable.

  • Address existing inequities in our current healthcare system by supporting community-based healthcare programs designed to address social determinants of health.

  • Increase funding for behavioral health care and addiction support programs.

  • Expand access to and advocacy for the COVID-19 vaccine.

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTHCARE AND ABORTION RIGHTS

Reproductive healthcare is healthcare.  Healthcare is a right (see above).  Politicians have no business undermining that right.

As our state representative, Jonah will:

  • Work to defeat any legislation undermining the right to choose.

  • Fight to guarantee the right to an abortion in our state constitution, and to repeal existing barriers to abortion enacted by the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

  • Support increased public funding for family planning and teen pregnancy services.

  • Advocate for expanded access to menstrual health products for teens, people experiencing homelessness, and other vulnerable populations.

REAL PUBLIC SAFETY FOR ALL

We need a holistic approach to keeping our communities safe, one that recognizes and addresses the root causes of crime and violence and doesn’t just treat the symptoms.

As our state representative, Jonah will:

  • Advocate for a fairer criminal legal system that seeks treatment, not punishment, for people with mental and behavioral health needs and that ends the cycle of recidivism.

  • Work to increase mandatory law enforcement training designed to address implicit racial bias.

  • Fight for law enforcement accountability, including but not limited to an end to “qualified immunity.”

  • Advance summer jobs, apprenticeship programs, and leadership development opportunities for young people living in vulnerable communities.

  • Help create a civilian first-responder corps to answer calls from people in mental health crisis, where law enforcement is ill-suited to respond.

CLIMATE ACTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

The latest report from the UN’s panel on climate change reinforces what we already knew: we don’t have time to wait.  North Carolina needs to take bold climate action, now.

As our state representative, Jonah will:

  • Introduce measures to move North Carolina to zero-emissions energy generation.  

  • Develop robust electric vehicle incentives and develop charging infrastructure to reduce emissions in our transportation sector.

  • Increase access to weatherization and other in-home programs to reduce energy consumption and lower power bills.

  • Advocate for resilient infrastructure development across the state that takes into account the reality of increased severe weather events due to climate change.

  • Fight for clean air and water for all, and hold polluters—including our utility monopolies—accountable.

  • Expand facilities for human-powered transportation by reducing barriers to building, improving, and connecting bicycle and pedestrian routes.​

DEMOCRATIC REVIVAL AND ADVANCING THE RIGHT TO VOTE

For the past decade, North Carolina has been ground zero for voter suppression, map-rigging, and for attacks on American democracy generally.  Together we can flip that script and lead as a state in America’s democratic revival.

As our state representative, Jonah will:

  • Work to finally enact redistricting reform to prevent racial and partisan gerrymandering and to ensure meaningful political representation for every community.

  • Fight against photo ID requirements and other attempts to disenfranchise voters of color and poor voters.

  • Expand the right to vote and participation in our democracy through greater access to voter registration, early voting, and vote-by-mail, and by working to introduce ballot drop-boxes.

  • Increase funding and training for county boards of elections.

GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION

Too many families have suffered the tragedy of losing a loved one to gun violence.  It’s time we pass common-sense laws to address this needless loss.

As our state representative, Jonah will:

  • Support required background checks on every gun sale.

  • Fight for legislation for Extreme Risk Protection Orders to take weapons out of the hands of people who pose imminent danger to themselves or others.

  • Advocate for laws requiring safe storage of firearms and reporting of lost or stolen weapons.

  • Build out our state’s community-based violence prevention and violence interruption systems to help break cycles of retaliatory violence.

  • Protect and strengthen our state pistol permitting system (and oppose national concealed carry laws that make our permitting system null and void)

  • Oppose concealed carry of firearms in churches and all school property.

HOUSING AS A HUMAN RIGHT

Housing should be a human right, not a commodity available only to those with means to afford it.  We can make affordable housing available to every North Carolinian.

As our state representative, Jonah will:

  • Fight for expanded income-based property tax relief.

  • Advocate for land use policy that allows our towns and cities to pursue equitable infill development to increase the amount and diversity of sustainable, affordable housing.

  • Leverage American Rescue Plan dollars and other federal, state, and local resources to build new affordable housing across our state.

  • Support rapid rehousing programs where people experiencing temporary homelessness are quickly housed and provided temporary services and financial assistance to bring them out of homelessness quickly.

  • Expand permanent supportive housing so that people who have experienced chronic homelessness can have a place to live along with  intensive supports, rather than relying on emergency rooms and jails for services.

SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE WITH INTELLECTUAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (“I/DD”) have a right to the resources they need to live independent lives and thrive in their home communities whenever possible, and top-quality care in institutional settings when necessary.

As our state representative, Jonah will:

  • Work to dramatically reduce the Registry of Unmet Needs waitlist so that more individuals with I/DD can receive support through the NC Innovations Waiver, and he will work to advance legislation to ensure that these programs serve all communities equitably.

  • Fight for additional funding for I/DD support personnel in schools.

  • Advocate for state funding for inclusive, affordable, intentional housing communities where individuals with I/DD can thrive in an integrated setting with non-I/DD individuals. 

  • Support regular rate increases and advanced training so that the highest quality direct support professionals can be recruited into the profession and retained.

  • Champion the reconstitution of the I/DD Caucus at the NCGA.

IMMIGRANT RIGHTS

Immigrants are vital to the growth and success of our state, and we should make North Carolina the most welcoming state in the nation for immigrants irrespective of status.

As our state representative, Jonah will:

  • Work to expand economic and educational support systems for all new immigrants, including refugees.

  • Fight to end community-destructive collaborations between local law enforcement and ICE.

  • Join the movement to allow undocumented people to receive a drivers’ license in our state.

  • Work to expand public benefits, including Medicaid, to undocumented North Carolinians.

FOOD SECURITY

North Carolina is tenth in the nation in food insecurity-- nearly 600,000 households don’t have enough food to eat every day.  That’s unacceptable, and we must do better.

As our state representative, Jonah will:​

  • Protect categorical eligibility so lower-income families with high expenses can retain their food assistance benefits.

  • Push for the reinstatement of the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit so the lowest-income families in North Carolina can have extra resources to put food on the table.

What is unpronounced tends to nonexistence.  -Czeslaw Milosz

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

EMPOWERING WORKING PEOPLE

We all have a right to a living wage and to feel safe at our jobs.  We must build an inclusive, 21st-century economy that allows all working people to thrive.

As our state representative, Jonah will:

  • Fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and expand unemployment benefits.

  • Focus on intentional, equitable investment in community workforce training, apprenticeship programs, and support for small businesses.

  • Expand workplace protections for all workers, including paid family leave, pay equity, and protections against workplace discrimination and sexual harassment.

  • Work to strengthen collective bargaining and ultimately repeal “right to work” in North Carolina.

 

LGBTQ RIGHTS

The hateful bullying of transgender children by our state’s politicians over the past decade has been despicable. We need policies that respect, support, and lift up all LGBTQ people in our state.

As our state representative, Jonah will:

  • Advance legislation to provide protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

  • Work to repeal discriminatory laws like the criminalization of HIV and the ban on transgender-inclusive coverage in state employee health insurance.

  • Promote easier processes for gender marker change on government documents.

  • Vehemently oppose any attempts to introduce a 'Don't Say Gay' bill in North Carolina, and any attempts to suppress or erase LGBTQ identity or expression or history in our schools.

As our state representative, Jonah will:

  • Work to fully-legalize cannabis in North Carolina, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars into our state’s economy and ending decades of punitive policy

  • Center equity in any legalization efforts, so that communities that have borne the brunt of policing of low-level drug offenses and drug-related incarceration see the most benefits from the new industry.

  • Work to seal or expunge criminal records related to personal-use cannabis possession, and to secure the commutation of sentences for those currently serving time for possession.

Criminalization of cannabis is morally wrong, and unequal enforcement of cannabis laws has disproportionately harmed poor communities, disabled people, and communities of color. Criminalization also makes no economic sense.

FULLY LEGALIZING CANNABIS

 
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