Transparency & Strengthening Democracy
When I talk to many fellow Michiganders around town, the same question seems to pop-up: are our leaders in Lansing even listening to us? I understand this frustration. It feels as if the only time we hear from the people that represent us is during election season or through the occasional mailer. As a firm believer in our democratic institutions, I find this lack of open, honest communication with the public worrying. As your representative, I will take an active role in communicating with constituents and actively listening to their concerns or ideas. I also want to strengthen democracy in Michigan by allowing more avenues for citizens to voice their concerns to their elected officials and to ensure that voting in our state is not only accessible, but also secure.
My Transparency Plan
Modern Fireside Chats
The legislative process shouldn't happen in a vacuum, far away in the Capitol Building in Lansing. The process of writing and passing laws demands the voice of the people that these bills effect. With modern technology, it should not be as difficult as it is to communicate with our representatives and for our voices to be heard. As your Representative, I will bring that change to Lansing. I want to be able to discuss what policies I am working on, why I am voting on bills the way I am, and directly ask for your opinions on the state of Michigan. I plan on doing so by regularly releasing audio/video addresses that can be easily accessed through social media or downloaded for free. These addresses will be cataloged for anyone to hear at any time and will be properly archived. This is not only a way for me to explain to my neighbors, friends, family, and co-workers my thoughts and philosophies on the way I vote, but to also act as a way for me to receive input from the citizens I represent and for them to hold me accountable.
I believe in the power of town halls. They are a classic American tradition that has dominated our culture for longer than our nation has existed. It is a tradition that now requires a little refinement. As your representative, it is my duty to actively hold and attend these town hall meetings. I want people to have the access to communicate directly to me with their comments and concerns but to also hear the concerns their neighbors have. I want to not only hold physical town halls where communities can come together and discuss their problems; but I also hope to hold digital town halls, where people from Berlin Township to Harsen's Island can easily communicate with me and one another at the same time. These two mediums allow me to not only hear from the local constituent, but to also contextualize the problems that may affect an individual, a community, or even the state.
It's time to pass laws that not only protect our democracy, but strengthen it. To do so, we need to look at how elections are held in Michigan. First Past the Post voting and insufficient voting infrastructure makes it difficult for people to vote and have their concerns heard by those in Lansing. I believe by addressing voter turnout and our election system we can return to the people of Michigan the voice they deserve to have in their own government. To do so, I will work towards:
- Bringing a mail-in voting system to Michigan to ensure all adults that are eligible to vote can receive their ballot and have their vote counted regardless of where they live, their work schedule, or the illnesses they suffer from.
- Encouraging local communities to experiment with different voting methods and ensuring legislation protects those rights.
- Leading a grassroots campaign of gathering more volunteers for election day that focuses on engaging the local youth communities and getting them interested in the democratic process.
Ending Partisan Gerrymandering
The people of Michigan have spoken and made it clear: partisan gerrymandering is a detriment to our democracy. While a group of citizens tirelessly work to end gerrymandering in the state, I worry the petition will end up with many other petition efforts: tacked onto a separate bill and voted down. I want to stand by the people of Michigan and ensure that their desire to end gerrymandering makes its way through both chambers of Lansing. The people of this state have spoken, and it's time for Representatives to listen and actually represent the needs and desires of the people in districts with like concerns. Districts should be drawn by an independent commission based on the needs of the people and not the needs of a candidate to win.