Reproductive Choice

I’m appalled that our children will grow up with fewer rights than my wife, Sarah, and I had. The Supreme Court’s recent decision is tragic and I couldn’t feel more strongly about protecting reproductive choice. Not only is it a person’s fundamental right to make their own reproductive decisions, but it’s never the government’s place to tell someone what they can or can’t do with their body. That’s an individual’s right alone.

I’m committed to building the allyship we so desperately need, overturning Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban, and protecting reproductive choice for everyone in our state. We need to preserve and expand access to safe and legal abortion care through proactive policy and legislation.

Gun Violence Prevention

Thoughts and prayers won’t prevent the next mass school shooting. Only tangible measures to further gun violence prevention can do that. And we’re not talking about trampling on second amendment rights. Plenty of Michiganders hunt, others own firearms for personal protection, and responsible gun ownership isn’t the problem.

But the weapon used in Uvalde, same as the recent shooting in Buffalo, was an AR-15. Hunters don’t use AR-15s. They’re weapons of aggression without any reasonable place in society. Their sole purpose is butchery and havoc. So we absolutely respect one’s decision to hunt or own firearms. But not at the expense of our childrens’ future and community’s safety.

I ardently support, and will actively pursue, gun violence prevention across the board. From requiring universal background checks before every purchase, and enacting waiting periods before one can leave with the firearm they purchased, to mandating the purchase of safe storage packaging alongside every owned firearm.

Moreover, we should prohibit the possession of high-capacity magazines, ban the ownership of military style rifles, and ensure that domestic abusers aren’t eligible for gun possession. The stakes are too high and our childrens’ lives are at stake. They have been for far too long. And unless we fundamentally change today’s reality, our children and grandchildren will judge us in the harshest of terms.

Entry-Level Housing

There are many different ways to incentivize the creation of entry-level housing, but outlined below are a few ideas. We’d love your input as well — please don’t hesitate to reach out to us and pass it along.

We could begin requiring, at the state legislative level, that municipalities, develop entry-level housing plans. This would help identify opportunities for the development of additional rental units and improve local effectiveness in the delivery of those units.

Similarly, we could incentive the development of additional housing by adopting exemptions, waivers, and reductions of charges normally assessed to residential development in exchange for the construction of more housing that meets state-set affordability criteria.

Long-Term Rentals

There are a handful of different ways we could further the development of long-term rentals, but we’ve outlined below a few ideas. We’d love your input as well — please don’t hesitate to reach out to us and pass it along.

One direct way our state government could relieve the long-term rental shortage is by incentivizing the development of residential housing that maxes out local zoning ordinances. The state could do this by adopting state tax credits for developers who invest in building out four, five, or six story long-term rental buildings that are within existing municipal zoning regulations.

The state could also establish a significant new tax credit for long-term renters, conceptually similar to the mortgage interest deduction for homeowners, who meet certain professional criteria.

Overcoming Polarization

We need to begin overcoming political polarization and trying to rebuild trust with our neighbors. Here are a few different ideas that might help us get there. But we’d love your input — please reach out with any suggestions you might have.

We could establish state-funded digital literacy programs that teach our friends, children, and neighbors about how to recognize misinformation. The programs could be made available at every library in the state, and woven into elementary, middle, and high school civics classes.

We could introduce new state-wide legislation that bolsters support for local nonpartisan media, providing grants to subsidize civic reporting and digital subscription-based infrastructure. How can we expect to understand and respect one another if we’re drinking from different pools of fact, reliant upon echo chambers of curated newsfeeds?

And just as importantly, we need local political leaders who will renew trust in our institutions, build a broad tent, strong coalition, and bring as many of our neighbors into the fold as possible. Not candidates who are focused on identity politics and running against their opponents. But people who are excited to run for the things they believe in.

Affordable Child Care

Affordable care should be accessible to every family. And while different plans and ideas exist, we’ve outlined below a few compelling ones.

We could start by introducing state legislation that expands funding to existing child care sites, adds direly needed new facilities, and begins to subsidize public child care. Counties could be obligated to provide preschool to all children from the age of one, and parents could receive a child care benefit covering some percentage of care-related expenses.

The state could also cap child care expenses at a percentage of each family’s income, not to exceed what the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sets as the standard for affordability.

This child care program could be funded to a state-set cost model, which would meet the actual cost of providing high-quality care and education to our children. This would ensure that early care educators are paid a living wage. Taken together, these measures would vastly expand the scope and affordability of child care in Michigan.

Getting Back to Work

Restaurant jobs have always been difficult, but the emotional stress exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, frequent restaurant closures, scaled back hours, and a more at-risk working environment have led to record number of employees leaving the industry.

It’s been particularly difficult to attract kitchen staff and managers, upon whom the entire operation relies. To combat this, and ensure that back of house restaurants are fully staffed, there are a few different measures we could take. Outlined below are a couple of ideas. Do you have others that you’d like to talk though? Please let us know.

Firstly, we could pass new statewide legislation that would compensate employees more fairly by making it easier for restaurants to share tips across roles. Tip sharing could be extended to back of house staff, and made proportional based on the number of hours worked during an extended period of time (say one month, for example). This could go a long way toward improving compensation for the most sought after roles, while protecting small businesses from unsustainable overhead that might endanger everybody’s livelihoods.

And secondly, the state could pass legislation that subsidizes emotional healthcare costs for every restaurant employee. This would make it easier for restaurant workers to learn different techniques to cope with stress, and give restaurateurs a competitive advantage in not only recruiting the best talent possible, but also in retaining them.

Great Lakes Preservation

The Great Lakes have a significant impact on our economic health, with over 214,000 Michigan jobs supported by tourism alone. That’s why protecting the our water is of critical importance to Michigan’s future.

The state legislature could pass new legislation prohibiting fossil fuel pipelines from operating in the Great Lakes, and disallowing subterranean drilling within the Great Lakes seabed. Rather than investing in a long-term fossil fuel future, we could further the measured and sustainable transition to renewables by incentivizing the creation of additional solar and wind energy installations across the state.

Digital Consumer Rights

Technology’s prevalence isn’t changing. And it’s time we update our state laws to realize that fact and begin putting Michiganders above private corporations. How many companies have personally identifiable information about us that we don’t ever know about? Who is it being sold to and to what effect? We deserve to know and regulate this data as citizens of our twenty-first century world.

We need to give Michiganders more control over personal information that businesses collect about them, and introduce new state legislation that protects our digital privacy. We should all have the right to know what personal information a business is collecting about us, how that information is being used, and have the right to both opt out of sale of our personal information and delete the collected data if requested.