What policies will you propose to address the opioid crisis without eliminating pain management options for those who live with chronic pain?
I believe it is important to trust the medical research that shows chronic pain is widespread, and that opioid addiction risk is high, even among those living with chronic pain who have been properly prescribed opiate treatment. I would propose the decriminalization of addiction and increased funding for addiction services. I will also advocate for improved access and affordability for alternative pain management treatments, including but not limited to medical marijuana. Ultimately, our medical professionals need to be consulted for evidence-based treatment methods, with support from lawmakers.
Would your proposed policies account for the needs of some individuals to utilize both medical marijuana and pain medication in different facets of their treatment? If so, how?
Yes. Medical professionals, particularly those who specialize in chronic pain treatment have the knowledge and evidence to determine patient needs and care.
What changes will you make to ensure that people who require pain management services can access and receive services that center their individualized needs?
I will push for a single-payer healthcare system on a state and federal level. The biggest obstacles to accessing and receiving services are 1) Lack of healthcare coverage, 2) cost of treatment, 3) accessibility, and 4) laws that limit doctors’ treatment plans. Step one is to lower and ultimately eliminate health care costs. Healthcare is a human right; it should not be a privilege for only those who can afford it. Step two would be ensuring accessible services are available including home visits, transportation to-and-from medical facilities, and whole-health doctor’s offices where a patient can see their primary practitioner as well as mental health professionals and pain management doctors in the same building. Step three is to keep the government out of decisions between doctors and their patients.
Do you plan to address the disparity in equitable pain management treatment experienced by those in the Black, Indigenous and People of Color or multiply marginalized communities? If so, how?
Health equity is critical to ensure society values every person in every community. I will work to find solutions by utilizing community organizations already addressing the systemic issues preventing equitable care in pain management and analyzing racial disparities in communities of color. I am in favor of implementing systemic changes by educating health care professionals on implicit bias and requiring achievable goals toward closing disparity gaps.
What policies would you implement to ensure people with disabilities receive comprehensive, high quality, and equitable mental health services and insurance coverage?
I believe healthcare is a human right. Mental health care is included without question. I would implement a whole-health approach similar to Veterans Affairs. No one should have to worry about whether they can afford to see a doctor or a counselor. I will push for accessible resources to get those with disabilities coverage and income as a state legislator.
Share your thoughts on co-responder programs (mental health & law enforcement joint response to mental health crises).
Co-responder programs are entirely more favorable to patients and doctors than a police-first response. Mental health professionals are the experts and should be the first responders diffusing situations; this will save lives.
How would you work to eliminate the disproportionate connection between being disabled and becoming entangled in the criminal justice system as opposed to being given necessary and equitable mental health treatment?
People dealing with addiction and overall mental health concerns should be met with compassion. Diversion programs that include mental health services and treatment is a priority of mine in decriminalizing being disabled.
In your opinion, what can be done to identify and mitigate disability bias in the treatment of mental health? How would you work to address this?
Mitigating disability bias in the treatment of mental health can be achieved by analyzing the data, providing implicit bias training of medical professionals to counteract the disparities in treatment/services, and requiring evidence that health equity is a priority amongst all medical facilities.
What policies would you propose to encourage public investment in improving accessibility and implementing universal design?
Improving accessibility is costly, but in no way impossible. I propose the state budget incorporate funding for implementing universal design to care for those who need accessible access now and in the future.
What policies or incentives will you promote to encourage private business owners to make their buildings accessible?
Tax credits and debt relief are policies I will promote toward incentivizing businesses to cater to all with accessible buildings.
How can housing data be utilized to better account for the needs of people with disabilities and to promote increasingly accessible living spaces?
Housing data can determine where gaps need to be filled in current living spaces as well as the importance of accessibility in new housing projects.
What policies would you implement to provide people with disabilities with equitable access to upward economic opportunity?
I would implement policies that personalize job opportunities to people living with disabilities. One way this could be accomplished is by incentivizing employers to provide accommodations before hiring applicants. By making jobs accessible first, people with disabilities will have better opportunities to improve their economic status.
What changes to the current social safety net would you propose to implement a more all-encompassing framework that allows people with disabilities to receive needed services that are not currently covered by private or employer-based insurance, such as personal care and other uncovered assistance they may require, while not limiting the ability to pursue economic opportunity? If so, how?
Community health centers, including personal care and other uncovered assistance that patients may require should be funded well and held to higher standards.
How would you work to promote and incentivize equal opportunity for those with disabilities in employment?
By creating partnerships with community organizations already doing the work and taking their lead. Additionally, educating businesses and employers on the benefits of equal opportunity for themselves, their employees now and in the future, and society at large.
How would you propose to address the barriers that unequitable access to transportation create to economic opportunity for those with disabilities?
Public transportation is one of my greatest concerns. Public transit should be designed for not just our generation and the one after, but also the one after that. Funding needs to go toward accessible and frequent routes that allow people with disabilities to be picked up and dropped off at home, medical appointments, grocery stores, pharmacies, jobs, and community service centers.
What policies will you propose to better protect the rights of parents with disabilities and to ensure they have needed supports?
Mandatory whole-health resources and support without financial barriers.
Research shows that removing a child from their parents should only be used as a last resort. How might you work to ensure this standard is adhered to equally when parents with disabilities are involved and adaptation isn’t conflated with neglect or abuse?
Forced poverty is a burden no one should have to suffer. This makes it more difficult to gain access to needed social support. It would be beneficial to require social workers, mandatory reporters, and Guardian ad Litems to be educated and trained on the needs of and biases against parents living with disabilities.
What policies would you propose to further address bias against parents with disabilities among child protection workers?
Education and training on implicit bias and the ramifications of separating parents with disabilities from their children through no fault of their own.
When support is needed to guarantee that individuals with disabilities can exercise their parental rights, how will your policies ensure such supports are easily accessible to the family?
Eliminating financial barriers and reaching out to the disabled community for their input. Utilizing their experiences to implement a whole-health approach for families at risk of discrimination.
What policies do you propose to protect the reproductive rights of people with disabilities?
There should be no caveats to protecting reproductive rights of any person. Those decisions should be between a patient and their doctor. I propose that the government stay out of any personal medical decisions.