I always have been and always will be committed to fighting with and for the most vulnerable and underrepresented in our community. We have big needs in our human services department, and we need a supervisor proactively reaching out to grassroots groups and the community to hear what we can be doing better.
- The Early Childhood Initiative is doing great work serving pregnant moms and children from ages 0-4, but grassroots groups have noticed a gap in services for families experiencing homelessness. We need to develop a 'homeless' zone for our Early Childhood Initiative to address this gap.
- We provide extensive services for mental wellness, but our providers see gaps in care in dual diagnoses (substance abuse and mental illness simultaneously). We need to listen to providers and increase coordination of care for dual diagnosis prevention, identification, and treatment.
- Dane County authorized a study to examine the benefits of a crisis restoration center to be completed this year. Should we see an opportunity to improve care for those with mental illness, we need to act quickly to implement the proposed solutions and protect those who are suffering from a mental health crisis while having no place to go.
- Public transportation options for adults with disabilities, aging adults struggling to get to health appointments, grocery shopping, and social visits, and low-income families commuting for work aren't meeting our needs. We need to listen to consumers of these services and determine a path forward for expanded services.
- Our Public Health Department promotes health minds, bodies, and environments for everyone, but we're seeing some of our neighbors left behind. I will work with public health officials to determine how I can help reach the Department's goals for their 2020 strategic plan. Some highlights include a focus on active living (about 60% of adults in Dane County are overweight or obese), reducing racial disparities in health (particularly around health insurance and birth weight), and reducing substance abuse in a time when we're seeing increased overdoses throughout the country and county.
Reduce racial disparities
Dane County is among the worst when it comes to the racial disparities in our economy, in our education system, and in our justice system. A comprehensive approach to reducing racial disparities includes viewing health, environment, housing, economic opportunity and education through an equity lens.
- We should encourage economic growth and entrepreneurship in minority communities by supporting mentorship and reducing barriers to capital.
- I will work with the three prongs of the criminal justice system to implement fixes that we've know about for a long time. We can reduce the number of young, black men and women being disproportionately incarcerated in Dane County if we follow-through on wraparound services after release and social services on the front end.
Protect the environment
Protecting the environment isn't just about green space and tree canopies. It's a social justice issue, and includes reducing energy usage, improving health outcomes for our children, and defending our green space and our lakes in every community.