Families and seniors shouldn't have to choose between putting food on the table and paying skyrocketing prices for prescription drugs they or their children need to survive.
Lowering prescription drug prices is essential.
Any measure we take, such as capping out-of-pocket costs and improving prescription drug price transparency, should be designed to lower costs for all payers and benefit all Hoosiers.
Indiana's senior population 65 and older will increase from 14.6% in 2015 to 20.7% in 2035, with all other age groups declining in population. We must prepare now by attracting healthcare professionals and increasing memory care facilities statewide to provide proper care for our aging generation.
Investing in medical research facilities, such as IUSM-SB/ND in South Bend, is a positive step. Source: Indiana Business Research Center
To improve outcomes for Hoosier children, we need to make early childhood education available to all families, provide fair and adequate funding for K-12 public education and teacher salaries, and reduce food insecurities through expanded school breakfast and lunch programs.
Across the state and especially in the South Bend Community School Corporation, efforts must be made to lower the school suspension/expulsion racial disparity gap and provide schools with the resources to ensure they can employ enough counselors to address the needs of all students
Our Public Schools:
Indiana ranks last in the nation for teacher pay increases with the last increase in 2002. With the salary being the lowest in the Midwest, and all of our neighbors paying an average $14,000 more per year, we are not positioning ourselves well to retain and attract talent. More than a decade of tinkering with the system has led us to this point. We must restore K-12 public education funding that was cut in 2009 and specifically allocate funding to school corporations for teacher pay.
Ensure our children are provided a safe and inspiring environment on their way to, from and during school. Equip bus drivers and classrooms with the tools and support necessary to succeed, including updates to safety. Equip schools with enough counselors to address the needs of all students. These professionals are trained to provide psychological support to students facing emotional stress and challenges, reduce threatening situations by identifying troubled students and providing aid, and teach social skills by building relationships with classmates and teachers. The Center for Education Statistics ranked Indiana 42nd in the nation in student-to-counselor ratio in 2013.
Our Workforce Development:
Companies across the state are reporting a serious shortage of skilled and unskilled laborers. We have to focus efforts on providing a well-rounded education at all levels that includes STEM and employability skills in order to ensure Hoosiers can fulfill the demands of jobs available.
We also need to ensure we are doing all we can to provide employment and business ownership opportunities for veterans and addressing 'brain drain' that causes many of the most highly-educated Hoosiers to leave Indiana after graduation. Source: Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress
Our 21st Century Jobs:
We must create good paying, 21st century jobs that support a family, and create opportunity for growth and development. Indiana is ranked 12th for wind power, yet wind power only accounts or 5% of our energy. We can equip industry to take the lead at a state level, and compete in a growing job market, while well positioning new energy resources for future generations of our workforce. Source: American Wind Energy Association.
Our Hoosier Women:
Indiana has the 7th highest infant mortality rate in the U.S. We must provide access to prenatal care by working to eliminate "maternity care deserts" that exist across the state.
Access to quality healthcare is a critical component of positive maternal health and birth outcomes.
Fixing Indiana's gender wage gap, creating parity for women in our tax system and improving women's health are all long overdue.
IN 2017, Hoosier women earned just 73 cents for every dollar earned by Hoosier men.
This translates to women in Indiana making about half a million dollars less than Hoosier men over the course of their lifetime due to wage disparities.
As of June 2019, 12 states specifically exempt medically essential hygiene products from sales tax. Indiana should join those states and exempt diapers and menstrual products from sales tax.
Our Water Quality:
Getting a passing grade from the federal government does not mean the water we drink meets the latest health guidelines. The EPA has not set a new tap water standard in nearly 20 years. It is time to reevaluate safe levels of contaminants in our water sources and work to ensure clean water by keeping pollution out of source water in the first place.
In 2018, 22 million pounds of plastic were dumped into the Great Lakes — over half of which was dumped into Lake Michigan. Source: Rochester Institute of Technology