Infrastructure

Our country’s infrastructure is outdated and prevents communities from building and participating in 21st century economies. Ensuring that Federal infrastructure plans include our community and create good jobs by improving our bridges, fixing our streets, and repairing aging public buildings will be my priority in Congress. 

 

Big projects, like the I-74 bridge over the Mississippi River, and smaller ones, like fixing roads and the bridges over small creeks and rivers that criss-cross Illinois, bring good jobs here at home and ensure that families can get to work and school safely and efficiently. Former industrial sites that no longer meet the needs of our communities need to be repurposed into mixed-use spaces that include affordable housing, green spaces, retail, and small businesses. 

 

Infrastructure includes the provision of services for citizens to live out the American Dream; clean water, affordable and reliable utilities, and broadband access for all. I support legislation like the Innovation and Competition Act to build infrastructure and support research, training, and technology hubs in communities like ours. These are not partisan issues, nor are they specifically urban or rural issues; they are American issues. 

Economic Development

Growing our economy by supporting small businesses, protecting workers, and restoring our country’s fiscal health has never been more important. For too long, our government has supported policies that shortchange small businesses for the benefit of established, large corporations. Small businesses need access to both human capital through incubator spaces that can foster the skills necessary for successful entrepreneurship, and physical capital through investment in infrastructure and broadband to modernize their business. 

 

Workers need confidence to return to work. Safe working conditions, higher wages, paid sick leave, and affordable and reliable childcare will support those seeking jobs. And we must recognize the efforts of those workers already at work to ensure their safety and well-being. I appreciate our local labor partners and all the work they do to support and protect workers.

 

Finally, we need fiscal policies to combat inflation and address the deficit. We need to both grow our economy and monitor deficit spending. For too long, big corporations and the 1% have not paid their fair share. They must do their part to provide the services needed for all to live with dignity. At the same time,  we have to make tough decisions to get the country out of debt, as I did on the Rock Island County Board.

Health Care

My husband has served the Quad Cities community as a physician for over 25 years. Our family has seen how quality healthcare can change lives. Access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare of that high quality is a critical component of a thriving community. Unfortunately, both Galesburg and Rockford have experienced recent hospital closures, which are devastating to the populations they serve. We need to address both the shortage of professionals and  the rising cost of premiums and prescription drugs. We need to ensure that comprehensive healthcare includes mental healthcare, helping everyone from farmers to our kids to our veterans. And we need to make it easier for those in rural communities and big cities alike to get timely appointments and receive care before a health crisis develops, in part by expanding telehealth access. 

 

As we continue to navigate the pandemic, we need access to covid tests, personal protective equipment, vaccines, and boosters. 

 

Expanding access to covid-care and healthcare at large promotes a healthy community, which in turn will get our economy back on track, help our students learn, and make our downtowns more vibrant.

Education 

As a former Moline School Board member, professor at Augustana, and the primary educator of my children, I understand the importance of investing in education. In Congress, I will fight for universal preschool to give students a fair and equitable start during arguably the most important time in their development. 

 

Now is the time to modernize children’s education and to prepare them for a 21st-century economy. During my time on the School Board, we modernized the Moline School District, expanding schools to provide space for alternative learning, art, extracurriculars, and more. We updated their technology so students could learn with computers and encouraged training in the skilled trades. I also understand the importance of equipping our schools with daycare and mental health support. Schools are at the heart of our communities, and our K-12 delivery system must reflect our needs. I know that learning doesn’t stop after high school graduation. Our community colleges and four-year universities need to be more affordable. We also need to encourage investment in the skilled trades, which offer high-paying jobs with opportunities for advancement right here at home. We need to work with schools to find careers that fit graduates and employers without saddling students with crushing debt.

Environment 

I was able to visit more than 45 states with my kids when they were young by taking an epic road trip nearly every year. I’m grateful we did, as they saw many parts of our country that have since been devastated by wildfires, floods, and other extreme weather events. If we don’t act quickly, our American way of life is at risk. Everyone deserves access to clean water, fresh air, and green spaces. I’m proud of the work we’ve done in Rock Island County to restore prairie habitat in our Forest Preserves and welcome endangered species like the Rusty Patched bumble bee and the Indiana bat back to our community. 

 

Mitigating the effects of climate change will drive innovation across industries and create high-paying jobs as we work to address pollution, preserve wildlife habitats, and protect our communities from floods. We need to hold big companies accountable for the pollution they generate, and remove loopholes that incentivize pay-outs instead of clean energy. Preparing for a 21st-century clean economy will create a wide range of high-paying, union infrastructure jobs for generations to come. Adapting our communities to the realities of changing weather patterns to protect against floods, droughts and wind is another opportunity to create local, green jobs. 

 

We can support our environment and our economy at the same time, but we need to act before it’s too late. 

Agriculture

Here in the 17th district, 70% of our cities have fewer than 5,000 people. The voices of our rural community deserve to be heard. Farms in this district contribute to the nation’s food security, provide jobs, and participate in conservation efforts that protect our environment. Current uncertainty in the commodities market due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine further demonstrates the strategic importance of midwestern farms. 

 

Farmers deserve transparent and fair regulations that are based in science and developed with the input of a variety of stakeholders. Small farmers need access to capital to run their farms with 21st century equipment. Farming bills too often support unsustainable mega-farms at the cost of our local farmers. 

 

If we don’t begin to treat the climate crisis seriously, droughts, heavy storms, eutrophication, and other disasters will continue to hurt farmers’ yields and ruin farming land. As your next Congresswoman, I won’t just focus on our big cities - I pledge to travel to our small communities to find long-term solutions that support our supply chain and encourage investment in rural infrastructure that includes broadband and mental and physical healthcare.