Public schools are the foundation of our society. Armed with a good public education, our children can be prepared to be competitive in the job market, and well equipped to be active members of society. If elected, my top priority is ensuring our public schools have the resources they need to best educate our children.
Over the last 8 years, drastic cuts in funding, the expansion of the voucher program to include private schools, and aggressive attacks on educators through Act 10 have crippled the ability of our public schools to provide the high-quality education we have all come to expect in Wisconsin. What we are left with are public schools facing tough decisions about whether to cut staff or essential programs in order to keep their doors open. Environments like this are not what we want for our children. It's time we prioritize and invest in our public schools again.
Every day, too many Wisconsinites are asked to make impossible decisions caused by the cost of healthcare. People are trying to figure out which bill to delay paying in order to afford out of pocket expenses for medical visits and treatments. Some seniors are facing the choice between food and life-saving medication. These are questions no one should find themselves facing.
I believe that access to high quality, affordable healthcare is a fundamental human right, not a privilege available to only those who can afford it. I will continue to push Wisconsin to accept the full Medicaid expansion because the decision not to have cost the hardworking taxpayers of this state more than $190 million dollars annually and has resulted in 80,000 Wisconsinites losing their healthcare. I will work across party lines to find ways of bringing down the cost of healthcare, removing profit from our healthcare system, and proposing laws to ensure that drug manufacturers can't continue inflating the cost of prescriptions.
I will fight to ensure that decisions concerning a women's reproductive health are made between her and her doctor, and I will fight to ensure that these kinds of services become more accessible. When we provide accessible, affordable, and truly comprehensive reproductive healthcare and education, STI and unplanned pregnancy rates go down, and potentially life-threatening illness or complications are caught earlier. I know first hand the benefits of access and availability provides. In fact, I probably wouldn't be a mother today if I hadn't had access to the essential, life-saving screening services these health centers provide; the very screenings that detected precancerous cells while I was in college.
Finally, I believe that we must do more to provide access to mental health services, addiction treatment centers, and rehabilitation facilities. The opioid epidemic has hit this part of Wisconsin harder than most of the state, and we need real solutions that will actually heal our communities.