I have had the great privilege of rearing each of my four children from home, as has been my highest calling. One of our sons has had twenty-two surgeries in his lifetime due to a preexisting medical condition. This long, winding narrative has led me down hallways I never thought we would travel. What begun as a quest to advocate for our son has become, for me, a mission to improve health care for every family, here in Williamson County and beyond.
Walking the halls of children’s hospitals has led me to profound areas of advocacy. I not only understand health care and what is at stake, I’m living through what I’m fighting for. Since 2017 there has been an attack on health care in this nation from the highest levels of government. I was part of a national movement that helped defeat all four health care legislations that would have decimated children’s hospitals and health care in unimaginable ways. I was in the Senate Hart building advocating for ALL of us, especially the nearly 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Our elected representatives in Williamson County have let families suffer from uncertainty about their lack of access to coverage, as well as leaving them in poorer health. Most of the public doesn’t realize that Medicaid Expansion is health care our leaders could provide tomorrow without an additional dollar in taxes.
Politicians played games with health care as the extremists of the Republican Party waged a war against their own governor’s plan. Our representatives in Williamson County impeded Governor Haslam’s Insure Tennessee plan from bringing Medicaid Expansion to the state of Tennessee not once, but twice.
This is what I know for sure: the Medicaid Expansion part of the Affordable Care Act was not the answer to all of our health care infrastructure problems, but it was a bridge to mercy, and it was denied to the suffering in our state. Governor Haslam simply wanted to offer a bridge to mercy and expand Medicaid, just like Vice President Mike Pence did for his state when he was governor of Indiana.
What I know soundly is that public policies affect the lives human beings.
NO ONE walks into an emergency room at 3am as a Republican or a Democrat. NO ONE opens his or her medical bills on a Tuesday afternoon as a Republican or a Democrat. Politics has for too long stood in the way of us doing right by our fellow neighbor – leaving too many of us across this county in a place of being underinsured and, subsequently, medically stranded by our laws that impede health care for all.
I never thought that I’d be someone who would run for political office, but I know that I’m supposed to be an advocate for everyone here in Williamson County. If I’m elected to the Tennessee State Senate this November, I will spend every waking moment in office making sure no parent has to face the challenges of caring for their children without hope, without sound options and without someone who will stand up for them in government.
I will also be an advocate for our children’s hospitals in this state. Many people do not realize that one of the most important roles of the state legislature is to manage our state Medicaid program, which directly impacts our children’s hospitals. The children’s hospitals in this nation would not be able to function without the mercy of Medicaid, and it is vitally important that our Medicaid programs are fully supported and protected by legislators that understand the importance of Medicaid to our health care infrastructures.
I’m new to this, and I invite you to get to know me, to really consider the issues and to make your own decision about the way forward. It is my hope that I will earn your vote for the change we all know is needed in our politics to join us together and work across the partisan aisle for the good of all.
I’m no longer just walking the floors of children’s hospitals; I’m running for them. And what I’m fighting for, your family just might need one day.