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Access to Education

Children are our future and they deserve access to quality education. We should prioritize education funding throughout the state, expand pre-K programs, and ensure that college is affordable.

When it comes to our children, all stakeholders should be involved in fostering a positive learning environment. While teachers should be held accountable, parents also have a responsibility in ensuring that children value education and their schoolwork. Schools should encourage parent involvement and open communication between administration, teachers, and parents.

 

Criminal Justice Reform

Our criminal justice system is broken. Mass incarceration and mandatory minimum sentencing policies exacerbate economic and racial inequality, split families apart, cost taxpayers money, and hurt our economy. Additionally, the focus on on incarceration rather than rehabilitation for drug crimes has proven ineffective in reducing recidivism and drug addiction.

Mandatory Sentencing

Forcing judges to issue unnecessarily harsh prison sentences for nonviolent crimes hurts our community by tearing families apart and ruining lives. With the cost of housing an inmate in at over $20,000 a year, prison beds should be reserved for the worst offenders.

We should allow judges to do their job and give them the flexibility and discretion that they need to look at the facts of each individual case and issue appropriate punishment. With the exception of murder and crimes involving children, the legislature should reform minimum sentencing statutes and put the power back in the hands of the judges.

Drug Laws

Families have specifically been torn apart by our failed drug laws that are disproportionately applied to poor and minority communities. A conviction for a drug crime can follow someone around for life and prevent future job opportunities. We should expand pre-trial intervention, diversion programs, and drug courts that focus on helping drug addicts rather than simply sending them to prison. Rehabilitation programs for drug use have also proven more cost effective long-term than incarceration.


Marijuana should be decriminalized. Otherwise law-abiding adults should not be arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana. States that have decriminalized marijuana have not experienced increased drug use. Law enforcement should be allowed to allocate their resources to combat more serious crimes.

 

Preserving Our Environment

Preserving our clean air, water, and natural environment is important for us and for future generations. With the growing threat of climate change, it is even more important to pursue policies that increase energy efficiency, encourage renewable fuels, and reduce pollution.

We should invest in clean energy and new technologies that can create jobs and help our economy and our environment. We should transition to solar, wind, hydroelectric, and other renewable sources of energy. Companies, local governments, and individuals can be offered incentives to lower their carbon emissions.



Committee to Elect Michael Smith
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