Franklin resident Elizabeth Madeira, who is challenging 18-year incumbent Glen Casada for his seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives, sat down with the Williamson Home Page Monday to share where she stands on the issues, particularly in three categories; criminal justice reform, access to health care, and education.
Criminal justice reform
Madeira: This is an issue that's personal to me; my two oldest kids are biracial - we adopted them - and I'm kind of embarrassed to say that it wasn't until we had them in our family that I started paying more attention to issues of racial justice across the country.
I feel very encouraged that there have been so many people across the country, across Tennessee and especially here in Williamson County who have been making their voices heard and want there to be more justice across the board. I absolutely agree with the Floyd Act, which makes sure police use body cams, ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants.
When I went to the Vigil in Franklin a few weeks ago, I heard the Franklin police chief [speak], and it seems like the Franklin Police Department is ahead of the curve, so I'm grateful that we're already ahead of a lot of Tennessee police departments in that regard.
Access to health care
Madeira: Tennessee is one of only 13 states that has not expanded Medicaid, so we certainly know that it's feasible. 13 states with Republican leadership have also expanded Medicaid, and here in the Tennessee State Legislature, Democratic Senator Jeff Yarbro and Republican Senator Richard Briggs both have agreed that Medicaid should be expanded immediately, so across the country it's a bi-partisan project.
Medicaid just returns the federal dollars that Tennesseans have already [paid] the federal government, so it actually saves us money by expanding Medicaid. It would also allow hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans to have affordable health insurance.
It would keep our local hospitals open; Tennessee leads the country in the number of hospital [closures] per capita. If we expand Medicaid, we not only give more affordable and accessible health care to Tennesseans across the state, but also keep our hospitals open.
Madeira: I'm opposed to vouchers, so I'm very glad that the bill that my opponent pushed through last year was deemed unconstitutional, but it seems pretty clear from everything he's said to what the governor has done that they want to continue to push vouchers across the state. With me as representative, I would oppose vouchers and educational savings accounts to make sure that public school funding stays in public schools.
I think it's really imperative, especially right now, that we support our public schools and our teachers to the greatest extent. In this budget they were promised a raise, and even though we are going into probably the most challenging year we've ever had, we really need to make sure that our teachers are paid well.
One of the reasons we moved to Williamson County was for the schools; Williamson County Schools are top rated across the state and across the country, and I think if we want to keep it that way, we have to make sure that we are taking care of our teachers and that they have the resources that they need.
I'm a mom of three; I'm used to making compromises, cleaning up messes and breaking up fights, and I can bring those skills to the Tennessee State House to be someone who cares about people over politics.
Williamson County voters will have their opportunity to cast their ballots for who they would like to see represent Tennessee’s 63rd District on Tuesday, November 3. Candidates include Casada (R-Franklin), Madeira (D-Franklin), and Bradley Fiscus (I-Franklin).
The deadline to register to vote is July 7. To register to vote online, click here.