Linda is running for County Legislature to represent the 23rd District because it is long past time that Monroe County starts to work for the people it is supposed to serve. For decades this Republican-led County has misplaced its priorities, choosing their political allies over our families and our most vulnerable citizens.
Child Protective Services (CPS): Monroe County’s Child Protective Services is beset by staff shortages, excessive caseloads, and high turnover. It is failing at its most basic function, to protect and serve children in distress. Instances of abuse, neglect and maltreatment are not being investigated in a timely manner. We must do better!
Early Intervention Services: Children with disabilities have been waiting too long for evaluations. And, once they have been approved for services, the County does not have enough special education teachers, speech pathologists, physical and occupation therapists to meet their needs. While providing these services is indeed required by New York State, Monroe County is the only county in the state to implement a waiting list. Research shows us that early intervention is critical to long term development. We must provide the recommended services to children with special needs to enhance their development and fulfill their potential.
Child Care Subsidies: For too many families in Monroe County, they must choose between work and child care. Affordable daycare is out of reach for many of our families. We need to expand access to daycare subsidies and help families reach more stable financial footing. Access to quality daycare also puts children on a path to a brighter future. We need to recognize that family issues and economic issues are deeply interwoven.
Opioid Epidemic: The national statistics on the opioid epidemic are alarming, and Monroe County is no exception. Approximately every other day a member of this community dies from an opioid overdose. They are our neighbors, family, and friends. To face this crisis, we should adopt multi-modal, evidence based approaches that brings together various stakeholders in the community from health care providers, public health experts, family members, and local governments. Interventions should focus on removing barriers to treatment, better data sharing and reporting, community partnerships with an emphasis on prevention, and removing the stigma of addiction.
Climate: Climate change is real and it is happening right now. While the Republicans in DC refuse to act on climate change, local governments are well-situated to lead the fight for our future. There is a lot we can do right here in Monroe County. We can offer targeted tax breaks for solar panels, insulation, and modernizing windows. We can also improve public transportation, increase the number of bicycle lanes, community composting, and increasing green spaces.
LGBTQ: There is no question that we are living in a time where hard-fought LGBTQ rights are under assault. As a community, we must continue our long history of standing for the rights of all of our citizens. There are several things we can do in Monroe County to ensure equal access to services to provide the same quality of life for all of our neighbors. Research suggests that LGBTQ individuals face health disparities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and denial of their civil and human rights. Discrimination against LGBTQ persons has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide. We can continue to be national leaders on LGBTQ health and keep working to reduce health disparities. LGBTQ youths are an acutely at-risk population. They experience more violence in school, bullying on school property and online, and sexual violence at higher rates than their straight peers. We can work local school districts to ensure health curricula are inclusive for LGBTQ students, link schools to LGBTQ organizations, and work with community partners to ensure that school staff is equipped to handle the issues relevant to LGBTQ students. Also, LGBTQ youth are disproportionately affected by homelessness, with transgender youths at even higher risk. We can build coalitions of community stakeholders to reduce the burden of health disparities, homelessness and lift up our LGBTQ teens.
Aging: It is important for local leaders to help our older neighbors live well. Enhancing the safety and health of our aging population presents us with opportunities and challenges. Monroe County can lead the way in providing for our seniors. A county-wide needs assessment, bringing together health care providers, seniors, government officials, and other key stakeholders we can identify way to implement housing, and transportation innovations that could benefit older adults.