Issues

Justice.  Housing.  Health.

These are issues that got me interested in county government.  

We MUST prioritize justice.

I'm committed to stepping up and speaking out for justice at the county level.  The County administers courts and the jail, and runs the sheriff's department.  I promise to examine budgets and legislative priorities, and to judge them on whether they will make Kent County a more fair and more just place to live and work.  I will be vigilant defending the rights of Kent County residents.  Kent County is proud of its big fund balance and its AAA bond rating--but we must not maintain it at the cost of doing what's right.  I promise to question the expansion of law enforcement spending, and to stand up for communities paying for their own public safety costs.  

Kent County should enact reforms that help to reverse decades of injustice, treat people more fairly, and reduce crime. 

  • We need to insist on de-escalation training for public safety officers to prevent routine interactions from becoming tragedies.
  • I want to restore face-to-face visits at the county jail.  For several years, inmates have only been able to visit their families and friends over a video screen.  Family support is crucial to reduce reoffending, and we need to restore personal visits. 
  • I support driver's licenses for all.  Until we achieve that goal at the state level, I support county-issued ID.
  • I want to work for an expansion of specialty courts, so that we treat people with mental health and substance use disorders more humanely and more effectively.  Our system is clogged with people who need treatment, not incarceration. 
  • I want to see more diversion programs, so that minor offenses are satisfied with fines, citations, and service rather than arrest and incarceration. 
  • I want Kent County to robustly support an end to the cash bond system so that we jail people according to the risk they present to the community, not simply because they can't afford bail.  

We need to focus on housing.

We need more housing!

The lack of affordable rentals and starter homes is not just a city problem, it's a regional problem.  We need to get Kent County to the table to address the housing crisis and pave the way for the development of greater housing opportunities.  Restoring the land bank would be a great step forward, and we can do more.  We need a two-pronged approach: policies that encourage density at the county's urban core where services already exist, and creative financial solutions that get development efforts off the ground.

 

We need to support Community Health.

We need more access to health care!

I am passionate about public health, and I am an outspoken advocate for access to health care including mental health and substance use disorder treatment.  The COVID pandemic has highlighted the health care disparities in our community: now is the time to work for better access and better outcomes for ALL people.  

Our Community Mental Health system is in a funding crisis, and I believe Kent County can be part of the solution.  CMH dollars come to our community from the state, in a system that is complicated and inefficient.  Health care reforms have inadvertently limited the money available for mental health treatment.  I want Kent County to seek and propose a solution to this crisis, and not wait for the state to solve the problem.  People are suffering and losing access to treatment every day this situation drags on. 

 

Concerned about an issue you don't see here?

Call me at 616-540-2448 or email me on the home page of this website.  I will answer!

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  • Melissa LaGrand
    published this page 2020-07-17 04:57:22 -0400