Protecting families at heart of State Rep. Carolyn B. Jackson’s first legislative agenda
INDIANAPOLIS – As she looks forward to her first session in the Indiana House, State Rep. Carolyn B. Jackson (D-Hammond) said she will focus on issues designed to improve the quality of life for all Hoosier families.
“When I first decided to run for this seat, I made it clear that I would use my position in state government to improve the lives of those who sacrifice the most, yet often get the least amount of help from government,” Jackson said. “Now that I have the privilege of serving as First District representative, I intend to act on that promise.
“I was pleased to be appointed to two House committees – Environmental Affairs, and Family, Children and Human Affairs—that will provide me with opportunities to pursue my priorities,” she added.
One such priority will be increased and potentially mandatory testing for lead in water systems in schools across Indiana, Jackson said. Earlier this year, testing revealed that six schools within the Hammond system had elevated levels of lead in their drinking water.
“I am vitally concerned about the health risks that might be posed by the air we breathe and potential contamination of our soil, but it is the risks posed by the water we drink that give me the greatest worries,” Jackson said. “In so many cases, the water systems in our schools have been neglected for too many years, and we are paying a price that can cause great damage to our children.
“The state of Indiana does have a program to test for lead in our schools, but it is voluntary, and less than 50 percent of our public schools were enrolled in the program earlier this year,” she continued. “These are not things that schools should be encouraged to join. It is something they should be required to join. I would like to explore that change in the 2019 session.”
Such legislation would be one component of protecting families throughout Indiana, Jackson said.
“There are places where we can impact their lives at virtually all levels,” she noted. “I would be interested in exploring a range of possibilities, from providing fully-funded pre-K programming to pursuing an increase in the minimum wage and wage equity and parity for men and women in Indiana. Quality of life also can mean improvements to the network of services available to provide as many chances for everyone to have an equal chance to care for themselves and their loved ones. That could mean additional social service programs that provide enhancements for seniors, veterans, and our young people.
“I am of the belief that families should be our priority in every major piece of legislation that we face in the next session,” Jackson added. “Rather than wondering what types of taxes we need to cut for corporations across our state, I think we should worry about what we can do to make it easier for families to care for themselves. Those are the kinds of things we need to focus on in 2019.”