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One of the roles of government is to help create communities and environments where our families and people can thrive and succeed. It is the responsibility of your representative to understand the needs of this community and how government can help you make this a better place to live and raise our families.
Mental health is as important as physical health and impacts our communities with respect to substance abuse, suicides, sexual abuse, gun violence, poor performance in school and in so many other ways. Families dealing with mental health issues need the support of agencies and mental health professionals. So do our communities need their support to keep us safe and identify potential problems while we can still do something about it.
Education, whether it's secondary, vocational or college, is so important to our achievements. Those achievements may be as simple as how to balance a checkbook, obtain a job in the trades, or seek a career in a profession. Whatever it is that we pursue in life, a lack of appropriate training and education should not hold us back. A very important role of government is to ensure that we have the right institutions to meet your educational and training needs and those of our children.
All children in Wyoming should have access to a strong, high-quality education which leads to a workforce that attracts desired industries and creates rewarding careers and strong families. We need to ensure that our school districts have the appropriate funding needed to provide access to highly qualified teachers, up-to-date curriculums, and buildings and technology that keep our children competitive with the rest of the country.
Our future lies with our children and we must ensure that they thrive in a safe environment. We do it with comprehensive crisis response plans; recommended ratios of school counselors, school social workers and school psychologists; awareness of mandated child abuse reporting laws; and moving from a punish-first model to a model where children understand we view them as innately good and deserving of positive support and care.
Average monthly health care costs are approaching the cost of housing in Laramie. The average monthly price for the Second-Lowest Silver Plan (SLCSP) for a 27 year old in Wyoming is going from $413 in 2017 to $710 in 2018 - that's a $297 per month increase and costs $8,520 a year. Notice the difference in cost in Wyoming and Nebraska where there is only 1 insurer compared to the states that have 2 or more. The legislature needs to determine what is keeping insurers out of Wyoming and take actions to make Wyoming more attractive to them.
Health should be an inalienable right for all Americans and there are things we can do to enhance our systems to provide better health for everybody. The Governor has endorsed expanding Medicaid yet we leave thousands of our people unprotected. With Wyoming having the highest health care premiums in the region and the lowest state minimum wage we need to take advantage of available federal dollars to ensure that 34,000 of our most vulnerable residents have affordable health care coverage.
We can identify the industries of the twenty first century, what their infrastructure and workforce needs are and prepare our communities and people to provide attractive, affordable places for these companies to locate. Technology is making the world interconnected and companies want affordable locations with highly trained workforces that are motivated and hardworking – a perfect description of the Wyoming workforce.