Delivering Greater Healthcare Access & Affordability, continued
According to reviews of State healthcare, Georgia is ranked 43rd in outcomes, 49th in access, 47th in adult insurance coverage, and 38th in cost. Georgia has one of the nation's highest infant mortality rates. As national leadership takes further action to destabilize insurance markets, Patrick is concerned for the burdens being placed on our citizens and businesses as Georgia taxpayers continue to pay for the healthcare of other States. He understands the lack of attention on GA's mental health resources and the expiring Federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will need legislative action.
Patrick supports expanding Medicaid in Georgia to protect our State’s most vulnerable citizens. Patrick believes in strengthening Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. He's interested in working with others to improve on the Affordable Care Act, not returning to insurance policies where citizens ultimately pay more, and to lowering health insurance costs. The State has some of the best healthcare professionals and resources, but not all citizens can gain access to them.
He would vote against efforts where citizens' coverage is lost, capped, or voucherized. Supporting efforts to improve quality over quantity is a topline goal. He acknowledges the burden on Georgia businesses as insurance costs continue to rise and threaten their competitiveness. Patrick believes in exploring a single-payer healthcare system to alleviate the pressure on local businesses and to deliver better healthcare outcomes.
He supports network adequacy efforts, consumer protection against surprise out-of-network bills, and finding ways to keep our rural hospitals open and contributing to community vitality. Georgia’s rural communities were hardest hit by the governor’s failure to expand Medicaid. Patrick proposes deploying mobile medical teams and enlisting telemedicine solutions to help serve the needs of our rural neighbors. He also supports investing in medical training at trade schools, colleges and universities to encourage job growth and ensure Georgia has sufficient professionals to meet the growing demand for physicians and other allied healthcare specialists.
Prioritizing Education as a Critical Investment, continued
Patrick's wife Lorraine is a Fulton County Schools special education teacher. He understands the day-to-day challenges teachers face in their classrooms. He will work to ensure public schools are places where professionals in the classroom are respected, where children can learn from making mistakes and where students discover their talents and develop character.
Patrick will vote "No" on any “Opportunity School District” laws that take local funding, accountability and control away from public schools. Childhood education should not be a business and for-profit entities don't belong in public education funded with the public tax dollars. Patrick believes there are no failing schools, just communities where Georgia has failed families.
Patrick does not support vouchers or the use of public education funds to pay for private or religious schools. He believes in strengthening public schools by hiring more teachers, reducing class size, reducing testing demands, protecting the Teacher Retirement System, providing additional training, updating facilities and implementing technology for efficiencies and online learning opportunities.
As a former public school science teacher and the husband of a current special education teacher, Patrick is aware of the continuously changing demands and expectations placed on public school educators. He wants to create an Education Worker Bill of Rights to establish fair work and compensation practices for Georgia’s educators and administrators.
Patrick believes a college education or technical school should be affordable for all Georgians. He will work to improve affordability and reduce federal loans rates to minimize student debt. He will also strengthen accountability of the Georgia Lottery system, the sole funder of the HOPE scholarship. Patrick respects the vital role technical and community colleges play in training Georgia’s workforce. He will forge closer corporate partnerships with these systems to provide additional job opportunities.
Building Resilient Career Opportunities, continued
Patrick believes Georgia should attract new businesses with its highly educated and well-trained workforce, not tax breaks and giveaways. He believes in maintaining a ready workforce with internships, training, and re-training. Patrick will forge alliances with our higher education and vocational institutions to improve hiring opportunities with local businesses. Improving opportunities in healthcare, technology, and green jobs will keep young graduates and workers in the district and committed to their communities. He understands we need to equip people and communities with the appropriate skills and knowledge that will enable them to make the transition to a sustainable future. New business will not remain attracted to the area without a more robust transit system, quality of life improvements, protecting natural resources, developing clean energy, ensuring fuel security, and strengthening anti-discriminatory laws.
Planning for Smart Growth, continued
Encountering daily unpredictable traffic snarls, an I-85 collapse, and the 2014 snow and ice storm, it's evident that the district needs transportation options beyond driving. Patrick supports expanding MARTA rail and bus service to all areas of the district to alleviate traffic and reduce commute times. He also supports connecting MARTA to surrounding counties to provide access to more job opportunities. Patrick would return the focus to pedestrian-friendly streets and supports the creation of bike paths.
As an entrepreneur in the renewable energy industry, he supports creating a smarter, greener and more resilient energy grid to lead the way for energy independence and promote national security. Patrick supports providing faster and more reliable Wi-Fi to support our schools, residents, businesses and visitors to the district.
Managing for More Responsible Taxation, continued
Georgia's future prosperity depends on its investments in essential services like education, healthcare, public safety and transportation. This requires an annual budget of over $45 billion. Patrick believes politicians should treat this money as if it were their own. This means investing for the long-term, avoiding mistakes and giveaways and prioritizing by key objectives. Georgia is currently 38th in the nation for dollars spent per public school student and 45th in the nation for Medicaid payment per patient. This lowers the state's ability to respond to the needs of its citizens and deliver on future prosperity. Actions calling for eliminating State income tax, which is the source of more than 60% of Georgia's budget, would be irresponsible. Likewise, moving to a flat tax plan would shift taxes to the least among us
Supporting Inclusiveness, continued
Patrick will not support any version of a “religious liberty” bill. Besides being bad for business (North Carolina’s law restricting LGBTQ rights is expected to cost the state more than $3.76 billion over the next 12 years), Patrick does not believe in providing any excuses for discrimination. He believes in an even playing field for all Georgians so that anyone can succeed no matter what their personal preferences may be. Patrick will not support any version of a so-called “bathroom bill” that limits the rights of transgender Georgians.
Patrick supports LGBTQ youth. He does not believe in “conversion therapy” and will fight against bullying in schools.
Patrick supports the rights of the LGBTQ community to marry and to adopt. He believes all Georgians have the right to experience marriage, parenting and the joy of growing a family.
Planning for Immigration, continued
Patrick supports the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) and its path to permanent residency. He would oppose any bills that limit conditional residency for undocumented immigrants who have met the rigorous qualifications of the program.
Patrick supports the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and would work to provide in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants looking to create a path for a productive future and financial independence.
Patrick would not support any attempts to limit undocumented immigrants from obtaining a Georgia driver’s license. Doing so would prevent transportation to work and school and limit productivity.
Controlling Crime, continued
Patrick does not support Campus Carry. The faculty and the majority of students at Georgia’s public colleges do not support it. Atlanta's chief of police does not support it, nor does the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Who are its supporters? The National Rifle Association and John Albers.
Patrick believes gun owners should demonstrate to their communities that they are serious about gun ownership. This means submitting to a background check, requiring a permit that certifies the gun owner has been properly trained and registering his or her firearm.
Patrick proposes Georgia enact common sense gun laws to ensure the safety of our communities. These include banning those convicted of domestic violence from owning a gun; requiring background checks for the private purchase of guns or the purchase of guns at gun shows; restricting guns from those on the no-fly list; and increased budget for mental health services to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands.
Returning to Ethical Leadership, continued
Patrick supports eliminating lobbying dollars, gifts and trips as part of the campaign and election process. Any meetings between lobbyists or special interest groups and an elected official should become a matter of public record.
Patrick believes in removing the influence of lobbying groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Lobbyists cannot have the power to make laws. He believes in businesses paying their fair share for the local services they consume and ending corporate welfare.
Patrick supports expanding voting opportunities to more Georgians through programs like portable registration. He strongly supports adopting an independent redistricting commission plan and eliminating gerrymandering once and for all.
Supporting Those Who Serve in the Military & Public Safety, continued
Patrick supports Senate Bill 18 which allows the Technical College System of Georgia to grant academic credit to veterans for training received in the military.
Patrick supports Georgia’s Veterans Court, which emphasizes rehabilitation over incarceration.
Patrick supports Georgia’s creation of a women’s veteran office to reach out specifically to women veterans. He also supports the recent bills passed that support the children of active duty military families.