Issues Important to District 87
"I want to be a common-sense advocate for access to healthcare, stronger public schools, and a criminal justice system that serves the public." - Kelly Scott Unger
Education in Arkansas for all kids
I am a wife and mom before anything else. The moment I first held my girls, I knew there was nothing I wouldn’t do for them. Now with my first child in public school, I am more driven than ever to make sure our schools have all the resources they need to educate our kids. Nobody should accept Arkansas being ranked 41st in education. Our kids deserve better. We must do better. We must invest in our kids.
I want to advocate for better opportunities for children to enter school ready to learn. This is so important in smaller towns and more rural areas like ours. Additionally, school leaders need the freedom to invest in 21st century technology to prepare our children for their future employment. And those dedicated professionals, the ones who put in long days and use money out of their own pockets because they love and believe in our kids, need better pay and flexible incentives to reward their performance.
Quality Health Care for All Arkansans
Everyone in Arkansas, regardless of their location and income, should have access to affordable health care. We must continue to make sure our children have access to health care coverage.
Health care for our seniors hits my heart on a personal level. I recently spent the last leg of my dad’s earthly journey fighting for him to receive quality care through private hospitals, state hospitals, VA hospitals, and ultimately hospice. I always joked with him it was our "Hospital Tour of Arkansas". Due to limitations on medicare and insurance, he was often unable to receive appropriate treatment or services. At one point, he required additional testing for his cancer diagnosis that was considered outpatient, but he was too sick to be discharged from the hospital. My dad’s cancer and illness went untreated because, without the tests, the doctors didn't know what and how to treat. A transfer to a different hospital could not be approved either because it was not considered a "better hospital" by billing terms. Eventually, we were transferred (many times with many more stories). His illnesses always seemed to be unique and without an appropriate billing code. And while we came into contact with excellent health care providers, the system limited what those caregivers could offer. This fight motivates me to work with legislators, health care providers, the people of my district, and local hospitals to find solutions that offer better access to health care
Criminal justice reform
The early part of my legal career was spent working as a deputy prosecutor in Washington County alongside an outstanding set of law enforcement agencies. One thing that stood out was our overcrowded prison population. This has a negative impact on our law enforcement agencies. Prison overcrowding threatens state budgets and is an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. And while the amount of people incarcerated may increase, there are issues we can address now to alleviate some constraints. First, we can create more rehabilitative programs for nonviolent offenders and first time offenders. This will free up space in prisons for criminals who are facing long term sentences. Second, we need an open dialogue about alternative punishment systems as it relates to our juvenile systems. While most of the US is incarcerating fewer juveniles, Arkansas' number is trending upwards. An alternative punishment system can educate juveniles with an end goal of being productive members in our society.