As a public-school educator and advocate, Cammie has worked tirelessly to make a difference in both the education and criminal justice systems. Cammie’s vision of reforming Louisiana encompasses the end result of success for each and every citizen and the State of Louisiana as a whole. Working on the front lines, Cammie intends to continue to work across party lines with thoughtful, courageous, unwavering and experienced leadership to make Louisiana the best state it can possibly be. As State Representative for the 96th District, Cammie intends to address Louisiana’s issues and tackle each one with a practical and rational approach with the betterment of her District and its constituents along with the State of Louisiana in mind!
As a public-school educator, Cammie has witnessed firsthand how the Louisiana Education System has failed Louisiana’s children. The children of Louisiana are the state’s future leaders and pillars of every community and should be invested in so that they may reach their highest potential. Ranking 49th in the nation in education, Cammie understands that Education Reform is not only necessary but required if Louisiana intends to continue to grow as a state. What Louisiana needs doesn’t cost tons of money, require newer or fancier technology, or more standardized testing. What Louisiana needs is to invest in early childhood education, higher education and practical skills, less testing, and motivation of its teachers.
Education must begin with our youngest children. Statistics show that children will fare better in education later in their career if learning begins in the early stages of life. Beginning with early education, Cammie intends to work towards expanding the state’s Pre-K program to ensure that more children are allowed to participate in early childhood educational programs. It is important to make quality investments in a child’s education and Cammie intends to assist in reform, as well as state and local efforts, to provide all of Louisiana’s children the opportunity to realize their full potential from the earliest age possible.
Only 10 % of high school students are prepared for training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics-related occupations (STEM). Without a trained workforce, only 3% of jobs in Louisiana are STEM based. Cammie intends to work to ensure high schools are offering not only college-bound curriculum, but strong technical skills curriculum for those students who do not wish to continue their education after high school. Investing in the State’s higher education system such as universities, community colleges, and trade schools, will keep the State’s best and brightest students in Louisiana and allows the state to make great progress.
As an educator, Cammie sees first-hand that students in this state are over tested. Standardized testing and a strong focus on testing scores is not conducive to long term learning or retention. Advocating for a change in the education system requires the end to non-educator profit and standardized testing curriculum, and putting the ability to educate the state’s children back in the hands of the educators.
Cammie’s vision of education reform does not stop with the state’s students and curriculum but also extends to its teachers. Louisiana’s education system has a difficult time retaining qualified educators due to the extensive workload and little pay. Rather than allowing the excellent teachers to leave and teach in other states or leave the profession all together, Cammie will support finding ways to support the state’s educators by way of pay raises. Teachers must be supported with the ability, tools and resources they need to educate each student and have them perform to their highest capability.
The state’s infrastructure challenges are significant but solvable and with strategic, sustained investment, bold leadership, thoughtful planning, and careful preparation and understanding, Louisiana’s infrastructure can be improved and restored. Delaying investments in infrastructure only expands the end costs and risks of an outdated and failing infrastructure – an infrastructure that the State, its economy, and families can no longer afford.
Working with legislators, local officials, and constituents, Cammie will explore all possible options to secure funding to get projects completed for her District as well as the State of Louisiana as a whole. Cammie will also work towards ensuring that infrastructure funds are sufficient and not cut or offset to use in other parts of the state’s budget.
In an unfortunate ending, youth development programs, as a way to keep the youth off of the streets, were cut as a solution to help the state’s budget. As cuts were made and youth programs dwindled, the state watched its crime rate rise. Effective after school and youth programs bring a wide range of benefits to youth, families, and communities as a whole. These programs boost academic performance, reduce criminal / delinquent behavior, promote physical health, and provide a safe, structured environment for children. It is proven that these programs improve academic performance, classroom behavior and school attendance. Working families and local businesses can also benefit from these programs as they ensure a safe place to go while parents are working and also cut down on parents having to take off of work due to a lack of after school programs.
Working with legislators, local public officials, and community leaders, Cammie will fight to bring these programs back to assist in the development of the state’s youth! Cammie will also work with education leaders to implement peer tutoring programs with high school aged students to assist other students, both elementary and high school, with their academic performance.
Criminal Justice Reform
Louisiana tax payers pay between $650 - $700 million dollars a year to incarcerated people in Louisiana. The acts of mass incarceration and costing the tax payers millions of dollars has not made Louisiana any safer nor has it resulted in greater public safety. Instead, it has increased cycles of poverty, the amount of children living without parents, unemployment and crime rate. Louisiana being the prison capital of the world has diverted funds from programs that have been proven to prevent crime before it happens; including early childhood education, job training, community mental health centers, and substance abuse treatment center.
As a former Louisiana Probation and Parole Officer, Cammie experienced a case load filled with people who had made mistakes with an overwhelming number of offenders who lacked a proper high school education and diploma. It was at this point in time that Cammie noticed the clear comparison between Louisiana’s education and criminal justice system.
As an advocate for criminal justice reform, Cammie has spent countless hours educating legislators, committees, and offenders about the effects of mass incarceration. Cammie finds it important to remember that the mission of the Department of Corrections is to “Enhance public safety through safe and secure incarceration of offenders, effective probation/parole supervision, and proven rehabilitative strategies that successfully reintegrate offenders into society, as well as assist individuals and communities victimized by crime.” With Louisiana’s “Tough on Crime” approach, the state has overlooked the “Smart on Crime” aspect of corrections. Cammie believes that we must address mass incarceration by investing in people, not in crime.
By continuing to advocate for change in the Criminal Justice System, Cammie intends to continue to educate others on the effects of mass incarceration and how changes to the criminal justice system can reduce crime and victimization of the state’s citizens. Cammie will explore all options to better prepare offenders for release by working with the Department of Corrections to implement sufficient programs that prepare offenders by teaching general education and trade skills. Working with legislators and local organizations, Cammie hopes to secure funding to assist in the establishment of treatment facilities for both the mentally ill and drug abusers.