Lisa Seger is running for election for state representative, District 3.
Seger will face Republican incumbent Cecil Bell Jr. in the Nov. 6 election.
Community Impact Newspaper sent Seger four questions about her candidacy. Her responses, edited for publication style and clarity, are listed below.
Q: What is the first piece of legislation you would file if elected?
A: The first legislative effort I would make would be to end the practice of partisan district drawing. Nothing is more undemocratic than treating the apportionment of representation as the spoils of war. Districts should be drawn impartially and compactly in a way that ensures all voices are heard equally. What this means, legislatively, is implementing a non-partisan, citizen-led redistricting commission. This basic change, already being used in other states, gets us closer to the representative democracy we all deserve. One where we hear and vote on all ideas, and every vote matters.
Q: What would you do to prevent future flooding in your district?
A: Obviously the state legislature cannot stop flooding from happening. Our uncertain life in the ever-changing floodplain would be so much easier if we could. The causes of flooding are complicated and range from unchecked development to global climate change. Further, most flood mitigation projects and strategies are, by necessity, local matters. That being said, the legislature does decide what the state will spend money on and when good flood mitigation and recovery projects are presented, I will happily vote to fund them. What the state can—and should—do is make sure that never again can developers build in reservoirs and then hide that fact from home buyers. The state also can—and should—tap into the rainy day fund to help our people and communities recover from the rainiest day in our state’s history.
Q: What, if anything, should be done to improve the public education system for districts statewide?
A: Our schools are chronically underfunded at the state level. The state used to pay right around 50 percent of the cost to operate our public schools. Over the last decade, that has dropped to 39 percent. In that time, the cost to educate our kids has not dropped, so the balance is being pushed onto individuals via increases in property taxes. The legislature simply has to start paying its fair share and stop shifting the burden to individual citizens. A necessary step in getting the money for this is to revisit the Equal and Uniform provision that is allowing large commercial property owners to pay less in taxes than the fair market value of their property would dictate. At every turn, it seems, those who have the most wealth and power shirk their responsibility to our communities and lay it on the backs of the working class who can least afford it. It’s time to rebalance that equation.
Q: What national issue do you think is of greatest concern or importance for your district?
A: I don’t talk to anyone who doesn’t mention the challenges in affording and getting adequate health insurance and healthcare. Our state attorney general is suing to allow insurance companies to once again discriminate against people with pre-existing health conditions. Which, in reality with the way our system works, is virtually anyone who has ever been to a doctor. We have to do better. I am a proponent of Medicare for all, but at the very least, we need to make sure that insurance companies are held to the terms of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that give rights to patients and ensure that the insurance we pay for will actually cover us when we need to seek care.