Home Health care provider State House candidate Nash, a nurse, for better health care

State House candidate Nash, a nurse, for better health care

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Barb Nash

Barb Nash

“We need to focus on access to health care and expand Medicaid,” says Barb Nash.

Nash, one oneAdvanced Practice Registered Nurse and Adjunct Professor at USC Beaufort is running as a Democrat for the SC House of Representatives in District 124 in the Nov. 8 election.

She has her registered nursing degree from Christ Hospital School of Nursing, and a master’s and bachelor’s degree in nursing from The Ohio State University.

She has never held public office but ran for District 124 in 2020.

The Island Packet sent out questionnaires to all contenders in contested races. Candidates were asked to limit their responses to 150 words per question.

Here are Nash’s responses:

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Barb Nash

What are your main challenges for this campaign?

1. Improve access to health care in South Carolina through Medicaid expansion, increase primary care providers by removing barriers to advanced practice nurses, and improve health care for women, including women having access to legal and safe abortions without restrictions.

2. Safer communities by providing law enforcement with the support they need and equipping them with the resources to deal with the issues they face in today’s world. Implement gun safety laws and close the Charleston loophole.

3. Fully fund public education and provide a solid public education for all children so they are ready to live their best lives, and improve teachers’ working conditions and pay.

4. Combating the threats of climate change for the Lowcountr.

5. Protect our voting rights by removing arbitrary barriers.

6. Pass a hate crimes bill.

What issues affecting the district will be addressed in the next legislative session?

The 2023 legislative session in South Carolina must complete unfinished business from 2022 and address new initiatives. Budget and spending are a concern as the new tax cut takes effect, and lawmakers need to determine what revenue is available to fund needed social programs, infrastructure and education.

Hopefully we will achieve full funding for public education and reform that allows teachers to do their job without wasting time on bureaucratic duties. South Carolina is one of two states without a hate crimes bill and I anticipate that this legislation will be reintroduced and eventually enacted.

We need to focus on access to health care and expand Medicaid so that people currently at risk of financial ruin are assured of a safety net.

Should the state use public money to create scholarship accounts to allow parents to send their children to private schools?

All children deserve access to a solid, quality public education. Private schools have their place in our state, but public money (taxpayer money) should never be used to fund them. If private schools have an endowment, they are free to offer scholarships from their own funds. Instead, we must fully fund public education from universal K-12, which we have never done. We have teacher flights to South Carolina, because between 5,000 and 7,000 teachers leave each year.

We need to hire the best teachers we can find, pay them well, improve the facilities they work in, reduce class sizes, and provide statewide broadband. Siphoning off public money for private schools contributes to the continued decline of the public education system and keeps South Carolina ranked 46th in education in the nation. Our children deserve better!

Should SC ban abortion? What exceptions, if any, should there be for an abortion ban?

Abortion is a health care procedure performed for a variety of reasons and should never be prohibited or restricted in any way. Criminalization and restrictive abortion laws prevent health care providers from doing their jobs properly and providing the best care options to their patients, in accordance with good medical practice and their professional ethical responsibilities. Pregnancy is complicated and the development of the fetus is not always a smooth and perfect process. Abortion bans endanger health care for those who do not seek abortions, such as women who experience an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage, and the bans are a slippery slope toward banning certain forms birth control.

For women who are denied an abortion, household poverty increases and often entails difficulty finding housing, food and escaping abuse. Bans do not stop abortions. They just make them less safe and more women die. Women deserve the right to bodily autonomy without government interference.

The Green Space Sales Tax Referendum is also on the ballot for Beaufort County voters. Do you support the statewide effort to fund conservation efforts with sales taxes?

Yes, I support green space conservation funding as long as the money goes to its intended use. We need to preserve areas that will remain intact and contribute to the quality of life in the county. This proposal is an example of a true bipartisan initiative that not only benefits our county but also our state.

Is there anything that can be done at the state level to address the shortage of affordable housing in the Lowcountry?

The South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 31 – Housing and Redevelopment, Chapter 22, Section 31-22-10(B), addresses affordable housing. However, the purpose of this chapter is to authorize a local government to establish and manage, individually or jointly, a local housing trust fund or a regional housing trust fund in order to promote the development of affordable housing. Recently, eight cities and towns and counties…signed on to invest $10 million over the next 10 years to find and build affordable and workforce housing in the region. This example of cooperation and coordination is a great start, but it still takes land, money and developers to come together to build truly affordable housing for our families and workers.

At the state level, measures can be adopted through the tax system to provide incentives to developers, but also to provide tax credits to future owners. For example, in South Carolina, the allocation of low-income housing tax credits is limited below what we are allowed at the federal level. We could also launch a basic state tenant assistance program to help young families meet their housing needs. We need a willingness to work together – state, counties and local municipalities – to solve this problem.

Sebastian Lee covers Beaufort County for The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette. He’s graduating from the University of South Carolina in 2022. If he’s not working, he’s probably watching a good movie.