A strong education system builds a strong state. When people have access to a high-quality education starting with K-12, people have a stronger chance of obtaining economic stability. In Washington, not all schools are meeting the challenge to build a strong foundation for success. Students of color and low-income students are disproportionately affected by the achievement or opportunity gap in Washington state. How will you reduce or eliminate the achievement gap and ensure that all people have access to a high quality education?
Education is the path to equal opportunity. I voted for House legislation that sets a goal of 100 percent high school graduation rates for every student. I also co-sponsored the DREAM Act – now it is the law of our state that all children can aspire to a college education.
Washingtonians need a strong infrastructure and the resources, critical investments, and community services to support a vibrant and inclusive community and economy. What changes will you propose to our state’s revenue structure to ensure that we can adequately invest in our communities?
It is one of my top priorities to create public stormwater districts as a new public utility infrastructure. We need property tax assessments for stable funding of public education from early learning through life-long learning. It is time to replace B&O taxes with progressive tax structures.
3. SAFETY NET
A strong safety net is the foundation of a strong state and workforce. Programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and similar programs such as Housing Essential Needs and Aged Blind Disabled (HEN and ABD), are keeping many of our families, children, and disabled adults alive. What will you do to protect funding for basic need services that provide a safety net for Washington families?
My freshmen colleagues and I worked as a team to restore TANF funding and $10 million to families caring for the developmentally disabled. We have an epidemic of homeless children in our state. I will fight to change the formula for TANF eligibility to keep kids in their homes.
4. RACIAL JUSTICE
Institutional racism is a daily burden that our communities face when accessing housing, credit, the ballot box, and interfacing with the criminal justice system. This oppression is often codified in the rules, allowances and governance of these institutions as “business as usual” and creates significant consequences for people of color. What will you do to address the consequences of institutional racism that create barriers for our members’ ability to prosper?
We must fight to pass into law the Voting Rights Act. Also, funding our public schools from early learning through life-long learning is the very best investment we can make in creating equal access to opportunity for every student regardless of their race, religion, gender, or birthplace.
Wages have stagnated while cost of living has increased, making it difficult for low income families to meet their basic needs. What would you do to help low income families support themselves?
I will continue to support legislation to increase the state’s minimum wage. We must all fight to support public transportation solutions that are affordable and connect workers to their jobs, schools, community health clinics, and grocery stores. I work with affordable housing advocates to expand access for families.
6. DEBT AND LENDING
Everyone, regardless of their income, should have fair and reasonable consumer protections when they borrow money. Fringe financial industries like debt settlement companies and predatory lenders push our communities into a cycle of debt. How would you protect Washingtonians’ ability to avoid this cycle of debt?
I work with WA’s Attorney General and Insurance Commissioner to help my constituents understand how our consumer laws protect them. I continue to fight for tuition freezes to reduce student debt. I will support legislation that offers students access to financial literacy courses.
7. CRIMINAL JUSTICE
People leaving the criminal justice system face many roadblocks to reentering their community. This includes housing and employment discrimination and mounting debt from legal financial obligations. What changes would you make to the criminal justice system? Please include any ideas you have to reduce these roadblocks to reentry.
I will continue to co-sponsor legislation that permits non-violent offenders to pursue educational opportunities while incarcerated. The evidence is clear that educational achievement creates a path forward for those caught in the criminal justice system. Job training and work skills must be part of every rehabilitation program.
8. HEALTH CARE
Health and well-being is critical for all Washingtonians to thrive. Everyone should have high quality, essential health care services including reproductive health and preventative medicine. What will you do to ensure that all Washingtonians have access to affordable, high quality, and culturally appropriate health care?
I have voted for every piece of legislation that expands eligibility for healthcare access – Medicaid, adult dental, mental health services, Reproductive Parity Act, health practitioner educational programs, and certifications for health professionals. Healthcare is now a right. I will fight for access to the maximum extent permitted by law.