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?
I believe it is good for society when kids of different backgrounds learn together and we should include everyone in the learning process. Fully funding education and promoting programs that help kids connect to their futures are essential for developing a sustainable economy for Washington’s future.
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?
We have a regressive tax system that underfunds Washington’s most important services. As Fire Chief I dealt with budget cuts and understand the difficulties of providing quality services with inadequate resources. Enough with old tax cuts that haven’t provided the promised jobs they obviously don’t create.
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?
I support providing safety nets with evidence-based results for our most vulnerable citizens, especially when they save taxpayers money. Gutting budgets for social programs has been pushed by some legislators so they can tell you they fought against raising taxes. Cuts to programs often result in more expensive ones later.
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?
Simply put, I stand for removing unfair burdens. We need to register as many people to vote as possible and educate them on the issues because without the support of voters there will always be politicians trying to spin things differently to defend ‘business as usual’.
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?
Through improving Washington’s infrastructure, promoting new sources of energy, and attracting new business we can provide opportunities for families to earn a livable wage. Money moves around when people earn more than they need to pay their bills and this increased spending power helps businesses and the economy grow.
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?
The financial industry has proven an inability to self-regulate and I see the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act as priority one in consumer protection. Our Legislature must protect Washington’s citizens from scams, high interest rates, and risky loans as a priority because we cannot allow another financial collapse.
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.
Comprehensive change is needed for our expensive criminal justice system. Prisons should be a culture of rehabilitation but instead they are overpopulated with non-violent offenders and the mentally ill. Barriers to reintegrating into society should be assessed prior to release to promote positive outcomes and reduce recidivism rates.
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?
Access to health care is a human right and we should promote preventative care to avoid putting taxpayer’s money towards more expensive services. Contraceptive choices belong with the individual and we should leave those kinds of decisions to doctors and patients.