David Sponheim in the 10th
David Sponheim
Legislative District 10
Prefers Democratic Party

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?

We can tailor education to eliminate the achievement gap. We should  use existing funds to provide funding for more teachers, instructional assistants and after-school learning opportunities. What is needed is a plan to focus funds directly into the classroom, bypassing the high administrative costs that are currently draining State finances.

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 should have less emphasis on service projects, contractors, public works and prisons; more emphasis on building economic profit centers and public housing that creates revenue for cities. I want to propose Eco-friendly Navy Industries be built in my District. This will lead to jobs for technologists and environmental specialists.

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?

The government should create public housing for people, rather than subsidizing slum lords. This shift in emphasis will guarantee a better quality of life for families that are struggling. Families can help build this infrastructure, renovating current buildings. This will help build pride and improve property values through building communities.

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?

All people could help build public housing, providing addresses to register to vote and job opportunities to build credit. I would like to see checks and balances on prison abuses and due process. We should limit funding for police forces that have pending cases of police brutality and racial profiling.

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?

Lowering the cost of living by providing public housing will turn current employment into “living wage jobs” without increasing the cost to industry. These facilities can have community gardens to grow food.  Integrating this plan with food banks and help houses will give a way to support themselves.

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 State, which is currently $90 Billion in debt, should balance its own budget! We need a direct loan system through the State government. Microloan opportunities will help build cottage industries. We can educate people about the dangers of debt, and provide more life skills for people in need.

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.

There is no transition plan for prisoners on parole. We need a more lenient approach to rehabilitation, including housing and education opportunities. A free bus pass would really help these people.  Free psychological counseling is extremely important as they transition to reentering society. This program could be sponsored through donations.

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 will sponsor legislation to require caps on procedures and salaries at Public and Non-profit hospitals. This will open up a huge savings for local government as they meet the demands of the Affordable Care Act. Holistic and alternative medicine will be encouraged to provide a healthier population in Washington.