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?
My first strategy would be funding Birth to K readiness to learn using the Pierce County YMCA model of training and equipping every caregiver. Second would be application of all needed resources to assure all third graders are at age-level in reading. Washingtonians need a strong infrastructure and the resources, critical investments, and community services to support a vibrant and inclusive community and economy.
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?
There are currently 624 tax incentives, that is, loopholes, actively on record. They need to be audited biennially regarding their benefit and cost. Move from B&O tax dependency to income, estate, capital gains and financial transaction taxes for individuals with incomes above $150,000,000 joint incomes above $250,000.
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?
Creative increases of revenue are vital. I am more committed to the safety net than tax avoidance and I will fight for it.
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?
I think affirmative action in education admissions and employment will be important until there is no racial gap in educational attainment and employment rates. Minority persons and employers need to demonstrate their commitment to equal opportunity.
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?
Raise the minimum wage based on formula from the local cost of living. Establish income, estate, capital gains, and financial transaction taxes for individuals with incomes above $150,000, joint incomes above $250,000 in hopes that profits will be shifted back to labor and local needs.
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?
Further regulate predatory lending, particularly interest rates and multiplications. Create legal facilitation for local micro-lending. Encourage business-specific credit unions.
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 would begin with serious rehabilitation and job training for inmates. DOC should be funded to create halfway houses with counseling and coaching. Employers could be paid incentives for ex-con hiring. Released cons should be enrolled and educated to use the ACA.
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?
Broaden enrollment in ACA as much as possible. Pass Rules the Healthcare insurance in Washington is written to fully meet the recipient’s needs, not the employers’, providers, or communities’ prejudices. Establish minority and gender specific review boards that could address complaints of gender or racially inappropriate care.