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?
The achievement gap begins for many children at a young age. The lack of access to full day preschool and full day kindergarten has contributed greatly to our state’s achievement gap. I will sponsor legislation that fully funds pre-kindergarten programs and full day kindergarten. I also support special budgeting for school supplies to ensure all students receive the same material resources.
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?
Our state’s revenue structure needs to be fair and just. This means requiring big corporations and wealthy individuals to pay their fair share in taxes. I will propose or support taxing our state’s biggest corporations at a fair rate as a way to increase state revenue.
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?
Our state needs a safety net, and I will do everything in my power to protect the basic need services available through our safety net programs.
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?
Our state has to hold institutions accountable for reports of racist or discriminatory incidents. This can be difficult due to many factors. However, creating a system that validates and protects the victims of racist or discrimination would challenge institutional racism and promote racial justice.
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?
There are various things our state can do to help low income families. Bust city vouchers, food bank priority, and “tax credit” for restaurants that give their unused food to families in need. These are just a few things that can be done, but there are many other possibilities.
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?
Our state needs to provide clear and accessible information to loan borrowers about scams and risks. The state also needs to hold predatory lenders accountable to the law and prosecute when lender violate ethical standards.
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.
The criminal justice system needs improvement all around, but rehabilitation is a main concern of mine. People incarcerated need guidance and support so that they can pursue their potential after being released, and at the same time, society must allow them a second opportunity in life. I will support legislation that addresses both of these issues.
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?
Our state has to prioritize health care and well-being. In order to do this, we must continue to improve accessibility and services offered by the Affordable Care Act. We also must support our doctors, paramedics, and nurses in their workspaces and training.