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 need a change of focus from too late to educate. Expose the very young to the tools they will need to succeed later.
From birth to five children have no inhibitions to learn 20 languages. Give them good exposure by trained, native speaking mentors.
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 treat our state like a business with a balanced budget before we seek any new funding for anything. Energy. The cheapest source of new energy is to pay existing users to use less. Federally funded rebates 70% of the installed cost for LED lighting.
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?
As a disabled person myself, I am fully committed to expanding the reach of the safety net for all citizens. A slight turn in the economy can turn a wealthy person into one with basic needs denied without a safety net in place.
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?
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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 support minimum wage levels increasing on a realistic parity with administrative increases. I don’t see the wisdom and future of our lower tier wages not increasing while the higher wages increase disproportionately more.
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?
Between paychecks suckers emerges every second and predatory lenders are there to take profit from them in their timely need. Caps on lending rates should be imposed and visible to borrowers. The high interest rates imposed by State agencies need caps also.
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.
Begin with a full pardon for all drug related offenses so that some pot grower can get a job instead of having to go back to the garden to support the family. Convicts are sentenced to life even upon release from incarceration. That could change.
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?
Without health, tax payers cannot work, are not tax payers. It is paramount in our society to keep our citizens healthy and contributing or it will cost 10 fold more. Preventative health comes first and alternative health care should always be included.