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 know providing subsidies for low-income families to afford high-quality early learning
opportunities can make a difference and we must fully-fund education. The achievement gap
is an opportunity gap that is related to poverty issues. While focusing on education, we must
also do whatever is possible to reduce poverty.
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?
I believe we must look into closing unnecessary tax loopholes for corporations in order to
find needed revenue. All stakeholders in the state must pay their fair share of taxes to take
the burden off those who can least afford taxes. We need a fair and equitable tax structure.
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?
We must support each other and that means funding important services that help families. As
I said before, we must look at our tax structure. If we look critically at tax loopholes and only
keep beneficial ones, we can find important revenue sources that will help fund these
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?
To increase equitable access to higher education for students in poverty, we need adequate
transportation systems for students to get to schools, reasonable tuition costs, and more jobs
available. Without these improvements, students in poverty continue to be locked out of
programs that will enable them to advance.
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 think it is critical for every worker to be paid a living wage. Higher wages will allow more
people to have some disposable income, which will benefit their communities. I am in favor of
indexing the minimum wage with the cost of living increase.
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?
Predatory lending should be banned or made to accept an interest rate that is reasonable.
Time to pay back should be longer with payment plans, rather than taking advantage of those
who are poor. Students should be entitled to low interest rates for higher education.
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.
We must help people leaving the criminal justice system. They need support to turn their lives
around and become important contributors to the community. Legal financial obligations
should only be tolled after release from jail or prison, and the interest rate dropped from 12%
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?
We need to get the majority of the state senate to pass this legislation. Citizens of this state
should have the right to quality healthcare, no matter if they can afford it or not. We need to
support one another.