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 paramount duty of our state is to provide education for all students. I support funding education first. As the economy improved with increased revenue to state coffers, we must increase the percentage of total funding for education over other priorities of government.
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 would propose the retention of revenue sources originally created for cities and local communities to provide infrastructure and public safety. The state has eliminated or swept accounts too many times in past budget cycles reducing amounts to cities.
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?
Taking care of our most vulnerable should be a priority of any government. I support sufficient funding for the basic services with the ability for anyone on TANF, HEN or ABD who is able to find employment, to be eligible for those necessary services without fear of losing their safety net funds.
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 would be interested in further discussion. When visiting schools, prisons, low-income housing developments and other institutions, I have not seen flagrant racial violations. I would like to be further educated on this issue.
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?
Giving people the opportunity for a better education and making it easier to do business in Washington will stimulate job growth giving low-income families more opportunity to work their way out of poverty.
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?
I support enforcement of both Federal and State laws that penalize those who would prey on our most vulnerable and uneducated consumers. Financial literacy courses in our schools and for adult consumers must be a priority.
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 served for several years on the Correctional Industry Board which coordinates job skills training of offenders to help with their re-entry into their communities. I believe that is the most important part of proving financial help to both the victims of crime and the offenders.
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?
That is a complicated question. I fully support funding for health care needs for all communities. Representing rural areas that are losing their healthcare facilities and providers is difficult. I’ll work with our private insurance carriers along with our federal and state governments to make this system available at an affordable price to all our citizens.