Justin McMahon in the 21st
Justin McMahon
Legislative District 21
Prefers Democratic Party

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 to resist standardizing learning processes, reduce class sizes to appropriate student/teacher ratios,and ensure all kids are able to learn because we’ve invested in social safety nets to provide a roof over their head and food for their bellies. We also need to reform school discipline policies.

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?

Contrary to popular beliefs there are ways to gain new revenue in Olympia such as sun setting tax loopholes, a carbon cap and taxing businesses for polluting, comprehensive “clawback” policies, and replacing our sales tax with an income tax to take the burden off families and small businesses.

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?

Having to rely on food stamps as a child, I understand the necessity of programs like TANF. With my plans for new revenue, I’ll work to strengthen and champion our safety nets for  low-income families, seniors, and the 1900+ people who are homeless in Snohomish County every night.

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’m  running to end the racist drug war that devastates communities of color and white low-­‐income communities.

I was Statewide Field Coordinator for I-­‐502 for the same reason.

Bringing down the prison population s another motivation. Prisons are overcrowded with non-­‐violent offenders and people of color are incarcerated disproportionately.


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?

Raising  the minimum wage will help low-income workers survive. Continuing to expand Medicaid and increasing the amount of affordable housing will lessen the expenses of low-income households. Investing in new industries that create family-­‐wage jobs in our state will allow more employment opportunity.

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 SPAN’s efforts to rein in pay-­‐day lenders that prey on low-­‐income workers with outrageously high interest rates. I support micro-­‐lending and loan programs to low-­‐ income individuals with lower interest rates that are reasonable to repay. Access to capital is needed to start businesses and build good credit.

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  support reducing legal fees to those unable to afford it and promoting community service options. I support stronger laws to protect people with felonies or misdemeanors from discrimination while applying for employment or housing. One needs access to employment before they can afford housing and/or legal fees.


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?

I believe everyone should have healthcare coverage. Expanding Medicaid eligibility and the number of people on the Healthcare exchange will allow more low -income families, seniors,and homeless individuals to receive the care they need and for women to receive affordable birth control and reproductive healthcare.