Lillian Ortiz Self
Lillian Ortiz Self
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?

I want to target interventions specifically to the students in the opportunity gap, i.e., students of color, low income, special ed and English Language Learners. I serve on the Education Opportunity Gap Committee to address this issue. We have put out recommendations that coincided with last years hb 1680 and will be making recommendations to the Legislature in January. Interventions include: parent and community engagement; retain and recruit teachers of color, provide social emotional supports, and culturally competent professional development to name a few.

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?

Short of a different tax structure, I would propose closing tax loop holes and incentives.

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?

I strongly believe that if we want academically successful  students we have to have strong families.  I am part of the Freshmen group that has targeted TANF and child care resources as a priority area. We have to at the very least reinstate it at its pre-recession amount. I do not believe we can rob Peter to pay Paul. My goal is to fund schools while protecting our safety nets.

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?

We need to make sure we have tough regulations that are enforced whenever they are broken. We need to continue to hold our state agencies responsible for collecting, reporting and closing disproportionality when it exist and is discriminatory.

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?

Child care resources must be maintained, living wages should be increased, work force development and re=training programs should be maintained.

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?

We need to get tough on those that prey on the vulnerable. Reinforce regulations that prohibit taking advantage of people in desperate situations.

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 need to keep working to ensure that everyone regardless of color or economic level have access to quality representation. More Re-habilitation assistance is needed. Case management resources are important, and increase educational opportunities should be provided. But for the biggest change that needs to occur is to break the school to prison pipeline.

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 will support maintaining and continuing to improve affordable health care for all Washingtonians. We need to continue to improve educating our communities and making sure they have access to obtaining health care.