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 fully fund education, including early childhood education and lower class size. We should locate safety net services in the schools. Almost one-third of the children in the local schools are on free and reduced lunch. We know the families need additional supports. We also should lower the class sizes.
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 have the most unfair tax structure in the country. It must be changed. We are number one in the nation for taxing our lower income working families. We are also #1 in the nation in having the lowest tax rate for wealthy families who live primarily on unearned capital gains.
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 should hold the tax payers who have tax preferences to the same strict standards they want to inflict upon teachers. We should implement a capital gains tax on property income such as stocks and bonds.
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?
We must implement cultural competency programs throughout civil society. We should also require an analysis of each law or policy to ensure that all groups are impacted equally. It is sometimes referred to as mainstreaming analysis.
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?
We know how to create jobs. Middle market companies that are the backbone of our economy will hire workers when their market share increases. We need to help them expand their book of business. We help Boeing we could help these businesses. I will be holding work sessions on this issue.
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?
Start a state bank with a division dedicated to fixing this issue.
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.
Reentry programs are an excellent example of paying it forward. If we do not prepare people for successful reentry we will be paying for them again when they go back to prison.
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?
Health care is a human right. I personally think we should simply expand the Medicare system for everybody.