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?
As a Latina, former homeless teenager, and single mom, I experienced the achievement gap first hand. Now, as a mother of six, I know that school choice is critical to the child’s success. I will fight for parents to have the choice of education that best suits their child.
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?
Ensuring the private sector is not harmed through overbearing tax burdens such as the B&O tax on gross revenue will grow our revenue base. When a bottom line is healthy, our private sector willingly invests in social programs such as the YWCA, Tacoma Rescue Mission and Tacoma Housing Authority.
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?
The best way to ensure the people that require the services of safety net programs are taken care of is to ensure that it is getting to those that truly need it. Also, as a legislator I will push for federal dollars to assist our military families.
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?
Twenty years ago I never thought I would be running for elected office. I am living proof that with hard work, skin color doesn’t need to hold you back. I support enforcement of existing laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, sex, age, origin, sexual orientation etc.
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?
When I was a jobless single mother using WIC, I quickly found that the best social program was a job. Now, my desire is to bring the perspective of someone who came from poverty and creates jobs in spite of regulations from the state.
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?
These institutions should fully disclose their fees and service charges, but for lower income citizens who do not have access to traditional banking, these loans are sometimes key to building a credit baseline. When I was living in poverty, sometimes I had to take advantage of pay day loans.
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.
If it is fiscally viable, I would encourage rehabilitative programs for incarcerated individuals. Public-private partnerships are very successful in areas like education and the business community. As a legislator, I would encourage and support these types of partnerships.
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?
I support measures that allow free market health care to work, such as allowing Washingtonians to purchase health insurance across state lines. What hasn’t worked for the nearly 300,000 Washingtonians who have lost their health insurance is the top-down government mandated reforms that restrict choices and kill jobs.