Richard McCluskey in the 17th
Richard McCluskey
Legislative District 17
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?

Education is “The Great Equalizer” providing an opportunity for success to all persons from any strata of society. Income and the inability to hold absolutely no correlation and money should never be an obstacle to a lifetime of learning. I will work diligently toward publicly paid lifetime education.

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?

Half of our in state revenue is derived from a severely regressive sales tax which burdens the working poor at a level three times that of wealthy Washingtonians. I support the full replacement of our regressive sales tax with an equability progressive income tax.

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?

Government is the people working together to do that which cannot be done independently. The greatest things we do are done together. I will work consistently to support the full funding of programs which provide for those who permanently or temporarily are unable to provide for themselves and their families.

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?

The presumption that any person is any more or less deserving that any other person is truly the root of all evil. Race or social stratification must never be a factor in any public interaction. If such evil does exist I will support legislative action to prevent the injustice.

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?

No person who works full time should ever be forced to live in poverty. A minimum wage increase consistently improves the economy and more jobs are created. I’ll work to assure that the minimum wage and a living wage are one and the same.

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?

Public funds bailed out commercial banks which now refuse to invest in the people, forcing many of us to do business with even more predatory services. I support the creation of a State Bank of Washington providing at least basic financial services for all citizens for the benefit of all.

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.

Our justice system unfairly disfavors the poor creating felonies of unfortunate mistakes. I’ll work to end the poverty that leads to further injustice and support the establishment and promotion of transitional services which promote successful interaction between the public and our returning citizens.

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?

Although the Affordable Care Act has made a difference and brought healthcare to thousands of people in need, it is not enough. Medicare for all would be an improvement over past and current programs but we can do even better. I support a single payer publically financed healthcare system.