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 and without it other problems arise. I will advocate to fully fund education starting at the Pre-school level thru grade 12. I will also do everything in my power to keep college affordable to all students, especially those who are low-income regardless of their color.
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?
First and foremost – tax loopholes that don’t benefit the greater good must be eliminated. While this won’t solve all problems, it is a start. We need to come up with a more equitable system of taxation so those who can least afford it, don’t end up paying a disproportionate amount.
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?
I will not support any cuts to safety-net programs and will work hard to try and find additional revenue to increase funding these critical programs. As stated previously, eliminating tax loopholes would be a good place to start, but there must be other areas where additional funding can be found.
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?
I will listen to your organization and other stakeholders to learn about your ideas to solve these problems. There are very diverse barriers that stretch across many layers of government and a one-size fits-all solution may not be practical. I will support or sponsor legislation to correct this.
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?
I would support an increase of the minimum wage, which is an obvious place to start. I would also support legislation to provide more free or low-cost child care services, along with reliable transit to jobs. Finally, I would advocate for more affordable housing units and job training programs.
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?
I will support legislation that makes it difficult for predatory lenders to do business in Washington. I know the State’s Dept. of Financial Institutions has been working hard to monitor lender’s activities and the legislature has passed controls, however smaller interest rates, longer pay-back time times need to be required.
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.
I would work to provide “counseling” to people leaving the system – from housing assistance and job training to managing finances. This should not be a one-time occurrence but an on-going effort until the individual is somewhat stable and has the basics covered.
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?
It’s all about the money, all the time, but I would definitely work to find funding to provide basic health services to all residents. I would also be supportive of providing grants to organizations who do provide free health and dental care.