Why I am running to represent the 22nd District:
As a woman and a parent with thirty years of experience working on civil and environmental justice, I recognize that our legislature makes some of the key decisions that shape our community and our common future. The 22nd District needs a dedicated representative with understanding and experience on a broad spectrum of issues including women's rights, environmental issues, economic justice, health care, education and more. I am ready to take on the trust and aspirations of my community, to secure a thriving, sustainable, just and compassionate future for us all. I ask for your support as I run to represent the 22nd legislative district.
In the US, income inequality has grown steadily worse since the 1970s. From 1945 until the mid-1970’s, the US economy doubled, and so did incomes. But from the mid-1970’s through the present, the US economy doubled again, but incomes barely increased. Today, fully 70% of countries have a more equal income distribution than we have here in the US. In fact, if the US had the same income distribution it had in 1979, each family in the bottom 80% of theincome distribution would have $11,000 more per year in income on average. In 1965, the average CEO made 20 times the average worker. Now the ratio is 300 to 1, meaning the average CEO makes in a day what their workers make in a year. Incomes for the middle class have stagnated; young people have a harder time getting a decent start in the economy and many face crushing student debt; too many people who want full-time jobs can’t find them; and low-income people have a very hard time working their way into the middle class.
Building a Family-Friendly Economy
Growing income inequality hits women very hard. Women make up half the workforce today, but our workplace policies do not make it easy for women to balance their jobs and family responsibilities. Women make only 78 cents to the dollar men earn. But wages are just the beginning. Only 13 percent of Americans have access to paid family leave. Only 37 percent can take medical leave. And 80% of low-wage workers cannot earn a single sick day.Women make up two-thirds of the over 23 million workers in low-wage jobs— a job paying $10.50 per hour or less or about $1700 a month – $20,400 per year. A quarter of all poverty episodes are directly linked to having a baby. It is absolutely essential that women maintain the right to access birth control and the full range of reproductive options, including abortion.
I am a working mother and my own mother passed away just this year. I know first-hand the importance of paid sick days and paid family leave. And, we need to raise the minimum wage over time. As one of the most prosperous countries in the world, we can find a path forward toward a $15 minimum wage.
Funding education and paying teachers good wages is a necessary investment in our future. As an active volunteer and past PTA president at my children’s elementary school, I have been witness to the dedication, long hours and deep commitment that teachers bring to our schools. They should be well-compensated for their hard work, but teacher salaries also need to increase to ensure we attract the best and brightest to the profession. Teachers inspire our children to be life-long learners and are responsible for educating the next generation to successfully manage our future. We need to substantially increase funding for education. The state Supreme Court has already ordered such an increase.
We should substantially increase funding for K-12 as well as for higher education. Reduce class sizes, moving beyond this year’s reductions for K-3. Expand all-day kindergarten. Move toward universal pre-K. Increase college financial aid for all students.
Protecting and enhancing the environment
For the last nine years, I have worked for Climate Solutions whose mission is to find practical and profitable solutions to global warming. More and more we are seeing severe weather events somewhere in the world that wreak havoc. Here in the Northwest, the largest fires on record raged throughout the summer and drought threatens our water supply. Despite the clarity from our scientific community that we are headed toward catastrophic climate change and that a rapid transition away from dirty fuels is essential, our state legislature still has not enacted a cap on carbon pollution. It is well past time for action on this issue. If elected, I intend to do everything in my power to speed the transition to a clean energy economy, rich with family wage jobs.
The 22nd Legislative District is powered by Puget Sound Energy (PSE). PSE has been on board making the necessary investments to comply with our voter passed Renewable Portfolio Standard. Now, we need to work together toward a rapid transition from coal to clean. We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it is endangered. I would work to restore forest health, to protect our precious Puget Sound and our rivers and lakes and to enhance outdoor recreation.
Paying for Our Common Needs
Taxes and fees are how we pay for our shared needs. Washington currently has the most regressive tax system in the US, with the proportion of taxes per person higher the less an individual earns. We need to address our regressive tax system by shifting taxes more toward those who can afford to pay the most to make our taxes more fair. We should also move to tax those things that we want less of, like carbon pollution.