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 would be honored to serve a second term as your state representative. I have served as the Vice Chair of the Capital Budget, and members of the Technology and Economic Development and Labor and Workforce Standards Committees. Our legislature makes some of the key decisions that shape our community and our common future. I have been a dedicated and tenacious representative employing my understanding and experience on a broad spectrum of issues including women's rights, environmental issues, economic justice, health care, gun responsibility and more. As your legislator I passed (or significantly help pass) bills and/or secured monies to:
- Create the Washington State Women's Commission
- Protect people experiencing domestic violence, stalking or sexual harassment from discrimination in the workplace.
- Provide for women who choose to keep a baby that resulted from rape, a civil legal option to terminate the claimed paternity rights of their rapist.
- Study ways to preference lower carbon intense structural building materials in our public buildings
- Increase medicaid rates for primary pediatric care
- Allow part-time state workers to unionize
- Strengthen our prevailing wage system in the state
- Help fund the new craft distillery in Tumwater, Boys and Girls Clubs, DASH, the planning for Capital Lake/Deschutes River, access to waterfront across the state (ALEA funds), and low income weatherization
- Reinvest in our infrastructure as the lead negotiator for a bill that funded the public works assistance account and moved to a process that encourages a whole systems approach toward creating sustainable infrastructure
- Provide for a public vote to increase funding for enhanced Intercity Transit services (Senator Hunt's bill - my companion)
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. I am proud to have been a strong participant and co-sponsor for the Pay Equity Act passed in 2018. We have also made good progress by passing an initiative to increase the minimum wage and requiring paid sick days for workers. Legislatively we established a paid family leave program that will allow families to care for their children and take care of their sick loved ones.
Looking to the future: With a changing work world with more gig jobs, we need to work on a system to provide flexible benefits and reduce mis-classification of workers.
It is absolutely essential that women maintain the right to access birth control and the full range of reproductive options, including abortion.
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 maintain the strong funding that was intended under the changes the legislature made to address the McCleary Supreme Court ruling and ensure that those sweeping changes work or are changed if needed.
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.
We need to work together toward rapidly transitioning to 100% Clean Energy with policies that increase shared transit options, reduce the carbon intensity of our fuels over time, make our homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient while electrifying everything possible and moving toward a clean electric grid as quickly as possible. 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.
Assisting our Veterans
As a daughter of a marine and a representative of a legislative district with a large active military population, I am committed to finding effective strategies to help military personnel seamlessly transition to the non-military workplace. I am also committed to ensuring our veterans have access to quality health care and mental health. I am proud to have co-sponsored several bills that help our military families provide access to higher education for their children and access to employment opportunities.
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.