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Jobs & Economy

As someone who was raised in poverty cycled in foster homes and was even homeless for a time, helping those in need is personal for me. I am not another lawyer or another multi-millionaire. Instead, I bring a unique perspective in that I understand what it means to struggle under tough circumstances, and that inspires my unwavering commitment to helping others struggling through tough times. I am committed to fighting every day to make sure that hard-working families never slip through the cracks.  

As a working mother of two, I know firsthand the challenges of making our ends meet as gas and grocery prices skyrocket. I’m ready to take my work in economic development and my experience as a small business owner to work with business, state, and local governments and our residents to reduce the cost of household goods.

Progressive state policies I helped pass in the legislature, like the nation’s best Paid Family Medical Leave and a path towards more affordable child care, will help Washington families as we weather this crisis.

Working Families 

I’ve been a champion of efforts like Career Connect which identifies skills needed in the job force and links tens of thousands of students to apprenticeships and on-the-job training, and in my work with Senator Murray. I helped develop what became a national model for military transition from service to jobs at home.  I also helped pass into law one of the most substantial reductions in college tuition in the country, paid for by big companies like Amazon and Microsoft who benefit from the well-educated workforce our public schools produce.  

 

I also believe that expanding health care coverage and lowering medical and prescription drug costs will help promote income growth and stabilize our economy since it is often unforeseen health care events that can bankrupt struggling families. Making child care more accessible and affordable, ending the gender pay gap, raising the minimum wage and reinstating overtime rules, and enforcing and strengthening protections for organized labor that allow strong unions to flourish and effectively negotiate for workers – these are all important steps in chipping away at income inequality, ensuring the economic security of our families and promoting dignity and pride in the work we produce.  

I’m very proud to have earned a 100% rating in the legislature from the Washington State Labor Council while helping guide the state to its ranking as one of the top economies in the country, proving that protecting and providing for our workforce goes hand in hand with a strong economy.

Keeping Neighborhoods Safe

Every person in every neighborhood should feel safe in their homes and walking on the street. This means ensuring our first responders have the tools and resources to do their jobs. We need to expand community policing and community mental health officer programs so police have the assistance they need to respond the right way in the right situation to reduce crime and violence in our cities. We need to continue to build trust between our officers and the communities they serve. 

As the mother of two children, I'm ready to work with the cities of Federal Way, Auburn, Algona, and Pacific to reduce crime in every neighborhood and on every street. 

Child Care

Childcare is essential. Now more than ever, families need safe, affordable, high-quality childcare to get our economy back on track.   63% of Washingtonians live in a childcare desert where there are either no childcare providers or 3 times as many children as licensed care spots. Working families will find a way for their kids to be cared for while they’re at work, but by not investing in licensed spots, they may be driven to find care on the unlicensed grey market with no safety standards. Now is the time to invest in facilities and workers that are supporting the reopening of our economy – by allowing the workforce to work. We must compensate childcare workers fairly, offer a stimulus and reopening grants for providers to offset new COVID-19 requirements, and create career pathways and financial aid for caregivers seeking early learning degrees.  High-quality childcare builds America two generations at a time. This will require a unifying framework and national minimum standards for knowledge and competencies, educator qualifications, industry standards, and compensation that recognizes the professional nature and requirements of the industry. 

Health Care

I believe passionately that health care is a right for every person, not a privilege.  I’ve spent much of my life with no health insurance coverage, and have a pre-existing health condition in diabetes that makes me acutely aware of, and like so many Americans, uniquely vulnerable to attacks that seek to deny health care coverage.  I believe we need to do everything possible to make health care and prescription drugs more affordable.  Our state is the first state in the country to plan for a public option for health care. I’m excited to make sure that plan reduces costs, increases transparency, and ensures accountability.  Creating a public option will force insurance companies to compete, lowering health care costs for everyone.

I’m proud of our efforts in Washington state where we’ve established progressive models for the country in pursuit of these goals – we’ve cut the uninsured rate from 14% to nearly 5% thanks to an efficient and aggressive implementation of Obamacare, and we’ve established the country’s first long term care benefit that helps aging residents afford the care they need.   These progressive policies that have improved the health and well-being of our citizens helped me earn a 100% rating from the Washington State Nurses Association while I served in the legislature.

Championing Our Public Schools

Because of progressive public investments and caring mentors, I was able to escape the cycle of poverty. It was teachers who saved me, who guided me to overcome great childhood adversity and poverty, who cared enough to show me a path to success. 

Every student deserves to have a quality public school in their community, and educators who can afford to live in the community they teach, so that we can prepare the next generation to succeed – no matter their ZIP code. I have fought for educators and for key investments that have strengthened the path to opportunity in our state – the biggest teacher salary increases in the nation, the largest-ever expansion of early childhood education, and linking tens of thousands of students with apprenticeships and on-the-job training.

College Affordability

Everyone should have access to an affordable college education if they choose, one that lets them pursue their dreams and a great career – without crushing debt from student loans. I speak from firsthand experience.  With the help of a state need grant and scholarships, I was able to leave a childhood of poverty and tumult to become the first in my family to go to college and am today a proud Washington State graduate.

I was able to pay this state’s investment in me forward by supporting a law to create a free and low-cost college for 110,000 Washingtonians – paid for by big corporations in our state that owes part of their success to the well-educated workforce our public education system has produced.

Military Families and Veterans

In my roles as Statewide Veterans Representative for U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Director of the Military Defense Sector in Governor Inslee’s Commerce Department, I have been connected to military families, employers and contractors in the South Sound on a daily basis.  

 

My position as an advocate for military families and veterans is also shaped by my family.  As the twin sister of a 17-year combat veteran in the United States Air Force, I can attest that the little brother that I sent off to war after 9/11 is not the man who came home.  Our military service members put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms, and I am proud to be an outspoken advocate for service members and their families, making sure that they gain access to the opportunities and benefits that they’ve earned and deserve.

I have worked on veterans’ health care, improving military transition and workforce development, and have helped secure millions of dollars in federal grants to improve private-sector job growth, support military personnel transitioning to private-sector jobs, and support the 1900+ small businesses in the defense sector supply chain during Department of Defense downsizing. 

I will continue to be a knowledgeable, compassionate and effective advocate for military families and veterans – from helping to reduce the suicide rate among veterans with better mental health treatment and services to better housing for military families to greater assistance in easing the transition between service and civilian careers.

Climate Change

The changing climate is the defining challenge of my generation.  It’s a threat to our economy, our way of life, and our entire existence. 

As a working mom of two young kids, I think every day about the future our kids will have with our world literally on fire due to climate change. As someone who has worked on economic development, I understand the urgency and importance of comprehensive climate action and the repercussions of inaction. And as a woman of color, I know that too often front-line communities can be overlooked in the fight against climate change.

I’m proud to have been a part of Washington state’s bold leadership in combating the crisis. I was the primary sponsor of the Healthy Environments for All (HEAL) Act, which would require Washington state agencies to develop strategies to apply an environmental justice lens to their work and target investments in low income and communities of color – communities that are on the front-lines of pollution and health disparities. 

I’m proud to have been a part of Washington state’s bold leadership in combating this crisis.  We’ve established a Clean Energy Fund to grow well paid green jobs, we’ve built a $6 billion wind industry from scratch by incentivizing the private sector with renewable energy standards, and we passed a law to end Washington’s use of coal and shift our state to use 100% clean energy to generate electricity.

I believe Washington State must take a leadership role in addressing climate change, not only to protect ourselves from threats like hurricanes and wildfires that increasingly threaten our daily lives and resources but because we must take advantage of the economic opportunity that exists to be a leader in the creation of clean energy jobs and the next generation of economic innovation.