As a parent and PTA leader, I envision a public education system that meets the needs of all of our diverse learners. The Legislature has progressed towards this goal by fully funding all-day kindergarten, decreasing class sizes for kindergarten through 3rd grade, and providing funding for materials and supplies for classrooms. The problem still remains that local school districts pay $3.5 billion out of local levy money for teachers and staff that is supposed to be funded under the basic education allocation to districts.
It is critical that we place funding the education system in compliance with the McCleary decision at the top of our agenda. Tax loopholes that do not serve the public interest need to be closed and that funding reallocated to the education system. State revenues need to be ample, sustainable, and capable of earning public support.
We must also give individual districts the flexibility to make funding decisions based on the needs of their population. This gives the district a way to close the opportunity gap by attracting teachers who are best equipped to meet the needs of the students, in classes that are sized in a way that the students get the help that they need in class and the extra support they might need outside of the classroom.
Transit & Transportation
Commuters tell me that they spend too much time getting to and from work instead of enjoying time with loved ones. Businesses spend more time than necessary moving goods along our highways. People feel as though they are having to pay for the toll lanes twice. This affects quality of life and economic development.
I fought for smart transit and transportation investments on the Kirkland City Council, and in the Legislature I will continue to be an advocate for common sense transportation solutions that help families and workers get where they need to be.
Congestion is a multi-faceted problem with no simple solution. A contributing factor is that there is not enough affordable housing in a reasonable proximity to where people work, creating the “drive till you qualify” phenomenon. More affordable housing and expanded opportunities to telecommute can help reduce the number of commuters on the roads. We also need to add more frequent and reliable bus options, plan for rail, strengthen the incident response system on our highways so that blockages can be cleared up more quickly, and allow hard shoulder running for buses during peak times.
We are fortunate to live in a beautiful region, and I remain committed to protecting and promoting our high quality of life. To me that means ensuring the highest air and water quality, preserving parks and open space, and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels to preserve our environment for future generations.
As Washington reduces greenhouse-gas emissions, invests in renewable energy, and transitions away from a fossil fuel economy, we have a tremendous opportunity to create and maintain a thriving alternative energy industry to drive our state’s economic growth and employ a stable workforce. As a State Representative, I will aim to serve as a leader on environmental issues by supporting programs that make our community more sustainable, including prioritizing statewide funding for waterway monitoring and infrastructure improvements for water supplies, providing incentives for new technologies, developing workforce re-training programs, and strengthening our state’s commitment to green energy sources.