Ensuring excellent schools
As a long time teacher and instructional coach, I know education is the key solution to many challenges our community faces. The Washington State Supreme Court has made it clear that our state is not fulfilling its constitutional duty to make education our top priority. We clearly have work to do.
We have very few legislators who have hands-on classroom experience at a time when we are implementing new policies around early education, graduation standards, and academic achievement. I'm excited to bring my background to bear on these critical education issues.
Our newest education legislation has promise but needs work. Our students and parents need a voice in this process. We must improve the quality of education for students and address each child’s needs individually, not as a mass.
* Tackle the drop out rate. We can keep more kids in school by educating each child and finding innovative approaches to close the achievement gap. One-size-fits all and outdated teaching models are slowing progress. We need to highlight and learn from teachers who are making a difference and improve learning for all kids.
* Investigate and eliminate programs that are not directly linked to improving the quality of education.
* Stop the misuse of testing. Our parents and kids need clear standards for graduation that don't change every year. We need to give local schools and districts more say in how they educate their students.
* Fight for the funding that meets our constitutional obligation and best serves our students and families.
Ensuring a family friendly economy
We have work to do to ensure state government is helping working families.
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% of Americans have access to paid family leave. Only 37% can take medical leave. Additionally, 80% of low-wage workers cannot earn a single sick day. We can do better.
The first step is a minimum wage that helps struggling families make ends meet. But it doesn't end there. We need to provide improved economic opportunity. We need to ensure that low wage workers get paid fairly, women receive equal pay for equal work, and help parents stay home with loved ones when they are sick or facing other emergencies.
(Monica with Lilly Ledbetter, who fought for equal pay and has a landmark bill, "The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act", in her name.)
We can't rely solely on Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Boeing in Washington State for job creation. We need more champions of small business in the legislature. We need to make sure our businesses have the opportunities to hire the best talent Washington State can produce. Our people are our best asset. My priorities are investing in the continuing education of our workforce, supporting these workers and promoting middle class jobs.
As a legislator, I have a track record streamlining the permitting process for construction workers so they didn't have to go to the Seattle area to get new construction permits. Every legislator needs to listen closely to the small businesses in their community and work closely with them to ensure we are creating a business climate where they can thrive. I plan to continue this work supporting our small businesses if I'm elected.
I am a proven champion for labor apprenticeships and working conditions. A strong middle class depends on living wage jobs and our labor community needs more champions for ensuring working people have decent lives and can retire with dignity.
Protecting the environment and tackling climate change
Scientists have made a clear case. Our planet is warming at an alarming rate because of human activity especially our use of fossil fuels. We need to reflect and include these costs in our economic activity if we are going to slow or reverse the warming of our planet. Every state needs to do its part to create a new green economy, move away from fossil fuels, and set an example by purchasing clean energy.
Protecting a woman's right to choose.
Let me be clear, I am 100% pro-choice. I believe that any decision concerning a woman's medical choice is between her and her doctor. In my first term as a legislator, I was consistently counted on to support women's self-determination when it comes to their health. I am a proud cosponsor of the Washington State Reproductive Parity Act and I plan on continuing that consistent track record.