CHAMPIONING OUR SCHOOLS
I have two kids in public schools. I know firsthand that education is the most important responsibility of state government.
I also know that for too long the state didn’t make education our highest priority. Our schools are not as good as they could be. We have let classroom sizes get too big. 25% of high school kids don’t graduate. We don’t always recruit and retain the highest quality teachers.
I know we can do better. Not just because the Supreme Court in their McCleary decision is telling us to, but because it is the right thing to do.
I am proud of my legislation HB 2519 that is helping kids in our child welfare system access quality early learning programs. All children deserve the opportunity to excel—not just get by. But our most vulnerable—those in the child welfare system—are barely even getting by.
Each year we are taking steps to improve education, but next year is when we must meet our McCleary obligation and finally fully-fund our public schools.
When I talk about the struggles and challenges facing families, it is important to recognize the problems our transportation system cause for working parents. Let’s get out of congestion and home to have dinner with our kids. That’s why I am proud to have supported the largest transportation package in state history, without relying on tolls on I-90.
Commuters, our local governments and the business community came together to advocate strongly that our many major transportation projects are critical to our economic vitality. This also includes transit services, bike and pedestrian facilities and approval of our growing light rail corridor. Early this year, I was proud to participate in the groundbreaking of Eastlink, Sound Transit’s light rail efforts through Mercer Island, Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond.
I will always be a strong proponent for transportation infrastructure, transit services and improving freight mobility. These are important investments in the long-term health of our economy.
PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT
If you ask anyone why they moved to the Pacific Northwest, you don’t first hear about the great economy or our vibrant communities. For the people of our region, they moved here or stayed here because of the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
We are the stewards of that environment and I take that responsibility seriously. I don’t believe in the false choice between the economy and the environment. I believe we can have a vibrant economy and protect our environment.
In my first session, I served as Vice-Chair of the Environment Committee. I strongly supported legislation to help protect our communities and waterways from the dramatically increasing amount of crude oil traveling across our state. I strongly supported ending the use of toxic flame retardants in our household furniture and am pleased we will be keeping dangerous mercury out of our landfills with the new light bulb recycling program we created.
As a member of the State Building Code Council, I was thrilled to champion successful proposals to require electric vehicle charging infrastructure in new multi-family and commercial buildings, to ensure compost is collected, where viable, along with trash and recycling, and that new buildings include water bottle filling stations with their drinking fountains.
We need to do our part in Washington State to reduce our impact on climate change and ensure clean air and water for the next generation.
CREATING SAFE COMMUNITIES
In addition to supporting our law enforcement professionals and emergency responders, we can make our communities safer through policy. Whether it is road safety, gun responsibility or combating domestic violence, it is imperative that we keep our schools, workplaces and families safe.
As a mother and elected official, I am committed to fulfilling this basic responsibility.
I became involved in politics when a road near my home was too dangerous for the amount of kids and cars crossing it. Parents were nervous to let their children walk to school or the library. My involvement on the issue is what eventually led me to a seat on the Mercer Island City Council. I will continue to advocate for policies that improve road safety from Safe Routes to School as part of our state’s Transportation Package to DUI prevention efforts.
I have seen firsthand the devastation gun violence can have on individuals and an entire community. Last session, we passed legislation to make sure those with a protection order out against them do not have access to firearms. Unfortunately, this year, neither of the common sense gun safety bills to reduce gun violence in our communities passed. Rest assured, I will continue to promote solutions that reduce gun violence.
Domestic violence unfortunately occurs in all communities. We must ensure that victims have the paid time off from work so they can ensure the safety of their families without having to jeopardize their jobs. My first speech from the House floor was advocating for paid safe and sick leave.