I’ll stand up for women. Every time.
Every day I’m inspired by the women in our community who step up to lead, serve, and make our community better. Whether it’s raising a family, or serving in elected office, or advocating and volunteering in our community for positive change, I’m so proud of the women of Whatcom County. I was inspired to run for the state Senate after events like our historic Bellingham Women’s March, when thousands of our friends and neighbors got involved in our community’s future – many for the first time. There’s an upswell of enthusiasm and energy for positive change – and much of it is being led by women.
I believe in the freedom for women to choose to make decisions about their own bodies. I believe birth control must be part of basic health care plans. Families should have the freedom to be with their loved ones – that’s why I support paid family leave for newborns and other family emergencies. And, we must continue to push for equal pay for equal work laws so that women and men earn the same pay if they do the same job. It’s only fair. At the National level women hold only 19% of the 536 elected seats and only 38 are women of color. Government should be a reflection of who we are as a people. I’ve volunteered as a mentor for young professional women and I’ve seen firsthand how young women can succeed and lead in business given the right opportunity – I want to continue my leadership and set an example for others.
Investing in our children
Our children deserve the same opportunities that we had – that’s why I support investing in our children’s education. Unfortunately, our schools are overcrowded, our teachers underpaid and our schools underfunded.
Specifically, I strongly support expanded early learning and preschool programs for our littlest learners, lower class sizes, increased teacher pay to attract high quality professionals to Washington state, and making college affordable for working families. We also need to ensure that children graduating from high school have access to affordable colleges, trades and apprenticeships – we are missing opportunities for good, family wage jobs in the trades. We need to expand opportunities for vocational and technical education, and make sure that those opportunities are available in every community.
Big corporations and special interests consistently get special treatment from the state legislature while middle class families get passed higher taxes, higher costs of living and have to work harder for less. My first and only priority in the legislature will be you. I was dismayed that under the leadership of Republicans in the state Senate in 2017, the legislature this year increased property taxes to citizens while at the same time giving yet another corporate tax break. That would never have earned my vote. We need fairer taxes that lower the burden on the middle class while closing the loopholes that the lobbyists can buy for their special interest clients.
Jobs and economic development
While Seattle’s economy is booming, not everyone in Whatcom County is seeing those benefits. Our cost of living is skyrocketing and we need to continue to attract employers that pay family wage jobs. We have many areas that have no cell service, internet access and food deserts. We need to work together as a region that includes the state, county, port, cities, tribes and rural areas on an economic strategy that builds from our strengths and distributes opportunity throughout the County.
Our community needs a voice in Olympia that will fight for our local economy. As State Senator, I will stand up for investments in infrastructure – our bridges and roads – that keep our economy moving. If businesses can’t get their goods to market, it won’t help our local economy.
Too often, the politicians in Olympia cater to big corporate interests instead of local small and mid-sized business.
As a Senior Manager at Puget Sound Energy, I’ve worked with small businesses across Whatcom County, helping employers save costs and protect our environment by improving their energy efficiency. I’ve seen first hand how costs and regulations can be a challenge for local businesses, but also how we can work together to help businesses grow, create jobs, and protect our environment and our community values. That’s the sort of leadership and collaboration that we need to bring to state government.
Making government work
Like you, I’m frustrated with political gamers and the lack of compromise in both Olympia and especially Washington DC. I’m proud of my work on the Bellingham City Council – we don’t always agree, but always find a way to come together, balance budgets and move the city forward. There’s no Democratic or Republican way to pave a road or provide clean drinking water. In Olympia, I’ll reach across the aisle to get things done.
Protecting our way of life
I grew up in a rural community, in a farmhouse without running water (we got plumbing when I was 10). We live in a unique and beautiful part of our state with wonderful forests, stunning mountains, sparkling water and more, and our natural environment is a critical part of what makes Whatcom County a special place to live. We need to protect that. Using an outhouse, hauling water and sharing water for a bath, gives you an acute understanding for water conservation. I understand the needs of our robust agriculture industry, dairy farmers, as well as our fisherman and maritime industries. Clean air to breathe, clean soil to farm and clean water to drink are essential to keeping these industries thriving.
Climate Change is real and it is a human-caused crisis that requires immediate action. We must work for a just transition off our dependence of fossil fuels to renewable energy sources so future generations will benefit from energy independence and robust clean energy industry.
We can’t separate our obligation to be good stewards of our planet from our obligation to support and raise up those most vulnerable in our communities. Low income and communities of color disproportionately experience the toll of environmental injustices every day. High pollution levels and increased exposure to environmental hazards at home and at work are a reality for too many. Sadly, as a result of climate change, communities at home and abroad have also been destroyed by more frequent and more extreme natural disasters. We must prevent and address the human and economic threats of environmental degradation in order to secure our future. That’s why I’m so committed to a social justice element of our environment movement.
I know that a strong economy and protecting our environment can absolutely coexist. I see it working everyday. I’ve spent the last 12 years working on environmental justice, conservation, and energy efficiency with communities and businesses. I work with customers throughout the county, all the small cities, the port, the schools districts, lumber products, cold storage, and aerospace. Improving energy efficiency can lower costs for businesses and reduce carbon emissions. Expanding our investments in new technologies like solar and wind power can cut down on pollution and create new manufacturing jobs. This is what I’ve centered my career around and I’ll take this same focus to the Senate.
Health care should be a right not a privilege. No Washington family – regardless of their financial situation – should go bankrupt or lose their home because they have been in an accident or have medical needs. It’s time that politicians stop playing politics with people’s healthcare. We need to focus on preventative health and not punish people for pre-existing conditions.
Our society has become dependent on expensive prescription drugs that have driven us to an opiod crisis. I support more efforts and research on less addictive and harmful alternative treatments such as Cannabis. For those who need everyday medication we need to address the outrageous price of prescription drugs, and work with providers to make them affordable for everyone. No one should have to decide between paying for their medications or their housing or heating bill. We already spend more on health care than other countries – solving these problems are the fiscally responsible thing to do. I’ll step up to stop the politics and hold the insurance companies and big pharmaceutical companies accountable so that families can get the care they need.
Social and criminal justice
I first ran for office to be a voice for women, the environment and social justice; those issues are extremely critical and relevant today.
I believe we need to protect our Civil Rights for minorities, LGBTQ, immigrants, treaties, and women and eliminate systemic racism. We need to reform our criminal justice system and focus on alternative, and diversion programs to keep people out of jail, as well as provide opportunity for education and development to reduce recidivism. We need to ensure that we are protecting our most vulnerable, and if elected to the State Legislature, I want to make it one of my priorities to secure funding for health and safety programs for these communities.
I am also hoping to serve on the Law and Justice committee at the State, and as your next State Senator I will advocate for criminal justice reform policies, funding for mental health, and programs that reduce recidivism, as well as funding and support at the state level that can help these programs be more abundant and impactful at the local level. It is absurd that we are reinforcing a cycle of bias, criminalization, and homelessness, and I would like to see legislation passed at the State Senate that helps prevent this.
Everyone deserves a home. If elected, I want to be an advocate at the State Senate for bills and funding for affordable housing. I have been a local advocate on Bellingham City Council for access to affordable housing and the funding to help get us there. We need to increase the supply of affordable housing and add more diversity in housing types to provide an entry to home ownership and opportunity for upward mobility.
We also need to ensure continued funding for low-income housing, like from Housing Trust Fund (HTF), Community Development Block Grants, CDBG Grants, HUD funding, and Community Land Trusts. I would like to see county-wide initiatives, like the Bellingham Home Fund, which supports new affordable housing construction and rehabilitates existing affordable housing. There is no panacea, and this is a nationwide issue, but working together we can be more strategic and effective in providing more affordable housing. Everyone deserves the safety and security of a home.
I’ve been around guns my whole life. I grew up on a farm, my family hunted, and a gun was a tool, not a toy. We were taught safety and gun responsibility and to respect the animals. I was married to a US Marine who was well trained and owned guns. Guns were always in secured location and treated with respect.
I am advocating for gun responsibility, enhanced background checks, proper storage and training on proper usage. We need to do everything we can to help reduce gun violence, suicide prevention, domestic violence and mass shootings.