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Every kid deserves a chance to thrive regardless of the zip code they were born in, and an opportunity to pursue whatever academic endeavor they choose to the fullest. Spokane has some of the most economically challenged zip codes in our state. Our kids need to go to first-rate schools that prepare them to get a living wage job. Making our economy stronger means making sure that that every child has access to a high-quality education. We must empower the next generation of workers to address our significant gaps, and important to that is a strategy of investing and putting much more in reach of education and training opportunities through financial aid for higher education and apprenticeships. We should expand access to pre-apprenticeship programs, apprenticeships, community and technical colleges, four-year degrees and more to find the path they will be most likely to succeed in. It is also a priority of mine to end childhood hunger in Washington. I am very proud to have passed a series of bills that have increased the number of students receiving access to free meals (now more than half in our state), including all students in Spokane Public Schools. I will continue to push for access to universally free meals in our whole state because we know hungry kids can’t learn and feeding kids can’t wait!


Public Safety

Conversations about crime and public safety are everywhere – and it is critical that elected officials at all levels of government focus on improving safety and peace of mind. We hear these concerns at town hall meetings, in our neighborhoods, and in the media. People are rightfully concerned about the safety of their neighborhoods, and I will continue to work with our community to address these concerns. I try to look at this through a health lens. We need to help those struggling in behavioral health crisis or battling addiction. But there is also a recognition that health - personal and public health - very much includes in my mind the fact that everyone deserves to not only be safe but feel safe in their community. Law enforcement officers deserve to feel safe and supported in their work. I think we should promote policies that will support workforce development including peer to peer positions, and other initiatives to focus on substance use disorder prevention and long-term recovery. To succeed people need housing and access to support and services, and there does have to be some sort of accountability to our community.  I am interested in supporting policy development and policy interventions that will strike the right balance to help address the myriad of issues so many face in our community concerning mental health crisis and battling a substance abuse disorder, while still ensuring law enforcement has the necessary tools to investigate and stop crime

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Reproductive Rights

Since the Dobbs decision extremist lawmakers across the county have made it their mission to take away reproductive healthcare from everyone. I proudly sponsored HB 1340 which now ensures doctors who provide reproductive healthcare are protected and can’t be targeted for ensuring people are cared for. Extremists won’t stop coming for our rights, but I’ll never stop working to protect your rights. Washington is and should remain a safe place for people to access the care they need - but we should not take this for granted and I will stand up for these principles.

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I want everyone in our community to have access to safe affordable housing, and in the senate I will continue that fight. I will continue to fight against excessive rent increases, that renters can’t afford. I believe renters and manufactured homeowners deserve protections from cost increases that are pushing them from their homes. I believe that everyone needs a roof over their head – housing is health and a social determinant of health.  For many years Spokane did not hit the economic booms, but even in tough times it was a place you could find affordable housing. Times have changed and finding affordable housing in Spokane and across our state is extremely difficult. The people of Spokane and all of our state deserve an affordable place to live, work, and raise a family but it is currently out of reach for far too many. Washington is experiencing a critical housing shortage and I will continue to support bills like ESHB 1110 that enacted statewide zoning to look at a policy goal of creating more housing by making it legal to build up to a fourplex on any residential lot in cities of a certain size, and the ability to build up to a sixplex if certain conditions are met around affordability of two of the units. Washington needs more policies like this to become more nimble as we cannot create enough single-family homes to meet demand. I will continue to champion housing policy that helps families build wealth through making the dream of home ownership a reality, helps foster a robust workforce in our cities, and will reduce homelessness.

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Health Care

Health Care is a human right. Everyone in Washington needs access to quality affordable healthcare. I have and will remain focused on increasing our health care workforce and making sure they are treated fairly. I sponsored and passed legislation to create the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine to train homegrown doctors right here in Spokane. I recently passed legislation to allow physician assistants to have greater autonomy to serve patients in our underserved areas. Working in the legislature, and as Chair of the Health Care Committee I truly come to understand that all health starts with oral health and we need to ensure access to high quality dental care. I created and funded dental infrastructure throughout our state - 53 projects and investing over $46 million - to serve thousands of patients. I also led efforts to expand the University of Washington’s RIDE program to double the number of dentists that are trained in our community. I have and will continue to lead efforts to expand access to telehealth which has been particularly beneficial for those needing behavioral health services. 

I was proud to be the prime sponsor of SHB 1155 in 2019 which provides for uninterrupted meal and rest breaks for nurses and certain other health care employees, and prohibits the use of prescheduled on-call time to fill foreseeable staff shortages. I continued to champion and work on issues sponsoring safe staffing legislation. It is critical that we not only increase the pipeline of our healthcare workforce but pay and treat fairly our existing workforce so they don’t burn out or choose a different profession. In the Senate I will continue to push for solutions to workplace shortages, access to healthcare, and investment in our healthcare infrastructure.

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