- Economy & Jobs
- Criminal Justice Reform
- Second Amendment
- Affordable Housing
Growing up in a middle-class family, I watched my parents work hard to make ends meet. Back then, if you worked hard and played by the rules, you could get ahead in life. Today, the deck has been stacked against working families who haven’t had a pay raise in a decade while we are paying more for housing, groceries, education, and childcare. We need an economy that works for the people instead of just the powerful interests, and we need members of Congress who will stop rigging the system and instead fight for us.
We must start with a common-sense approach to policies that will grow the middle class and create a sustainable economy for our future because prosperity in America comes from the middle out. We must focus on creating good paying jobs for hard working Americans, incentivize entrepreneurs, support small businesses, and ease the burden on middle class families. Congress must lead from the top by rebuilding our aging infrastructure, incentivizing the growth of small business, and addressing the rising costs of housing, education and childcare. We must demand fiscal responsibility in our government while promoting innovation and growth.
In Congress, I will stand up for workers’ rights and fight to ensure that the minimum wage is a living wage. I will defend equal pay for equal work and promote policies that create a level playing field for small businesses. I will protect Union workers that earn the respect and wages they deserve. America must invest in infrastructure, small businesses, and education and job training opportunities for our workforce as the world becomes an increasingly global economy. Ensuring that entrepreneurs have the resources they need to launch and small businesses have access to the capital they need to grow is essential to the health and future of our economy.
We must create a tax system that is fair. America works best for all of us when we each do our part for our communities and country. That includes paying our fair share in taxes to build our roads, educate our kids, and keep our country safe. But too often, politicians protect the powerful special interests, giving them tax breaks they don’t need. We should close loopholes that let them get away without paying their fair share and focus on rebuilding the middle class.
As a product of our public school system in the 8th District, I believe that every child should have access to a high quality public-school education. If we are serious about every child’s future, we must invest in the success of all of our students. We must even the playing field for all children in order to close the opportunity gap. Giving every child a fair shot – no matter their race or socioeconomic status – is essential to building a stronger, safer and more prosperous nation.
We should focus on investing in smart, proven strategies that we know will improve the lives of students, while also supporting innovative policy that will confront our education system’s most deeply-rooted issues. Investing in our public schools to reduce class sizes, providing ongoing teacher training, and increasing the cultural responsiveness of our public-school system is our duty. By funding early learning programs, we can set every child up with a foundation for success. We must also adequately fund the mental health services that are necessary for all students to succeed. And, by focusing on apprenticeship programs, coursework that develops practical skills, and preparation for higher education, we can better set students up for success in college and in the job market.
Education beyond high school is increasingly out of reach for a growing number of young Americans, despite their hard work and desire to learn. Poor and middle-class families continue to face barriers to higher education for their children, which contributes to a lack of social mobility. Three-quarters of all jobs today require more than a high school diploma, and the average worker with a bachelor’s degree now earns $1 million more over their lifetime than the one who only completed high school. Student loan debt is now greater than credit card debt in America, and that is simply unacceptable.
If we are committed to giving all our children an equal shot at the American Dream, we need to fix the system. Congress needs to make college more affordable. First things first, we need to reinstate year-round Pell Grants, so that the deck is no longer stacked against students who come from disadvantaged families. We also need to solve the mounting crisis of student loan debt. We’ve got to lower interest rates on school loans and streamline students’ repayment plans.
This issue is personal to me -- I myself have student loans, and understand what this burden means for real working people. I believe it is important to have members of Congress who understand how these policies affect the everyday people that they represent.
We need to ensure that our students can compete in a 21st century workforce. The United States was once first in the world in college completion; now, we don’t even make the top ten. America is falling behind in the race to educate our children. Solving this problem is not just the right thing to do - it is necessary for our future.
Any responsible approach to higher education has to include technical and trade schools. We should recognize that, while many students should go to college, not everyone needs to. University may not be right for all kids, especially considering the time commitment, financial burden, and academic demands that four-year colleges place on their students. As educators and public servants, we need to promote and fund alternative options that put high school graduates on new paths to success.
You have a right to affordable and accessible healthcare. The Affordable Care Act has expanded access and increased affordability of healthcare for many Americans, but too many middle class families, even those with insurance, are still only one major healthcare crisis away from ruin and are concerned about whether they will have health insurance in the future. We must fix the flaws and expand the gains created by the ACA, rather than destroying the progress we have made. Congress must stabilize insurance markets and state exchanges. We must expand access to Medicare, fully fund Medicaid, and ensure that every family in America has access to affordable healthcare regardless of their income.
As your representative, I will work with officials from all branches of government to find bipartisan legislative solutions to improve healthcare and lower costs for all Americans.
Women's healthcare is a fundamental right, yet the current administration has placed women’s health under attack and passed a discriminatory rule that allows employers to opt out of providing birth control. Before the Affordable Care Act, 1 in 3 women struggled to afford birth control. Now, we have the lowest rate of unintended pregnancy in 30 years, especially among teens, along with associated health benefits that birth control provides. I will always fight to protect a woman’s right to abortion and to ensure that women can make their own decisions about their health and family planning.
Congress has failed to renew the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which could leave over 60,000 children in our state without health insurance. The lack of bipartisan effort to care for one of our most vulnerable populations is wrong. Families should not be left with the choice of paying for rent or paying for their child's medical bills. As your representative, I will fight for the children of the 8th district and the 9 million children across the nation to get the healthcare they deserve.
Protecting our environment and our public lands is an obligation on us all. The health of our environment directly affects our public health and our economy. In Congress, I will defend our clean air and water and will fight for policies that promote renewable energy, conservation, and keeping public lands in public hands. We live in one of the most beautiful and naturally diverse states in the country, and it is our responsibility to maintain these valuable but fragile ecosystems so that our wildlife can thrive and future generations can enjoy the beauty of our region. Thoughtful stewardship of our environment is essential for long-term economic and climate sustainability.
We are experiencing the symptoms of climate change today, with devastating impact to the environment and the economy, to people and to property. In Washington, our forests and plains spend each summer burning. California has experienced the largest wildfires in its history. Houston was underwater, with lives lost, families displaced, and thousands of homes and small businesses damaged. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have felt the wrath of larger-than-ever hurricanes, with Florida and the East Coast in similar paths of destruction.
Climate change is no longer a hypothetical future or a piece of abstract data. It is real, it is happening now, and it is wreaking havoc from coast to coast and around the world. It is the greatest threat we face today. We need to elect serious advocates for the health of our planet to adjust our course of history and avert the coming environmental catastrophe.
To solve the issue, we must come up with wide-ranging solutions while reclaiming our moral authority to lead the world in this challenge. That means adhering to the Paris Climate Accord, and taking care of our lands at home, ensuring that our public lands remain protected from harmful private industries and open to the public; it means funding the Environmental Protection Agency, keeping the Clean Power Plan intact, and keeping our water and air free from harmful pollutants. We must also commit to energy solutions that make sense for our future, which means ending oil and gas bailouts, investing in research and development, and becoming a global leader in clean energy technology and green mass transit solutions.
If we can keep America's forests and other natural systems healthy despite climate change, they also can provide an important climate solution. U.S. forests and forest products currently capture and store 13% of our nation's annual carbon emissions. New research suggests that these natural systems could provide much more carbon capture if we invest in conservation, restoration, and stewardship. Strong federal policies to support natural climate solutions can help make this possible. With our carbon-rich forests, wetlands, and other natural systems, Washington state is positioned to be a global leader in this effort.
The time for talk is over. We deserve action on addressing this threat. Republicans in Congress will continue to bow to the will of powerful interests, putting oil industry executives ahead of the health and prosperity of Americans and the planet. We need to come together as a society and do what we’ve done so many times before. When I am elected in Washington’s 8th District, I promise to represent the people and the planet we live on, and not powerful corporate interests.
There is no threat too great, no problem too complex, that we cannot solve if we put our best and brightest on the task.
The first obligation of our government is to protect society. As a former prosecutor, I held criminals accountable, sought justice for crime victims, and protected our community. I also understand the need to reform our approach to criminal justice in order to better protect our communities. Mass incarceration is costly and ineffective. We also know the criminal justice system has disproportionately affected young people of color, specifically young men of color. One in three black men born today and one in six latino men born today will likely end up in prison. We must reimagine a criminal justice system that understands the reality of racial inequity and makes communities safer by promoting rehabilitation. People who are sent to prison must become prepared for life after incarceration, which will reduce the rate of re-offences. Justice is a concept that requires us to look beyond a case file and to pursue equality, fairness, and accountability.Ending Mass Incarceration and a Commitment to Prison Reform
Our country’s over-reliance on prison, particularly for nonviolent offenders, has left us with an overburdened and underperforming correctional system. No country in the world has a higher percentage of its citizens in prison than the United States. Many are incarcerated for low-level, nonviolent offenses. Sensible prison reform starts with the broad use of alternatives to incarceration. This includes increasing the use of home detention, incorporating community service opportunities, re-energizing restorative justice programs and providing funding to increase capacity and effectiveness of monitoring individuals through community correctional supervision. Mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, developed in the 1980’s, continue today, forcing low-level and first-time offenders to serve lengthy mandatory prison terms. This practice is a chief contributor to prison overpopulation. It has taken discretion away from talented, knowledgeable judges who fashioned sentences to meet the needs of a particular situation and has deprived the modern prosecutor of the ability to recognize the humanity behind every case and work to serve justice. We must repeal mandatory minimum sentences and instead utilize sentence ranges. It is time to fully transition funding from reactive drug abuse enforcement and prosecution to more productive strategies involving prevention, education, treatment and rehabilitation.Solitary Confinement
We must eliminate solitary confinement of juveniles in detention. The practice is inhumane and ineffective. Representative Cardeñas’ efforts in the House to pass legislation banning juvenile solitary confinement are steps in the right direction. I look forward to working with Rep.Cardeñas to ensure that the federal government is not harming our children, but protecting them. I am proud to note that a similar effort is underway right here at home, in King County. I will push for proper implementation and enforcement of that ordinance and fight for national change to guarantee the rights of our children.Reintegration: From Prison to Community
An overburdened criminal justice system cannot be repaired without greater attention toward the promotion of successful reentry programs for inmates that have served their time and are soon to be released. Society continues to punish offenders long after their release by depriving individuals of social services, housing, access to healthcare, educational opportunities, and the right to vote. Shifting funding from costly incarceration to prevention strategies, mentoring programs, job training and programs promoting alternatives to incarceration is critical to have a meaningful impact on recidivism rates as well as homelessness. The Democracy Restoration Act seeks to restore voting rights in federal elections to Americans who have been released from prison but are still denied the right to vote. About 5 million Americans are unable to vote because of a previous felony conviction. This contradicts efforts toward reentry and constricts an individual’s ability to become a fully reintegrated member of society.Police/Community Relations
As the son of a police officer and as a former prosecutor, I understand the incredibly important and challenging job taken on by law enforcement officers every single day. They serve to protect the community and deserve our support and our respect. In Congress, we must address the crisis of confidence that is evident between police and the communities they are pledged to protect.
Federal legislators are key players in improving police and community relations. I support the development of a national system of tracking use-of-force incidents including officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths. I also support criminal justice research and initiatives that encourage the use of evidence based, best practices in law enforcement including officer trainings in de-escalation, crisis intervention and community policing. Training should be provided to all federal, state, county, municipal, tribal, and campus police officers. Funding must be used to identify police and community relations best practices so these programs can be shared, adapted and implemented across the country. This includes guidelines and opportunities for new and innovative evidence-based community policing initiatives and strategies made available through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
As an outdoorsman and the son of a law enforcement officer, I grew up in a home with guns. I believe in the Second Amendment and the rights of law abiding citizens to own and possess firearms. I also believe that the first rule of responsible gun ownership is gun safety. We must pass firearm safety laws that help ensure criminals do not get easy access to guns. Background checks must be mandatory for all firearm purchases, and we must strongly enforce existing laws that are designed to enhance gun safety and keep guns out of dangerous hands.
The last decade in America has highlighted, time and again, the fact that the culture of violence and mental health issues in America have lead to an epidemic of gun violence that is a public health crisis. From Newtown to Orlando and San Bernardino to Spokane, mass shootings have left our communities devastated. The evidence is clear that guns also increase the risk for domestic violence homicide as well as suicides. Gun violence is ravaging our cities from coast to coast. Congress must immediately form a bipartisan Select Committee on Gun Violence to take real action to stop this epidemic.
This issue is critical for all Americans. In order to solve this crisis, we must come together from every side of the issue to protect the public and the rights of law-abiding citizens and to stop preventable deaths. Our nation must address this issue now, because tragedy is striking everyday. I worked hard to fight gun violence as a criminal prosecutor in south King County, and I intend to keep fighting it in Congress.
As a current member of the State Advisory Council on Homelessness, I have seen firsthand the challenges of our growing affordable housing crisis in Washington state. In Congress, I will commit to making affordable housing and homelessness a top priority.
Today, we face a nationwide shortage of approximately 7.5 million affordable rental homes available to our most vulnerable neighbors. If we fail to act, this figure will continue to rise pushing more and more people into poverty by the crushing cost of rent. Predictions suggest that by the year 2025, there may be 15 million Americans who must spend half of their monthly income on rent in order to remain off the streets. With stagnant wages and the increasing cost of housing, families in America are struggling to make ends meet and those hurt the worst by the affordable housing crisis are senior citizens, veterans, and those experiencing homelessness.
I support Low Income Housing Tax Credits in order to leverage private investment in the development of affordable housing. These tax credits will create more affordable housing units easing demand, create jobs in our communities, and generate revenue.