Why I am running to represent you in the State House
Working for justice, safety, and equity is deeply personal for me. My grandmother left an abusive spouse to safeguard herself and three children; a brave decision that shaped three generations in our family. As a young, single mother, she worked full-time to raise her kids in safe and affordable public housing located near good public schools. In turn, my mother instilled in me a sense of strength, independence and community by modeling her tenacity against injustices that harmed our family and community. These lessons have been the foundation of my work with people who have faced unrelenting challenges, and are what help me carry hope forward.
For nearly twenty years, I have worked on behalf of people who are homeless and living with mental illnesses and addictions - people who have been in all regards discarded and forgotten by society. My life’s work has been focused on bringing innovative and pragmatic solutions to these complex problems.
As Director of Housing at DESC (Downtown Emergency Service Center), I helped pioneer the Housing First approach, and have actively informed and influenced national policy and best practices on helping and housing people who are homeless.
Housing First is a simple idea: offer people a place to live and surround them with the support they need to keep that home. This approach tosses out the old idea that some people deserve our help and others do not. And, it bears fruit: both research and firsthand experience show us that we all win when everyone has a safe place to call home, and the care and support they need to succeed.
As President of the Board of Directors of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, I have worked to expand housing that is affordable to young families, low wage workers, seniors, people living with disabilities and veterans. I have championed policies that protect renters from massive rent increases, substandard conditions and rental policies that unfairly keep people from renting places they can afford.
I am not afraid to try new ways of doing things and I have a proven track record building non-traditional coalitions to solve complex problems. I will put my experience to work in the Washington State Legislature to:
- Expand accessible and affordable housing options that address the structural changes we need to protect our state's low income residents and our most vulnerable
- Integrate primary and behavioral healthcare in the places where people are most likely to live and to go, to improve their health outcomes and reduce costs.
- Create a sustainable and equitable transportation system that expands infrastructure for transit, bikes, sidewalks and other options.
- Fully fund our schools to comply with the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.
- Close the opportunity gap in our educational system, beginning with early learning and including our schools, so that where kids live isn't the primary factor in determining their success and whether they go to college or to prison.
- Ensure LGBTQ people are free from discrimination and have safe access to spaces and services.
- Expand alternative sentencing and diversion programs for nonviolent offenders to address the legacy of racial bias and disparate impact in our criminal justice system.
- Close the gender pay gap by ensuring equal pay for equal work and establishing paid parental leave.
- Reduce carbon emissions and promote investment in renewable energy sources.
With your help, I will be a champion for the people who live, love, play, earn their livings, and make their homes in the 43rd District. I have the experience and proven vision and determination to take the principled and bold actions that will set a new path forward. I will bring proven solutions to scale and discard ineffective approaches that create disparities that harm us all. In short, I will work for you. I look forward to earning your vote.