I believe that housing is a human right, just like water and food. Folks in Whatcom County are suffering under skyrocketing rents and housing instability. Every person deserves a safe, secure home. I am in favor of increasing the funding for the State Housing Trust Fund which funds social housing across Washington State. The Housing Trust Fund was slashed during the Great Recession and we have neglected to bring it back up to fully funded levels. For 2018, the state legislature granted only $106.7 million for affordable housing for the entire state. That is not nearly enough to solve our housing and homelessness crises across Washington. I am in favor of increasing the State Housing Trust Fund to a minimum of $250 million which is more in line with the scale of our housing crisis.
Local governments are often on the front lines of the housing crises, and they know how best to help their own communities. That is why I will work to empower municipalities by giving them the full set of tools to attack the housing crisis. Today, local governments are stripped of the power to regulate rents and protect renters from economic evictions. In Olympia, I will help repeal the statewide ban on rent regulations. This repeal would allow cities and towns to regulate rents and introduce rent stabilization policies. Cities and local governments can then choose whether or not they choose to implement rent stabilization. In a housing crisis like ours, it’s important that we don’t take any option off the table and allow our local governments to do what’s right for their residents.
Free, Accessible Public Education
Like all parents in Whatcom County, I want the best for my daughter. All of our children deserve high quality, fully-funded public schools from Pre-K through university. If elected to Olympia I will push to create free universal public Pre-K. Early childhood education is one of the single most important investments we can make in our kids’ lives and every single child deserves a fair shot at success. Universal Pre-K will help to ensure each child starts on an equal academic footing and are set up for future success.
I will also work to eliminate tuition at public colleges, universities, and vocational schools. Student debt is a major drag on our economy and our collective quality of life. People withhold business investments, put off buying their first houses, and drain their incomes paying off exorbitant student loans. Tuition-free higher education is simply good economics which will grow our economy and improve our quality of life. Higher education should be freely accessible to everyone regardless of their income or zip code.
No person deserves to go bankrupt because they get sick and no person should forgo visiting the doctor because they can’t afford the copay. I believe that all people have a fundamental right to health care and I will ensure no Washingtonian goes without. In Olympia, I will fight to expand health care to every single person in Washington State so we finally achieve universal coverage. Ultimately, I am in favor of a state-based health care system that is universal in coverage and free at the point of access.