Political party: Democratic
Birth date: February 18, 1981 (age: 35)
Length of time living in Federal Way: Nearly 10 years (moved into Club Palisades in October 2008)
Profession, or profession before state lawmaker: Economic Development Specialist for the State of Washington.
If elected, which committees would you like to work on? I believe my experience would be best suited for the Economic Development Committee. In my day job, I’ve worked with over 1,900 small businesses to provide resources and support that allow them to create and retain more than 60,000 private-sector jobs in our state alongside 10 major federal installations that represent over 122,000 jobs in our economy to ensure we are protecting this aspect of our economy now and into the future. I would love to continue that work in the Legislature.
Are there areas of the budget that should see cuts? I take the budget process and fiscal responsibility very seriously. I know that it’s not my money – this is the money of my neighbors and of taxpayers across our district and state.
As a small business owner and someone who’s worked for years alongside the private sector, I know that when you don’t get the job done you don’t get paid. One thing that I’ve been frustrated with is the fact that, year after year, our legislators aren’t getting their job done on time and are running months behind schedule and somehow still getting paid for that. I come from a background where dragging your feet or refusing to compromise isn’t rewarded, and I believe that legislators shouldn’t benefit from not being willing to work together to get the job done.
Are there areas of the budget that should see increased funding? The area of the budget that needs to see increased funding is education. Four years ago, our Supreme Court ruled Washington is not meeting its constitutional duty to fully fund basic education. And for four years our Legislature has dithered and bickered without any action. As a mom of two young kids, one of whom will be starting kindergarten next fall, I am very concerned about the lack of action and the lack of urgency to get this problem solved.
I want my kids, and all of our kids, to get the best education possible, and a part of getting there is making sure that our schools and teachers have the resources needed to do their job.
For what types of issues, programs, departments, or budget items do you support increased taxation? Again, I believe that increasing funding for education is critical and is the biggest challenge in front of the Legislature right now. Rather than increasing taxes on the middle class, however, I want to first focus on closing tax loopholes that solely benefit big corporations while leaving working families like us here in Federal Way to pick up the tab.
When it comes to easing local and statewide traffic burdens, what types of solutions would you support? As someone who commutes to work alongside many of my neighbors, I spend hours every week sitting in traffic that could be better spent with my family or at my job or doing just about anything else. I will support a multi-faceted approach to reducing traffic. Increasing the capacity of our roads, supporting public transportation, and building out pedestrian infrastructure all play an important part in making sure that people can get where they need to go quickly, affordably and safely.
Generally speaking, would you rather see traffic issues dealt with via mass transit or via more (or expanded) freeways? I don’t believe that the solution should be all one or all the other. I think if we think strategically about the future of our region and the growth that we’re going to see, it becomes clear that both transit and increased road capacity are going to play an important role.
What role would you like to see the state play in combating homelessness? The state already plays a role in combating homelessness by providing resources and a social safety net. Since the recession, that safety net has shrunk and more and more people are finding themselves on the street.
I will fight for the resources that our community needs to address both the up-front and underlying problems around homelessness. Currently, even though we deal with many of the same issues here, we see millions and millions of dollars poured into Seattle but little in terms of services in our own community. That’s not right and it’s not an effective way to solve the problem.
What role would you like to see the state play in reducing community violence? I live right around the corner from where, in recent weeks, a young man was murdered while walking his dog. With the latest string of violent crime in our community, this issue is even more top-of-mind than ever.
First, our Legislature needs to be providing much-needed resources to local law enforcement. Whether that means adding more officers or investing in specialized training and development, our police officers can’t do their jobs without the tools they need.
Second, again, I intend to fight for more resources for our community and make sure that Federal Way gets its fair share. Whether it’s making sure that kids have something meaningful to do after school or providing mental health services, we often get overlooked in favor of Seattle or Bellevue. These factors all play a role in building the kind of community that we all want to live in.
Finally, our leaders, including our legislators, should bring people together with law enforcement to have meaningful conversations and start to build the community trust needed on both sides to create long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships. Safe communities start with trust, and I intend to help bridge the gap and get those conversations going.
What role would you like to see the state play in attracting quality jobs to District 30? Attracting quality jobs to the region isn’t just about recruiting a California firm that promises to hire 300 people in the area. Growing our economy has to include strategy around how we address transportation infrastructure, housing availability (and thus affordability), and most importantly quality of life that will retain that company in our community.
As this district’s representative and someone who has been working daily to recruit and retain companies and grow jobs in our state, I would bring my successful experience building economies that work for communities across our state to the efforts of the 30th District in a way that finds the right kinds of jobs, the right kinds of industry, and the right kind of growth to ensure we build a strong economy that retains the unique quality of life that makes this area so attractive to its residents.
What should the statewide minimum wage be? I remember a time when people could raise their families and build a life without having to work two or three jobs to make ends meet. That’s why I support the phased-in $13.50 minimum wage that we will be voting on this November.