As a mother of two grown daughters, and as a brand new grandmother, I am committed to making our state’s public education system one of the best in the United States. It is the State’s paramount duty to educate our children. Their future and our economic future depend upon investing in our public schools. I support reducing class sizes, investing in state-of-the art vocational programs, early assessments for whether our elementary students have basic reading, writing and math skills, and improving the access our children have to higher education.
In 2009 the Legislature passed HB 2261 that establishes a pathway for improving our K-12 education system. In 2010 we clarified that early learning for our children, before they reach kindergarten, is a part of basic education in this state. The State Supreme Court has clearly stated that those reforms are part of our obligation, under the state constitution, to meeting our paramount duty of educating our children. I have fought and will continue to fight to fund early education, K-12 and higher education. We will need tax reform to be able to do so and still protect critical programs for those who are most vulnerable, and those critical to working families.
We must invest in transit and roads now. Every community in the 34th District is impacted by traffic congestion and the lack of sufficient transit alternatives. We now have commenced work that will allow the viaduct to be replaced. We have a long way to go on this project but we must get the work done.
Waterborne transit, dedicated bus lanes, and more transit should be part of our regional transportation discussion and it is what our communities want. Let’s work together as Democrats to move this State forward! This past year, in 2014, the Senate Republicans killed the transportation funding package our state needs. We must retake the majority to have a real transportation package.
Ten years ago I organized my neighbors and founded an organization to protect Puget Sound from a multinational mining operation. I am passionate about protecting our water, air, and forests. With global warming, the listing of our beloved orcas as an endangered species, and with the information we have today about the condition of Puget Sound, we must take a stronger stand for the environment.
In 2010 Cascade Land Conservancy commenced discussions with Glacier Northwest regarding the sale of the proposed mine on Maury Island. The negotiations were successful and this this incredible shoreline and madrone forest have been preserved for generations to come. I am very pleased that I was able to secure $15 million from the ASARCO settlement for this effort.
In 2013 I was able to negotiate a capital budget that had strong funding for conservation projects throughout this state. We purchased the Teanaway property in Kittitas County, as well as funding $65 million in other projects. That budget was one of the best environmental budgets ever passed. Regretfully, in 2014, under Senate Republican control no capital budget was passed — a loss of 3,000 jobs across Washington State.
As we enter the 2015 Legislative Session it will be critical to fund our children’s education and reduce income inequality. As the Senate Democratic Leader, I will work for our families future’s.