Joe gets it
Heather and I know what it’s like to be a working family facing rising rent costs, student loan debt and more expensive groceries and gas prices. Our working families, veterans and seniors on fixed incomes need some relief. We must protect our environment and build a community where our children and grandchildren can afford to live with more lower-cost housing options, and more affordable childcare and healthcare.
In light of the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, it is more important than ever to stand up to support reproductive health care and access to safe and legal abortion. I am 100% Pro Choice and proud to have the sole endorsement of Pro-Choice Washington, the leading grassroots advocacy organization for reproductive freedom in Washington state. I am committed to doing everything I can to ensure that Washington is a safe haven for access to abortion care. The choice to have a family is a personal and private decision. A choice I will stand up for every time.
Addressing Climate Change and Protecting the Environment
Whatcom County is a special place to live, and we need to protect our natural environment so that future generations can enjoy the outdoors. This means keeping public lands in public hands, investing in habitat recovery for salmon and other endangered species, and ensuring that everyone has access to hiking, fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation.
Climate change is manmade and is increasing the severity of wildfires in our region and weather events such as flooding, drought, and heat waves. We need climate action that follows the science to continue decarbonizing our transportation sector, increasing energy efficiency, and ensuring that communities that have historically been overburdened and disproportionately affected by climate impacts have access to clean air to breathe, safe drinking water, and living wage green energy jobs. Our state has made strides in addressing climate change and I look forward to building upon these efforts.
We need to invest in our behavioral health system to address mental health and substance-use disorders. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated behavioral health
We have an opportunity to rebuild from the pandemic stronger than before. We need to ensure that all corners of our community have access to reliable internet, which is essential for education and work. This includes utilizing the Washington State Broadband Office to ensure that we receive state funding and resources here in Whatcom County. Access to housing and childcare are foundational to a thriving economy. We need to invest in housing so that workers can afford to live in our community, and we need to ensure that kids have access to high-quality childcare and early learning programs.
Emergency Preparedness and Response
Once in a lifetime events like the flooding in Whatcom last year are happening with more and more frequency. We need to work together to find short-term fixes and long-term solutions to protect fish, farms, and our communities from flood events. We also need to ensure that state and local governments are prepared for natural disasters such as earthquakes, and that we have the resources we need to respond without relying on the federal government.
Housing Access and Affordability
Families should be able to afford to live where they work and play, and I know firsthand that we are experiencing a housing affordability crisis – for example, last year our rent went up 35% in Bellingham, and I know that our family is not alone. We need to increase the housing supply, particularly in cities and around transit lines, and we need more accessible options across the housing continuum. Additionally, we need to support working families in pursuing first-time homeownership so that they can become homeowners and set down roots in our communities.
I proudly attended Washington public schools throughout my life and I formerly worked as a preschool teacher and as administrative staff at Western Washington University. I deeply understand the education challenges as a student, as a teacher, as a parent with a young child and as a former college administrator. I understand how hard kids, families, and educators were hit by the pandemic. We need more resources to address learning loss, including for early learning and special education and more STEM education. Not every kid wants to or should go to a four year institution so we need to create paths of learning to the building and construction trades and community college in addition to four-year degree programs. And, college tuition costs too much for most families to afford – I will work to lower the prices of state schools for local residents.
This year the Legislature passed the Move Ahead Washington transportation package. We need to ensure that this package is carried out so that urban and rural communities in Whatcom County receive the benefits of their investment. This includes road maintenance and preservation projects, increased access to transit, and removal of fish passage barriers.