Joe gets it 

Heather and I know what it’s like to be a working family facing rising housing costs, student loan debt, childcare challenges, 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.

 

Reproductive Freedom

In light of the US Supreme Court’s 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 I am proud of my voting record during my first term to support patients seeking reproductive health services and protect health data and medical professionals providing reproductive care. 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.

 

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, in 2021 our rent went up 35% in Bellingham, and I know that unfortunately our family is not alone in this experience. We need to continue 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 do more to support working families pursuing first-time homeownership so that they can become homeowners and set down roots in our communities.

 

Access Affordable Healthcare and Prescription Medication

In Olympia I was proud to support legislation that lowered the costs of life saving medication for kids and families, including EpiPens and inhalers. I will fight to make sure that every community has access to affordable high-quality healthcare, especially our rural communities.

 

Supporting Law Enforcement and Protecting Communities

I am proud to support our local law enforcement and first responders. Police and firefighters help keep our communities safe every day and we must ensure they receive proper training, including racial-bias training, and have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively.

 

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 and weather events in our region, including 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, safe drinking water, and living wage green energy jobs. We need to address climate change and invest in our workforce to ensure we have a strong clean energy economy.

 

Behavioral Health

We are experiencing a behavioral health crisis, and we need to support a behavioral health system that addresses mental health and substance-use disorders, including for people experiencing opiate and fentanyl addiction. This is not just the right thing to do for people experiencing crisis, but this is a public safety issue as well. I am committed to ensuring that everyone has access to health care, and that includes quality behavioral health care.

 

Economic Development

We need to ensure that all corners of our community have the ability to thrive. This includes increasing access to reliable internet, which is essential for modern-day education and work. This also includes a strong workforce that has access to housing and childcare, which 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. 

One of the things I’m most proud of during my first term is helping to secure funding in the state’s capital budget for a new skills center at Meridian High School. Once complete, this center will be centrally located in Whatcom County to help students in their career and technical education, and the facility will also include up to 120 early learning and childcare slots to assist working families.

 

Emergency Preparedness and Response

Major weather events like the flooding in recent years in Whatcom County 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.

I have made this a priority as state representative, including championing House Bill 1452 during the 2023 session (establishing a Washington State Medical Reserve Corps) and House Bill 2020 during the 2024 session (creating a state public infrastructure assistance program). Emergency preparedness and response should be a bipartisan issue, and I’m proud that both bills passed unanimously during my first term. Together these bills will assist during natural disasters and help local communities rebuild in their aftermath.

 

Quality Education

I attended Washington public schools throughout my life and I formerly worked as a preschool teacher and as staff at Western Washington University. These experiences helped me understand our 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, and we need more resources to address learning loss, including for early learning and special education and more access to STEM education. Not every kid wants to or should go to a four-year institution so we need to create career pathways 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.

 

Transportation

The Legislature passed the Move Ahead Washington transportation package in recent years, and 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, increasing access to transit services and active transportation options, and successfully removing fish passage barriers.