INVESTING IN STUDENTS
Combating Child Hunger
Before the pandemic, one in six children in our state lived in a food-insecure household, Now, it’s one in four kids. One in four. And families of color are one-and-a-half times more likely to go hungry. Kids struggle to learn when they are hungry. I am proud to have written legislation to ensure that no child in our state’s public schools will go without food during their school day by eliminating the lunch co-pay. I will keep feeding hungry students in every school district across our state. It’s the smart thing to do, and the right thing to do, so that all our students have the chance to study hard and succeed in school and in life.
College Affordability and Preparedness
I am proud to have sponsored and passed legislation to ensure that 9th graders who take advanced classes through the College in the High School program will receive college credit for their work. Students should get the same credit for the same work. It is only fair and is a small step to help us address college affordability and student debt.
Ending Period Poverty for Students
For decades, menstruating students have missed class time because they didn’t have access to period products, or couldn’t afford to buy them at all. I wrote HB 1273 to provide period products in public school bathrooms, just like toilet paper is provided. Menstruation should not prevent any student from accessing education
Additionally, this legislation protects student health. Sixty-one percent of students have worn a tampon or pad for more than four hours because they did not have enough access to period products. That puts them at risk of infection and toxic-shock syndrome.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORTATION
This session, I helped pass a $1.5 billion construction budget which made massive investments in housing, economic development, early learning, and broadband internet. Here in the 44th, the budget funded construction projects building hope and progress for all our families including Snohomish Teen Center, run by the Boys & Girls Club of Snohomish County, the Mill Creek Library rehabilitation and upgrade, and the Mill Creek Parks master plan for undeveloped parcels owned by the city with options including community rooms, performing arts space, or athletic fields.
Our communities deserve to feel safe and to have a say in how they are being represented. The first piece of legislation I sponsored and passed as a freshman member was HB 1159, which expanded citizen representation in fire district governance. This is a common-sense change that helps local governments like fire protection districts be more responsive to the residents they serve.
Protecting our Democracy and Elections Locally
More than 80 percent of local officials have experienced harassment, threats, and violence. It’s gotten worse during the pandemic. That’s why I worked with my colleagues to pass a ban on weapons at school board meetings and ballot counting centers. This law gives common-sense protections to our local elected officials and election workers, protecting our democracy on its most local level in the same way we protect our courthouses and public schools.
The pandemic has caused so much suffering for Washington families. We have experienced loss, threats to our health, economic precarity, and we have at times lost the ability to come together. We are not done managing COVID, but I am proud of the work my colleagues and I did to bring $2.2 Billion in COVID relief funds for families and small businesses including investments in:
Vaccination, contact tracing and testing
Investments in our schools to address learning loss, keep teachers on the payroll, and ease the transition when kids returned to the classroom
I will keep fighting to bring Washington families the resources they need to protect our health, safety, and wellbeing.