We are now a month into the 2023 legislative session, and we are making big strides towards our goals.
I am a member of the Senate Democratic Caucus and my colleagues and I have come up with five main priorities to focus on during our time in Olympia this year, based on what we have been hearing from constituents.
These priorities encompass many individual goals, but I wanted to outline how I am using them to guide my work as your senator.
Build healthier communities
Building healthier communities can be approached in so many ways. I intend to do this through my many roles, but primarily as chair of the Human Services Committee and vice chair of the Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee.
I firmly believe it is my responsibility to disrupt the systems that keep people where they are, instead of preparing them with the tools and resources they need to be active and engaged members of our communities.
This year, I have introduced bills aimed at supporting survivors of sex trafficking, creating an extended program to support our young people aging out of the foster care system, and requiring the Department of Corrections to develop individual discharge plans and reentry services for people leaving our correctional facilities.
Healthy planet, strong economy
Washington is leading the world in climate resiliency. Though I do not sit on our Environment, Energy & Technology Committee, I do support the work they are doing because it ensures we are creating a safe and healthy world for future generations.
The Climate Commitment Act is now in effect and will not only bring clean energy to our state, it will create green jobs.
Safety for all
Whether it’s in the classroom, at home or on the street, every Washingtonian deserves to feel safe.
That is why I have introduced Senate Bill 5559, which aims to do away with student isolation and restraints. Isolation often involves staff using their bodies as a barrier to isolate students. It also imposes significant physical risks to our children. This bill would improve safety for both educators and students.
Safety on our roads and sidewalks is also an area of focus this year. I am proud to sit on the Senate Transportation Committee, where we are having robust conversations on how to reduce injuries and fatalities on our roads.
A home for everyone
We must increase our housing supply in every community so there are sufficient and affordable homes for every Washingtonian.
One way I am tackling this issue is by introducing Senate Bill 5413, which would increase access to housing subsidies and support to members of our aged, blind and disabled communities.
Success for every child, from childcare to the classroom
Washington families have been the focus of my work since the day I took office.
Last year, I helped champion the Fair Start for Kids Act. This historic legislation expands and stabilizes the childcare industry, while improving childcare access and affordability for all working families.
This year, we are focusing on implementing Fair Start and ensuring that high quality childcare is available, affordable and convenient for parents who need to work.
One way I plan to do that is through Senate Bill 5225, which would increase access to the Working Connections Child Care Program.
Right now, providers are struggling to hire and retain employees. Oftentimes, those employees are unable to go to work at these facilities because they must care for their own children.
This bill would not only expand access to the WCCC to childcare employees, but it would also expand it to parents participating in therapeutic courts and parents who are students pursuing higher education.
Get involved and stay in touch
I take great pride in representing you in Olympia, but we are stronger when we work together!
There are many ways to make a difference for our community on the issues you care about. I encourage you to get involved by:
- Learning how a bill becomes a law
- Finding legislation on the issues important to you
- Watching broadcasts and archived videos of your democracy in action
- Testifying before legislative committees remotely or in person
As always, please feel free to reach out to my office directly with any questions or concerns.
Senator, 30th Legislative District
Chair, Human Services Committee