Priorities

Jobs and Economy

Southwest Washington’s economic development depends on a strong business climate. We need business and industry to relocate to our region, and expansion and growth for businesses that are already here. We must support policies that encourage growth, innovation and startups, and strive for a living wage for our diverse and skilled work force.

  • Invest in education and apprenticeship. Our local colleges and university prepare our workforce, and we must invest in education and support the expansion of apprenticeship and internships for students, including registered apprenticeship programs. Such programs provide new graduates with a foot in the door and help businesses find quality employees.
  • Enhanced job training for displaced workers. Automation will continue to impact traditional manufacturing and production jobs. When our communities’ jobs are threatened by automation, or sent overseas, we must work hand-in-hand to provide retraining and new skills which will open new doors and help ease the transition.
  • Balance Natural Resource Work with Environmental Stewardship. Many in our region work in natural resource jobs. We need to reimagine natural resource jobs in an environmentally conscious region in order to balance the need for these jobs with the protection of our environment.
Infrastructure

An investment in fixing our crumbling infrastructure is an investment in our people, our communities, and our local businesses. Years of neglect have led to greater wear and tear on vehicles and equipment, and increases in travel times to and from work -- which hinders productivity, hurts small businesses, and lowers the quality of life for all of us. We need to put the needs of our community first. Capital investments in our infrastructure now will pay dividends for years to come. Infrastructure investment also creates jobs, both direct construction jobs and indirect jobs created by the economic growth that follows.

  • Transportation. Invest now in our bridges and roads, throughout the district. This includes multi-modal transportation options.
  • Dark fiber. It may sound ominous, but dark fiber represents an extraordinary opportunity. Essentially, it is fiberoptic cabling that is in place, but unused (“dark”). Fully exploring this option may allow us to make more of our district connected, with faster connection speeds, which will open up new areas to business and innovation.
  • Diversify. We must invest in improving our energy grid, and support multiple sources of clean energy, including wind, solar and hydro-electric power.
Healthcare

Healthcare is a human right. All Americans deserve access to affordable healthcare to ensure quality of life and to make sure small problems don’t become big problems. We need to focus on preventative health and not penalize people for preexisting conditions. We need to immediately repair the challenges presented by the Affordable Care Act, particularly as it relates to access to healthcare markets, while exploring options to expand coverage and reduce overall costs to consumers.

  • Stabilize the Marketplace. Lead a bipartisan solution to stabilize the marketplace to ensure insurers continue to participate.
  • Prescription Drugs. Address the outrageous costs of prescription drugs, and work with providers to make them more affordable for the people who need them.
  • Mental Health Parity. Eliminate the stigma associated with mental health by providing accessible coverage and by treating mental health issues alongside physical issues.
  • Methamphetamine and Opioids. Meth and Opioid abuse takes lives, destroys families, devastates the community, and damages the economy. Addiction is a disease, and if we want to combat it, we must treat it as such.
Campaign Finance Reform

When corporations have the same rights as people, big money drowns out the voices of the everyday American. We need campaign finance reform to diminish the role of special interest and big money donors. The influx of corporate and private-interest money in our elections is destroying our democracy. All Americans, regardless of their income, should be able to participate in the political process. People running for office should not have to rely on the top 1% for donations and funding. It’s time to say enough is enough and amplify the voices of the American people!

  • Transparency. We must require significantly more disclosure and transparency in order to remove the influence of secret, unaccountable money.
  • Strengthen and Enforce Our Laws. We need to eliminate super PACS and outside spending abuse, while strengthening the Federal Election Commission to enforce and reinforce campaign finance law.
  • Citizens United.  The Supreme Court’s decision to favor the role of corporations in electoral politics was expected, but regrettable. Let’s lead the effort to pass a constitutional amendment to nullify the Court’s decision to equate money with speech, which gives corporations even more power in our democracy than hard-working Americans.
Veterans Affairs

As a country, we have a moral responsibility to take care of those who have put their lives on the line to defend us. In order to do so we must establish a seamless transition from military service to civilian life by matching skills learned through military service to available jobs in the area. More than just thanking our veterans for their service, we need to show it by providing educational opportunities and job training, and working to end chronic homelessness and suicide. We owe it to those who serve and have served this country to support them all along the way.

  • Education and Training. We need to preserve the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program. Providing education and job training is the least we can do for the small percentage of those who answered the call.
  • Improve VA Services. We need to protect the VA from privatization and address the problems that plague the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that every veteran has timely access to high-quality health care and that all veterans receive the veteran-centric care necessary.
  • Inform and Encourage. Many returning veterans are unaware of the services and benefits available to them upon their return home. And, far too often, those that would benefit the most from VA services are the least likely to seek them. We need to embrace our returning troops, destroy the stigma of receiving or asking for assistance, and do our best to inform them and encourage them to leverage what they have earned.
Social Policy

Democrats are the party of inclusion, and Congress should represent all people in all communities. As Democrats, we must work to promote diversity and inclusivity, champion human rights, and defend the values our country was founded on.

  • Women’s Rights. We must advocate for the rights and opportunities of all women, by supporting programs that promote women’s health, including reproductive health and access to affordable birth control. We must protect a woman’s right to choose. We must put a stop to the onslaught of sexual harassment, and change the culture around harassment while empowering women.
  • LGBTQ. Our country must continue to promote social equality for all. We must work together to promote anti-discrimination legislation to protect employment and access to housing. We must continue to defend marriage equality, and guarantee that all people have the right to be with the ones they love. This includes ensuring the rights for LGBTQ families to start and build a family.
  • Equity and Inclusion. We must continue to work together to further develop our diverse, inclusive community while safeguarding vulnerable minority populations and further championing human rights for all Americans.
Criminal Justice Reform

We need to reform our criminal justice system and end mass incarceration. We should explore stronger restorative justice, where people have the opportunity to repair the harm caused by their criminal behavior. And we must remove the barriers that prevent formerly incarcerated individuals, once they have served their time, from successful re-entering society. There are many opportunities to reform our broken system in order to ensure safety in our community, reduce recidivism and reintegrate people into our community.

  • Rebuild Trust. We must work to rebuild the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve in. Police officers should be inspiring trust and confidence throughout the community while honorably performing their duty to deploy create and effective strategies to tackle crime without relying on unnecessary force. Actions speak louder than words, and we should hold those we entrust to protect and defend our community to appropriate standards and address the disproportionate, discriminatory treatment of minority groups.
  • Diversion and Alternatives. We must address the school-to-prison pipeline, and develop alternatives to keep people off the street and help them reintegrate into the community.
  • Develop Equitable Marijuana Policy. Washingtonians voted to legalize marijuana, and the federal government should respect the state’s decision on this policy issue. We must work toward a national policy that addresses medicinal and recreational use.
  • Ban the Box. We need to expand reentry programs, and “ban the box,” allowing formerly incarcerated individuals the opportunity to demonstrate their qualifications before being asked about their criminal record by a prospective employer.