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I am long time cowgirl, life time country girl and native Washingtonian. A small business owner, mother of two daughters and wife. I am currently the State Committeewoman for the 7th where I am working hard to re-build the Democratic Party in rural districts like ours.
I was tired of getting a ballot at my house with only one name on it. I strongly believe in our representative style government but it can't work if people don't participate. After the 2016 Presidential caucuses I worked diligently to increase involvement and build the local Democratic Party. When it was announced that there would be an opportunity to elect both a Senator and a House member for the 7th this year, I committed to run to ensure the people of the 7th had a choice and a voice.
The three most important issues facing the State are Healthcare, Education and Taxes. The three most important issues facing our district are Healthcare, Education and the Economy. While the rest of Washington has recovered from the Great Recession the 7th still has not achieved pre-recession levels in our economy. Our growth and economy have remained stagnant for over a decade. Couple this with the rising cost of healthcare, the instability in the market, the constant threat of hospitals and clinics closing, and the 7th is in a healthcare crisis. The new budget which will improve funding for our schools will also raise taxes disproportionately on the people of the 7th. Like much of rural America, the 7th is suffering and it will take a steady focus on healthcare, the economy, and education to help us reach the same levels of prosperity enjoyed by the rest of the State.
Any way you look at it our current tax structure is regressive. We need comprehensive tax reform and one of the key elements needs to be taxing investment income. By taxing dividends, capital gains and other unearned income we can level the playing field and help ensure everyone is paying their fair share. We also need to close tax loop holes and put end dates on tax incentives given to corporations. The good news is there is so much room for improvement in our tax code we should be able to work together to create a better, more equitable and more stable revenue stream for our State.
As a small business owner, and rural American I understand that working with everyone in my community is required if I hope to succeed. One of the issues facing the 7th is the unwillingness for our current representatives to respond to the members of the community who don't support them. I am committed to not only listen to all the voices in the room but to seek out the voice of dissent and find as much common ground as possible. We need to go beyond reaching across the aisle, we need to sit together, work together and find solutions together for our shared issues. We are all neighbors, we have shared life experiences and shared values, we work together as a community through fires, floods and droughts. It's time we find a way to work together in the political arena as well.
I spent nearly twenty years working in corporate America in fast paced high stress positions. I understand the challenges of deadlines, schedules and working within the constraints of regulations. As a State Committeewoman I sit on the resolutions committee and I'm very familiar with proper government procedures and protocols.
I bring a lifetime of experience living and working in rural America, an area that has been under served, under represented and unappreciated for far to long. My expertise is not limited to the Agricultural needs of rural Eastern Washington but encompasses the depth and breath of the people who choose to call the 7th home. My ability to clearly communicate the wants and needs of my constituents will help guide effective legislation to protect, promote and utilize all the resources the 7th has to offer.
For the first time in a long time we are not currently in a drought. That being said, we are experiencing significant climate changes in the State and in the Nation. As a representative I will work closely with all State and local agencies to ensure we have a proactive plan for the stresses and strains that climate change will put on our resources, looking specifically at areas where mitigation, conservation and education can help prepare us to for whatever changes lie in store.
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I was successfully appointed to the 7th District State Senate seat upon Senator Dansel’s resignation. I have long been connected to the 7th District having lived here for the past 23 years. I understand the local customs, communities and the challenges of working and raising families here. I am drawn into making a difference in the lives of the folks I serve by using my legislative experience and ability to bring people together.
Job creation, especially in the areas of manufacturing, including the use of our natural resources. Those are the jobs that many of our smaller communities need. These jobs typically pay better and offer benefits. I am excited that my legislation offering a tax incentive to silicon smelting passed and was signed into law. That legislation culminates two years of effort and is a key piece in bringing manufacturing jobs to Northeastern Washington.
Access to healthcare and protecting healthcare infrastructure, especially in rural areas. I grow increasingly concerned by insurance’s use of “third party administrators” to manage benefits for health plan beneficiaries. The use of these administrators is resulting in the arbitrary denial of covered health benefits for patients.
Regulatory Certainty and Flexibility. Whether you’re a small business, a farmer or even a local government, certainty and flexibility are things I continue to hear of often.
Most importantly, tax systems should be structured in a way that incentivizes and maximizes job creation and growth in our state. That does several things – helps individuals and families become self-supporting and adds new taxpayers and revenue into our state. Secondly and equally important, requiring a 2/3rds majority to enact tax increases. And thirdly, requiring zero based budgeting will allow for more thoughtful and prioritized spending as a balance to tax policy in our state.
I have had considerable experience with coalitions over the years. They are a useful tool in bringing people together for a common cause or issue. Where I have seen coalitions go awry, especially locally, is when user groups or stakeholders are left out or conversely, aren’t part of the originating organization. But I have participated in coalition-like efforts and have seen success.
My 23-year connection with the district allows me to effectively lead and fight for the 7th district. I was first elected to the State House of Representatives in 2008. Since the beginning I have held leadership positions that have advanced issues the district has cared about. As Caucus Chair, I was responsible for making sure everyone was heard as bills were discussed and assessed. In the Senate, I chair the Local Government Committee. That, too, requires careful listening, patience and how to best negotiate toward success, both for the bill sponsor, stakeholders and greater legislature. Prior to that, I gained important skills and knowledge and became a fierce advocate on behalf of individuals, families and communities as Congressman Nethercutt’s Field Coordinator and as State Representative Joel Kretz’s Legislative Assistant. Most importantly though, a life of caring, compassion, drive and family have helped shape my immense enjoyment in helping people and giving back.
My natural area of expertise is environmental, energy and land use policy and regulation. However, in this position, you find yourself working in unfamiliar areas given the breadth of issues affecting your district and the state. I have grown knowledgeable in healthcare related policy issues, education, and labor and industries issues and regulations.
I support water storage projects as a way to better utilize our water resources. I also believe that stream gauges are a good methodology for accurate assessment of water availability in region specific areas.