In Seattle, we have a booming economy—it’s one of the reasons our city has experienced so much growth over the past decade. However, as we grow, we need to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed and share in that prosperity. In Seattle, we should encourage the growth of our small businesses, promote good living wage jobs, ensure educational opportunity for all, grow economic stability, and build trust and respect for all in our community. That’s how we create a thriving local economy that works for all, not just the wealthy few.

As your Seattle City Councilmember, I will:

 

Every worker should be able to put food on the table, a roof over their head, and go out to local shops and truly thrive—no one should have to just survive. I am proud of our city for being a national leader on minimum wage, sick leave, wage theft protections, and secure scheduling. Building on our city’s success, I helped to draft and pass the statewide initiative (I-1433) to raise the minimum wage and provide earned sick and safe leave for all workers in our state. While we have a lot to be proud of, there’s still a great deal to be done to create an economy that works for all.

We need to create and promote good stable jobs, and recognize that women and people of color are disproportionately represented among low-wage workers. One way is to create greater equity in the workplace and in society for working families. While voters approved the Family and Education Levy, which invested $235 million over seven years, there are still far too many underserved families that can’t afford child care. Child care is also an industry dominated by women, people of color, immigrants and refugees, and provides a critical service to allow families to be economically stable, but often child care providers themselves are not sufficiently paid. I will push for more affordable childcare that works for families and providers. Far too many working families are having to make impossible decisions about whether to stay home or forgo thousands in earnings due to expensive child care costs. Many working parents are forced to return to work far too early after birth or adoption, or go without needed pay because of a lack of paid family and medical leave for all.

As your City Councilmember, I will fight for greater economic stability for all, by supporting child care for all families, family and medical leave for all residents, and equal pay for women. These policies are critical to creating greater equity and stability for Seattle’s working families, good for our local economy, and are smart public health policies.

Solutions:

  • Expand the child care subsidy program to all families so that no family is paying more than 10% of their income on child care for children from birth through age 5.
  • Create an Early Care and Education Workforce Board, jointly run by the City and provider organizations to recommend policy and investment priorities.
  • Support and expand the Seattle Preschool Program to serve more families in our city.
  • Pass paid family and medical leave for all residents of our city—if the state fails to pass paid family leave, we must step up.
  • Prioritize and pass legislation demanding equal pay for women, allow workers to discuss and compare wages without fear of retaliation, and prevent the tracking of women into lower paying jobs.

We can build an economy in Seattle that reflects our progressive values and creates greater opportunity across our community when we support access to educational opportunities, good living wage jobs, and help out small businesses. Small business entrepreneurs, women and minority business owners, help create active community centers and neighborhood economic hubs when given a chance to startup and thrive. Many small business owners tell me that they often face problems in finding the right size space that fits their needs and is affordable. Many more say they need financial assistance in the first few years to make sure they have the economic stability and financial backing needed to invest in their business. We can address these needs.

As your City Councilmember, I will work with small businesses and community partners to enhance city resources to support small businesses and help find the right-sized spaces. By including women and minority business owners from the community in planning & development, we can help create or incentivize smaller affordable retail spaces on the first and second floors. By working with immigrant, women, and minority business owners we can enhance micro-lending programs to help address barriers to get through the toughest first few years – which creates new jobs.

Solutions:

  • Expand assistance for small loans for businesses through a targeted micro-lending programs in underserved areas throughout Seattle and for women/minority owned businesses.
  • Mirror Portland’s MicroMercantes program to create space for small businesses to startup, much like the food innovation zone envisioned in Rainier Beach that just hit a hurdle.
  • Incentivize the creation of smaller retail space around transit hubs to promote economic activity and walkable neighborhoods.
  • Push for progressive tax options, like a statewide high-income earners tax and a tax on Capital Gains, to right-side-up our upside-down tax system so that small businesses shoulder less of the tax burden.
  • Create a citywide municipal broadband utility, modeled after the success the city has had with Seattle City Light, so that all Seattle residents have fast, affordable internet to help businesses, help workers find job opportunities, and create access for all.

As Seattle and the surrounding area grows, our traffic becomes increasingly gridlocked and we spend far too much time on the road and away from our families. Our time spent in traffic takes a toll—it impacts our economy, our health, and the environment. Exhaust fumes pollute our air and contribute to climate change and our quality of life. Time spent in between commutes drains us mentally and physically, and when we have too many cars on the road, it impacts our ability to move freight and support our businesses. Our region has incredible investments in the form of ST2, ST3, and the Move Seattle levy, but we must look for ways to do more to ensure we create real and immediate transportation solutions. We can find ways to ensure our community spends less time commuting and more time with friends and family.

As your City Councilmember, I push to expedite projects to better connect our city so we have safe streets, bikable and walkable communities, and public transportation solutions.

Solutions:

  • Build sidewalks where there are none to promote safe routes to schools and safe walkways for those using strollers, walkers or wheelchairs.
  • Complete the cycling infrastructure master plan to connect our communities, workplaces, and commerce.
  • Support Transit Oriented Development for housing and businesses to create more walkable, livable communities.
  • Improve our roads by slowing traffic in residential areas, filling potholes and fixing unsafe surfaces, and investing smart grid technology that helps improve commute times and move people and commerce more efficiently.
  • Expand the bus pass program for youth needing to get to school and seniors wanting to stay mobile and connected.

The average American has a balance of $22,135 in student loan debt. Students currently must decide between earning a college degree and accumulating massive amounts of debt or directly entering minimum wage jobs that do not guarantee economic mobility. This is an issue of equity, based on a young person socioeconomic and cultural background, this decision is often made for them simply by their identities. If we truly want to make Seattle a city that works for all, then we owe it to our young people to do better. With the addition of the affordable housing crisis our city currently is in, Students are not able to find affordable housing which is essential to academic success. Unaffordable housing, high text book costs, in addition to the cost of tuition sets our young folks up for debt and economic turmoil, especially students of color and low-income students.

The Trump administration is in the midst of launching attacks on federal student aid and funding to public institutions. When we should be working to alleviate the burden for our young people, the federal government is set on making it worse.  Local governments must step up and provide the opportunity for students to achieve their highest academic potentials.

As your Seattle City Councilmember, I will put our progressive values into action and work on the implementation of free college tuition and debt reduction policies. Seattle has led the charge on minimum wage, environmental justice, and workers’ rights, we should also lead the charge on empowering our students.

Solutions:  

  • Two years of free tuition at state college with the benefit coming in the first two years for community college students and the last two for those at four-year institutions
  • All students from families with an income less than 70 percent of the state median family income will receive a stipend of up to $1,500 for books and other education-related expenses
  • Double funding for TRIO Programs and increase funding for the 13th Year program so more first-generation and low-income students can enroll in and graduate college
  • Explore funding sources like the 2018 Families & Education Levy, sweetened beverage tax, or Puget Sound Taxpayer Accountability Account, and taxing property sales over 1 million dollars.

We live in a world with rapidly accelerating technology– technology that, should we lag behind, will strand our poorest communities and create an exponentially widening gap in career outcomes. A gap that will be impossible to close as our society relies on it further.

We need to see technology as the great equalizer in a digital platform. For every child that grows up without internet at home, we lose a potential innovator that could lead the fight against climate change, or revolutionize the way we share ideas.  When that is multiplied by the 93,000 homes in our city that cannot afford internet, we put this problem into critical perspective. As someone who has fought her entire career to protect the interests of our future, to provide benefits for all children, to ensure our workers are healthy and our communities thrive, I recognize that this is one facet least discussed: our access to information. Our access to the future.

As your Councilmember, I pledge to support any measure that will equalize opportunity and incentivize fiber build-out to every corner of our city. We need to equip ourselves with the tools of the modern world and provide the amenities of a world-class city– not only to invest in our infrastructure, but to gift the means to economic mobility for low-income residents and our communities of color. Join me in calling for affordable, fast, and reliable connectivity for all.

1. Support Seattle’s Digital Equity Initiative, a series of policy recommendation developed in partnership with over 100 community leaders, stakeholders, and companies:
 a. Increase the scale of the equipment refurbishing program to expand availability of low-cost devices to low-income residents.
 b. Continue applying for grants to support digital equity efforts in low-income areas.
 c. Demand sufficient coverage to under-served communities by holding private companies accountable to build-out requirements.
2 (Alternative to Municipal Broadband) Court Google Fiber expansion into the Seattle metro area for competitively-priced, high-capacity gigabit infrastructure. This can be done by streamlining the permitting process, amending restrictively bureaucratic rules that inhibit fiber cabinet build-out, and incentivizing comprehensive broadband coverage with a pole attachment subsidy.
3. Supporting tech sector growth through mixed income housing developments near transit hubs, with market-rate/luxury apartments buoying costs of affordable housing units.
4. Capture the imagination of the public by soliciting “Smart City” community project proposals with an emphasis on improving quality of life for all residents. Whether it be an app for finding disability accommodations throughout the city, or community gardens that use monitoring sensors for higher yield, the city can provide micro-funding for the most feasible of proposals.
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