As we rebuild our economy from the devastation of the pandemic, we must seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address the systemic inequities that left so many families vulnerable even before the pandemic. I understand the critical importance of strengthening our social safety net because my family would not have survived without it.
When I was seven, my father was in a terrible car accident that turned my world upside down. Like too many families are familiar with, the high cost of healthcare made it needlessly difficult on my family mentally, emotionally, and financially. But because that crisis happened before years of disinvestment in our social safety net, we were able to stay housed and fed through programs like TANF and local food banks.
That’s why I have fought so hard to protect and increase funding for these same programs this year in the state legislature, ensuring families like mine can depend on them during this crisis. Digging out from the pandemic is just the beginning though– we need to be investing in people so that they can thrive, not just survive.
We must act with the fierce urgency of now to create a just economy so no future crisis, be it a pandemic or personal tragedy, deprives anyone in Martin Luther King, Jr. County of the chance to make something of themselves. Here’s how we make that happen:
1. Further address the unfairness in our tax code by building on the progress we made in the state legislature to enable new progressive revenue and lowering the tax burden for working families. King County should lead on progressive revenue options to ensure the super-wealthy pay their fair share instead of continuing to rely on sales and property taxes.
2. Work with unions to expand apprenticeship programs and diversify our skilled workforce by connecting students to good jobs.
3. Make higher childcare and early education more accessible to students from low-income families and provide services like college preparation and career counseling through partnerships with community organizations.
Support small businesses by creating an Office of Economic Development. Despite being the 12th largest County in the nation we do not have a dedicated office to foster growth and help small businesses thrive.