What are specific ways you have helped people of color and/or the immigrant community?
I sponsored and helped pass the Washington Dream Act 2.0, to ensure that Dreamers and others in our community have full financial aid eligibility and access to higher education opportunities, regardless of what the Feds do on DACA.
I sponsored and helped pass a bill that protects low-income renters against source-of-income discrimination in housing because they received rental assistance.
I have provided steadfast support for all of our college access programs like the State Need Grant, Opportunity Scholarship, College Bound and our completion and support programs like MESA and Guided Pathways in the colleges in order to insure that first generation college students from all communities, but especially communities of color and immigrant communities, have opportunities to education and to the American dream.
In the summer of 2016, I served on the task force on the Use of Deadly Force in Community Policing. The recommendations from this task formed the basis for SB 5073, my legislation to find common ground on the thorny issue of Washington’s deadly use of force statute. I have continued to play in an integral role in this legislative effort and I have publicly tried to bridge divides between the police and community. I remain committed to finding common ground on descalation training and have supported funding in recent budgets to enhance these efforts at the Criminal Justice Training Center.
I was in strong support of funding for immigrant legal services in our recent state budget and I currently serve on our Office of Civil Legal Aid (OCLA) oversight committee. I also fought for a special appropriation in the capital budget for childcare facilities for refugee families and for the communities of concern coalition.
What is the biggest legislative priority for communities of color and the immigrant community in the next few years? Do you think there are legislative concerns that are unique to these communities?
I think that economic and educational opportunity remains a gap in our American community. So, much of my efforts have been to find ways to advance opportunity to those who have not historically had it as I have described above in my legislative work and accomplishments. Another issue that I have worked on that disproportionately affects communities of color and immigrant communities is the lack of access to affordable, high-quality healthcare. I have been pushing to broaden health care coverage, especially through strong support for our community health centers and for establishing a universal health care system that is the right of every citizen. I have also been in support of criminal justice reform and better options for re-entry. I do think there are unique concerns in communities of color and immigrant communities and I remain open to listening and meeting and understanding those concerns and will continue to do so if I am fortunate to be afforded another term in the legislature.
What are specific ways that the office you seek would affect communities of color and the immigrant community, if you are elected?
I think I would refer back to my answers above to indicate that these will remain the types of policies I will endeavor to pursue through direct consultation and advice with a variety of groups.