What are specific ways you have helped people of color and/or the immigrant community?
At King County I helped shape the Best Starts for Kids programs that connects prenatal and youth resources to low-income families and schools that serve predominantly communities of color. As a board member for WestSide Baby I’ve worked on bringing nonprofits and community members together to provide food, diapers, and cribs to low-income families in White Center where many of our district’s immigrants and families of color reside.
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?
Housing prices continue to rise and many would-be-homeowners, low income and fixed income renters are being priced out of our community. Adding to the burden are increases in property taxes, making families and seniors wonder if they’ll be able to afford to continue living in our neighborhoods. This affects everyone — but the severity of the problem hits communities of color and immigrants hardest.
While there are many factors fueling the rising cost of housing, our regressive tax system is at the root of many inequities– the State must stop balancing the budget on the backs of middle and working class families while corporations and high-earners aren’t asked to pay a fair share.
In the Senate, I plan to go to bat for a capital gains tax and work to lower property taxes for low and fixed-income families, which are the first steps in a long fight towards the progressive tax system Washington needs. In the State Senate I will oppose tax exemptions that don’t provide public benefit, and will work to sunset exemptions that were created simply to benefit wealthy corporations.
What are specific ways that the office you seek would affect communities of color and the immigrant community, if you are elected?
Last year my daughter, who was adopted from Korea, came home crying because she heard Trump was deporting immigrant children. I had to explain to my ten year old that she was not going to be taken away from me, but I couldn’t promise that other families didn’t live with that fear every day. Our next State Senator is going to need to stand strong on new legislation to protect our immigrants and communities of color, including by making our government and social services accessible to those who fear deportation and prohibiting our state government from aiding ICE.
I also hope to bring to the state government a new equity lens for evaluating legislation — all bill proposals should have evaluations that include how communities of color and immigrants will be impacted. We must make equity a part of every legislative consideration we make, and I look forward to starting that in the State Senate.