For over twenty years, I have had the privilege of working with thousands of kids and families who entrust me with their health, while sharing their struggles and triumphs. I will bring these stories to Olympia to improve the total health and outcomes for all families.
Physical Health The physical health of our communities starts with the wellbeing and care of our youth; and must be measured through a lens of equity, access, and affordability. We have made great progress in ensuring health care access in the State of Washington, but there is much more to be done; especially for lower income, immigrant, refugee and other vulnerable populations. We need affordable quality health care for ALL Washingtonians. Care that is patient centered, not profit centered.
Emotional Security Our state has failed to adequately make investments in mental health – not only worsening the crisis on our streets, but also in our schools and in our homes. Our culture and our insurance companies can no longer artificially separate mental health from physical health – individuals may struggle to function in jobs, school, or parenting with mental health illnesses just like if you have cancer or another potentially lethal physical ailment.
We must strengthen this system by investing in the mental health workforce – we lost half of the therapists and counselors in our state during the pandemic – while the need for their services has skyrocketed. I spend half of every day in the clinic seeing kids for mental health concerns – issues that should be addressed by psychiatrists, counselors, and social workers. In Olympia, I will be a tireless advocate for investments in mental health care at every age, and the workforce development opportunities to ensure we have the professionals we need to serve our communities.
Safety I have been a relentless voice for gun violence prevention reforms, including safe storage, banning high capacity magazines, child access prevention, universal background checks, and extreme risk protection orders. While mass shootings and threats of school shootings are horrific and grab the headlines, many more people die due to lethal domestic violence and accidental shootings inside a home. We must continue the necessary work to eliminate gun violence in our communities and address the very real fears parents have about the safety of their children.
Attaining safety in our communities also requires changes in policing. We must have a well-trained and well-supported police force that functions without bias and with accountability. We must have enough officers that dispatchers do not need to choose between responding to violent crimes and investigating sexual assaults. But we also must address the continuing tragedy of senseless deaths caused by excessive use of force by police officers. Officers must be trained in de-escalation techniques and should be supported by mental health professionals and social workers specializing in trauma informed care as well as community liaisons. Officers must be educated about racism, internalized racism, privilege and unconscious bias.
In Olympia, I will advocate for community policing, where neighbors can drive the safety needs of their community and police can be part of a community’s harm reduction, rebuilding trust along the way. I will advocate for data-driven alternatives to incarceration when possible, such as restorative justice programs for property crimes and victim-offender reconciliation programs that work to restore the perpetrator to the community instead of further isolating the perpetrator from the community through confinement and incarceration.