Fiscal Responsibility and Good Stewardship of our Tax Dollars
All of us work hard for our money and are forced to make difficult decisions when it comes to our personal budgets. We can’t just ask our boss for a raise every time we want something new. We have to look at how we spend our money and decide what we need and what we can afford. Why shouldn’t we expect the same from the people we send our tax dollars to? Don’t politicians in Olympia ultimately work for us, so shouldn’t they be accountable for how they spend our money?
I will fight to make sure that we cut back on waste in Olympia, spending your tax dollars like it’s our family budget on the line. We need to tie programs that use our tax dollars to actual outcomes we want to achieve. If a program isn’t working, it needs to either be fixed or we need to find something better. If a program is creating fantastic outcomes, then we need to look to see how we can expand it or use its lessons elsewhere in government. We need to bring responsibility and accountability back into our leadership.
This is even more critical as we try to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot simply tax our way back to health as a state. Now more than ever, we need to have the most efficient government possible.
When one party holds power for too long, they forget to listen to, and include, their neighbors. They surround themselves with people who think like them and become so assured of their own correctness that they stop reviewing their programs to see if they are effective. Why would they look to make our government more efficient when they can get away with raising taxes instead? Majority control should not mean the minority is outcast.
Our founders gave us a system built around checks and balances. I will be the critical check and balance we desperately need in Washington, to make sure that voices from all sides are brought to the table to create the best policies. Let’s live up to the aspirations of our founders and break the one party control over our state.
Laws and their enforcement are critical to a functioning civil society. We have laws so that we can all live in close proximity to one another. First responders allow us to live our lives, safe in the knowledge that we have people looking out for us when disaster may strike. I also understand that the people we trust to protect us are human with all of the good and the bad that humanity has to offer. We need communities working together with our first responders to build trust and understanding as well as to provide the best service.
I will never support defunding the police. We shouldn’t throw away the protection we get from hard working police officers. People in Seattle and elsewhere are trying to usurp a movement to shift more funding to their own pet projects or push their unrelated policies through. The same thing happened when Inslee released a thousand inmates under the guise of COVID safety when in reality, the inmates were at more risk of illness outside of the prisons and ended up committing violent crimes. I will not be a politician that tries to use a tragedy to push my own personal objectives.
Addiction and Mental Health
I believe that we cannot have a healthy society without adequate physical and mental health coverage. We wouldn’t look the other way if we saw our neighbor physically hurt on the sidewalk, so why do so many of our elected politicians look the other way when they see someone mentally ill on the same sidewalk? Even worse, some enact policies that enable addictive behaviors, furthering mental harm and deepening codependency and dysfunction. Our state is in desperate need of better addiction rehabilitation services and mental health care. It is not compassionate to ignore our struggling neighbors.
Homelessness has so many facets. Some people can’t afford housing, some people suffer from addiction or mental health problems that keep them from leading a normal life. Some people just want to take advantage of the existing system. The problem is we don’t know who, and how many, have mental health problems and who, and how many, would be able to quickly reintegrate and self-care with a little housing assistance. We don’t even know who are criminals taking advantage of the otherwise forgotten people living in tents and makeshift dwellings.
We need to get people out of unsafe, unsanitary conditions living along our streets and into safe shelter. Only then can we get an accurate idea of the types and amount of help required so we can provide it. We can use otherwise vacant commercial spaces to provide temporary housing for people experiencing homelessness or even act as disaster relief centers. You can find more information here.
It is my hope that by the time I take office, we have a successful vaccine and can put this dark chapter in our history behind us. If a similar crisis were to strike while I was in office, I would make sure that we had a balanced approach to how we protected both our lives and our livelihoods. I would take advantage of the ingenuity that our sectors have to offer, carefully weighing the benefits of safety with the costs of protecting, minus political posturing or shaming voices out of the conversation.