Interview with the Lynden Tribune

Past Experience

For more than 25 years I have worked to encourage others to participate in the political and legislative process. Two years ago when the position of state representative became available, I was humbled when others encouraged me to run. I realized my experience, service and leadership had prepared me to be an effective legislator and I decided to step up for greater public service. I have been so honored to represent Whatcom County as one of your representatives for the past two years.

Education funding

It is important to point out that the Legislature has made historic strides in K-12 education funding. Since the original McCleary order in 2012, state funding for K-12 education has increased from $13.4 billion for the 2011-13 biennium to $18.2 billion for the 2015-17 biennium, an increase of $4.8 billion or 36 percent. As a matter of fact, a recent report from the Center on Budget and Policy shows that Washington state leads the nation in increased spending for public school students.

More needs to be done, but it is not enough to focus on funding alone. It is imperative that we reform our education system so every child can reach their full potential. I will continue to fight to reach our ultimate goal and paramount duty — to provide every child with a quality education in Whatcom County schools.

Water quality, quantity

I recognize that water quality and quantity is essential to a healthy community and I support continued efforts to protect our environment. Unfortunately, dairy farms are unfairly bearing the burden of blame for water quality deterioration. Family farms are the backbone of our local economy and provide essential food products to our community. Our farmers are responsible stewards of the land and operate under strict rules and regulations governing impact to streams and water quality.

We need a complete examination of all potential sources of water contamination so we can proceed with effective regulations based on clearly defined laws that are not subject to agenda-driven agencies. I will be working in the state Legislature to scale back the confusing and overlapping network of regulations that stifle the productivity of our agriculture industry.

Initiatives to the Legislature

Initiative 732 is a tax on natural fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas used or sold in Washington State. This first-in-the-nation carbon tax also taxes electricity generated from these fuels. Simply stated, I-732 will cost us a lot more to fill our gas tanks and will increase energy costs to heat our homes and cook our meals. It will be a job killer for our manufacturing and agriculture sectors. Washington has already made great strides in reducing carbon emissions and this initiative will make no significant difference for a cleaner environment. Should this measure be enacted into law? No.

Initiative 735, under the guise of reducing the influence of money in politics, is a “moonshot” that calls on Congress to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that allows corporations to have a voice in the policies that govern their activities. We should never give government the power to censor the free speech of any citizen. Should this measure be enacted into law? No.

Other priorities

• Protect local jobs at our Cherry Point industries including the Alcoa Intalco plant in Ferndale. These valuable family-sustaining jobs are threatened by recent actions of the Whatcom County Council. I will continue working with stakeholders to save these vital industries.

• I will continue to stand against a state income tax.

• I will work to ensure the integrity of our electoral system.

Personal values

As the daughter of a milk truck driver I was raised to value faith, family and hard work. These are the guiding principles that influence my positions and priorities. Two years ago, I promised to take these Whatcom values to Olympia and with your vote I will return to Olympia and continue to fight for a state government that works for you, not the other way around.