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Issues

Jobs & Economy

Strengthening Our Economy In the Midst of A Pandemic

Our region’s legacy of economic innovation and creativity, combined with progressive policies for workers and forward-thinking investment in industries of the future like wind and solar, have combined to make our state an economic success story.   But the global pandemic has caused unprecedented economic devastation and provides heart-wrenching evidence of the economically precarious lives so many of us lead.  It will require deft, compassionate and decisive leadership to guide us through this crisis and provide the help and support that so many struggling families in the 10th Congressional District need.  

As someone who was raised in poverty, cycled in foster homes and was even homeless for a time, helping those in need is personal for me. I am not another lawyer or another multi-millionaire, but Congress already has lots of those. Instead, I bring a unique perspective in that I understand what it means to struggle under tough circumstances, and that inspires my unwavering commitment to helping others struggling through tough times like these. I am committed to fighting every day to make sure that hard-working families never slip through the cracks.  

Progressive state policies I helped pass in the legislature, like the nation’s best Paid Family Medical Leave and a path towards more affordable child care, will help Washington families as we weather this crisis. But now we need leaders in Congress who will work to pass these policies and provide relief nationally now. Congress also needs to quickly improve the efficiency and accountability of programs passed to help small businesses survive and unemployed workers get by. 

Working Families 

For Kristine, Standing Up for Working Families is Priority #1

As we carefully and prudently reopen our state and country, we need to continue to ensure that workers are getting the skills they need to succeed in a rapidly changing global economy. No doubt we are going to have to make more adjustments in the wake of this crisis.  I’ve been a champion of efforts like Career Connect that identifies skills needed in the job force and links tens of thousands of students to apprenticeships and on-the-job training, and in my work with Senator Murray I helped develop what became a national model for military transition from service to jobs at home.  I also helped pass into law one of the most substantial reductions in college tuition in the country, paid for by big companies like Amazon and Microsoft who benefit from the well-educated workforce our public schools produce.   

I also believe that expanding health care coverage and lowering medical and prescription drug costs will help promote income growth and stabilize our economy, since it is often unforeseen health care events that can bankrupt struggling families. Making child care more accessible and affordable, ending the gender pay gap, raising the minimum wage and reinstating overtime rules, and enforcing and strengthening protections for organized labor that allow strong unions to flourish and effectively negotiate for workers – these are all important steps in chipping away at income inequality, ensuring the economic security of our families and promoting dignity and pride in the work we produce.   

I’m very proud to have earned a 100% rating in the legislature from the Washington State Labor Council while helping guide the state to its ranking as one of the top economies in the country, proving that protecting and providing for our work force goes hand in hand with a strong economy.

Click here to read Kristine Reeves’s 5-point plan on the economy and working families >>

Click here to read Kristine Reeves’s 5-point plan on child care >>

Health Care

Health Care Is A Right, Not A Privilege

I believe passionately that health care is a right for every American, not a privilege.  I’ve spent much of my life with no health insurance coverage, and have a pre-existing health condition in diabetes that makes me acutely aware of, and like so many Americans, uniquely vulnerable to Republican attacks that seek to deny health care coverage.  I believe we need to move as quickly as possible toward universal health care coverage and to do everything possible to make health care and prescription drugs more affordable.  I’ll build on the Affordable Care Act to make sure everyone has the opportunity to buy into Medicare if they so choose. Creating a public option will force insurance companies to compete, lowering health care costs for everyone.

I’m proud of our efforts in Washington state where we’ve established progressive models for the country in pursuit of these goals – we’ve cut the uninsured rate from 14% to nearly 5% thanks to an efficient and aggressive implementation of Obamacare, and we’ve established the country’s first long term care benefit that helps aging residents afford the care they need.   These progressive policies that have improved the health and well-being of our citizens helped me earn a 100% rating from the Washington State Nurses Association while I served in the legislature.

The coronavirus crisis has made us acutely aware of the holes, shortcomings and inequality in our health care system, with essential workers who have bravely helped our country persevere through this crisis often enduring a lack of health coverage, while courageous health care professionals put their lives on the line to save others, even as they endured shortages of protective equipment and supplies.

We must continue to expand health insurance coverage for all as fast as possible.  We must adamantly oppose continued efforts by the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress to strip away protections which ensure those with pre-existing health conditions are never denied coverage.  We must also recognize that our public health infrastructure and brave frontline personnel must be given greater priority and value in our budgets and policies.

I applaud the recent U.S. House passage of the Lower Prescription Drugs Now Act, which would allow the government to directly negotiate drug prices for Medicare recipients and bring down prices for all medicines as a result – now we need to get it out of Mitch McConnell’s desk and passed into law.

I would aggressively pursue this ambitious approach to reducing health care and medicine costs by supporting other efforts, many of them that have bipartisan support, to stop pharmaceutical industry price gouging, create out-of-pocket limits for prescription drug costs under Medicare, and expand access to dental coverage.

Public Education

Investing In K-12 Education and the Teachers Who Helped Turn My Life Around

Because of progressive public investments and caring mentors, I was able to escape the cycle of poverty. It was teachers who saved me, who guided me to overcome great childhood adversity and poverty, who cared enough to show me a path to success. 

Every student in America deserves to have a quality public school in their community, and educators who can afford to live in the community they teach, so that we can prepare the next generation to succeed – no matter their ZIP code.

I have fought for educators and for key investments that have strengthened the path to opportunity in our state – the biggest teacher salary increases in the nation, largest-ever expansion of early childhood education, and linking tens of thousands of students with apprenticeships and on-the-job training.

As a working mom with two young kids, I would be a champion in Congress for enhancing the federal partnership and funding of public schools and teachers, while also reversing misguided and foolish policies of the Trump administration, such as arming teachers in our classrooms, diverting federal funds to private schools, and punishing students who were victims of for-profit college fraud. 

I’m immensely proud to have earned the endorsement of the Washington Education Association, the largest representative of Washington’s teachers, educators and public school employees,  in this race, and I will be an outspoken and adamant voice for teachers and students in Congress.

College Affordability

Everyone should have access to an affordable college education if they choose, one that lets them pursue their dreams and a great career – without crushing debt from student loans.

I speak from firsthand experience.  With the help of a state need grant and scholarships, I was able to leave a childhood of poverty and tumult to become the first in my family to go to college and am today a proud Washington State graduate.

I was able to pay this state’s investment in me forward by supporting a law this year to create free and low-cost college for 110,000 Washingtonians – paid for by big corporations in our state that owe part of their success to the well-educated workforce our public education system has produced.

In Congress, I would build on this success by increasing the amount of Pell Grants that can be provided to students, raise the income threshold so more families are eligible, and allow them to be used during summer school months so that students can graduate on time.  I’d also restore protections for student borrowers that the Trump administration abandoned and hold for-profit colleges accountable for their fraud.

Military Families and Veterans

In my roles as Statewide Veterans Representative for U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Director of the Military Defense Sector in Governor Inslee’s Commerce Department, I have been connected to military families, employers and contractors in the South Sound on a daily basis.   

My position as an advocate for military families and veterans is also shaped by my family.  As the twin sister of a 17-year combat veteran in the United States Air Force, I can attest that the little brother that I sent off to war after 9/11 is not the man who came home.  Our military service members put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms, and I am proud to be an outspoken advocate for service members and their families, making sure that they gain access to the opportunities and benefits that they’ve earned and deserve.

I have worked on veterans’ health care, improving military transition and workforce development and have helped secure millions of dollars in federal grants to improve private sector job growth, support military personnel transitioning to private sector jobs, and support the 1900+ small businesses in the defense sector supply chain during Department of Defense downsizing. 

In Congress, I will continue to be a knowledgeable, compassionate and effective advocate for military families and veterans – from helping to reduce the suicide rate among veterans with better mental health treatment and services to better housing for military families to greater assistance in easing the transition between service and civilian careers.

Immigration

First, as a mother of two small children, I am deeply troubled by the Trump administration’s separation of children from their parents at the border.  We need to end this outrageous treatment of children immediately and increase the capacity of our asylum courts and immigration judges so that we can process applications quickly and humanely.

More broadly, I believe ours is a country founded and built by immigrants.  As a daughter of Hispanic and African-American parents, I know that diversity is a source of our strength and I’m proud that my state and our communities have been welcoming to immigrants and refugees seeking opportunity, greater freedoms and a better life for their families.

Congress needs to stop using immigration as a political football and get serious about fixing a broken immigration system.   A bipartisan framework already exists in Congress for creating a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who are paying taxes, following the law and contributing to their communities. Once we defeat Donald Trump and end his racist exploitation of this issue, we must come together as a country to fix this problem.

Climate Change

The Defining Challenge of My Generation

The changing climate is the defining challenge of my generation.  It’s a threat to our economy, our way of life, our entire existence.  If there is one benefit from our experience with this pandemic, I hope it is a greater appreciation for science and the impact that collective changed behavior can have on the world’s environment.

As a working mom of two young kids, I think every day about the future our kids will have with our world literally on fire due to climate change. As someone who has worked on economic development, I understand the urgency and importance of comprehensive climate action and the repercussions of inaction. And as a woman of color, I know that too often front-line communities can be overlooked in the fight against climate change.

As a former WA State Representative, I’m proud to have been a part of Washington state’s bold leadership in combating the crisis. I was the primary sponsor of the Healthy Environments for All (HEAL) Act, which would require Washington state agencies to develop strategies to apply an environmental justice lens to their work and target investments in low income and communities of color – communities that are on the front-lines of pollution and health disparities. 

I’m proud to have been a part of Washington state’s bold leadership in combating this crisis.  We’ve established a Clean Energy Fund to grow well paid green jobs, we’ve built a $6 billion wind industry from scratch by incentivizing the private sector with renewable energy standards, and  we passed a law to end Washington’s use of coal and shift our state to use 100% clean energy to generate electricity.

I believe America must take a leadership role in addressing climate change, not only to protect ourselves from threats like hurricanes and wildfires that increasingly threaten our daily lives and resources, but because we must take advantage of the economic opportunity that exists to be a leader in the creation of clean energy jobs and the next generation of economic innovation.

I will be a leader in Congress in raising the profile of, and fighting for solutions to, the climate crisis.  I will bring credibility and experience to the fight that comes from my experience as a legislator at the forefront of elevating this crisis in the national dialogue and crafting innovative solutions to address the threat.  I’ll also have the urgency that comes from being a 39-year-old with two small children who understands their future will be severely degraded unless we successfully meet this challenge now.

Reproductive Rights

Reproductive freedom is a basic right that every woman in this country deserves.  I’m 100% pro-choice, have earned a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, and I am a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood.  I believe decisions about pregnancy and a woman’s own body are deeply personal and should be made between a woman, her loved ones and her doctor.

I’m proud that Washington state has made progress in expanding and defending these rights by requiring that health insurance covers abortion as well as maternity care and covers the cost of birth control without out-of-pocket costs.

In Congress, I will fight to enshrine the right to abortion as a civil right, I’ll support fully restoring funding for Planned Parenthood, and I will support eliminating the Hyde Amendment — the Supreme Court has found that women have a constitutional right to abortion, and that means it shouldn’t be limited only to women who can afford it.

Social Security and Medicare

Sixty-five percent of seniors rely on a monthly Social Security check for the majority of their income and 1.3 million Washingtonians depend on Medicare to ensure a health issue doesn’t bankrupt them later in life.  These are absolutely vital programs that absolutely must be protected.  Seniors paid into those programs their whole working lives and they deserve access to those contributions to ensure a secure retirement.  If we ask millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share, we can continue to keep Social Security and Medicare, America’s most successful anti-poverty programs, strong and sustainable for generations to come. 

Combatting Gun Violence

There is nothing more important than reducing the absurd level of gun violence in our country.  We have become numb to the nearly daily tragedy of mass shootings that threaten our schools, our children, our neighborhoods and communities once thought to be safe from such madness.

The time is long overdue for Congress to reject the gun lobby and act on the overwhelming support Americans and Washingtonians have for common sense measures such as stronger background checks, preventing mentally ill and domestic abusers from getting access to guns, and banning military style assault weapons that have no business on our streets and in our neighborhoods.  I will support these efforts with all my being.