I've been fortunate to learn from Dr. Phillip Boyer of Leading and Governing Associates, Inc. With Dr. Boyer’s permission, I share this valuable thought process. Public opinions and government decisions about issues may lean one or two ways, or may balance among all four of these considerations:
Governing in a Democratic Society: Balancing Public Values and Choices
Liberty – freedom, choice, autonomy, opportunity, individuality, privacy, independence, personal responsibility, self-determination, and self sufficiency
Community – safety, security, sense of belonging, connection with people and places where we live and work, preservation, conservation, social and moral order, quality of life
Prosperity – economy, efficiency, productivity, growth, profit development, competition, market rules, privatization, standardization, measurement, return on investment, quantity of life
Equality – fairness, justice, tolerance, diversity, equity, inclusion, equal rights, equal opportunity, equal treatment, equal results, level playing field.
CHILDREN & EDUCATION: INVESTMENT FOR OUR REGION'S FUTURE
As a former elected School Board Director in one of this state's most economically and ethnically diverse school districts, I understand firsthand the need to make student achievement and graduation for all children a top priority. We must ensure that quality teaching and learning happens in every classroom, in every environment, every day, and for every child. Opportunities grow when high school graduates have the 21st century skills they need and are well prepared for college, careers, and life.
Post secondary and worker re-training needs require our commitment to access and affordability for higher education in universities, community colleges, technical colleges, certification programs, and apprenticeships. Our region’s economic vitality and the success of our nation depends on the next generation’s readiness to participate in the global economy.
Adequate Funding for Schools
The Washington State constitution mandates that public schools are the paramount duty of our state. While we should not forego other important responsibilities of our state government, we must provide stable and ample funding for all K-12 public schools. Though there have been numerous studies of K-12 education, our state's basic education funding model was not changed significantly in over thirty years. In my first two legislative sessions, I helped lead important basic education reform and funding legislation (HB 2261, HB 2776, and SB 6696), and now on the Quality Education Council (QEC), I'm working to implement new policies for Washington's public schools.
Currently in Washington’s public school districts, local levies are not supplementing basic education – levy funds are making basic education possible. Local levies are passed to offer choices in class size reduction, extend learning for struggling or highly capable students, fund innovative programs, for early learning programs, the arts, music, sports, and more.
The financial burden of unfunded and underfunded state and federal mandates in my local school district alone have been over $8 million annually including costs of special education, transportation and fuel, the sixth period class in secondary school days, English language learning, utilities, BECCA truancy requirements, NCLB requirements, and much more. The passage of local levy measures should not be the bandaid for inadequate state and federal funding.
Re-define Basic Education
I'm proud to say that I took an active and strong lead in the successful passage of House Bills 2261 ('09), 2776 ('10), and Senate Bill 6696 ('10) legislation that set the new framework for basic education and improved accountability in Washington's public schools! The prior three decade old 1970's definition lacked technology skills, 21st century career paths and global competition, and ignored increased responsibilities mandated upon our schools.
Early Education & Higher Education
During the '09 and '10 legislative sessions, I co-sponsored important legislation to support preschool learning and full day kindergarten. Early learning benefits all children as an important early start to K-12 achievement in school and is a key strategy for drop-out prevention. Beyond high school, we need to ensure the guidance, access, and financial aid needed for post-secondary studies and skills training.
JOBS & THE ECONOMY
As a life long Puget Sound area resident and small business owner, I know the importance of good jobs to maintain and improve our quality of life. In my Chamber and civic leadership work as well as in my business, I know that our region needs a skilled workforce, a healthy business climate, and a commitment to nurturing innovation and economic development opportunities. I will work to keep aerospace jobs here, to support our high tech business community, and to help small businesses succeed.
The lengthy economic downturn has been very real and serious. I experienced the "turn out the lights in Seattle" era, I worked in Bellevue as it grew from a city to go home to and commute from to a thriving employment center, I managed a bank branch near Microsoft and worked with the skilled employees this important technology sector brought to East King County, and I've been an active Renton civic leader as we've worked successfully to diversify our employment base and attract new businesses. I have a solid interest in business innovation and jobs growth, and I'm prepared to lead our region in bringing and keeping economic opportunities here.
REDUCING TRAFFIC CONGESTION
Our transportation system is not working. Too many people are stuck in their cars commuting when they could be home with their families. Our region's employers and employees are demanding that we fix this problem. I am committed to giving commuters more choices, improving freight mobility, increasing transit options, supporting telecommuting, and assuring that we have housing choices closer to work. I'm proud of legislation we passed during my sessions in Olympia, and with my co-sponsorships and votes, will ensure that a safe, new 520 bridge is built without further delays! We need to continue our work to bring solutions to I-405, the Eastside's busiest transportation corridor; and to encourage local transit and light rail decisions that provide adequate routes and schedules around East King County.
OUR ENVIRONMENT: LEAVING A LEGACY FOR OUR CHILDREN
Protecting our region's air, waterways, land, and wildlife are priorities to keep us and our planet healthy. Clean renewable energy sources and energy efficiency are necessary alternatives to today's fossil fuels. We are entrusted to raise children in an environment that doesn't harm them. Washington State should take the lead in preparing for new job growth in clean green technologies that will sustain both our environment and our economy. We know it's the right thing to do to enjoy our beautiful surroundings right now and to preserve our region for future generations.
Washington State has made important progress in providing health care coverage to at risk children so they can grow and learn productively. Affordable health care services for adults and children should include preventative care that often saves both costs and lives. Supporting womens' health care choices, healthy lifestyles, and public health are essential. I will work to ensure fairness and access in meeting the physical and mental health care needs of people in our state and in our country.
Housing supply and housing affordability are necessary for economic vitality. Great communities have a mix of housing for both homeownership and renters. Workforce housing close to jobs reduces traffic congestion and is better for the environment. Senior housing choices allow our elder neighbors to enrich our communities as active citizens. With three decades of business experience in local residential real estate, lending and financial services - in good markets and in difficult markets - I will advocate for housing and for our quality of life here.