Since he served on the Issaquah City Council, Bill has been finding solutions to improve our traffic congestion in this district. He has worked with his seatmates, Sen. Mullet and Rep. Callan, to secure funding for added lanes on Highway 18 from Tiger Mountain to I-90 and to make a massive investment to fix the clogged interchange of I-90 and Highway 18 in Snoqualmie.
In 2022, Bill built on his experience in the legislature and on the council to develop and pass Move Ahead Washington — a transformational investment of $16 billion over 16 years — which will create a better future for our transportation sector. This legislation was created after more than 90 listening sessions to hear the top transportation priorities from communities across the state. This package addresses the concerns we heard and reflects our focus on meeting the needs of every community.
Move Ahead Washington includes many specific investments in a greener, safer, more efficient, and more equitable transportation system across our state, including:
$3 billion to fix our existing infrastructure.
$5.4 billion toward electrification, expanding affordable, accessible options and reducing our carbon footprint.
$3.1 billion to expand reliable transit service.
$50 million to create bike and pedestrian routes and increase opportunities for good jobs in the transportation sector.
So many of us moved to this district for the open green spaces and the beautiful outdoors. Like so many of you, protecting the environment is an absolute priority. I have worked with legislators that would require state agencies to recognize and support the timber industry’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions through reforestation, afforestation, timber harvesting, and the planting of forested buffers in riparian areas.
This piece of legislation is about finding ways to think outside the box to help rural communities while also tackling climate change. It’s a creative approach to work with legislators across the aisle to pass impactful legislation.
Bill also was the prime sponsor for a bill that recognizes the forest products sector as a significant net sequestered of carbon. It establishes the Forest and Forest Products Carbon Account under the management of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This is significant because 50% of the work must be done in communities suffering from environmental injustice as well as working class neighborhoods.
We are facing a housing crisis in our district, in our Puget Sound communities. The cost of housing is skyrocketing, rental costs are shooting through the roof, and buying a house is becoming harder and harder, especially for young people who want to live in our community. These increasing costs are driving homelessness, leading to more people living on the streets, in their cars, in shelters, and in need of a safe space to live.
We also need to provide services for the diverse homeless populations: those suffering from addiction or mental health challenges, along with those who lost a job and found themselves unable to pay for the high cost of housing. The opioid crisis is inextricably linked to homelessness – we must bring a multi-faceted, comprehensive approach to get people the treatment they need where they need it, as well as ensure we have the resources necessary to keep folks safe. Responding to homelessness in this way is both the right thing to do and will help restore vitality to our communities.
Bill has a demonstrated record of living his values. During his time with the U.S. Forest Service, Bill worked to recruit, mentor, and train the next generation of forest-service members of color.
Bill has been an advocate for social justice, and that includes justice for those who are fighting to reform a unjust police system. Bill supports systematic police reform and will work to implement broad changes, including:
A ban on the use of chokeholds
Partner police with social workers/mental health professionals when responding to certain types of calls
Increase accountability and transparency in police officer investigations: we should set up an independent office to review cases of excessive force rather than have them investigated internally
Budget transparency: like all government agencies, law enforcement works best when people how their tax dollars are being spent and can trust their government to account for those choices.
Bill has and will continue to view his work through the lens of social justice for communities of color. As a member of the Member of Color Caucus in the State Legislature, Bill worked with other members of the caucus to support legislation that would benefit the livelihoods of our most vulnerable communities of color. Bill also worked to implement the passing of Initiative-1000 as well as championing the Washington State Census Bill of Rights - which guarantees that every Washingtonian has access to accurate census information so that all communities can get counted without fear or persecution.
COVID-19 Economic Recovery:
Before the 2020 legislative session ended, the legislature allocated $225 million for COVID-19 response including:
$175 million for direct response to the health crisis.
$25 million for worker and business protections.
$25 million in federal funds to help state agencies, local governments, and tribes respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
While we know this will not be enough to restart our economy and get our community back on its feet, it’s an incredible start. All Across the state we are preparing to restructure our budgets to provide even more aid to our communities to ensure all our residents are safe, financially secure, and confident in our recovery.
In the meanwhile, I urge everyone to continue practicing social distancing, and to wear masks when you are outside of your living space. We have been doing a great job of flattening the curve so far Washington, let's take the next step and work to end the COVID 19 crisis altogether.
Education is not a one size fits all shoe — Bill has a proven track record of working across the aisle to get education funding for all five of our school districts.
Bill is fighting for quality childcare in every community that parents can afford and kids can enjoy while learning. Bill has also worked to provide affordable college to all working families and first generation families and will make sure that college is an option for all who will work for it.
Bill will continue to work to increase mental health counselors in schools, nurses, and small class sizes so that no child falls through the cracks as well as ensuring teachers have the resources and tools to teach the next generation of students.
We must also continue to promote trades and apprentice programs and work with unions to develop broad options for apprenticeships and make sure these alternatives are accessible in all our high schools and community colleges.
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 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.