Priority Issues

It has been a pleasure serving as your State Representative in the 40th Legislative District. As your representative, I value every opportunity to learn about your legislative priorities and perspectives. I am committed to best representing you in Olympia and look forward to our continued collaborations. Below you will find information on the legislative priorities important to our district and my work in the Legislature.

Homelessness and Lowering Housing Costs

In the 40th District, housing insecurity and homelessness are a common experience. Housing is a human right and a life-sustaining necessity, and it is our responsibility as a state to step up and care for our most vulnerable populations. That is why I have been proudly working with my colleagues in both the House and Senate to promote policies that will help prevent and reduce homelessness by reforming eviction laws, preserving existing affordable housing, supporting affordable home ownership, and reversing the history of racial and economic injustice.

We must focus on creating partnerships to build across the housing spectrum and decreasing barriers to reduce cost, increase access, and improve efficiency. We must work with our cities and counties, our businesses and industries, our affordable housing advocates, and our service providers so that everyone has access to a place they can call home no matter their background, income, identity, or situation.

This year, we built on successes from 2023 that are now being seen in our communities. The development of more multi-family, workforce, and supportive housing are becoming a reality with continued investments in the Housing Trust Fund and direct appropriations to projects in the district. Additional policies this year will bring our neighborhoods co-living housing, turn disused commercial spaces into residential units, and provide opportunities for tenants to purchase mobile home parks.

But supply side investments are not enough. I was disappointed that we were unable to enact modest rent stabilization protections for the 40% of Washingtonians who rent. Renters deserve the same predictable cost increases that homeowners do when balancing their household budgets. We are ready to fight for this critical policy in 2025.

Housing is the number one issue I hear about from local governments, non-profit organizations, businesses, and constituents. It’s one of my top priorities, and I will continue to advocate for funding and policy solutions until everyone, especially our youth, has access to the housing they need.

Behavioral Health and the Fentanyl/Opioid Crisis

We hear nearly each day about how the opioid and fentanyl crisis is touching every Washingtonian’s life, there’s a widespread understanding now of the urgency of tackling this crisis. I’m proud of the bipartisan passion on this issue – recognizing addiction and overdoses can hit every family – and our dedication to forging a healthier Washington together.

This mission is personal to me, and our work can only just be getting started. In tackling the scourge of fentanyl and the opioid epidemic, our focus has been on safeguarding youth, behavioral healthcare workforce expansion, and accessible treatment options. By funding each of these areas, the state made the necessary investment to holistically respond to this crisis like it will have to for years to come.

Collaboration with tribal communities was central, and we integrated these tribal policies into our crisis response protocols with House Bill 1877. The budget allocated significant capital for SUD response and care facilities – expanding statewide access and stabilizing people’s lives.

Legislation further ensured stable housing for individuals undergoing treatment, reducing homelessness risk. Collaborations with the American Indian Health Commission resulted in wins for Tribal communities – whose partnerships provide tremendous regional benefits, as well.


One priority essential to the life of so many in our district is the wellbeing of the state ferry system. A challenge our team in the 40th faces every session is to find and defend funding to benefit riders of the ferries.

In our budget, the Legislature made significant investments in essential infrastructure and staffing through a comprehensive approach. Key priorities secured include progress on building new vessels; maintaining and upgrading older ones; and a deep focus on workforce recruitment, retention, and training opportunities with potential advancement at Washington State Ferries.

I was happy to see that this year funding was secured for completing construction of the new electric ferry for Guemes Island and the state extending Kids Ride Free to all county ferries in Washington.

Our team in the 40th district has also looked for vessels to restore the Sydney BC run ahead of schedule knowing how crucial it is to our local economy. We will continue to keep this issue in front of decision makers as we find a viable solution.

Community Safety

Protecting our communities and ensuring their safety is an imperative duty for our state. I work regularly with our local law enforcement and know that the public trust they rely on requires the accountability we can provide. I regard many of our local law enforcement leaders as personal friends and value their partnership in much of the word I do. I likewise value the advocacy and expert voices that push us to evaluate current models of policing and public safety.

I look forward to working with our local governments to ensure our first responders have the communication equipment necessary to keep our communities safe during natural disasters and other emergencies. Currently, many of our local law enforcement agencies and fire departments have outdated technologies and upgrading or replacing equipment could cost millions. Cities and counties alone cannot afford this, yet we need to make these investments.

As we ensure law enforcement has what they need to do their jobs, we must also prioritize the efforts of rehabilitation, especially with young people, and reentry. When it comes to our children, safety at school and in public is paramount and we’ve taken important steps to eliminating the dangers posed to them from firearms. I believe strongly in the reforms we’ve passed and where Washington has led in curbing gun violence.

I currently serve as on the state’s Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & People taskforce in the Attorney General’s Office. I work regularly with their office to support the continued mission of preventing these crimes and correcting the historic injustice.

Salmon and Water

Salmon: Salmon are an indicator species, intertwined with the economy, cultures, and values of Washington state. The Legislature is a co-decision maker with Washington Treaty Tribes when it comes to salmon. Therefore, we must work together to ensure we make seven generations of decision making for this precious and historical resource. The health of our salmon indicates the health of our being and our state. I have been working alongside several partners to enact the following policies:

  1. Creating a Joint Legislative Committee on Salmon to guide the Legislature in making informed laws, policies, and funding decisions. I support the state joint agency model to collaborate across chambers and parties to better address the implementation of laws, policies, and funding.
  2. Modernizing the Growth Management Act to include salmon recovery efforts.
  3. Focusing our efforts and resources to working with tribal, state, and local governments, as well as private landowners on a watershed approach to replacing culverts and improving fish passage. While the Legislature invested in addressing fish passage culverts in the 2020 legislative session, there is much more to do to meet the requirements of the court order to replace state injunction culverts and restore critical salmon habitat.
  4. Implementing a net ecological gain standard for land development. Our current standard of “no net loss” means decisions on land development are balanced with environmental impacts, leaving it no worse, but no better. By switching to a net ecological gain standard, or a “leave it better than you found it” standard, development projects would contribute to habitat restoration and help achieve a healthier environment for current and future generations.

Water: Water is a priority here in Washington state. Across this great nation we are witnessing states build their capacity to address water quality and quantity. Moving forward, I will continue my work as a member of the Joint Legislative Task Force on Water Supply During Drought, which serves as a place for legislators to be informed on the current status of water so we may make informed decisions on the future of water in our state.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

Agriculture is key to the culture and rural economy throughout Whatcom, Skagit, and San Juan counties. I understand and appreciate the complexity and the seriousness of the land, water, and habitat issues at play. It’s a privilege to learn from the farming community throughout the district and to witness their history and ties to the land. Their hope and dreams keep them rooted to the land, seeds, and way of life. Farmers and farmworkers are incredibly hard-working people, and we must work together to support them and the industry that provides us local and nutritious foods.

I have witnessed firsthand the good work of conservation districts in their education, farm planning, water quality, and habitat enhancement efforts; the good work of dike and drainage districts and Skagit PUD to ensure irrigators have the water they need for their crops to thrive; and the inspiring work of the Port of Skagit, WSU and other partners to support research and promote the value-added agriculture economy throughout our region.

I continue to work collaboratively with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Ecology to ensure our farmers and agriculture stakeholders are receiving the resources they need. I look forward to working with my colleagues, our state agencies, farmers, farmworkers and other stakeholders to develop legislation that will provide additional support and relief for our agricultural industry.

Protecting Access to Abortion

My body, my choice. I am a firm believer that no matter where you live, people of all identities need a safe, inclusive, accessible, and affordable place to seek healthcare. I also support comprehensive sexual health education in our schools that is medically and scientifically accurate, age appropriate, and appropriate for students regardless of gender, race, disability status, or sexual orientation.

I have been proud to vote for legislation requiring comprehensive and age-appropriate sexual health education in all our public schools. This year, I was proud to vote to protect access to medication abortion that we see increasingly under threat in some states. The privacy protection provided here by HB 2115, along with the state’s stockpile of the medication Mifepristone, allow Washington to deliver on upholding this value of our state.

As a survivor of sexual abuse, I believe comprehensive education is key to preparing our younger generation for tomorrow. By preparing them with knowledge, we can ensure that Washington students are equipped to be safe, healthy, and mature. Likewise, I believe these tragic realities mean these medical decisions must be left to women and not restricted by legislators.


Education is among the paramount duties of the state. Access to education and training opportunities, from early learning to continuing education, are among the greatest investments we can make for the future of our state. By reducing barriers to high-quality and affordable education, from pre-school to higher education, we can help close the opportunity gap and develop a workforce to meet the needs of our 21st century economy.

Funding parity for school districts in the 40th has been an ongoing challenge since we were negatively impacted by changing the state’s levy formula in 2019. As this was a supplemental budget year, we worked on a strategy that will help augment school budgets in the short-term. Many of these investments are supported by the critical revenue generated by the capital gains tax.

Some of the critical steps we took to help our schools and students include increasing special education funding; adding more dollars for utilities, supplies, and free school meals; additional resources for paraeducators; Climate Commitment Act investments to purchase electric school busses; and reforming how we fund school construction.

We must remain extra diligent on students’ success and well-being as we continue to learn and respond to the learning loss experienced during the pandemic. While the new funding the Legislature has continually put into public schools is a positive step for our state’s students, we still have a long way to go to ensure our schools are well funded and we are taking care of our educators.

I look forward to expanding the Native American Scholarship from its current pilot program at WSU to all state schools.