Carolyn’s Priorities

What will you do in Congress?

  1. Pass low-deductible public option health care that protects coverage for people with pre-existing conditions

  2. Pass low-cost pharmaceuticals so that no one has to make the choice between putting food on the table and life-saving medication

  3. Support legislation that ties any tax cuts benefitting large corporations with an equal one for our small and medium businesses

  4. Pass broadband for all to expand access of the 21st Century to everyone

  5. Find modern, cost-effective solutions that secure our borders without wasting precious taxpayer dollars on ineffective walls

  6. Pass universal background checks so that when we drop our children off at school we can rest easier

  7. Make pharma-companies pay for opioid crisis treatment options, they caused it, it is time that they fixed it.

  8. Pass student loan reform so that money is going towards our economy rather than to student loan overlords

  9. Pass equal pay for equal work because there is no reason a salary should be determined by gender rather than skill/experience level

  10. Pass protections for clean water and air to preserve Southwest Washington’s beauty for generations

You Earned These Benefits – Medicare & Social Security

The $1.5 trillion tax give-away for the rich was Republican’s of Congress’ first move to make deep cuts to earned benefits like Social Security and Medicare. If they drove up the national deficit so much, it would create a “need” to make these cuts. This terrible ploy cannot continue and I will fight against any attempt to take your earned benefits — the money you paid into the system your entire working life. Earned benefits are a promise to the American people that when you’ve reached old age and are unable to work anymore, we’re going to look out for you.

We cannot break that promise.

Health care

Health care costs continue to increase for Americans. Unfortunately health care in the US has turned into a political game – except people are suffering and dying while Washington D.C. does nothing but play politics.

All Americans deserve affordable health care to ensure quality of life and to make sure small problems don’t become big problems. We need to focus on preventative health and not punish people for preexisting conditions. We need to immediately repair the Affordable Care Act to stabilize the marketplace, reduce out of pocket costs for families and make sure people don’t lose their health care.  And we must immediately pass federal legislation to provide a low-deductible Public Option to compete with private insurers and expand coverage while we work towards health care for all.

Life Saving Prescription Drugs

We must address the outrageous price of prescription drugs, and work with providers to make them affordable for everyone. No one should have to decide between paying for their medications or their heating bill. We already spend more per person as a percentage of GDP than any other advanced nation in the world.

Solving these problems isn’t just the compassionate thing to do, it’s the fiscally responsible thing to do.

Reproductive Healthcare Choices

Times have changed. States across the country are passing extreme, anti-women laws that outlaw abortions even in cases of rape and incest and Roe v Wade risks being overturned. Unlike the incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler, who has an extreme 100% voting record against women’s right to choose, I believe a woman has the right to make her own health care choices. It is a privacy issue and an economic issue.

If, how and when to start a family is a deeply personal and complicated decision, and the government has no business dictating peoples’ private lives. The decision to bring a baby into this world or end a pregnancy is a personal decision and one that should be made by a woman, her faith, and her doctor without government interference. Over the last several months a dozen states have enacted laws to criminalize, or severely restrict a woman’s right to choose, which could be upheld by the new anti-choice majority on the Supreme Court.

I will fight against any attempt by the Trump administration to invade a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.

Education and Opportunity

As an educator for over 24 years, I know first-hand the importance and value of a high-quality public education. We all know that strong communities depend on a well-educated workforce, and our representatives have a duty to work together for our children’s future. Teachers shouldn’t have to choose between spending massive amounts of their own money and leaving students without the resources they need. We must do better to close the achievement gap and support every community so that every child has the same opportunity to achieve their dreams.

The cost of higher-education has spiraled out of control and we must find immediate solutions to make it more affordable. Every year I watch my students graduate and instead of building a family, buying a house, or starting a business, they are left with immense monthly student loan payments. Every dollar that goes to paying off excessive student loans is a dollar that isn’t being spent right here in our community. In fact, after 24 years, I’m still paying off my student loans. Things must change.

College isn’t for everyone, so we must invest in and support the expansion of apprenticeships and internships for those not pursuing a college degree. Programs like those offered at Cascadia Tech Academy in Vancouver provide new graduates with a foot in the door and help businesses find the quality employees they need for success.

Union apprenticeships are great ways to join the workforce in a skilled trade that pays well with good benefits. Moreover, a union apprenticeship allows apprentices to earn while they learn and will also help fill workforce gaps in the building trades.

An Economy that Works for Families

I am hearing and seeing far too often families having to work 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet. We need to ensure we are working towards a strong economy by investing and providing family-wage jobs. This means higher wages for workers, paid sick leave and family leave. This also means working on tax-cuts to small and medium sized businesses, like my father’s family produce stand, to have the opportunity in today’s economy to grow and thrive.

Additionally, there are many many jobs women do the same work and don’t receive the same pay as men. This disproportionately harms women, families, and single mothers. It is time for that to change. We must guarantee that those doing the same work are paid equally. 

The Pillars of our Local Economy: Small and Medium Businesses

Small and medium-sized businesses need our support to continue creating family-wage jobs that help us thrive and make our communities stronger. We need business and industry to relocate to the region and expand and grow for businesses that are already here. We must support policies that encourage growth and innovation, and advocate for living wages for our diverse and skilled workforce. And we must be smarter about regulations so that small businesses have an easier path to entry and success.

We have seen large corporations reap huge tax benefits while our small and medium-sized businesses still struggle to make ends meet. That’s not how we support our local economies.

Infrastructure

Roads, bridges, transit and internet – these are the elements of infrastructure improvement I will focus on in Congress.

Fixing our crumbling infrastructure is an investment in our people, our communities, and our local businesses. Years of neglect have led to greater wear and tear on vehicles and increased travel times to and from work — which hinders productivity, hurts small businesses, and robs people of precious time with their families. We need to put the needs of our community first.
Billions of dollars in goods and tens of thousands of Southwest Washingtonians move up and down the I-5 corridor, and we can’t sit around waiting for aging bridges to fail. Congress needs to be proactive and work together to fund critical infrastructure projects like an I-5 Bridge replacement.

Infrastructure development isn’t just about roads and bridges. Southwest Washington will only thrive in today’s multi-sector economy with robust and wide-reaching high-speed internet access.  There are many parts of the third Congressional district that have inadequate access to broadband, which makes it more difficult to complete one’s education, and for small businesses to access markets for their goods.  We need to treat invest in broadband the same way we invested in the interstate in the 50s. In Congress, I will fight for broadband access for all communities.

Restoring the People’s Voice in Our Democracy

The Supreme Court’s decision to favor the role of corporations in politics was expected, but regrettable. Let’s lead the effort to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. When corporations have the same rights as people, big money drowns out the voices of the everyday American. We need campaign finance reform to diminish the role of special interest groups and big money donors. The influx of corporate and private-interest money in our elections is destroying our democracy. All Americans, regardless of their income, should be able to meaningfully participate in the political process. It’s time to say enough is enough and instead amplify the voices of the American people!

We must require significantly more disclosure and transparency in order to remove the influence of secret, unaccountable dark money. We need to eliminate super PACS and outside spending abuses, while strengthening the Federal Election Commission to enforce and reinforce campaign finance law. I would further fight to add restrictions and require increased disclosure on lobbyists and stopping elected officials from making policy decisions that line their own pockets rather than help the hard-working American people.

Affordable Housing

I have heard and seen the struggle to afford skyrocketing rent increases every day in our community. Americans shouldn’t be forced to live in their cars or on the streets while Congress is too gridlocked to fight for them and ensure access to safe and affordable housing. This isn’t a partisan issue; we must work together to solve this problem. We have a tremendous deficit of affordable housing in Southwest Washington, and we need innovative and robust policies to increase the supply of housing. We’ve made a lot of progress recently, but we need to continue to expand the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund that is already providing hundreds of new affordable housing options in Washington.

Rural families suffer from fewer employment opportunities, limited and low-quality housing and a lack of access to affordable credit which mean that rural community members face incredible barriers to purchasing a home. We must shore up the USDA Rural Development Agencies so that we can continue to provide affordable financing options, expand modern utilities to rural communities and find ways to rebuild and reinvigorate rural economic opportunity. USDA loans and grants are vital to our rural communities and are often the only choice available for middle class families hoping to buy or build a home.

Cannabis

The people of Washington have spoken on cannabis and the federal government should respect that decision. Cannabis business owners across Washington are contributing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue every year, and we should protect them from federal interference. One of the ways the federal government interferes are barriers to cannabis research.  It’s time to lift these barriers so we can better understand the therapeutic benefits and the risks of long-term use.

Cannabis also provides business opportunities outside of retail stores.  We should consider industrial hemp production to revitalize small farms and agricultural communities struggling to survive. Due to the negligible THC content, the Department of Agriculture rightfully recognizes that hemp is not a drug, and we should treat it as such. It’s time to expand industrial hemp programs beyond a few research programs and put America back to work growing a clean, versatile, and profitable crop.

Orderly and Humane Immigration

Our immigration system is broken and all too often draconian and dehumanizing. All immigrants deserve the same respect and dignity that we show each other. We need an orderly, legal immigration process, not the broken system we have now. People who work hard, pay taxes and contribute to our communities should have a legal road to citizenship.

Right now in America children are being forcibly separated from their parents and being held in appalling conditions without toothbrushes, soap, beds and for some without their life-depending medicine. We need to put an end to the for-profit immigration detention system which only makes money when their beds are filled. We must reform our immigration system to help reunify families, recruit workers to fill critical gaps in our workforce, and provide refuge for those facing persecution and certain death. DREAMers that were brought to this country as children often know no other home, and we should expand and pass a clean DREAM Act to provide them a pathway to citizenship.

We must look for modern, cost-effective solutions that secure our borders without wasting precious taxpayer dollars on ineffective walls.

Protecting Our Environment

The people of Southwest Washington need clean water to drink, clean soil to farm and clean air to breathe. We have been blessed with a pristine corner of the state and we must work hard to be good stewards of it. We must defend common sense regulations that protect our environment and support the restoration of sound policies being silently reversed by the current federal administration.

Climate Change is real and it is a human-caused crisis that requires immediate action. We must work for a just transition to renewable energy sources so future generations will benefit from energy independence and robust clean energy industry. We can protect the natural resources and industries of Southwest Washington by working hard to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the board.

The EPA and Department of the Interior are responsible for much of this work, yet this administration has been working to transform both of these vital institutions into ineffectual husks, too understaffed to do much of anything except they are allowing more toxic pollution and carbon emissions that poison our air, our kids, and our planet. We need to fight back. We need to restore the EPA and the Department of the Interior so that future generations may enjoy the beautiful Southwest Washington we know and love.

Gun Violence Prevention

I support Americans’ 2nd Amendment right to bear arms; however, we must treat the epidemic of gun violence like the public health crisis that it is. We have a duty to seek bipartisan solutions that will have an effective, lasting impact on gun violence. Policies like closing the loopholes on background checks, funding CDC research into gun violence, and closing the gun show loophole already have wide bipartisan support and we owe the thousands of victims of gun violence action instead of thoughts.

As a mother of a teenage daughter who goes to public school, and as an educator working at a public University, I share the worries of families who fear for their children’s safety when they should be focused on their education. It is a shame  that our children are murdered and we do nothing to solve the problem because of special interest groups like the NRA.

Washington state is leading the way with sensible gun laws and the other Washington should follow our lead. We are saving lives with laws that temporarily restrict firearms from domestic abusers and those that have been adjudicated mentally ill. Congress needs to act and enact these kinds of laws at the Federal level.

All too often, the debate on guns focuses only on homicides when, in fact, over 60% of gun deaths are suicides. The research is clear: guns allow people to kill themselves much more easily than other methods. Families need to have the ability to work with law enforcement and mental health professionals to prevent tragedy and save lives.

LGBTQIA+

I stand with the LGBTQ community and believe that our country must continue to guarantee equality for all. We must work together to pass anti-discrimination legislation like the Equality Act to ensure fair employment practices and access to housing. We must continue to defend marriage equality and guarantee that all people have the right to be with the ones they love. This includes ensuring the right for LGBTQ families to start and build a family.

The safety of LGBTQ youth is important to me. Bullying and harassment in our schools is so widespread that less than a quarter of LGBTQ students report feeling safe in the classroom. The effect of this is that LGBTQ students are five times more likely than their heterosexual peers to have attempted suicide. We must do better to safeguard vulnerable students and provide safe environments in our schools.

“They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
– Obergefell v. Hodges

The Opioid Epidemic

According to the CDC, an average of seven people died from drug overdose every hour in 2016. Twenty thousand people alone died last year from Fentanyl (a powerful synthetic opioid) overdose and the problem is only getting worse. Every one of us likely knows at least one person affected by this epidemic. We need to start treating addiction like the disease it is, and not a moral failing.

For too long we have let this crisis creep into every community. We need to tackle it head on and start getting those addicted to fentanyl and heroin off those drugs. Those who are addicted should have access to addiction treatment medications such as suboxone and methadone.
The pharmaceutical companies who have immensely profited from this crisis need to take responsibility and provide these alternatives at a very low cost. I will give them the opportunity to do the right thing or use Congressional power to ensure they are part of the solution to our opioid epidemic.

Favoring treatment and diversion strategies instead of prison for offenders saves taxpayers money and decreases relapse and recidivism. Criminalizing and stigmatizing people’s suffering only further separates them from society and deprives them of a chance to recover and be a contributing member of society.

In particular, opiate and meth abuse are tearing rural communities apart and contributing to the struggle of small-town economies. We must provide adequate resources for these communities to address and treat addiction. And, we need to make sure our first responders receive the training and resources they need to reverse an overdose and save a life.

Supporting Our Veterans at Home

We have a moral responsibility to take care of those who have put their lives on the line to defend us. We must work to establish a seamless transition from military service to civilian life by matching skills learned during active duty to available jobs in the area. More than just thanking our Veterans for their service, we need to provide educational opportunities and job training, and take action to end chronic homelessness and suicide. We owe it to those who serve and have served this country to support them all along the way.

We must preserve the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program. Providing education and job training is the least we can do for those who answered the call of military service.

We must address the problems that plague the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that every Veteran has timely access to high-quality health care and that all Veterans receive the Veteran-centric care they need. The Choice Program fills a need, and should be continued, but we also need to protect the VA from privatization and attempts to defund and undermine the VA’s capacity.

Many returning Veterans are unaware of the services and benefits available to them when they come home. Far too often those that would benefit the most from VA services are the least likely to seek them. We must embrace our returning troops, do away with the stigma of receiving or asking for assistance, and do our best to inform and encourage them to leverage what they have earned and deserve.

Criminal Justice Reform

Our first responders risk their lives for our safety, and I have an immense amount of respect for their sacrifice. We have a duty to guarantee our communities are safe, so we must ensure our local police, firefighters, and EMTs are supported with necessary equipment, adequate training, and full funding.

We must work to rebuild the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Police officers should inspire trust and confidence throughout the community while honorably performing their duty to tackle crime without resorting to unnecessary force. Actions speak louder than words, and we should hold those we entrust to protect and defend our community to appropriate standards.

We should explore restorative justice as a means for offenders to repair the harm caused by their behavior. And after people have served their time and paid their debt to society, we should remove the barriers that prevent them from rejoining society and contributing to their communities. We need to expand reentry programs, and “ban the box,” allowing formerly incarcerated individuals the opportunity to demonstrate their qualifications before being asked about their criminal record by a prospective employer. And, we must  focus on rehabilitation and reintegration to create safer communities and reduce recidivism rates.

It should alarm every American that the United States continues to imprison our own people at a rate higher than any other country. We need to undo the school-to-prison pipeline, reform our criminal justice system, and end mass incarceration. We need to be better stewards of taxpayers’ money and find ways to rehabilitate and hold accountable nonviolent offenders outside of the already overwhelmed prison system.

National Security and Foreign Policy

Ensuring the safety of the American people is our government’s highest duty, but for too long we’ve put our service members in harm’s way without any clear definition of victory. Never ending interventions have increased the Department of Defense budget beyond any resemblance of fiscal responsibility. Instead, we should be investing in keeping our country safe here at home. Here in Washington, we need to improve security along the Canadian border and better equip local law enforcement, the Coast Guard, and U.S. Customs to secure our international ports.

Responsible foreign policy also means we must protect the United States from interference by our adversaries.  We must hold Russia accountable for meddling in our elections, and it is imperative that we take immediate and decisive steps to defend against future interference in our elections and cyber warfare.

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