Strong public schools are the backbone of a strong community. Our schools in
Washington should be some of the best in the country but due to years of inaction by our
legislature, many of our schools and many of our students continue to fall behind. We
have a long way to go to meet the obligations put in front of our legislature by the
McCleary decision. After Republicans passed the largest tax increase in state history
last year with their property tax hike that will impact families across Southwest
Washington, they claimed that our education system is now fully funded. However, it is
clear that it’s not. We can and must do better for all kids. Until every child has a
classroom instead of a portable, until our teachers are compensated fairly for the much
needed work they do, until our school districts have the tools and resources they need to
think proactively about each kid, we are not there yet. That’s why I will work tirelessly with
my colleagues to ensure that our schools receive the funding they need to give our
students, teachers and staff the tools and support they need to be successful.
Thousands of our neighbors in Clark County leave home every day to head to Portland
for work. But we can create and keep these jobs right here at home. The current tax
burden placed on small businesses makes it tough to get off the ground and start turning
a profit. I will work to cut red tape and reduce the tax burden on small businesses, so we
can create jobs that stay right here in our community. Additionally, we need to identify
ways to help working families with the balancing act of making ends meet and spending
enough time at home. I will be a strong advocate for equal pay for equal work, reducing
the cost of child care, and working to make sure that the jobs we create in our
community offer living wages.
Far too much of our time and money is wasted sitting in traffic every day. For years,
infrastructure improvements have been held up by partisan bickering and political
game-playing. While residents of our region need solutions, we have only seen stalling
from Olympia. We cannot continue to kick the can down the road. I support the I-5
bridge and believe that we need to move forward with a plan to move more people
across the bridge in a safe, quick, and affordable manner. I will work with
transportation experts, residents from our community, my colleagues in the legislature
on both sides of the aisle and in Oregon to identify and move forwarded with these
sorely needed infrastructure projects.
Washington State recently increased property taxes to pay for education. While these
increases for local schools is extremely important, we have to have a balanced approach
when it comes to our tax system. I do not support an income tax as I know
firsthand being a lifelong resident of the 17th LD which is a border district
that an income tax is not popular. I think all options should be on the table for
discussion and debate and look forward to working with my colleagues on finding ways
to alleviate the burdens of ever-growing property and sales taxes, which
disproportionally impact our low-income neighbors, seniors, and working families.
I believe Housing needs to be a priority of all elected officials at the city, county and
state level. In 2016 I was a supporter of the City of Vancouver’s Prop 1 Affordable
Housing Levy. I would support legislation that gives local municipalities authority to
explore and act upon Rent Control policies and incentives to encourage alternative and
affordable housing types. Affordability is an issue not only for people facing or at risk for
homelessness; working families are also struggling to ensure they have housing security
as costs increase particularly around growing metropolitan areas. There are many
actions the state can take to address this, from direct investments like the Housing Trust
Fund to market regulations encouraging low-income and workforce housing, as well as
protections for tenants.
Gun violence in our country accounts for nearly 32,000 preventable deaths annually.
These staggering numbers do not include far more preventable injuries, lifelong impacts
of gun violence on survivors, families of victims, and financial costs to taxpayers. In
Washington State, more people die annually from gun violence than motor vehicle
accidents. It's an unacceptable toll - and it’s our responsibility to take action. Through
collaboration with community partners we can create common sense gun safety policy
and laws and education to reduce gun violence. I am a strong supporter for common
sense gun safety laws. As someone who has worked in the field of social services and
public education for 20 years and is a sister of a police officer, I want to see our
communities, schools and neighborhoods be safe.
Washington is one of the states that led the nation in enrollments in private insurance
through the Affordable Care Act, yet hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians still
have no health insurance. Crushing healthcare costs have made it difficult to strengthen
our economy, with families and businesses all struggling to make ends meet. Our state
legislature led the way in creating the Health Benefit Exchange envisioned under the
federal Affordable Care Act while expanding access to Apple Health. We still have
uninsured populations and a growing number of insured people who cannot afford the
care they need and deserve. Behavioral health and mental health issues is one of the
most urgent needs in our state. We need to provide adequate resources, treatment and
support services to help keep people from cycling to crisis.
Working families disproportionately experience the toll of environmental injustices
every day. High pollution levels and increased exposure to environmental hazards at
home and at work are a reality for many people. Climate Change is real and the
science behind it is real. We must prevent and address the human and economic
threats and invest in policies to grow the production of clean energy, renewable energy,
energy efficiency, clean manufacturing and infrastructure upgrades that create family
I’m a strong advocate for women’s rights, civil rights, human rights and
labor/union rights. As an elected official, I would sponsor, support and vote for
legislation that protects a woman’s right to choose, access to healthcare for all families
and public policy that support women in the workforce. We cannot have economic
justice without racial justice in our nation. Even now, as anti-union forces try to break
the strength of working people across Washington State and our country, the roots of
so-called right-to-work legislation are steeped in a history of racism as a thinly-veiled
attempts to drive a wedge between workers of color and their white brothers and sisters.
I will continue to speak up, stand up and advocate for our communities of color,
LGBTQ+ community and immigrant community. Simply put Hate is not allowed in our
17th Legislative District.
The call for societal change, racial & social justice and dismantling systemic racism is nothing new in our country. However right now there is a new sense of reflection, urgency and purpose that is uniting all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and sexual orientation. As a woman of color, a great-granddaughter of one of the first African American families in Vancouver, a sister of a police officer and someone who works with law enforcement and within the court system- the intersectionality of Tanisha’s life background and experiences puts her in a unique position to assess, elevate, cultivate stability and foster trust in our communities.
When it comes to Police Reform, we need to Rethink the way do law enforcement in our country, Re-envision the way we fund public safety in our communities, Reprioritize our budgets for mental health & social services, affordable housing, accessible healthcare and quality education. Re-imagine the possibilities when all voices are heard and have a seat at the table.
From a State Legislative perspective:
1) Pass HB 2789, which sets up a rigorous and comprehensive data system to track police use of force statewide, so we can identify excesses and act to curb or eliminate them.
2) Ban chokeholds.
3) Restrict or eliminate the use of vehicles & equipment ordinarily reserved for the military.
4) Strengthen Initiative 940 to expand training in de-escalation, implicit bias, and non-lethal uses of force.
There is no "one size fits all" approach and every city, county and state will look different. True systemic reform will require full community participation and the resources to change hearts and minds.