Liz Berry

Priorities

Bring accessible, affordable child care to all working families, and pay child care providers a living wage

As a full-time working mom with two young kids, I know first-hand how this issue impacts families and our community’s ability to thrive. The research is clear: quality child care is the best investment we can make to set our kids up to be kindergarten ready and succeed. We must expand the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) and Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) to cover all kids who need it in our state. Far too many child care workers – who are mostly women, women of color, refugees, and immigrants – earn poverty wages which results in high turnover. It is unacceptable that 39% of the state’s child care workers rely on some form of public assistance. Our state’s future depends on a workforce that is healthy and sustainable, so they are best able to set our kids up for a life of opportunity and success. We must pay providers a living wage and ensure they have health care coverage. Affordable, accessible child care is one of the best investments we can make in our working families, and I am dedicated to solving this problem in the legislature.

Fully fund public education

I am a strong champion of our public school system and am proud that my son is a student in the Seattle Preschool Program at Daybreak Star Preschool located in Discovery Park. We have to acknowledge that new progressive revenue is needed to fully fund public education, and we must elect public officials who are willing to stand up and do what is right. This includes paying educators competitive and professional wages, and also ensuring that our students have access to critical instructional staff, like teachers, librarians, counselors, nurses, health services staff, emotional learning educators and special education providers. I am committed to creating a safe learning environment for all students and educators, and I will be a partner in building a public education system that promotes equity, eliminates discrimination, and combats racism.

Urgent action to address climate change

We must be big, bold and transformative if we are going to curb climate pollution. Real action means investing in clean energy technologies to decarbonize our economy, while building a green infrastructure that will create good union jobs. We must clean our air and water, restore and protect the health of our beloved Puget Sound, electrify our energy needs as quickly as possible, and preserve our natural lands, while ensuring racial and economic equity throughout the process. For me, climate justice means people who live in Georgetown have a right to breathe the same quality air as those who live just a few miles away in Magnolia. It is our responsibility to preserve and protect our environment so that all residents have access to healthy air, water, communities and lands. This is about equity and fairness as much as it is about saving our planet. 

Transportation is Washington state’s largest source of pollution. I strongly support expanding access to public transit, improving bike and walk routes, and making bold investments in public infrastructure, such as building more electric charging stations and replacing the crumbling Magnolia and Ballard bridges. We must do all that we can to ease traffic congestion in our region and make commutes shorter and easier. This also means increased housing options, including affordable housing, along transit corridors, and developing neighborhoods to be more walkable and liveable.

Stop gun violence

As former Legislative Director to Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, I know firsthand the destruction caused by deadly weapons in dangerous hands. Gun violence is a public health epidemic that we need to continue to tackle head-on. In Olympia, I will fight to strengthen our laws, and to protect our communities and families from extraordinarily dangerous weapons by prohibiting assault weapons and restricting access to high-capacity magazines. I will also push for solutions that create and support holistic, community-based programs that interrupt and prevent gun violence.  

Health care is a right, not a privilege

Like many, my family has been denied basic health care coverage by our insurance company too many times to count. Let me be clear: this must end. I believe health care is a right, not a privilege. I strongly support efforts to make health care more affordable and accessible to all, and my priority will be listening to and working with patient and consumer advocates including health care workers. We must continue to protect people who have preexisting medical conditions by disallowing insurance companies to deny coverage. Washington recently passed a “public option” health insurance plan that will be on the market in 2021 and it’s a good first step. I will fight to bring down the costs of prescription drugs and work to ensure that nursing homes stay open in our community. I will be a champion to fully fund much-needed services for mental health and substance abuse treatment alongside the experts with lived experience and the health care workers at the frontlines.

Tackle housing affordability and combat homelessness

The lack of both affordable housing and the number of people and families experiencing homelessness has reached a crisis point here in Seattle and across the country. With rents and housing costs rising rapidly, the time for inaction has passed. A healthy economy, community, and future depends on our collective ability to help every person meet a basic human need of shelter and stable housing. I support rent regulation to end predatory rent increases that have devastated families in Seattle and other tenant protections like enacting just cause eviction standards. I also support a “Housing First” model to get our neighbors off the streets as urgently as possible and as a pathway to connect them with much-needed social services. The state is a critical partner in fixing this complex issue that affects our urban, suburban and rural communities alike, and I am committed to solving this emergency.

Tax fairness

Washington state has the most up-side down tax system in the country. We’ve created a combination of taxes that means those people making the least pay over 15% of their income toward state and local taxes, the middle class pays 10%, and the richest pay about 3%. This is wrong and it’s not sustainable. We cannot continue to fund our most vital programs on the backs of the poor and working class, while the wealthy and corporations receive massive tax breaks and don’t pay their fair share. The time to fix this is now. 

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