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  • awoldeab

Dreaming together, to build together.

We are facing a time of so much uncertainty right now. Many days I oscillate between fear and hope in what lies ahead for us. What I do know is that facing up to racial injustices in the midst of this pandemic has put the spotlight on what so many of us have felt throughout our lives – discrimination and economic insecurity. As we roll up our sleeves for serious conversations about making real investments in our communities, I am committed to putting people who have been left out of opportunity and security at the center of my priorities.

First, our communities are strongest when everyone has a safe, stable home. Unfortunately, this stability is out of reach for so many in the 37th district. As CEO of Byrd Barr Place, I see every day the toll that our housing affordability crisis has on our communities. We need policies that ensure families have a place to call home and that a medical bill or crisis is not cause for an eviction or foreclosure. This means dedicated forms of progressive revenue to significantly invest in affordable housing for families with low and moderate incomes. It means the type of real renter protections that keeps people in place. And it means getting serious about displacement because Black home ownership has fallen dramatically in our district. We can prevent displacement through property tax rebates for households with low incomes, foreclosure prevention and relief, and investment in legacy businesses.

We should employ a robust bottom-up approach that recognizes the foundation of our economy is people, and we are strongest when workers and small businesses are thriving. More than ever, we are collectively understanding how essential our workers are who keep our economy going, such as health care aides, grocery store workers, and those who pick and process our food. We honor the dignity of people who do this work by keeping their humanity at the center of our policymaking with adequate pay and protections.

We must also continue to ensure our small businesses have the support they need to weather this economic crisis. By increasing access to capital and incubation programs for micro-entrepreneurs, we can smooth the barriers for communities of color, communities with lower incomes, and immigrants who may lack the necessary capital to start a small business.

As a single mom earlier in my life, I know how hard it is to get to work and be successful without access to quality affordable childcare. It will come as no surprise to many that Washington state is one of the 10 least affordable states for childcare in the country – and families in our district are feeling the pinch. It is time that our state got serious about making the investments to get us on a path to universally affordable childcare. This means dramatically scaling up subsidies and capping expenses. Care work done by women – especially women of color – has been undervalued for too long. Making our childcare system work also means investing in the professionals who provide this critical care and education.

There is so much pain at the surface right now, but also so much raw possibility for change. Let’s keep dreaming together of who we can be together. Message me or comment with your ideas!


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