Throughout my first term in the Legislature I listened to you and applied the values of our community to achieve these Legislative successes:
• Advocated and voted for bi-partisan, balanced budgets
• Sponsored numerous job-creating bills including key legislation on aviation biofuels
• Played a vital role in bringing the new four-year medical school to Spokane
• Passed landmark legislation to protect the Spokane River
• Led the fight for equal access to voter registration for young voters
• Passed two campaign finance reform bills that will make elections in our state more transparent and fair
• Proudly cast a vote for equal rights and marriage equality
• Helped write a two-year transportation budget that created 43,000 jobs. Led the charge on key regional transportation projects including the North Spokane Corridor & Safe Routes To School
• Fought to preserve education funding and supported excellence in the classroom by voting to improve teacher evaluations and professional support
• Safeguarded programs that are critical to Spokane like Sally’s House and the Basic Health Plan.
Issues and Solutions
Highlights I will be discussing on the campaign trail and addressing in the Legislature as the 3rd District’s next State Senator.
- Education –
As the proud parent of a seventh grader in Spokane Public Schools, this issue is personal to me. I see education from the perspective of an employer, community leader, legislator, and parent. The schools in our community are good, but they can and should be better.
We need greater investment throughout the educational system including early learning, K-12, and higher education.
Early learning deserves particular attention because the data is so clear that investments in early learning are the best way to close the opportunity gap and increase overall student performance. I will continue to support expansion of All-Day Kindergarten and other data-driven early learning programs.
In addition, we need to give teachers the support they need to be successful. I am encouraged by the new teacher-principal evaluation program that has been developed in pilot school districts and I will continue to support the implementation of this program. Every student deserves a great teacher and every teacher deserves the necessary resources to be a great teacher.
- Job Creation –
Creating good quality job opportunities is the single best thing we can do to help families that are struggling. The 3rd District ranks last in household income of all 49 legislative districts in the state. We need good, living-wage jobs that allow people to work with dignity and support their families.
As the co-owner of a small business, I’ve spent my career creating jobs. I know from that first-hand experience that there is no magic formula. Creating good jobs with staying power is a slow process, but one we can and should develop as a community through sound planning and investments.
So, specifically, how do we do it? There are some good programs in place, like micro-financing programs and Innovate Washington, which help incubate new companies. We should continue to support these types of programs. We also need to leverage the industries that are already strong in Spokane, like health care and our growing aerospace industry.
The University District has great potential for economic development, both through the expansion of its existing programs and the creation of a four-year medical school, which we funded this past Legislative session. The medical school could have an economic impact of more than a billion dollars once it is fully operational.
As we look at job creation, I believe we should focus on a strategy that builds both short-term and long-term jobs. For example, the building of the medical school creates short-term construction jobs, which will help us out of our current economic downturn, in addition to long-term jobs at the medical school itself and at the companies that spin-off from associated research.
One of our greatest economic development tools is Spokane’s quality of life. This is a great place to live and, if we keep it that way and continue to make it better, we will retain and attract smart, young people who give us the best chance at those home-grown business success stories.
- Protection of our Natural Resources –
The Spokane River, and the aquifer beneath it, are the lifeblood of our community. The river is at the heart of our city economically, aesthetically, and ecologically. The aquifer is the single source of drinking water for 500,000 people - including everyone in the 3rd District. We need to focus on preserving this incredible resource so it is safe and plentiful for future generations.
I was proud to be the prime sponsor of HB 1489, which will improve water quality in the Spokane River and in waterways all over the state.
- Transportation –
Spokane is a transportation hub. The future success of our regional economy requires us to focus on improving the quality and efficiency of our local and regional transportation system. In addition, we need to ensure that our transportation system is sustainable for the future, which means focusing on complete streets that allow for safe and efficient use by motor vehicles, mass transit, bikes and pedestrians.
Investments in transportation projects create the dual job creating benefit of providing short-term construction jobs while also building the infrastructure of our region’s economic future.
As the vice chair of the House Transportation Committee, I helped write a two-year transportation budget that creates 43,000 jobs and keeps Washington’s people and commerce moving both safely and responsibly.
- Health Care –
We need a health care system that is effective, affordable, and accessible. The new health care exchange created by the Legislature last session will help improve accessibility, but we still have work to do. Our state needs to be prepared with a well-trained health care workforce and a proactive approach to health care delivery. The forthcoming four-year medical school will play a significant role in fulfilling these local needs.
A focus on wellness has to be at the center of any successful health care system. Our country's obesity epidemic is a direct result of inactivity and poor nutrition. Improved school nutrition and a transportation system that accommodates walking and biking are two key elements to making our community healthier and, as a result, lowering health care costs for all of us.
- Seniors –
I will continue to promote policies and programs that help seniors “age in place." By keeping seniors living safely and comfortably in their current homes, we increase their quality of life and save money for both the seniors and the state.
- Budget –
While the Legislature continues to pass balanced budgets each year, the long-term sustainability of the state operating budget is an on-going concern as tax revenue continues to decline relative to population. On a per capita basis, state taxes are at their lowest point in 25 years, yet the demand for services continues to increase.
I believe the solution to our budget concerns requires a balanced approach with three main areas of focus: 1) Continue to improve efficiency in state government, especially in areas where there is overlap between departments. 2) Reform our tax system so it is more fair and produces revenue adequate to fund the state’s core responsibilities. 3) Grow our economy, which will improve the lives of our citizens, reduce demand for some services and increase tax revenue to the state.
As your State Senator, I will continue to represent our community values of justice, freedom, safety, and equal opportunity while maintaining a clear focus on jobs and a prosperous Spokane for everyone. I ask for your support.
Thank you for reviewing these issue highlights. I would like to hear your feedback on these and other issues. I look forward to talking with you on the campaign trail. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
To view Andy's remarks from his 2010 Campaign Kick-Off Event on November 12, 2009, please click on this link.