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Why I’m Running
I’ve been on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis as an emergency physician. I have spent the past eight years advocating for our teachers and students as an elected school board director. I have watched our state close schools, hospitals, and clinics, and this has only exacerbated the problems facing our most marginalized populations.
Our state legislators have been silent during this crisis and have failed to speak up on your behalf to safely reopen our economy and support hospitals and health systems. We have paid every K-12 school employee since schools closed in March, yet we are not doing nearly enough to serve our most at-risk populations, such as special education, English-language learners, and low-income students. Our state leaders are promoting a public health message of fear, rather than one of safe and science-based economic recovery. How many more jobs need to be lost?
I believe that our government works best when we work together and compromise to forge the best policies. The lack of an open and robust dialogue among our elected leaders about COVID-19 has left local communities, small businesses, education systems, and health care systems financially devastated without a clear plan for recovery.
I consider myself progressive on some issues and conservative on others. Like many of you, I have grown tired of the partisanship over the past four years. I care deeply about investing in high-quality public education, protecting our environment, and improving transportation throughout our region. I believe that everyone deserves access to affordable health care. I also believe that adding more money to the state budget is not always the best solution. We need accountability and sustainability so that every resident and community in our state can thrive.
I’ve grown up in Washington.
I spent my early childhood on the Olympic Peninsula, graduated from Sumner High School, and attended the University of Puget Sound, majoring in history and chemistry. After college, I joined Teach for America and taught sixth-grade math and science in a classroom in rural North Carolina that otherwise would not have had a teacher. During my college and teaching years, I spent seven summers working for the U.S. Forest Service, mostly as a wildland firefighter. I attended the University of Washington School of Medicine. After my emergency medicine residency in California and pediatric emergency medicine fellowship in Wisconsin, I returned to Washington state.
I’m passionate about serving others.
As far back as I can remember, I have been driven to serve others. As a teacher in 1999, I learned about social justice and equity before they were even concepts that were commonly discussed. I chose to be an emergency physician so I could continue to work with underserved and uninsured patients. I feel privileged to care for patients every shift I work, and I have seen firsthand the devastating consequences of untreated mental health needs, homelessness, and drug/alcohol dependence. Beginning in March, I watched the devastating impact of the delays in care due to the government’s response to COVID-19.
Outside of my day job, I have been deeply involved in K-12 education policy work since I was appointed and then elected as a school board director in Gig Harbor. Since moving to Sammamish, I have been privileged to serve on the Issaquah School Board, to which I was elected in 2015 and re-elected last November.
I’m an experienced leader.
I am passionate about equitable health care access and delivering high-quality public education throughout our region. I believe that we need to invest heavily in early learning, and that is why I serve on the King County Children and Youth Advisory Board, which provides strategic oversight to the $392 million Best Starts for Kids levy. I serve on the King County Puget Sound Taxpayer Accountability Account (PSTAA) Oversight Committee, which will ensure that $315 million in Sound Transit sales-tax revenue is distributed equitably to early learning facilities and graduation success strategies across our county. I also collaborate with other elected officials in East King County as a board member for the Eastside Human Services Forum, which focuses on opiate dependence, affordable housing, and now COVID-19 recovery. In addition, I serve on the Reopening Washington Schools 2020-21 Workgroup.