We must protect and improve our social safety net to protect the most vulnerable and improve the society we live in. It is my goal to develop and enhance local initiatives that focus on hunger, housing, and drug prevention and treatment.
Nearly one in six families here in the Pacific Northwest suffers from hunger, and nearly 400,000 kids in Washington state live in homes that struggle to put food on the table. We have a moral obligation to make sure that kids get enough to eat, and it is a public health imperative to help them eat nutritiously. Food stamps and child nutrition programs are vital to the health of our nation's poor and underprivileged. I am committed to working to decrease the burden on those low-income and out of work families that are finding it more and more difficult to put food on the table.
In addition to improving our communities through social services, we must make sure our communities are safe. As co-chair of the Caucus to Fight and Control Methamphetamine, I understand the devastating effect that illicit drugs have on families and communities. In 2005, I worked to pass the first-ever comprehensive anti-meth legislation — the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act (CMEA). This landmark legislation made it more difficult for drug dealers to get the ingredients they need to manufacture meth and helped local law enforcement dramatically reduced the number of meth labs in Washington state.
I support drug court programs as a course of justice for drug-addicted offenders. Drug courts are widely recognized as the most effective solution for reducing crime and recidivism among drug-addicted offenders in the criminal justice system. Participation within the drug court program comes at a fraction of the cost of standard incarceration, and they are highly effective. I have consistently advocated for funding support for drug court programs.
- Sent a letter to key appropriators in support of low-income housing programs, including the USDA’s Self-Help program, the Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program, and low-income rural housing
- Opposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the fiscal year 2012 Agricultural Appropriations Act
- Champion of anti-meth policies in Congress, including passing the first comprehensive anti-meth legislation
- Secured $3 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for the Comprehensive Drug Treatment Court Sustainability Project in Snohomish County to provide Snohomish County Superior Court with the ability to reinstate Drug Court programs to full capacity and strengthen existing programs by providing additional treatment funding
- Co-sponsored and passed the Safe Drug Disposal Act, which allows local communities to dispose of unused prescription drugs and over the counter drugs through approved state-run drug take back programs
- Supported the Drug Free Communities Program to prevent youth drug use.