My number one priority in Congress is to invest in long-term economic growth that creates jobs and opportunity in the Pacific Northwest by increasing at-home manufacturing, innovation and investments in our infrastructure. I am working to make sure people have access to more good-paying jobs and more skills training to succeed in the workforce. I am a champion of bills to l improve our country’s transportation infrastructure and make sure businesses can get their goods to market. I also advocate for investments in education so the next generation of workers is prepared to succeed in the jobs of the future.
Supporting small businesses is a key way I am working to grow our state’s economy, as well as helping our businesses find new markets for their goods overseas. Exports from Northwest Washington create jobs and connect us to the rest of the world. About 40 percent of jobs in Washington are tied to trade, and the pay for these jobs is between 13 percent and 18 percent higher than average. I am a champion of the State Trade and Export Promotion program to help our small businesses create jobs here at home by selling their goods overseas.
I also support efforts to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour and tie future adjustments to the median hourly wage. Families with parents working full-time should not be living below the poverty line. And our economy will be stronger when women get equal pay for equal work, which is why I support a bill to make pay disparities based on gender illegal.
Helping Businesses Expand to New Markets
Supporting Skills Training for Workers
- Introduced the Online Job Training Act to fill a critical gap in workforce training opportunities through online workforce training grants. This bill complements existing workforce training options and will allow folks who may otherwise not have the opportunity to access in person training resources to re-enter the workforce.
- Introduced the Youth Access to American Jobs Act to create a pilot program to connect students to hands-on training in STEM skills that will prepare them for high-demand jobs in high-growth manufacturing fields. This bill creates a 2-2-2 pathway for students from their junior year in high school through community college and into an apprenticeship.
- Supported local programs such as the Regional Innovation Program, Job Corps and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, connecting businesses and workers with the funding and training they need to succeed.
- Cosponsored the Manufacturing Jobs for Veterans Act to accelerate skills training for veterans seeking to work in the manufacturing industry.
- Pushed for increased funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which is the main federal funding source for Career & Technical Education (CTE). This program provides education and training to more than 14 million students and displaced workers and addresses the skills gap by providing the retraining adults need to access the jobs that are available in today’s market.
Fighting Income Inequality and Workplace Discrimination
- Cosponsored the Raise the Wage Act, to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020 and tie future increases to the median hourly wage.
- Cosponsored legislation to make the workplace more fair, including the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Fair Employee Protection Act.
- Cosponsored Schedules that Work Act, which allows low-wage workers to request for predictability and flexibility of their schedules without retaliation.
- Cosponsored the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to help end discrimination against pregnant women and mothers in the workplace.