We Must Promote Public Safety through Proper Planning and Resources to Protect Students, Citizens and Equip First Responders
Improving school safety must be a top priority. In 2018, I voted in support of an amendment to provide $30M for additional School Safety Resource Officers to be placed in schools across Washington. This legislation did not pass, but it absolutely should have become law. At a time when the legislature received $1.2B in unforecasted revenue and had more than enough funding to make this happen, it did not act on behalf of our children. I will continue fighting for real school safety solutions.
Our Washington State Patrol must be equipped to do their jobs and ideally reflect the diversity of the communities around them. It’s important that those who commit crimes are held responsible in accordance with the law, and that we have enough prepared first responders who can adequately handle these unforeseen incidents and crimes. During the 2016 session, House Bill 2872 enhanced Washington State Patrol recruitment, retention and pay raises to address this issue.
Natural disasters occur across the state which we must ensure we are properly prepared for in order to prevent these situations as much as possible, and respond effectively for the citizens when they do occur. This includes managing our forests in a more purposeful and preventative way by clearing out the old, dead trees in advance on a regular basis and creating fire lines to stop the annual fires from mass destruction of properties and potentially lives.
Also, with the 2014 Oso mudslide, the State of Washington government could have been more actively engaged when the situation occurred to provide rescue and relief working with local level responders. We also need to be sure we have effective plans in place in the event of an earthquake or tsunami. Hopefully we’ll not need to face those devastating situations but if we do, the State Government must work with local authorities to be ready in advance and have a practical and executable action plan in the event of a disaster.
Beyond this important and traditional definition of public safety, I believe we need to look outside of this scope to other areas of public safety concern including recent issues such as the transgender bathroom policy which was determined by a five-person Human Rights Commission outside of the purview of the WA State Legislature. There was such an outcry of concern for girls’ safety in locker rooms and bathrooms across the state, the week it was announced it was the number one issue of concern and feedback to Washington State Legislators. We need to have proper “checks and balances” in place at the agencies so they cannot make policies putting citizens’ safety at risk.
There’s also concern around Governor Inslee’s position to allow refugees into the State of Washington without any additional screening or background checks required. Our top priority must be the safety of Washington citizens first and foremost. Once this is secured, only then can we begin to look at options to help citizens coming from outside our country where appropriate.