The Washington Legislature will gavel in on Monday to begin the 2019 session. As a second-term legislator, I am inspired by the wave of enthusiasm that swept stronger Democratic majorities into both chambers of our Legislature. That enthusiasm is driving me forward to pursue a robust progressive agenda in 2019.
Much work lies ahead in this 105-day legislative session. Our budget and the policies we pass must reflect our values, and I am focused on the priorities of our community. I have heard from many constituents urging me to take action on climate change, transportation and housing.
This session’s climate agenda is robust. In total, our combined policy objectives — 100 percent clean electricity, clean buildings, eliminating hydrofluorocarbon super-pollutants, clean transportation, and a clean fuel standard, among others — will reduce emissions by 16 million metric tons by 2035.
We owe it to our children to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I am supporting a number of bills that will help us continue our journey to a clean energy future. Building emissions have grown more than any other source in our state. In partnership with Gov. Inslee, I am introducing legislation to encourage “ultra-efficiency” in new building construction as well as incentives for large commercial buildings to invest in deep energy efficiency upgrades.
I am excited to join the Transportation Committee this year and will focus my work on a green transportation package. Moving goods and people efficiently is essential to keeping our economy strong, and we must reduce our transportation emissions, which account for nearly half of carbon pollution in our state. Both are proving to be a challenge. But, with strong incentives to build out an electric vehicle charging network, sale of EVs, and conversion of large fleets while also putting a clean fuels standard in place, we will be on our way to much a cleaner transportation sector. By investing in commute trip reduction, expanding transit options and preserving our existing roads, we can dramatically improve our mobility.
Another challenge facing us this year is the crisis of housing security. I am centering my work on solutions to provide local governments more tools and flexibility to address the situation. As vice-chair of the Capital Budget Committee, I will work to strengthen the Housing Trust Fund and provide targeted low-cost loans for housing infrastructure through the Public Works Assistance Account.
These are just a few ways I hope my colleagues and I can use our Democratic legislative majorities this year. I also will be advocating for quality education, a more robust and accessible mental health system, gun responsibility measures and ensuring good contracts for our state employees. I know we can set aside our differences, focus on what brings us together as Washingtonians, and step up to the challenges before us. I encourage you to keep in touch with me and share your priorities, questions, and concerns. As your state representative, I am at your service.