I’ve made no secret about my ongoing priorities: housing, childcare and increasing access to healthcare, especially mental/behavioral health services on the coast. I often refer to these as “the three legs of the stool” for getting us back on track after Covid. These issues are intimately tied to our economic growth, which will be further challenged by a tightening budget, rising costs, and less federal spending.
Given my priorities, being Vice-Chair of the Senate Housing and Development committee and having a position on the Senate Education committee, where all child care bills flow, is a perfect place to be. Anyone who has been in a meeting with me on housing in recent years will have surely heard me say, “If we are in a housing emergency, let’s start acting like it”, and I am encouraged to see an increased focus on housing production vs. just throwing money in that direction. Emphasizing supply is the only way we can make real progress on this issue. It is time to act.
While policy committees are very important, any bill in the capitol that has significant money attached to it passes through the Ways and Means process, as do all state agency budgets. So, I will be using my role on those budget committees to actively engage to ensure we are both being good stewards of people’s hard earned money, and supporting programs and agencies that can demonstrate a track record of efficiency. We should not do something the same way just because that is how it has always been done. And a new Governor along with many new legislators provide a good opportunity to assess what is working and what isn’t.