I am a single mom who works every day to provide for my daughter. Born and raised in Spokane in a union and small business household, I moved around the state when I was younger in search of better economic opportunities. But I always missed the community, my family, and the natural beauty of Eastern Washington.
I worry as my daughter gets closer to graduating about whether she will stay here or have to move like I did. I want Eastern Washington to be the place that she calls home.
We are at a time of real transitions. We are seeing major companies relocate to the West Plains; another 2,000 troops added to Fairchild AFB; and skyrocketing rents and housing shortages while the aging infrastructure is strained to capacity with the influx of people to the district. But we have work to do to keep up with those jobs and that growth.
I am ready to fight for Eastern Washington’s fair share of infrastructure projects to meet the needs of our growing community. If we are going to attract new companies here, we need to make sure our roads, bridges and other infrastructure are ready for new growth.
These results won’t happen without working across the aisle. The partisanship and the gridlock in the other Washington has seeped into our local politics. I will do everything I can to work with both parties and reduce the bickering and divisiveness that leads to inaction.
Here are my other priorities:
Accountability: I know it’s your money. My first job as a state senator is to ensure your dollars are spent wisely. We also need a transparent, accountable process where everyone can see what lawmakers are doing. It was wrong for legislators to vote to limit access to public records last year. Olympia has to do better.
Health Care Reform: During the last session in Olympia I worked tirelessly to pass health care reform as the Eastern Washington director for Health Care for All. We were able to get a major study funded in partnership with Rep. Marcus Riccelli. We urgently need to find pathways to reduce health care costs (up another 14 percent this year) that burden families, small businesses and farmers. I am running to get even more done to make health care more accessible as your next state senator.
Common Sense Gun Policies: I have a different view on guns than most West Side Democrats. My family hunts and I have a concealed permit. It’s time for everyone to come to the table to figure out how we can address the violence that puts us at risk in schools, in public spaces, and places of worship. This conversation must be led by responsible gun owners and not forced upon us by people without firsthand experience.
Help For Working Families: As a single working mom who has pulled myself up by my proverbial bootstraps, I see where we can fix our social safety net. People shouldn’t be forced to refuse employment to keep their health care. Our seniors shouldn’t skip meals to afford medication. People on unemployment need clearer pathways to good-paying jobs, especially with the shortages in trades and nursing.
I hope to provide a rare mix of lived experience and an understanding of the issues in Olympia. We need representation that will put people over politics and ensure we won’t get lost in the West Side majority. If you believe we need a change in politics, a legislator who knows the struggles real people face every day, a legislator who will focus on results instead of party politics, a legislator who is accountable with your tax dollars, a legislator who will take on our health care crisis, then I hope you will join our campaign and I can count on your vote.
This campaign has been an incredible experience meeting so many of you and listening to your stories and your ideas for making Eastern Washington a better place to live. I can only bring change to Olympia with your help, your support and your vote. Thank you for considering my candidacy. Please contact me with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessa Lewis, D, is a candidate for the Washington state Senate, 6th Legislative District.