Here's the plan.  

Campaigns aren't just about what a candidate thinks—they're about demonstrating what we can do for you and how we want to do it. I truly believe that there's more that unites us than divides us, and I know that we have many shared goals. However, a representative for the 8th Congressional District must have actionable, clear objectives to ensure that they can hit the ground running in D.C. and deliver real results to their constituents back in this Washington. 

Here are the things that I want to work on:

Educational Success

Healthy Futures   

Affordable Housing 

Compassionate Immigration

Transportation Efficiency

Economic Alignment

Educational Success

 

Cradle to Career

Every year, lawmakers state that fixing our systems of schooling and life-long education is a priority. And yet, each year, the problems facing our schools seem impossible. Though there are are a lot of ideas and proposals, we know for certain that any approach must be comprehensive and thoughtful—we can't be reactive, and we can't rush to get it done just to say we did it.

First, we must acknowledge that learning doesn't always follow a linear path, one that starts at kindergarten and ends with a 4-year post-secondary degree. Outdated assumptions about educational success hurt our ability to prepare learners, workers, and leaders for the future.

Instead, we have to address the need for pre-K education, an investment which has shown time and again to be more than worthwhile, and in ways to help students for whom college may not be the best track. Rather than insisting on the same tools and steps for every student, we have to take seriously our duty to responsibly invest in a vision for cradle to career success for all students, for re-engagement of parents and community, and for the recognition and retention of our best educators.

gap.jpg

21st Century Student Success

Today, we know more than ever about how children and young adults grow and learn. We also know for some students, school may provide their only safe space and hot meal or two each day.  Our commitment to preparing today's students for 21'st century success must also grow to meet this understanding.

Where America once led in student achievement and learning, we now trail even underdeveloped nations. We can do better, and we must. 

  • Start Early – Stay Engaged: Learning starts with supporting parents, before birth. The first three years are the most import to developing healthy children and adults.  

  • 21st Century Schools & Tools: Now that we know every child learns differently, we must embrace responsible use of technology to teach to the student, and not to the test.

  • Interrupt “School to Prison Pipeline”: Suspensions and zero-tolerance policies lead to expulsions and arrests. Students of color and those with special needs or living in poverty are impacted most. 

Balance & EQUITY in Funding

If you own a home, it likely comes as no surprise that as the price of public education increases, so do your taxes.

Despite being one of the more progressive states in the nation when it comes to education, even Washington State schools struggle. Schools in the same district receive different amounts to dedicate to teacher salaries, classroom materials, and special services. As a result, policies are not always uniformly introduced and can create larger equity gaps, perpetuating harmful cycles. 

  • Close Rural / Urban Resource Gap: Lower tax bases and fewer taxpayers often disadvantage rural school districts. Funding imbalances challenge the notion that every child in America has equal access to a quality education.

  • Invest in Programs: Federal cuts to necessary programs like those which provide meals, health care, and counseling often impact the poorest schools first and hardest. Access to these services must be provided regardless of the income level of the parents in a neighborhood. 

opportunity.jpg

Recognize & Retain the Best

The last decade has shown we can lose our nest-eggs, our homes, our jobs - and can get them back. We cannot lose a generation of children to our unwillingness to surround them with resources they need, and hope we'll make it up to them later. 

The future of our nation and its global competitiveness are in the hands of America's teachers who deserve to be paid like highly-skilled professionals.

  • Increase Teacher Pay: This include "inflation-proofing" teacher salaries, lifting salary caps for high-need schools and districts, and expanding student-loan forgiveness. 

  • Veterans in the Classroom: Children and young adults need teachers who are excellent educators and strong role models. 

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 7.07.50 PM.png

CLOSE THE OPPORTUNITY GAPS

Gaps in student achievement are often influenced by economic and social circumstances outside the walls of the school. Failure to plan for the evolving nature of schools and learning is the same as planning to fail the children who are yet to come.

Systematic change requires willingness to invest in programs that effectively close opportunity and achievement gaps - from cradle to career.

  • Quality early learning programs targeting parent education and community support

  • Classrooms and educators that teach in multiple methods for all learners 

  • 2-years communty college or technical training for all high school graduates

 

Other Priorities include

  • Leveraging federal bonding authority to support local school construction

  • Supporting the integration of community services in schools like health clinics, adult education services, and childcare

 

Healthy Futures

 

Healthcare is a basic human right, and, as such, it must be both accessible and affordable. This is not a place for partisanship—lawmakers on all sides must be committed to collaborating on innovative solutions to our toughest challenges.

 

Amend it - don't end it

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not perfect, and refusing to acknowledge its weaknesses won’t fix it. But we must fix it.

The ACA’s basic provisions have changed the way every American interacts with our health insurance and healthcare systems and extended coverage to millions. Efforts by the Trump Administration to undercut ACA enrollment and protections must be countered by community-driven outreach programs. Failure is not an option.

Together we must:

  • Ensure federal funds promised to support state-expansions of medicaid are guaranteed

  • Defend Trump/Republican attempts to cut core ACA service requirements

  • Fully-fund reinsurance payments to insurance companies to support premium constraints

  • Protect funding for organizations, like Planned Parenthood, which directly benefit rural communities

An assessment of America’s healthcare landscape reveals diverse challenges, but most reflect deepening divisions when it comes to healthcare and health insurance - divisions driven by cost, ideology, and access.

Reproductive health is non-negotiable:

Economic prosperity and reproductive rights go hand-in-hand. We must work to ensure that regardless of where you live or what you do, you have access to care that covers all of you. This includes regular exams, birth control, scientifically-based information (including comprehensive, correct sex ed in schools), and other family planning tools.

bills.jpg

Affordability is a serious issue

  • Stable health insurance premiums – few individuals and households can sustain annual premium increases of 25%-50%

  • Assistance from state or federal sources to offset premium costs, co-pays, and deductibles is a must

 

rural med.jpg

Rural Communities Require Choice

  • More than one provider capable of offering services for primary care, specialists, and emergency care

  • More than one ACA-compliant plan available via state exchanges

  • Transportation assistance for elderly and special needs

Bridge to universal coverage

If we agree that affordable and accessible healthcare is a basic human right, the next question must be: How do we get there?

Any conversation on health reform needs to start with a goal of leaving no patient without care. Senator Bernie Sanders has put forth a plan for universal Medicare. The German model guarantees universal coverage for its people but includes employer and individual contributions alongside public funds. We already know solutions are found in a more comprehensive system. 

Here are a few of the steps we can take to move us closer to the goal of universal coverage for every American:

  • Increase income eligibility levels and enrollment for state medicaid to get more Americans covered in the medicaid pool

  • Guarantee exchange accessibility in all states and diversify basic plan offerings. Especially in many rural counties, residents have no health insurance providers or plans to choose from

  • Expand Federal Health Savings Accounts (HSA) use, and increase the amount of tax-deferred contributions allowed annually

 

Affordable Housing

 

Recent statistics estimate up to 1000 people per week are moving into the Puget Sound Area, including the 8th Congressional District.Skyrocketing housing prices are the single biggest indicator of changes in the region for many, but there are others:

  • No spaces at the Park & Ride in the morning

  • Increasing class sizes at your child’s school

  • “Rush Hour” traffic that couldn’t get slower

  • New issues challenging historic community norms

The numbers don’t lie:

  • Private Home Availability – 1.8%

  • Rental Home Availability – 2.6%

 

HIRE AN EXPERT

Current approaches to dealing with housing availability and affordability offer only a patchwork of conventional fixes in a time when innovative, systematic strategy is required.

This is exactly why Mona Das is the right person for the job.

In addition to spending the last 13 years helping put people into homes, Mona earned an MBA in Sustainable Business. Her peers include groundbreaking thought and business leaders who are reshaping our world.

Looking at the same problems, differently, is a quality Mona loves bringing to the job of serving her community. Together, we have can approach growth differently, and change the results we get.

 

Complex and Connected

Conventional housing development has increased the conversion of rural lands surrounding cities at a rate around three-times the population growth rate. This same sprawl is responsible for ballooning rates of traffic, increased road maintenance costs, and the often-hidden costs of providing public services far beyond what communities ever planned or budgeted for. 

SYSTEMATIC APPROACHES

  • Federal Planning Dollars: Direct funding to smart growth and  regional planning initiatives, like the Mountains to Sound Greenway.

  • Urban Growth Strategies: concentrate urban growth, services, and affordable housing to designated areas

  • Innovative Zoning: mixed-use zoning - combine retail services with housing; inclusionary zoning - leverage market-rate housing development to offset affordable housing investments

Voters need to trust that we can do big things again, as a nation. If government is going to ask communities to think boldly, to change the way they’ve "always done it", to plan their sustainable future - regulations and regulators must also have the courage to do the same.

  

 

Compassionate Immigration

 

America's Dream Realized 

As an immigrant herself, Mona understands the unique perspectives and pressures shared by the tens of thousands of immigrant families and individuals who call Washington State home.

Almost 15% of Washingtonians have come here for another country seeking their own American Dreams. Whether documented or undocumented, H1 visa holder at Microsoft or migrant farm worker, all immigrants deserve the chance to have the promise of their talent and determination fulfilled.

Mona believes we must develop a compassionate approach to comprehensive immigration reform that reflects the message at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

PROTECT DACA

  • Ensure all legally enrolled DACA recipients and families are protected from arrest and deportation and information they provided to qualify is not shared

  • Work to craft a fast-track to citizenship for already-protected DACA recipients

  • Ensure immediate passage of the DREAM Act, making the provisions and goals of DACA national policy instead of executive prerogative

 

PATH TO CITIZENSHIP

daca.jpg
citizen.jpg

America is stronger when immigrants to our country choose to become Americans. Undocumented immigrants within our borders who clear a background check, work hard, and pay taxes should have a path to earn full participation in America.

  • Hasten family reunification for parents and children, husbands and wives

  • Offer more English-language and civic education classes so immigrants can assume all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship

  • Reduce financial barriers when possible; immigration attorneys, paperwork, and fees can easily add up to over $1,000—an amount that many Americans don't even have in savings. If we want more of our residents to become citizens, we must help make it achieveable. 

 

Other Priorities include

  • Roll-back Trump’s Immigration “Litmus Test”

  • Expand investment in immigrant-owned small business

  • Ensure sanctuary cities retain access to federal funds

  • Expand HB5 visa for seasonal immigrant labor and strengthen worker protections 

Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 6.23.29 PM.png
 

Transportation Efficiency

 

Bridging east & West

Washington's economic engine is roaring, thanks in large part to the industries on both sides of the mountains.

Between agriculture and sustainable energy east of the Cascades, to Western Washington's major seaports, manufacturers, and disruptive tech companies - the entire state works together to create a robust economy. This also means people and products are moving through our busiest corridors, often through inclement weather, traffic, and other hazards.

To bridge the divide between the two halves of our state—and the two halves of the 8th district—we must focus on solutions that are practical, swift, and sustainable. These solutions will require a mix of approaches, they will also require buy-in from numerous industries and interest groups.  

From Fruits of the valley - to ships on the seas

Washington is the nation’s most trade-dependent state. Our $10.7 billion agriculture industry makes us the nation’s leading producer of apples, pears, hops, blueberries and numerous other crops.

Without reliable access to markets through container ports, tens of millions in fresh fruit and vegetables wilt on the docks. The West Coast port slowdown of 2014 and 2015 was an economic disaster across many industries and states. The Washington apple industry alone took a $100 million loss.

Preventing another port slowdown means upholding established labor agreements for transportation unions that keep Washington’s freshest products moving smoothly, across the country and the globe.

 

Encourage Fleet Conversions

America's fleet vehicles - those involved in moving people and goods - contribute a major portion of climate-damaging emissions nationally.  In urban centers their contribution to local air pollution and climate change is even greater. 

The Obama Administration launched the Clean Fleets Partnership in 2008, spurring moves by many companies to begin conversions to cleaner fuel sources. 

  • Defend funding and incentives for private and public fleet conversions

  • Expand accessibility to LNG fueling stations and EV charging stations

Gridlocked - unreal expectations

For too long, lawmakers have been proposing 1950s solutions for 2020 problems.

Together, we can change the way governments, businesses, and citizens grow community. 

  • Land use planning: Plan to expand rapid transit, car and bike-sharing, development of walkable communities with every new development.

  • Collaborate with businesses:  Support companies that incentivize public transit and expand remote workforce capabilities.

  • Encourage planning and siting based on transit service and supply chain localization.

As many states and cities set ambitious goals for emissions reduction and clean energy use, old assumptions must evolve. This includes how we use policy to change interactions with our cities and urban areas.

 

Economic Alignment

Our local and regional economies are governed by complex, interconnected systems. Efforts to try to “fix” economic imbalances or inefficiencies look forget that an economy is a living system made up of thousands of individuals, households, and businesses.

Mona knows that tackling our most persistent economic challenges requires perspectives that understand:

  • How large companies in Seattle can drive economic vitality in Eatonville and East Wenatchee;

  • How immigration loopholes affect housing affordability;

  • How federal funding as the "carrot" or the "stick" can drive business transparency and encourage innovation;

  • How investing funding into areas like higher education drives research, development, and job-creation in rural areas. 

 

Maximize Public Benefit of Private Investment 

Unlocking the potential of private sector partners for public investments requires new thinking about public investments.

We must bring the best of what we’ve learned about sustainable development and stakeholder engagement together with a willingness to identify and remove obstacles to appropriately planned development. 

 

expand the Job Corps program

Our nation is falling woefully behind in the basic upkeep and replacement of thousands of aging bridges, roads, schools, and other public resources. America needs a trained workforce ready to rebuild its crumbling infrastructure, and between our schools and technical colleges, union apprenticeship programs, and Job Corps - we already have much of what we need to get the job done.

 By better-leveraging public-private partnerships, Job Corps and programs like it can effectively deliver valuable skills training and employment to young people and the transitioning workforce across the country.

  • Partnerships with union and other apprenticeship and training programs 
  • Training and employ workers on infrastructure projects funded with public and private funds

  • Redirecting EB-5 “Visa-for-Sale” revenues to fund training programs and projects

MULTIPLY EVERY DOLLAR – BUY LOCAL

The economic science supporting “buy local” efforts is as indisputable as climate change.

Research shows that on average, 48% of each purchase at local independent businesses was recirculated locally, compared to less than 14 percent of purchases at chain stores and those located outside the community. 

The natural and human bounty of the Pacific Northwest affords us incredible opportunities to meet our needs locally.

Buying local - or closer - also has incredible social and environmental benefits for a region. A large portion of the carbon footprint associated with doing business in America relates to the shipping and delivery of supplies and final products.

A Federal Buy-Local initiative might include:

  • Tax credits for companies based on spending patterns and distance

  • Additional incentives for local spending with women and minority-owned businesses

  • Funded in-part through local sales tax rebates on qualified expenditures

When these incentives are layered together, tax credits are offset by the measurable economic multiplier of local spending. 

plan.jpg

Inspire rural innovation

Many urban communities are discovering the pros and cons of designating areas as Enterprise or Manufacturing Zones. These areas offer special tax incentives and structures to encourage existing businesses to relocate, and for new businesses to startup.

Rural America is changing fast. Along with this change, new startup businesses are emerging as a powerful tool to help communities and regions innovate and adapt.

Partnering with the Small Business Administration's existing HUBZone Program, “Startup Zones” will bring the best of innovation education and business incubators to rural communities.

Startup Zones will:

  • Refocus on vocational training in the region; deliver entrepreneurship programs in high schools

  • Utilize public dollars to deliver business, entrepreneurship, and innovation training to eligible participants

  • Leverage private investments to seed rural startups and fund ongoing support

  • Create an “Innovation Fund” for existing businesses to launch new programs or systems that lead to growth and/or expansion of human capital

  • Provide excellent tax benefits for private investors who support Startup Zone programs and new businesses