NAME: Jessyn Farrell
OFFICE SOUGHT: State Representative, 46th District, Position 2
PARTY AFFILIATION: Democrat
TOWN OF RESIDENCE: Seattle, WA
CURRENT OCCUPATION: Youth Civic Education Initiative Coordinator, Seattle CityClub.
PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: As former Executive Director of Transportation Choices Coalition, I led the advocacy, messaging and coalition-building strategy to break through the gridlocked “roads vs. transit” debate, unleashing over $25 billion in bus, rail, bike and pedestrian investments in Washington State. I played a key role in developing community consensus for the I-90 light rail extension, the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement, Sound Transit's successful 2008 ballot package, and the 2005 Transportation Partnership Package. I have also worked for Pierce Transit, Washington Public Interest Research Group, Americorps, and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands.
WHAT IS THE MOST PRESSING ISSUE FACING VOTERS IN YOUR DISTRICT: Educating our kids to be the best in the world. That means increasing funding for our public schools, establishing early learning programs in the communities that need them most, and finding ways to help students pay for higher education. That also means holding the line on funding for our social safety net, because children who are hungry, unhealthy, or facing homelessness simply will not thrive in our education system.
IF ELECTED, WHAT WILL YOU DO IN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS IN OFFICE TO
ADDRESS THIS ISSUE?
In order to make sure every child comes to school ready to learn, we need to rethink the way we fund our education system and social welfare programs. I will use my experience as a transportation advocate to fight for the funding our children and families need and deserve. First, we have to build broad, sustaining coalitions. In my experience with transportation it took time, and many instances of coming back to the table, to get to a place where there was enough trust between the business, labor and environmental communities to jointly advocate for transportation investments and to protect those investments from Eyman initiatives.
Second, we have to build our grassroots power. That means making sure labor unions, environmental groups and other advocacy groups with grassroots membership have seats at the table. It also means doing the good, old-fashioned work of community organizing – talking and listening to our neighbors and community organizations.
Finally, we need clear-cut goals about what our taxes should pay for, how government is working to use those tax dollars efficiently, and messages that resonate with voters. After a decade of being involved with several successful – and some unsuccessful – transportation campaigns, I believe strongly that voters care about funding public programs and want to know their dollars are being used wisely.
If elected to represent the 46th District, I will fight to build a more sustainable and equitable Washington by building coalitions, helping people connect to the political process, and ensuring that government is accountable and efficient. Specifically, I hope to build an urban caucus of legislators from our state's urban areas so that we can advocate together for the progressive values and legislative priorities we share.
DO YOU SUPPORT/OPPOSE REFERENDUM 74: SHOULD GAY MARRIAGE BE LEGAL IN WASHINGTON? BRIEFLY, WHY?
Yes, same-sex marriage should be legal in Washington. I firmly believe that people who love each other should have the right to marry regardless of sexual orientation and will continue to advocate for the legalization of same-sex marriage. I also will support legislation that protects members of the LGBT community from discrimination with regards to employment, health care, and government services.
DO YOU SUPPORT/OPPOSE, INITIATIVE 502 TO MAKE SMALL AMOUNTS OF
MARIJUANA LEGAL TO PEOPLE 21 AND OLDER? BRIEFLY, WHY?
I support Initiative 502. Not only will it generate tax revenue that our state desperately needs, but it will allow our law enforcement to focus efforts on more pressing issues such as violent crime.
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