We’re heading for a make-or-break moment in this country. Too many critical issues have gone unaddressed for too long. We can’t afford to keep the same failed policies and play the same games that helped cause our problems in the first place. I believe that we can build economic opportunity, help working families and small businesses, and be fiscally responsible. It will take new leadership, new ideas and hard work.

In Congress, my priorities will include:

Getting people back to work and helping struggling families

While there are signs of an economic recovery nationally, unemployment remains unacceptably high in the 1st Congressional District. We need to create jobs and help struggling families. This means focusing on small business success and on local industries that can support good paying jobs for years to come, including aerospace, manufacturing, high-tech, sustainable agriculture, clean energy and health care. We must reward businesses that are creating family wage jobs and invest in providing the training and skills to our workers to ensure they are prepared for these jobs.

Strengthening education and workforce training

A well-educated workforce is vital to our economic success. And a quality education system is the key to creating this workforce.

I will fight for policies that strengthen our education system focused on closing the achievement gap, raising standards and giving our teachers the support they need and deserve to help ensure that every child gets a chance to reach their full potential.

We must rein in the rising costs of college tuition and increase aid for middle class families to ensure everyone gets a fair chance. The 1st Congressional District is fortunate to be the home of great community and technical colleges and extended campuses of some of our state’s best public universities.

Working closely with these institutions, we can bolster the workforce that local manufacturing and agricultural employers in the district need. It is essential that we focus on increasing opportunities for current and future workers to get the skills they need to for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Building a fair economy

I support the Buffett rule, which would ensure that those making a million dollars or more per year do not pay a lower tax rate than middle class families. Today the wealthy are paying the lowest tax rates in 50 years, which is why the Bush tax cuts for high wage earners needs to expire. I will fight to eliminate the unfair loophole that allows hedge fund managers to pay a lower tax rate on their income than other professions.

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Restoring fiscal responsibility in government and trust in our financial system

After years of fiscal mismanagement, we are facing a major budgetary crisis. The time has come to restore fiscal transparency and responsibility in Congress, and bring the skills needed to do it. At the same time we must restore trust and integrity to our financial system. This means better oversight of financial institutions and more balance between the needs of communities, working men and women, and those of the financial sector.

We need a modern day Glass Steagall to protect our economy against the recklessness and greed of Wall Street.

For far too many working families today, a safe and secure retirement is out of their reach. I believe those who have worked hard their whole life deserve the promises made to them after their years of service and work. We need to look at innovative and new policies to turn back the trend of employers rolling back or eliminating retirement benefits. We should be making it easier for employers to help their workers build a secure retirement.

Creating an innovation-based economy

The key to long-term economic growth and prosperity is incentives and policies that encourage entrepreneurship and support innovation. Nowhere in the country is the impact of innovation on the economy more visible than in Washington’s 1st Congressional District. The people in this district build the world’s best airplanes, grow the finest food and design world class software.

What’s more, we need to leverage our colleges and technical schools that can help incubate innovative companies such as the next generation of local farmers and local manufacturers. We need smart tax policy that rewards companies that decide to start or expand their business here at home, whether it’s manufacturing, technology, health care or agriculture. Helping these businesses thrive will lead to good paying, family wage jobs for the families of the 1st Congressional District.

Building a clean energy future

For our economy to fully recover, we need to take control of our country’s energy future. We need a balanced approach to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. This means investing in clean, renewable energy. Doing so will help develop a new sector in our economy, and address the security challenges we face because of our dependence on foreign oil. It’s urgent that we take meaningful steps now to begin the transformation to an economy based on clean and renewable energy sources.

Ensuring affordable, high-quality health care

Health care reform needs to be a continuing conversation—there is more to do to ensure quality, affordable health care for everyone. We need to support health care innovation and new technologies to lower costs, and allow individuals to choose between public and private options.

Protecting choice for women

I firmly believe that medical decisions should be made between a woman and her doctor, and not by politicians. The recent assault on women’s health care is unacceptable and I will fight against any attempt to reduce access to birth control or reproductive health services.

Ensuring civil rights

Every one of us has equal rights under the law. It's that simple. I support repealing the Defense of Marriage Act. I support marriage equality for all.

Improving our national security

Safety for Americans from terrorism and other threats must be our number one national security priority. And while a strong military is essential, I believe our efforts to deal with terrorism must also address the issues of global health, dependence on foreign oil, poverty, and nuclear proliferation.

Being a district that includes part of the nation’s northern border, it’s important that we are able to protect all of our families and communities who live and work along the border. What’s more, many local businesses in the northern part of the district depend on the economic activity and trade that comes with a safe border. It’s important that we remember a safe community includes not only securing our border, but protecting the civil rights of everyone who lives, works and goes to school in our border communities.

Protecting our natural resources and quality of life

What makes living in the Pacific Northwest so special is the natural environment that surrounds us. The 1st congressional district is home to some of our nation’s most beautiful forests, mountains and waterways. We also have some of the most fertile agricultural land. Taking care of our natural resources and protecting our environment is critical to protecting the quality of life we cherish. This means policies to keep our air and water clean. We must also manage our water responsibly as it is critical for our local farms and for generating the electricity that powers our economy.

I believe strongly that climate change is not just a challenge we must tackle to avert disaster, but that it is an opportunity to build a new clean energy economy and preserve our quality of life. The 1st Congressional District can be a leader in this new economy creating thousands of good paying jobs here.

Social Security

Social Security has been a building block of our middle class. It’s created a social safety net and a basic level of financial security for seniors. It’s an investment we’ve all made and a promise I’m committed to protecting for all of our seniors.

Those who say Social Security is in immediate danger are using scare tactics to dismantle it. The truth is, it’s a good system. It’s worked so well that Social Security funds have been used for other purposes, which needs to stop. But there are long-term financial concerns, which is why I support raising the income limits, or ‘scrapping the cap.’ I also oppose raising the retirement age or privatizing Social Security.

Protecting Medicare

Medicare is a cornerstone of our nation’s health care system. I am committed to protecting it and will fight against any efforts to privatize or dismantle Medicare. The focus instead should be on controlling the rising costs of care and improving the level of care seniors receive. I support allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices to bring down the costs for seniors.