The Urbanist Elections Committee invited state legislature candidates in the Seattle metropolitan region to fill out our questionnaire to participate in our endorsement process. We based our endorsement decisions on those responses plus follow-up Zoom interviews. Below are the questionnaire responses by Kirsten Harris-Talley, who is running in an open seat in Legislative District 37, Position 2.
What lessons about government revenues and fiscal priorities from the wake of 2008 would you apply in responding to the Covid-19 crisis? (200 words or less)
COVID-19 finds our governments of all levels find themselves working around the clock in emergency mode trying to care for our communities and keep the worst impacts at bay. This pandemic has also illuminated in stark contrast the cracks in our public service system. All the socioeconomic inequalities of our collective society are now viscerally obvious as our neighbors go without work, food, or education. While some are already eyeing budget cuts and austerity measures, we cannot expect to slash and cut our way out of this economic and public health crisis. I firmly believe that COVID-19 presents a generational opportunity in that it will force us to shift the way we see government. Instead of a burden of “red tape”, government is the method through which our society builds and recovers collectively, together. We must commit that lesson to memory and govern in Olympia accordingly. Nothing short of foundational, structural change in government, policy, economics, and society will build the low-carbon future we desperately need. The lessons to learn from COVID-19 are to be bold and unafraid to attack the root causes of suffering, and strengthen the public services we all depend on. Not slash, cut, and defund.
Would you vote for a bill that ends the ban on rent control in Washington? Why or Why not? (50 words or less)
Yes. The 37th LD has a large number of residents who are renters, and we are also ground zero for gentrification and displacement. We deserve rent stabilization policies. We must lift the statewide ban on rent regulation to stop economic evictions and keep families together.
What role do you see the state playing in enacting land use reform, and what should that reform prioritize? (200 words or less)
Our state was very forward-looking when we worked to pass the Growth Management Act into law many decades ago. However, our land use policies desperately need updating especially as we stare down a shortening timeline to fight the climate crisis. Every community across our state has an urgent need to build dense, liveable neighborhoods with more types of housing for more types of families. We should reform our land use policies, and I believe that should include key policies such as: legalizing multi-unit dwellings on all residential plots across the state, encouraging transit-oriented developments, and must include anti-gentrification policies like the right to return for residents. We should also include more pedestrian and multi-modal transportation oriented reforms into our land use policy as well. Reforms should prioritize biking, public transit, and de-prioritize the use of single occupancy vehicles.
What should be the major components of a climate package? (50 words or less)
Progressive revenue reform and taxes on big polluters that funds:
- Expanded public transit and bike infrastructure
- ST3 completion
- New funding for State Housing Trust Fund to build low-carbon social housing
- Pollution caps
- Change state procurement to buy clean and buy union
- Pass the Clean Fuels Standard
- Invest in forest health