U.S Representative, 10th Congressional District – Kristine Reeves

Legislative Questionnaire

Candidate Information

  • Candidate Name: Kristine Reeves
  • Position Sought: U.S Representative, 10th Congressional District (Non-incumbent)
  • Home Legislative District: 30th LD
  • Democrat: Yes

Campaign Information

Part I – Candidate Background

1. Please briefly describe your qualifications, education, employment, community and civic activity, union affiliation, prior political activity, and other relevant experience.

I am intimately familiar with the lives and concerns of voters in this district. My job as Director of Economic Development for the state is based in the district and connects me to military families, employers and contractors throughout the district on a daily basis, as did my previous roles working for Senator Patty Murray in this region. As Senator Murray’s South Sound Regional Director and then Statewide Veterans Representative my role included increasing and developing relationships to help improve military transition, workforce development, and veterans’ healthcare initiatives.

I am the only candidate in this race that has spent the last decade working for the people of the South Sound area as an advocate for veterans and military families, doing economic development focused on enhancing the quality of life for veterans and military families on behalf of Governor Inslee’s administration, and as a legislator. Joint Base Lewis McChord is one of the largest employers in the district and supports an even larger economic ecosystem that employs a great number of my district’s residents. My unique personal perspective paired with this extensive knowledge of one of the district’s main economic sectors has allowed me to establish programs such one that connects those leaving service with apprenticeships in the trades.

I’m very confident that this experience gives me a very clear understanding and familiarity with the district and its constituents.

2. What prompted you to run for this office? What are your campaign’s most important themes, issues, or priorities (three to five)?

Currently we are dealing with an unprecedented pandemic that has killed tens of thousands and put millions of people out of work. We have a long road towards recovery, and it’s critical we have leaders in Washington D.C who will fight to put us on the right path towards stability.

As an economic developer, I believe I am the best prepared for the work required to put our country back on track as we deal with skyrocketing unemployment and a global recession. My top priority in Congress will be ensuring economic relief for constituents and small businesses in the 10th congressional district, as well as for people around the country.

As the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continues, issues such as housing and health care costs, homelessness, economic inequality, and deteriorating infrastructure are becoming even more pressing.

Progressive achievements at the state level to improve wages and benefits and help working families afford necessities like childcare, health care, and family leave to care for newborns or sick relatives have helped immensely. We’ve shown these progressive policies can strengthen our economy and make lives better.

It is critical in these times that we ensure the federal government working in tandem with states to ensure the benefits of these policies are enacted, fully funded, and reach every corner of our state and country.

3. What steps are you taking to run a successful campaign?

I have worked hard to build a broad base of supporters. I have earned the endorsements of Congressman Adam Smith, all the members of the Black Members Caucus in the Washington state legislature, and community leaders throughout the district. I am honored to have strong support from unions as well, having earned endorsements from the National Education Association, Laborers 252, Teamsters JC 28, AFT Washington and numerous labor leaders in the region.

We are building a grassroots campaign, focused on meeting people where they are and listening to what matters most to them and their families. We have built a large volunteer network able to help us connect with as many folks as possible before the primary this August.

Part II – Local and State Issues

1. Do you support Initiative Measure No. 940 (“De-escalate Washington,” requiring, among other things, that law enforcement officers be required to obtain violence de-escalation and mental health training, so that officers will have greater skills to resolve conflicts without the use of physical or deadly force)?


Absolutely. As we are witnessing today, law enforcement agencies need significant and fundamental change to their policies and culture.

At the local level we need to significantly strengthen civilian oversight of police conduct, including in Tacoma, where the police still largely police themselves. The people of our communities deserve policing that is free from the taint of institutional racism and from unacceptable violence disproportionately directed against communities of color. If I am elected to Congress to represent the 10th Congressional District, I guarantee you that I will do everything in my power to ensure that we implement real reforms at the federal and local levels that will heart-wrenching tragedies from occurring again in the future.

2. Do you support the right of public workers, excluding military, to bargain and strike?


Absolutely. I believe in the right of all workers to organize, collectively bargain, and strike. We must
work to remove unreasonable barriers to unionization, ensure unions have access to employees,
and employers should recognize employees decision to unionize if a majority of employees sign
cards to do so.

As a State Representative in Washington state I voted to ensure employers cannot retaliate
against workers for talking about their salary levels, granted bargaining rights to Assistant
Attorney Generals, clarified bargaining rights for public employees after the Janus decision, and
provided interest arbitration to Department of Correction employees and capitol campus police
officers. These votes and others earned me a 100% lifetime rating from the Washington State
Labor Council.

3. Would you support a statewide “Ban the Box” law, prohibiting employers from asking about job applicants’ criminal history until after an initial screening or interview?


4. Do you support legislation that reimburses the cost of reproductive health care services, such as SB 6105, the Reproductive Health Access for All Act?


As someone who grew up in poverty and did not always have reliable access to healthcare, I support any effort to remove barriers to healthcare access, especially reproductive health care services.

5. Would you support an automatic voter registration act such as HB 2595 (Automatic Voter Registration Act of 2018), streamlining procedures in order to automatically register citizens to vote?


In Congress I would support a bill similar to HB 2595, and as a Washington state representative, I voted to pass HB 2595 off the House floor.

6. Would you support a bill that would enable the state of WA to create a single health financing entity to provide health care financing for all Washington residents, independent from employment, such as the WA Apple Care Trust?


I believe health care is a right for every American, not a privilege. To that end, I believe we
need to move as quickly as possible toward universal health care coverage and to do everything
possible to make health care and prescription drugs more affordable.

I’m proud of our efforts in Washington state where we’ve established progressive models for the
country in pursuit of these goals – we’ve cut the uninsured rate from 14% to nearly 5% thanks to
an efficient implementation of Obamacare, and we’ve established the country’s first long term
care benefit that helps aging residents to stay in their homes while getting care.
I applaud the recent U.S. House passage of the Lower Prescription Drugs Now Act, which would
allow the government to directly negotiate drug prices for Medicare recipients and bring down
prices for all medicines as a result.

I would aggressively pursue this ambitious approach to reducing health care and medicine costs
by supporting other efforts, many of them with bipartisan support, to stop pharmaceutical
industry price gouging, create out-of-pocket limits for prescription drug costs under Medicare,
and expand access to dental coverage.

Part III – Free Response

1. Why are you running as a Democrat? What aspects of the Democratic platform most resonate with you?

I am a working mom of a five-year-old and a seven-year-old. I’m a Washingtonian, born and bred, but my upbringing was not the typical one you hear from most politicians. I grew up the daughter of a single mother. My mom struggled with substance abuse issues so I spent the first ten years of my life in and out of foster care, and then she relapsed after my parents split, and I ended up homeless at 16. I know what it’s like when the deck is stacked against you. But I also know what can happen when our communities come together — because I am the product of strong and strategic investments in progressive policies that change people’s lives for the better.
Vital programs like Head Start helped me survive childhood. The guidance and mentoring of caring public school teachers and counselors who believed in me, and relentlessly helped and encouraged me to go to college – they motivated me to do something positive with my life. And I would not have reached that next level without the further help of grants and scholarships that gave me the opportunity to go to Washington State University. In short, thanks to these progressive investments and caring mentors, I was able to break the cycle of poverty and change the arc of my life for the better. With that help, I achieved three major milestones that I’m very proud of:

1) I became the very first in my family to graduate from college, earning a degree from WSU and then a Master’s degree from Gonzaga.

2) I was hired, first by Senator Patty Murray and then by Governor Inslee’s administration, to work on the needs of the South Sound, and in particular, to be an advocate for military families and veterans. I can tell you as the twin sister of a 17-year combat veteran in the United States Air Force — the little brother that I sent off to war after 9/11 is not the man who came home. Servicemembers put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms, and I was proud to be an outspoken advocate for service members, veterans and their families, making sure that they gain access to the opportunities and benefits that they’ve earned and deserve.

3) I became a state representative, elected in 2016 after narrowly defeating a Republican incumbent. I was the first African American woman elected to the legislature in 18 years, and the only female legislator with kids under 5. I became the crucial 51st vote for landmark progressive policies to pass the legislature and become a model for the nation, including the best Paid Family and Medical Leave policy in the nation, apprenticeship and job training programs that are providing skills training for thousands, and the first in the nation public option for health care as well as the first long term health care benefit.

What I realized as we fought and won these landmark battles over the kind of policies that had made a difference in my life and thousands like me, was that I had a unique perspective to offer in these debates. My background, the obstacles I’ve overcome, and the progressive investments that I bear witness to, they afford me a viewpoint that’s not often seen or heard in many corridors of power.

2. In the past, many Democrat-sponsored bills have died in the Republican-controlled Senate. Please list three failed bills from the past legislative session that you will champion when elected.

The Mitch McConnell-led Senate has actively worked to kill most legislation passed by the House. They have killed legislation that would have protected voter rights, curbed carbon emissions, and most importantly the Senate has held up a critical coronavirus relief bill.

As we grapple with a recession due to the coronavirus, we cannot waste time as we work to help hard-working families get through this difficult time. In Congress I will champion efforts to push through legislation that will support working families through this crisis, and help our country build an economy that works for all, not just the wealthy few.

3. What important state and local issues have you worked on (or taken an interest in) that you feel aren’t getting enough attention from elected leaders and the media?

COVID-19 has laid bare the gaps in our safety net from unemployment benefits to access to healthcare, but I believe that we are facing a crisis that was not only essential to our lives before the pandemic but will be one of the main keys to our path out of the pandemic.

Child care.

As Washingtonians are called back to work while schools are still closed, parents are forced to choose to bring home a paycheck or ensure there is someone to watch and care for their child. Meanwhile, the impact of the statewide closures has hit our already fragile network of childcare facilities. This is a massive issue for every family in Washington and one I have been fighting to address as a working mom in Olympia and will continue to fight for as a working mom in Washington D.C.

4. Do you think Washington public schools are adequately funded? If not, what minimum requirements should be met in an adequately funded public school system? What specific forms of taxation would you support to attain that funding?

Washington state has come a long way in working towards adequately funding public schools, however there is still work to be done. Special education programs are still underfunded, and there are still glaring inequities between school districts. In Congress I will fight to boost funding for public schools and educators by making those at the top pay their fair share, and work to repeal the reckless policies enacted by Betsy Devos and Donald Trump.

5. What are some obstacles inherent in proposed legislative solutions to climate change? How would you approach those obstacles in order to best overcome or minimize any negative effects?

To me there is no more urgent environmental issue than climate change. It is a crisis that raises the stakes on every environmental issue, from safe water to drink to breathable air to protecting our salmon and orcas.

As a former WA State Representative, I’m proud to have been a part of Washington state’s bold leadership in combating this crisis. We’ve established a Clean Energy Fund to grow jobs in this industry, we’ve built a $6 billion wind industry from scratch by incentivizing the private sector with renewable energy standards, just this year we passed a law to end Washington’s use of coal and shift our state to use 100% clean energy to generate electricity, and I was one of the first legislators to push for our state to have an environmental justice directive to combat climate change and protect communities of color so they are not left behind, again.

I believe America must take a leadership role in addressing climate change, not only to protect ourselves from threats like hurricanes and wildfires that increasingly threaten our daily lives and resources, but because we must take advantage of the economic opportunity that exists to be a leader in the creation of clean energy jobs and the next generation of economic innovation.

I will be a leader in Congress in raising the profile of, and fighting for solutions to, the climate crisis. I will bring credibility and experience to the fight that comes from my experience as a legislator at the forefront of elevating this crisis in the national dialogue and crafting innovative solutions to address the threat. I’ll have the urgency that comes from being a 30-year-old with two small children who understands their future will be severely degraded unless we successfully meet this challenge now.

6. What are some obstacles inherent in proposed approaches to tax reform in Washington State? How would you approach those obstacles in order to best overcome or minimize any negative effects?

If elected to Congress, I will fight to roll back the Trump tax breaks given to millionaires, billionaires, and big business. I will champion efforts to restructure our tax code to ensure that those at the top are paying their fair share and work to lift the tax burden on middle class families and small businesses.

7. Do you support the voter-approved call for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision (I-735), and if so, how do you propose to work toward that goal?

Absolutely. We need to work to get dark money out of politics, and reversing Citizens United is a promising first step. We need to build a broad coalition of leaders across party lines willing to take on corporations and billionaires in order to pass a Constitutional Amendment. In Congress I would also support efforts to establish a framework for public funding of campaigns.

By typing my name below, I declare under penalty of perjury the foregoing is true and correct.

Printed Name: Kristine Reeves

Date: 06/23/2020

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