Keep Washington Affordable

Mark is running for Governor because both he and his wife Kelley have anxiety that when their oldest daughter finishes school in a couple years that she will not be able to afford to live in Washington State.   Mark is a firm believer that we must factor in affordability into every decision made in Olympia, from the price of gas to the cost of housing.   Both Mark and Kelley come from families that have been in Washington for several generations and they want their own six children to have the opportunity to stay here and start a family of their own. 

Prioritize Safe Streets and Neighborhoods

Mark was the proud co-sponsor and champion this past session of the treatment focused public drug use bill (SB 5536) that also has accountability for those refusing treatment.   Mark has endorsements from the folks in the law enforcement community because he has been a champion of finding the right balance between getting people with drug addiction into treatment while making sure our sidewalks and parks remain safe, Mark refuses to accept the status quo is good enough, he knows we can do better.   Mark is committed to being a better financial partner with our cities and counties so they have the resources to hire more police officers and provide access to substance abuse and mental health treatment.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

As the only small business owner running for Governor (Mark owns a Zeeks Pizza restaurant and four Ben & Jerry's ice cream stores) Mark knows the importance of being supportive and collaborative with our business community, not just looking for ways to sue people.  Mark appreciates the importance of preparing kids for college, but also understands that college is not for everybody and we need to make sure we have the best certification programs to help prepare people for jobs in the building trades. Mark is committed to making sure we continue to build things in our state because Washington has always been a manufacturing state and we should view that as a complement to our successful technology sector. Mark and Kelley have six kids, but only one of them wants to become a computer programmer, the other five have different ambitions.  We need an economy that creates job opportunities for every child in Washington, whether they want to go into agriculture, forestry, the arts, non-profit work, the building trades, or public service work.  

Laser Focus on Improving Our Public Schools

Mark's wife Kelley is an elementary school teacher in the Issaquah School District, and all six of their children are attending or graduated from Issaquah public schools.  Mark has the endorsement of our Public School Employees because he knows from Kelley's experience in the classroom that our paraeducators play a critical role in student success.   Mark also looks at a big picture view of the school to acknowledge the important roles played by school bus drivers, front office personal, custodians, and cafeteria workers.  Mark has been a champion in the legislature of making sure our public schools do a better job when it comes to teaching financial literacy, sponsoring SB 5720 that made our state's biggest investment ever in promoting financial literacy in our schools.

We Can't Tax Our Way Out of Every Problem

Mark voted against the long term care payroll tax because it is a regressive tax that provides limited benefits that are not portable. It also limits the spending to only long term care expenses, because that’s what benefits the special interest groups that lobbied for it. As a small business owner, Mark has seen first hand that many of our younger workers are not saving for retirement, and that is often because there is not always a simple path to have money deducted from their paycheck and put into a retirement account. If elected Governor, Mark’s goal will be to instead focus on a streamlined system to make sure that every Washington worker has access to a payroll deduction for a retirement account. 

Fighting Climate Change While Keeping Washington Affordable

Mark knows if we want other states to follow our lead when it comes to fighting climate change we have to do it in a way that keeps Washington affordable.  Mark knows as the chair of the capital budget in the Senate that we can honor all of the climate change investments made this year while substantially lowering the price of gas.   Mark knows we need to set an example that other states can follow, which means we have to make sure our climate change policies don't make Washington unaffordable for the average family.

Support Washington Farmers

Mark was the 2023 Washington Farm Bureau Legislator of the Year.  This is because Mark has always appreciated that for Washington State to succeed, we need to make sure that success is felt on both sides of the mountains.   Mark will make sure that Olympia keeps its promises to Washington farmers so they can compete with farms in other states.   We are currently national leaders when it comes to growing wheat, hops, raspberries, apples, potatoes, and corn.   As Governor Mark promises to support the agriculture industry in our state so we remain a national and global leader in food production.

Using Every Tool to Solve Our Affordable Housing Crisis

As the chair in the Senate of the State Construction budget, Mark was proud to make the largest investment our state has ever seen in the Housing Trust Fund.  At the same time, Mark has a front row seat to the challenges of getting a building permit in our state.   Mark knows that we have to make our permitting process more predictable and timelier if we are going to lower the cost of housing.   Mark was proud to sponsor SB 5290, the first attempt our state has made to provide financial incentives to local cities and counties that speed up their permit times.

Higher Education

Mark has been the higher education champion during his entire time in the Senate.  As the chair of the capital budget Mark was responsible for raising the level of higher education investments by hundreds of millions of dollars.  With three kids already in college Mark and his wife Kelley know how important these investments are. Mark is committed to providing extra funding to the University of Washington so we can add more slots for high performing in-state students for whom the UW is their #1 choice.  We can't have students with 3.9 GPA's forced to choose out-of-state colleges because they can't get into the UW. We can and should do better on this front.

Secure Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities

Mark feels strongly that we should be using the $480m a year of revenue we get from cannabis taxes to partner with cities and counties to stand up secure substance abuse treatment facilities.  Mark doesn't want to put people in jail for a year if they are using drugs in public, but he does want them to get treatment where they have the best chance of beating their addiction, which means the front door has to be locked. 

Partner with our local tribes to expand behavioral health access 

As the chair of our state capital budget, I have led the way in partnering with our local tribes to expand both mental health and substance abuse treatment access in Washington.  The beauty of these partnerships is that tribal behavioral health facilities are open to all Washington residents.   Our tribal partners are able to draw down reimbursement rates through the Bureau of Indian Affairs that are much better than what we receive from Medicaid.   That means we can expand access to both mental health and substance abuse treatment without having to raise taxes. 

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