One of my top priorities in the U.S. Senate is to support policies that encourage economic growth in Washington state. Promoting international trade is critical to ensure our economy stays strong. Washington is the most trade-dependent state in the nation. Our exports exceeded $66 billion in 2007, and according to estimates, one in three jobs in Washington depends on international trade.
However, I also strongly believe that the U.S. must engage in fair trade practices and demand the same from its trading partners. The terms of trade agreements must be enforced to ensure American products receive fair access in international markets. I have consistently fought to ensure we are working with our international trading partners to see that they comply with internationally recognized standards for labor, environmental stewardship, human rights, and intellectual property protections.
I have been a strong supporter of trade adjustment assistance programs to help displaced workers learn skills that will help them stay competitive in the global economy, and I have worked to add provisions to legislation that would provide additional health care benefits for workers who are transitioning to new jobs. I have also fought to expand trade adjustment assistance so it covers workers in more fields and offers more types of training and assistance.
We also must invest in our current workforce and help provide access to training programs for workers looking to gain new skills. I have authored and fought for legislation to expand the nation’s workforce development programs, and I will continue to fight for initiatives that help American workers become better equipped to compete in international markets.