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.

  • Improving our Education system is vital to enable Americans to get the skills and training they need to succeed.  By investing in strong reading, math, and science curriculums in our schools, we can ensure that the next generation of American workers will have the skills necessary to get family-wage jobs in competitive global industries, such as technology and engineering.  

    I have authored legislation that would reform America’s high schools.  My proposal would increase the emphasis on reading and math, help students and their families plan for graduation, and help schools that are lagging behind.  Those efforts to better equip students for jobs in a global economy have helped shape national education policy and programs, and I will continue to push for stronger curriculums that help ensure American students have the skills to compete against their peers anywhere in the world.
  • 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.  

  • Finally, we must continue to improve existing trade agreements and use them to expand our access to foreign markets, set labor standards that respect human rights, and provide environmental protections.  Labor standards and environmental safeguards should be central issues to every trade contract, and contracts should include provisions to ensure enforcement.