Gael represents a district with one of the most diverse economies in the state and a 12-mile stretch of waterfront businesses, public agencies, and public parks and beaches from Pier 58 north to Carkeek Park. The biotechnology cluster, cancer research institutes, Amazon, the Gates Foundation, literally thousands of small businesses and fantastic restaurants and hotels keep the local economy humming. Tucked in and around all of these industry sectors is Washington State’s largest maritime and fishing industrial center. The Port of Seattle’s headquarters along with Fishermen’s Terminal, three cruise terminals, public marinas including liveaboards at Shilshole Bay, and one of the largest grain terminals in the Pacific Northwest depend on Puget Sound’s deep-water harbor in Elliott Bay. Lake Union’s western shore host liveaboards, marinas, and more than 100 businesses providing marine services.
Our maritime, fishing, recreational boating, and trade industries play a large role in the economic vitality of the 36th district and Washington State. These industries provide good family-wage jobs, yet they often go unfilled. Gael is working to protect, expand, and sustain the more than 200,000 jobs in Washington that depend on these industries.
- Gael was named Legislator of the Year in 2017 from WA Business Alliance for her leadership in workforce development. She led the legislative effort to secure $440 million in basic education funding to put shop classes back into middle and high schools. Now, students will have choices to take courses such as welding, woodworking, engine design, robotics, and machining to earn a high school diploma and pursue family-wage jobs in the trades.
- Gael was also named Legislative Champion of the Year 2015 by the WA Maritime Federation, for her leadership as Co-Chair of the Task Force on the Resilience of Washington’s Maritime and Manufacturing Economy.
Everyone deserves a place and a stable job in our society. When we expand living-wage jobs to more people in our society, we create both a stronger economy and a stronger community. That’s why Gael fought to increase funding and job-training for those struggling with substance abuse, homelessness, mental health conditions, or with a criminal record. Gael has secured millions of dollars to invest in the programs that give the under-served a fair chance at economic opportunity. Some of her recent legislative achievements include:
- Nearly $150,000 for a commercial kitchen in the Millionair Club Apartments. The Millionair Club helps those experiencing homelessness, unemployment, and underemployment get placed in jobs. They also provide transitional housing and support services to help workers succeed. The installation of a commercial kitchen means an expansion of job training programs that the Millionair Club can provide to workers and residents. Now workers can be trained to go into commercial kitchen or restaurant jobs.
- Aloha Inn on Aurora Ave provides transitional housing for those moving from homelessness to stable housing. Gael successfully fought for $150,000 to create a commercial kitchen and expand their job-training programs to include restaurant industry work.
- As a member of the House Higher Education Committee, Gael has sponsored legislation and budget provisos supporting educational initiatives for incarcerated adults, because all the research shows that those who achieve educational goals while in prison are able to find employment upon release and are 65-75% less likely to commit future crimes.