Vandana’s work in the Legislature has focused on affordable healthcare, pathways to success for youth, efforts to address climate change, and economic development. Viewing issues through the lens of a scientist and healthcare professional, Vandana brings an evidence-based approach to legislating, with an eye toward the future and a focus on growing equity and ensuring representation for all.
Vandana is the founder and Co-Chair of the Science, Technology and Innovation Caucus. She also serves as the Vice Chair of the House Transportation Committee, and sits on the House College & Workforce Development Committee and the Innovation, Technology & Economic Development Committee.
Recent policy accomplishments include:
Expanding Healthcare Access and Lowering Healthcare Costs: Using her decades of experience in the healthcare field, Vandana authored legislation creating the Washington Health Corps, working to connect medical professionals to underserved communities in need of support, while also offering loan repayment assistance for healthcare workers who serve. A strong advocate for expanded telemedicine programs – she also successfully worked to improve tele-medice services for children’s mental health and grow the telebehavioral health video call center.
Vandana supported Washington’s first-in-the-nation Public Option, groundbreaking Long Term Care Act, and best-in-the-nation Paid Family and Medical Leave program, along with authorizing $200 million to address the coronavirus pandemic.
Fighting for a Healthy Environment: As a scientist with a deep understanding of the threat of climate change, Vandana championed one of the most important environmental bills of the 2020 session – aligning Washington’s emission reduction goals with the latest climate science. She also supported Washington’s landmark 100% Clean Energy Bill, clean building standards, a ban on hydrofluorocarbons, new funding for pollution clean up and to hold big polluters accountable, and laws to reduce and eliminate toxic chemicals.
Improving Jobs and Outcomes in a Changing Economy: With new challenges stemming from automation, a changing economy, and COVID-19 recovery, Vandana has focused on innovating and expanding workforce education and Future of Work initiatives. Vandana was a leader in enacting Career Connect Washington, which will help match students with rewarding and stable careers in a changing economy. This session, she passed a law mandating collection of critical workforce data – which will be necessary for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts. While Vandana has served as a legislator, Washington has consistently been ranked one of the best states in America for workers and for businesses.
Ensuring a Great Education for All Kids: Washington’s STEM Legislator of the Year, Vandana has been a tireless advocate for Washington’s K-12 and higher education students. She has supported robust investment in schools, teachers, and special education, and worked to ensure all students have access to innovative engineering, science, and robotics programs. A strong advocate for equity in education, she championed a law to increase accessibility of college transcripts, improving student’s ability to pursue new jobs and further education.
Vandana played a key role in passing Washington’s landmark free and reduced college tuition bill, making higher education affordable for all students, paid for progressively by large businesses. She also passed legislation promoting girls athletics and supporting sports for girls with disabilities.