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Pixie Adams, co-owner of Moonlight Coffeehouse in Oak Grove, hopes paid family and medical leave will be state priority

I started 2017 with breast cancer and a double mastectomy, and I ended it opening a small business.

PHOTO BY MONROE PHOTOGRAPHY - Pixie AdamsWhen I became seriously ill, I decided it was time to stop putting my dreams on hold. Moonlight Coffeehouse is my dream. It's a welcoming space for all, with great local coffee, delicious local food and amazing local art. Moonlight was my lifeline on the days it was hardest for me to get out of bed. I am grateful to my partner and amazing community for helping make this dream a reality.

In my first year of operation, I have learned a lot, including how hard some of our public policies can make it to be a good employer. We need to rethink the way individuals are accessing necessary supports like health care coverage and family and medical leave. Tying benefits to individual employers just because that's the way it's always been done holds small employers back, giving large corporations a huge advantage when recruiting and retaining employees or growing their operations.

No matter who you are or where you work, you should be able to access quality health care, and you should have time to care for a seriously ill loved one or yourself. Small business owners across our state are looking to Gov. Kate Brown and state policymakers to make paid family and medical leave a priority for 2019. The state of Washington is beginning to implement its paid family and medical leave program, and we should be right there with them.

As we think about ways to improve our work culture, we must be intentional about inclusivity. Families come in many forms, and our policies must reflect that. Cancer and serious illnesses do not discriminate, and neither should policies that give families time to care and heal.

Pixie Adams is co-owner of Moonlight Coffeehouse in Oak Grove.

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