Dear friends and neighbors,
The 2017 legislative session kicked off on Monday and I’m happy to be back in Olympia. On Monday, I may have been the first legislator in the history of the state Senate to be sworn in while on crutches. In case you missed it, I was involved in a ski accident and damaged my knee, requiring surgery. Fortunately, I’m back on my feet thanks to the crutches (and the surgeons!) and ready to get back to work for you.
This session, I will continue my role as the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee and as a member of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Committee. Additionally, I will now be a member of the Senate Health Care Committee. Finding ways to efficiently deliver and provide health care has always been a priority of mine, so I look forward to this new assignment.
Additionally, on Tuesday I was appointed by Lt. Gov. Brad Owen to serve on the Washington State Investment Board – which manages investments for 17 retirement plans for public employees in the state.
Here are some of my priorities for the 2017 session:
- Keep traffic moving – During the 2015 session, I was able to secure funding for a new interchange at Highway 18 and Interstate 90. Now I’m fighting to get the start date of this project moved up five years, to 2018. The traffic congestion in this area is maddening, so we need to do something now to get some relief.
- Make sure local tax dollars stay local – The state Supreme Court has ordered lawmakers to fully fund public schools by 2018. They’ve also ruled that the Legislature must adjust the amount of funding schools can raise from local levies. As the father of four daughters, I know how great our schools are in the 5th District as a result of local support. This session, I’m going to work hard to protect your local investments and find a way to make sure local levies are part of the solution to fully funding our schools.
- Find common ground – As one of the most moderate members of the Senate, I often feel like I’m on an island all to myself. Often to the right of my colleagues from Seattle and just as often to the left of my colleagues from the other side of the mountains, I’m most comfortable in the middle. This session, I will continue to build relationships on both sides of the aisle. After all, compromise often results in policy that works for all Washingtonians.
Thanks for taking the time to read my e-newsletter. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. The better I understand your priorities and values, the better I can represent your interests.