What’s my favorite part of my job as a Senator? It’s now, during the interim. Not because I don’t like working for you in Olympia (I do!), but because being in our community full time, staying in close touch with you and all our neighbors in the 26th District reaffirms why I do this work.
Since the end of session I’ve held coffee hours in all four corners of our district, reported on the session to community groups, attended neighborhood events, visited classes from Purdy Elementary to Marcus Whitman Middle School to Olympic College—and so many in between. I’ve served salmon at the Manchester Salmon Bake alongside Congressman Kilmer, marched in several parades, and co-hosted a low tide beach walk at Kopachuck State Park. I can’t imagine a better way to spend the summer!
I’m also honored be serving as Acting Chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee. This opportunity was certainly unexpected for a first term legislator, but I’m ready. As the first in my family to graduate from college, I know how crucial higher education—whether a certificate or a degree—can be in shaping our future. Now as Acting Chair, I’ve visited our local dynamos, Olympic College and Tacoma Community College, and seen the innovative work they’re doing on workforce preparation and integrating students facing extraordinary barriers, such as homelessness. (Their work is one of the inspirations for my bill SB 5800)
I’ve also led a legislative tour of colleges across our state, including Columbia Basin College, WSU Tri-Cities, and Walla Walla Community College, where I got to meet students learning to install, operate, and maintain wind turbines, our wine-scientists in training, and others who are enrolled in the John Deere Training Program, keeping Washington’s agricultural economy humming.
Soon, these colleges will be getting additional support from the landmark Workforce Education Investment Act that we passed this year, which dramatically increased foundational support for community and technical colleges and created the Washington College Grant Program, a statewide program making college affordable—in some cases free—for low income students. Quite simply, it’s the most generous need-based aid program in the nation.
I’m committed to continuing to learn on the ground about the next generation of cutting-edge educational opportunities and how we can support them!
Around the 26th
I loved the chance to dive into my first legislative session with Kitsap Daily News reporter Bob Smith! We talked about bipartisan cooperation, learning-by-doing alongside other new members, how a fast-paced campaign prepares you for the sprint of legislative session, and getting work done for our neighbors. You can read the full interview here.
This moon snail was a big hit with the kids at a Low Tide Beach Walk at Kopachuck State Park! Thanks to the staff, biologists, and volunteer naturalists of Harbor WildWatch for introducing us to the fascinating critters in our beautiful natural world. This year, the legislature allocated $1.2 million to Kopachuck to build facilities that will improve access to the beach. I’m proud to support our State Parks!
I also had the chance to tour the Port of Tacoma with the Legislative Rail Caucus! Thanks to Tacoma Rail and The Northwest Seaport Alliance, along with ILWU and SMART-TD, for the tour. We heard about the rail line’s long history, the safety protocol, environmental regulations, and the present and future for trade in our region. Every train that pulls out of their on-dock rail yard takes 300 trucks off the road. More than $75 billion in trade goes through Puget Sound ports each year. That’s good for our economy, for our environment, and for family-wage jobs.
Community Coffee Hours
I hope you can join me at one of my coffee hours around the district: 1st Mondays in Port Orchard, 2nd Mondays in Gig Harbor, 3rd Mondays on the Key Peninsula, and 4th Mondays in Bremerton. You can see the details about the upcoming month’s schedule here.
My week in service
I believe in transparency, and I want to keep you all informed about what I’m doing on behalf of the 26th District in Olympia. During session I made a practice of posting my legislative calendar each week on my Facebook page–after a little vacation, we’re picking the habit back up!
Keep in touch
I’m eager to hear from you about your priorities. I hope you’ll follow me on Facebook so you can see what my team and I are up to. And please feel free to reach out anytime at (360) 627-7610 or Emily.Randall@leg.wa.gov. The more we hear from you, the better our work in Olympia can reflect our shared values and goals.
All my best,