Dear friends,

The Legislature is through with the 2017 sessions (for now), and we’re in the interim. Much was accomplished but much was left unfinished in a very long and contentious political arena. I want to bring you up to speed on how I’m spending my time.

After session I immediately sent word to all the 41st school districts to ask their operations people how the budget decisions relative to McCleary would work for them. They were busy trying to determine the immediate and longterm impacts and not ready to report. I’m continuing to monitor progress and ready to discuss possible tweaks that may be needed.

As a legislator, I’m asked to understand and vote on many issues, often with limited personal knowledge. I’m using this period to dive deeper into areas that are critical to our district but also to the state in general. Here are some of my major appointments.

Advancing arts in Washington

I was appointed to the Washington State Arts Commission and attended a two-day meeting in Wenatchee. This small but important board oversees a program that brings art to public places throughout the state, and supports the Poet Laureate and art programs in public schools. The organization has developed a robust strategic plan that I found most impressive.

Studying the future of energy

In July, I spent four days in Richland learning about the generation of energy, the grid that distributes it in our state, and the issues surrounding moving to alternative energy sources. All states must reduce their carbon footprint; it’s an economic and political issue that’s top priority for all. The event, the Legislative Energy Horizon Institute, included a meeting with Pacific Northwest National Labs’ personnel. I’ll be spending another four days with the Institute in D.C. soon.

PNWER 2017 Summit

Over 800 participants attended a four-day meeting in Portland that provided a heavy dose of information from resilience and cyber-security, higher education economic development, infrastructure and other working groups. The event provided an opportunity to meet with regional U.S. and Canadian legislators. The summit is sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER), an organization to which I have been named a delegate.

Helping children thrive!

I was appointed to the Thrive Washington board earlier this year, and finally had the opportunity to spend time discussing how the organization will move forward with the newly formed state Department of Children, Youth & Families and serve the state’s youngest residents in early childhood education. Since working with Dr. Martin Deutsch, whose research led to the formation of Head Start, I’ve been passionate about making sure these formative years provide rich experiences to start children off well. I am delighted to be working with Thrive and hope I can make a real contribution.

Learning from leaders across the nation

When the Council of State Governments met in Tacoma this year, I again had the opportunity to network with legislators from other states and share solutions to common issues. I also had the chance to hear physician and astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison (pictured) speak. The conference also included a deep dive into NAFTA that was extremely valuable. With Washington relying so heavily on foreign trade, this was a great opportunity to hear from and speak personally with objective economists and representatives from Mexico and Canada.

Wildfires and Hurricanes

Like many of you, I have been watching the terrible devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and keeping those in the path of Hurricane Irma in my thoughts. As our region faces the threat of growing wildfires, I know many of you are concerned for all the people who have had their lives upended by natural disasters. If you are thinking about donating to relief efforts, I encourage to you to visit the Secretary of State’s website for tips on how to make sure any charitable contribution gets to the people who truly need it.

Stay in touch!

I will continue to keep you updated on my work — this will be a very busy interim! As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.


(360) 786-7641