Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as part of your 47th District legislative team. With the Legislature adjourned, hopefully through January 2013, I am spending my time working as a Boeing instructor pilot and attending meetings and events around the 47th District. Last week, I hosted a telephone town hall meeting that had great attendance. I really appreciated all of the questions – some we followed up on with more detailed information – and the feedback from folks. I asked three poll questions on the call and the results are below.
In addition, I have included information on the communications restrictions that take effect May 12. I don't want people to wonder why they aren't receiving my periodic e-mail updates. I will, however, be able to respond to your inquiries. I am your legislator year-round, so if I can be of assistance to you, please contact my office.
Telephone town hall poll question results, feedback
The telephone town hall was a great success. Thousands of 47th District residents joined the call, and quite a few participated until it ended. Many of you left voice mails, which we are returning. And there were a handful of people I got back to on issues that needed more research. Thank you to everyone who took part. These calls do not replace in-person meetings, but they are one tool that easily allows citizens to have a voice in their government.
We asked three poll questions during the call. Here are the poll questions and results:
What issue is most important to you?
1. Jobs and the economy = 33%
2. The state budget = 22%
3. Education = 17%
4. Public safety = 7%
5. Health care = 15%
6. Transportation = 6%
During the 2012 legislative session there was a lot of debate on the creation of public charter schools. Do you support the creation of public charter schools in Washington state as one way to allow school districts flexibility to address the needs of different student populations?
1. Yes = 73%
2. No = 16%
3. Not sure = 11%
In an election year, legislative communications are restricted. After June 30, I am no longer allowed to contact constituents via mail or e-mail unless specifically asked to respond to a letter or issue. In light of this, what are the best ways to update you on legislative issues impacting the 47th District?
1. Hosting in-person town hall meetings and monthly district office hours = 28%
2. Legislative updates at local civic group and chamber meetings and events = 0%
3. Walking neighborhoods to meet residents and answer questions = 21%
4. Columns in the local papers = 7%
5. All of the above = 45%
If you have thoughts on these questions, please send me a note or call my office. Even though the Legislature is adjourned, I work for you all year long. Finding out what your priorities are helps me serve you to the best of my abilities.
Budget and K-12 education funding
I firmly believe education is the best way to lift every child up, regardless of their economic situation or background. As a member of the House Education Committee, I worked in a bipartisan way to find ways to meet the needs of different student populations and ensure we prioritize education in the state budget. That's why I was surprised when a question came up asking me “why I supported a budget that cut education across the board.” That's simple – I didn't.
I appreciated the constituent's positive feedback on the Fund Education First proposal I co-sponsored and her question about the various budget proposals. One of the main reasons I did not support the governor's budget last fall and the House majority party's budget during the regular legislative session this year was because they cut education, or played games with school payments. I would not support a budget that leverages our kids' education for tax increases or delays payments to school districts, which isn't fair to schools and makes our next budget situation worse.
You can read my press release, column and e-mail update on education funding here, here and here. If you have questions on where I stand on K-12 education funding, please call my office and we'll set a time to meet.
Legislative communications restrictions
You may not know that Washington state has some of the strictest election-year communications restrictions. As of May 12, I will no longer be able to send out e-mail updates like this one. And, beginning June 30, I cannot initiate communications with constituents through legislative e-mails or letters. The caveat to this is if you send me an e-mail or letter regarding a legislative-related issue or request assistance with a s
tate agency, I can respond to you as my normal course of work for constituents. This is a safeguard to ensure the proper use of my legislative office. If you want me to contact you by phone with a response, please include the best number to reach you.
My door is always open
My legislative office is always available to assist constituents with finding information on legislation and navigating state agencies and services. If I can be of help to you, please do not hesitate to call or e-mail me. I am also available to speak with groups, at events and meet with constituents on-on-one. My legislative aide, Wyatt, can assist you with finding a mutually workable time to attend a meeting with you.