Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2015 legislative session is underway and I am working hard to make sure your voice is heard in the Legislature. When I was sworn into office as the newest representative in the 25th District, I was reminded of the great responsibility we have as a legislative body to meet the needs of the people of Washington state. I am fully committed to representing you with the best of my ability, and am honored to have the privilege to do so.
On Friday, I recorded my first video update, recapping my experiences during the first two weeks of session. Take a look!
There are many important issues we face as a state, but none is more important than education. I have been selected as the assistant ranking member on the House Education Committee. I support funding education first in the state budget to ensure we are fulfilling our obligation to our students and meeting the state Supreme Court's ruling in the McCleary case. I am aware adequate funding doesn't automatically solve all problems, so I am working to ensure we receive a return on our education investment that gives our students the maximum benefit.
I am also focused on ways to make our higher education system operate more efficiently. Many of our students incur great debt when they graduate from the higher education system, and this must be addressed. I serve on the House Higher Education Committee, and met with higher education leaders last week to discuss solutions to reduce student costs. Textbook reform is one way to reduce costs, for example. I am working to introduce such reform this session.
The third committee I serve on is the House Rules Committee. All bills that pass out of the 21 different House committees will come to the Rules Committee, where its members will determine which bills are presented on the House floor.
Last week, I dropped my first bill, House Bill 1554, which has bipartisan support and is unanimously supported by the Public Records Exemptions Accountability Committee. HB 1554 will protect the identities of children that have been victims of misconduct while enrolled in child care, early learning, parks and recreation, after-school, and youth development programs. Currently, personal information of a victim's guardians or family members is not exempt from public record, thus making it easier to identify the victim. My bill changes that.
Effective bills and policy come together when strong relationships are built. I am co-sponsoring several bills, and working with representatives on both sides of the aisle to develop policies that best benefit our communities and state. Additionally, I meet every day with numerous groups, organizations and constituents, listening to their concerns and ideas, discussing solutions and answering questions. I have met with leaders of The Washington Council for Police and Sheriffs, who have shared their priorities to keep our communities safe. I also had the chance to meet with students from our higher education institutions to discuss their tuition needs. I have also met with young leaders from the American Heritage Girls Troop 1227 in Pierce County to encourage them to lead through love in their communities.
I encourage you to make an appointment to meet with me at my office in Olympia. You are always welcome, and I am looking forward to meeting with you.
It is an honor to serve you.