Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thank you for the great honor of serving our 5th Legislative District communities as your state representative. It is rewarding to bring all the work we have done locally to promote innovative education reform to the Legislature for consideration. In addition to education, I will focus on job creation and how we prepare our students to fill the highest-paying jobs in our state.
Periodically, I will send you these brief e-mail updates to give you information on legislation we are considering and to solicit your feedback on the issues that matter most to you.
If you plan to be in Olympia, please be sure to call my office to set up a time to meet. My door is always open and my legislative aide, Kathie Davies, is available to set appointments and assist you with finding state services or working with a state agency to resolve a problem. As a team, we will serve you to the best of our abilities. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 786-7876.
Thank you, again, for the honor of serving you. I look forward to hearing from you.
My goal is to ensure the work we do at the state level makes our schools, families, employers and communities stronger. As your state representative, I will focus on:
- Updating and innovating our state's K-12 education system. Using technology to meet students at their individual levels and enhance their talents is something we must consider seriously. Our children these days grow up with technology and use it regularly. It will be an essential tool to help close the achievement gap and assist classrooms that include gifted and disabled students.
- Treating our education system as a primary force for economic growth. We must capture the talent in our state by preparing students and closing the skills gap so today's students are ready to pursue the highest-paying technical and manufacturing jobs of tomorrow. Economic opportunity for every citizen begins with a good education foundation.
- Advocating for smaller, leaner government that focuses on the priorities of government and creates less bureaucracy in the lives of private individuals. While working to ensure equal opportunity, we must remain free to choose our own paths.
- Creating a responsible and sustainable budget that focuses on priorities, such as K-12 education, public safety and services for our most vulnerable.
Many of you have worked alongside me over the years as we've fought to reform our K-12 education system in a way that best serves the children in our schools. We all agree that children should be the first consideration in our schools. Meeting the needs of students by ensuring great teachers are in our classrooms, we keep standards high and meet students where they are at by using technology and innovation.
Fund Education First: As the assistant ranking Republican on the House Education Committee, I support the House Republican Fund Education First proposal, House Bill 1174. The bill would fully fund K-12 education first, in a separate budget passed before any other appropriations, with existing revenues. The solution would prioritize K-12 education spending and not rely on tax increases. Specifically, it would:
- Fully fund the hard-fought reform provisions of House Bill 2261 (2009) and House Bill 2776 (2010) – beginning by fiscal year 2014 and completing by fiscal year 2019.
- Prioritize enhancements by fully funding all-day kindergarten and one-half of K-3 class-size enhancements in the upcoming 2013-15 biennium.
- Fund the remaining K-3 class-size enhancements, additional 80 instructional hours for grades 7-12 and some materials, supplies, and operating costs– also known as MSOC – in the 2015-17 biennium.
- Fund the remaining MSOC enhancements and all pupil-transportation enhancements in the 2017-19 biennium.
- Increase the percentage of the budget allocated to K-12 education from the current 44 percent to 51 percent by the 2017-19 biennium.
Along with Fund Education First, I cosponsored House Bill 1452, which is a strong accountability measures that would ensure children can read at fourth grade level by the fourth grade by measuring progress at the third grade level, when we still have time for remediation. Research tells us that if children are behind in reading by fourth grade, many will never catch up. Closing the achievement gap and giving kids the tools they need to be successful are my priorities.
Additionally, House Bill 1472 is a bill I cosponsored which would provide initiatives to improve and expand access to computer science education in schools. Technology is an ever-growing part of our lives, and we are going to need the next generation to embrace and be excited about furthering these technologies as they continue to expand in fields outside work and personal uses, such as health care and life sciences.
In just four short weeks, I have had the opportunity to speak twice on the House floor. My first speech was on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Honoring a man who reminds us all that we are defined by what we do – our actions, or inactions – not by the color of our skin, where we worship or our economic circumstances, was an honor beyond words.
My second speech was on Friday, Feb. 1. I stood up in support of changing the House operating rules, or the rules that govern how the House of Representatives functions, to include a provision that would adopt the House Republican Fund Education First proposal. As we work to comply with the state constitution, which tells us that education is the “paramount duty” of the state, and the Supreme Court ruling in the McCleary v. State landmark education funding lawsuit that insisted that basic education should be funded “…as the State's first and highest priority before any other State programs or operations.” The Fund Education First provision is the only one I believe would have put the Legislature in compliance with both.
You can watch my speech by clicking on the picture to the right.
I am extremely pleased with my two-year committee assignments in the House. The assignments reflect the issues of importance in the 5th District and will allow for the work we do as a team to be meaningful and reflect your values and priorities. My committees include:
- Education: I was appointed to serve as the assistant lead Republican on this committee. As a freshman, this is an incredible honor. This committee considers all issues relating to K-12 education, including accountability, testing and evaluation legislation, to name a few.
- Higher Education: This committee considers issues relating to the state's public and independent baccalaureate colleges and universities, public community and technical colleges, and private career and technical schools. Issues include governance and coordination of higher education, financial aid, tuition, distance learning, and the licensing of private colleges and career schools.
- Technology and Economic Development: This committee considers issues relating to technology and electronic communications, small business assistance, business financing, and the development of industry clusters, international trade and technology-driven “green” jobs.
- Rules: This is arguably the most powerful committee in the House. If a bill makes its way to the House floor, it has passed the last high hurdle – the House Rules Committee. The members on the committee consider all bills passed out of policy and fiscal committees and determines whether, and in what order, to schedule their consideration for a vote on the floor of the House. The Rules Committee also reviews, adopts and schedules consideration of floor resolutions.
Student page program:
If you have a student age 14-16 who would like to serve a week paging in the Washington State House of Representatives, please contact my office at (360) 786-7876. You can find details about the student page program and an application to participate here.
427 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7876 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000