Dear Friends and Neighbors,
With the 2015 legislative session quickly approaching, I thought it would be good to connect with you. I have continued to work hard representing you this interim (the time between legislative sessions), meeting with local officials and attending community events. Unfortunately, the major events in our district this summer were the severe wildfires, most notably the Carlton Complex Fire.
In the news
- My interview Oct. 1 on KPQ's “Your Turn” discussing education
- My interview Nov. 21 on KPQ with Sen. Linda Evans Parlette discussing the upcoming session
- My interview Nov. 21 on KOZI with Rep. Cary Condotta discussing the upcoming session
During the height of the wildfires, I traveled to various community meetings and evacuation shelters to hear from victims and connect people on the ground with state officials. It was heart-wrenching to see the damage done to our land, buildings and homes. At the same time, I was inspired by the resolve of communities to rebuild and the service of neighbors and emergency personnel.
One shining example was in Pateros, where the community utilized the school to receive and distribute supplies for those affected by the fires. My family provided some things, and found the gym packed with supplies of every kind from across the state and even the nation! Later, I attended a Pateros School District board meeting and the school's opening day. It was amazing to see how many renovations occurred to get the school year started. More than $2 million in damage occurred to their building, but they are coming back stronger thanks to the help of insurance, private donations and state emergency funding. The entire staff is amazing, including teachers who returned to teaching and supporting their students after losing their own homes just weeks before. Keep it up, Pateros School District!
Of course there are many more stories just like this throughout the district. Many areas in Okanogan County have been significantly affected. Many individuals, organizations, and local officials have stepped up in incredible ways and for that we are all very grateful. Though the wildfires have passed, this is just the beginning of the recovery. It's going to be a long road, but I'm confident in the spirit and resolve of our communities.
Below are some of the photos I took as I traveled through the affected areas:
Preparing for session
In preparation for session each year, I have made a habit of meeting with various local officials to get a sense for their legislative priorities. In October, I met with Wenatchee Mayor Kuntz and the city staff; attended the Twisp Festival; participated in the Buddy Walk to raise awareness for down syndrome; and discussed issues with Department of Transportation, Chelan County PUD and Port of Chelan County staff. In November, I met with Douglas and Grant county commissioners as well as the Cascadia Conservation District; attended the Cashmere Middle School mock Congressional hearing; met with the Coalition for Children and Families of North Central Washington, Wenatchee's Link Transit and the Associated General Contractors.
This month, I have met with local family physicians, insurance agents, the Wenatchee World editorial board and the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce. I also attended an education town hall meeting for educators and parents with my seatmates, Sen. Linda Evans Parlette and Rep. Cary Condotta.
I'm also getting ready to move my family to Olympia for the session which begins Jan. 12. I'll write again to share the 2015 session outlook, and my goals for the year.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your state representative.
Please feel free to contact my office anytime. Happy New Year!
122G Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7832 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000