Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope you've been able to enjoy the beautiful summer and spend time with your family and friends.
Since I last wrote, I have attended several local events that keep me plugged in with the Spokane community and allow me to hear from you.
In July, I joined Sens. Baumgartner and Padden to tour Lakeland Village, a residential habilitation center (RHC) for people with developmental disabilities. This visit reminded me of how important it is to protect the most vulnerable in our community; those who cannot care for themselves. I am amazed at the work being done at Lakeland and across our state to help make the lives of people with disabilities as normal as possible.
I also participated in a forum hosted by the Washington Retail Association with Sens. Baumgartner and Billig and Reps. Parker and Riccelli. We discussed the many bipartisan measures that came out of the Legislature. We also discussed how we can help small businesses keep their doors open, and listened to several questions/comments.
The Mockingbird Society, which advocates for foster kids statewide, hosted a barbeque which I attended. I was proud to support two of the bills they championed for foster youth. The first, Senate Bill 5389, will allow siblings to visit each other when they cannot be in the same foster home. The second was Senate Bill 5147, which increases the time required to notify parents of a runaway who has come to a shelter. While this isn't a black and white issue, as a parent I would want to be notified when my child is safe. The legislation also encourages children to go to a safe place, allowing safe resolution of a situation between a child and parents.
In August, I attended a public hearing on adopting rules to implement I-502, marijuana legalization. Many people are concerned not only about how to safely implement this as the will of the people, but also the crossover with medical marijuana. You may have also read in the news recently that the federal government has said it will not prevent Washington (and Colorado) from setting up legal marijuana operations.
Later in the month, I attended a national seminar on Public Employee Retirement Systems at Harvard University. I learned a great deal from other states on how best to protect our state's pension trust funds.
If you or your group would like to meet with me, informally over coffee or for a formal presentation, please contact my district office – the information is at the bottom of this e-mail. My legislative aide, Josh, can help you find a time that works for both of us.
Statewide transportation forums
As you may remember, a transportation revenue proposal which included a gas tax increase failed to pass the Legislature this year. Members of the Senate Transportation Committee will be holding forums across the state, including in Spokane. I encourage you to attend:
Wednesday, Oct. 2, 6-9 p.m.
Greater Spokane Incorporated, 801 W. Riverside, Spokane, WA 99201
This is a chance for your voice to be heard on transportation issues affecting Spokane.
Congratulations and pride in Spokane
Christine Petterborg (pictured speaking at right), a teacher from North Central High School, attended the Legislative Scholars Program in Olympia this summer. She and 19 others teachers from across the state traveled to the Capitol to learn more about representative democracy and be recognized for their work in civics programs. Thank you, Christine, and all the other teachers who are committed to our children's education and future!
Just a week ago, Army Staff Sgt. Ty Carter from Spokane was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military honor. I think I speak for all of us when I say how very proud we are of this young man's bravery, not only on the battlefield, but now dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. Reading of Sgt. Carter's experiences reminds all of us how grateful we are to live in a country with a volunteer army, and that even when they are back home they may still be suffering. I want to thank all of the military men and women who serve our country every day – thank you for everything you give.