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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Recent events have made me grateful for our police officers and firefighters.
Two weeks ago, a shooter fired dozens of rounds of gunfire as he made his way through the southwest neighborhood of Puyallup, killing 71-year-old Richard Johnson and terrorizing many other innocent people. Huge thanks are due to the Puyallup Police Department for their work to stop the gunman. At a community meeting at Aylen Junior High School on Aug. 12, neighbors repeatedly applauded police officers for their heroic actions, and for their daily service and professionalism.
We are also indebted to our firefighters. Our local Central Pierce Fire and Rescue recently worked with partner agencies to contain and extinguish large wildfires on South Hill near Emerald Ridge High School and the Sunrise neighborhood. And last week, wildfires took the lives of three firefighters who courageously and bravely battled to protect citizens and communities in North Central Washington. Another firefighter, Daniel Lyon from Puyallup, remains in critical condition. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families who have lost loved ones, to Daniel for a strong recovery, and to the many first responders who remain out there. Resources remain limited and they are getting little rest. Please keep Daniel and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
I commend all of those first responders — firefighters and law enforcement — along with countless volunteers for their recent efforts.
State Supreme Court McCleary ruling
The Washington State Supreme Court recently ruled it will fine the state Legislature $100,000 per day for violating the court's McCleary decision on funding education. The court is also demanding the Legislature return to Olympia for another special session. All this despite the progress we made on education this year including:
- investing about $1.3 billion in K-12 education, the state's largest education budget in history;
- reducing class sizes in grades K-3; and
- providing a cost-of-living raise for teachers.
The court's ruling is not helpful to our process. We need to respect the separation of powers within state government. Legislating from the Supreme Court bench has no role in our constitutional government.
We need to continue our work to fund and reform education within our means and within our ability to work across the aisle to get things done as legislators.
Legislative leaders from both parties continue to meet, along with education leaders from both chambers and caucuses. We are working to be solution-oriented in addressing education funding well into the future.
Appointed to Joint Committee on Veterans' and Military Affairs
I have been appointed to serve on the Joint Committee on Veterans' and Military Affairs. I am honored to represent the many service members living and serving in the South Sound and across Washington state. You can read my news release by clicking here.
Since the special legislative session ended, I have been meeting with constituents, preparing bills for next session, and participating in community events around the 25th District.
I recently attended Puyallup's 125th anniversary celebration at the Pioneer Park Pavilion. The Puyallup tradition is truly worth celebrating. When a reporter asked me why I chose to spend my evening at the celebration, I replied, “I love Puyallup.” Read The News Tribune story “Puyallup celebrates 125th anniversary with chants, memories.”
If you have ideas for future legislation or would like to sit down over coffee to discuss challenges facing the community or workplace please do not hesitate to contact my office.
My legislative assistant, Sarah Pollock, can be reached at email@example.com or 253-840-4526, and she can set up a time to meet.
468 John L.O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7968 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000