Rep. Kristine Lytton chosen as Majority Floor Leader in state House

State Rep. Kristine Lytton (D-Anacortes, 40th) has been elected Majority Floor Leader of the state House of Representatives by her colleagues in Olympia.  Lytton, vice-chair of the House Agriculture & Natural Resources committee and a member of the budget-writing Appropriations Committee, was reelected to a third term in the House by the voters of her northwest Washington district in November.  She remains a member of the House Education Committee, where she formerly served as vice-chair.

Lytton served as Assistant Majority Floor Leader during the 2013-14 legislative session, and now takes on full responsibility for managing the floor calendar and structuring debate on bills that come up for a vote by the House of Representatives.

“With education funding, the entire state budget, and a number of other key issues set to dominate,” Lytton said, “I’m expecting this to be one of the busiest and most significant sessions in recent memory.  I’m honored to be given this role, and I look forward to working inclusively with my Republican counterpart to get the people’s work done in a respectful and timely manner.”

The 2015 legislative session, slated to last 105 days, begins January 12

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Reps. Blake and Kretz to hold “Planning for Fire Season 2015” meeting in Brewster January 5

Photo courtesy: DNR

Rep. Brian Blake (D-Aberdeen), Chair of the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee, and Rep. Joel Kretz (R-Wauconda) will host presentations by local and state officials for the local community about preparations for the upcoming 2015 fire season on January 5th.

The discussion will revolve around the roles and responsibilities of state and local agencies regarding wildfire fighting, protection of homes, evacuation orders and other areas related to fire.

Special focus will be given to preparations for the next fire season in the region, taking into account the Department of Natural Resources’ goals for direct communication with communities about its mission as a wildfire agency; additional training for local and state firefighters; and a coordinated prepositioning of resources in anticipation of large lightning storms in fire-prone areas. 

What:  “Planning for Fire Season 2015” meeting hosted by Reps. Brian Blake and Joel Kretz

Where:  Brewster High School Library, 503 South 7th Street Brewster, WA 98812

When:  Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, 7 to 9 p.m.

Who:  Legislators and invited local and state officials including Peter Goldmark, Commissioner of Public Lands, and Frank T. Rogers, Okanogan County Sheriff, as well as Chuck Duffy, Washington State Fire Marshal, among others.

Rep. Brian Blake, 360-786-7870;
Rep. Joel Kretz, 509-826-7203;



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Rep. Pettigrew – inspiring teens to pursue higher education!

Eric Pettigrew speaking at EWU

Today, Rep. Pettigrew gave the keynote at Eastern Washington Universitys Get Connected  Event. The conference puts underrepresented high school students on college campuses, examining career options and talking with other students in similar situations. Several hundred teens came out on their lunch to hear Rep. Pettigrew’s inspiring advice! Sharing his story with them, Rep. Pettigrew discussed  six ideas that transformed his life – taking him from academic struggles and adversity to a local and state business and community leader.

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Is home ownership out of reach in Washington state?

Affordable housing is a key issue for lawmakers this year, with numerous bills and programs aimed at the issue every session.

Three key costs for every family are housing , transportation and food – but housing, whether you rent or buy a home, is typically the largest expensive. If you want to really get into the issue, check out the state’s Affordable Housing Advisory Board.

So are things getting better or worse in Washington state? And should you rent or buy?

Continue reading

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Hudgins to release package of stronger cybersecurity laws

Photo courtesy of

OLYMPIA – Your private information is stored on countless servers, both public and private. With data breach after breach in the news these days, how can we do a better job of protecting your private information from hackers?

“Every week, there are new stories about data breaches,” said Rep. Zack Hudgins, D-Tukwila, chair of the new General Government and Information Technology Committee in the House of Representatives. “It doesn’t have to be this way. We can do a better job of protecting your private information, whether you’re shopping at the hardware store or renewing your driver’s license.”

No one is immune from cyberattacks, with recent targets including the Washington state court system, the White House, numerous national store chains and the states of Utah, South Carolina and Montana.

In recent years, Washington state took important steps toward better cybersecurity, including mandatory IT security programs for every state agency and inventories of state software to find ancient systems that aren’t up to modern security standards.

But that’s not enough, Hudgins said, especially after a new report by the state auditor’s office highlights the threat of cyberattacks and includes new recommendations. Continue reading

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