The Voices of Your Neighbors

As part of my most recent legislative update, I sent out a survey asking about your budget priorities.

Over one hundred of you took the time to fill it out, and I wanted to offer everyone the opportunity to read some of the stories that were shared. While people wrote about a variety of issues important to them, the common thread was compassion.


 “My child just entered kindergarten, so we are at the beginning of our public school journey! It is extremely important to me that ALL children receive a full, enriching education. My daughter’s school can count on parents to help close budget gaps – but many schools cannot! Those children deserve as much of a chance as mine does.” 

 “I am studying aquatic and fishery sciences and have been watching federal funding for environmental research and restoration disappear, so I want to be sure this is still a priority in my state and I can count on having opportunities once I graduate to continue to advance the environmental health of our region.”

 “I am VERY concerned for the people currently at risk because of possible Medicaid cutbacks. Thankfully I am on Medicare, but frankly I’m worried about it as well. I also think the state needs to be VERY proactive on this, homeless issues (which will increase) and the environment.”

“I am concerned about the lack of affordable housing and the rent increases that cause homelessness and housing instability in our community. My neighborhood housing values are skyrocketing and there is not enough affordable housing to keep pace.”

“Please don’t forget those who have less voice, such as minorities and the homeless who don’t have the luxury to attend town hall meetings. Just because they don’t have a home doesn’t mean they don’t live here.”


Thank you for letting me know what you care about. These insights are so helpful as we face critical decisions in the budget over the next couple weeks.

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Gael began her career as a senior defense intelligence analyst for the Pentagon, working on security issues affecting ports across the country and other critical facilities. In 1989, she was the youngest person ever to receive in public the Director of Central Intelligence’s “National Intelligence Medal of Achievement” for recognition of her exceptional contributions to protecting vital national interests.

After a decade working at the Pentagon, Gael ran two international subsidiaries of a Fortune 500 company in Russia. She was responsible for creating disaster preparedness and emergency response plans for ports nationwide. Her work helped rebuild the country after the Cold War collapse, employing new technologies in an effort to clean up nuclear waste and prevent environmental disasters.

Gael most recently worked as a strategic advisor for the Institute for National Security Education and Research at the University of Washington.

First elected to serve the people of King County as a Port of Seattle Commissioner in 2007, Gael was re-elected in 2011 and served as Commission President in 2012. During her five years at the Port, Gael has worked to increase transparency, protect the environment, and bring an end to human trafficking. During this time, she also served as a technical advisor for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Seattle.

Gael was first elected to represent the 36th legislative district in 2012. She will focus on creating jobs, safeguarding our environment, ensuring government accountability, adequately funding higher education, and funding health care.

Gael was recently appointed to serve on several boards and work groups such as the Women Legislators Lobby (WiLL), Pacific NorthWest Economic Region, and Legislators’ Energy Horizons Institute. She also co-chairs the Washington State Aviation Caucus with Sen. Jim Honeyford of Sunnyside.

She holds a master’s degree from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. The Northwest Asian Weekly honored her with the “Women Leaders 2012” award, and she also received the “Maritime Industry Official of the Year 2012” award.

Gael and her husband, Bob, have lived in the 36th District’s Ballard neighborhood for nearly two decades. The Olympic Peninsula has been their favorite spot to fish for salmon and steelhead and go hiking for 25 years.

Seattle’s Working Waterfront

The city of Seattle cherishes its connections to the water – it’s all around us. The state legislature created a taskforce on maritime and manufacturing industries, which I co-chair.

This bipartisan, bicameral group is exploring what we need to do to hold onto the jobs and industrial lands for our maritime and fishing companies. Protecting our waterfront will provide our communities with sustainable fisheries, a healthy environment and future economic opportunities we can depend on.

This is why I love our working waterfront:

This segment shows the working waterfront and what it means for the future of our children and the many jobs that are part of maritime and manufacturing sectors:

Economic Resilience of Maritime and Manufacturing Taskforce covers several core sectors including fishing and seafood processing, ship and boat building, maritime logistics, military security and federal operations support, passenger water transportation and tourism.

This link includes information on the Taskforce, upcoming public meetings and work sessions and the Final Work Plan, which maps out the work of the Taskforce.

Below is also a list of Economic Impact Studies for an in-depth look at varying sectors in the Maritime Industry and their tremendous contributions to our state’s economy:
Port of Seattle
Port of Tacoma
WA State Maritime Cluster Impact Study
City of Seattle Maritime Cluster
Commercial Fishing Industry

Additional Resources on the Working Waterfront and Maritime & Manufacturing Industries:
National Working Waterfront Network
Sea Grant Washington
Department of Commerce Maritime Industry

News Releases

  • Hundreds turn out to hear from 36th District delegation at town hall | - March 20, 2017
    From the Queen Anne & Magnolia News –  By Saturday morning, it had been about six weeks since the last 36th District town hall meeting, held in the Ballard High School library. That event drew a standing room-only crowd of... READ MORE
  • 36th Legislative District Town Hall | News - March 3, 2017
    Who: State Sen. Reuven Carlyle, State Rep. Gael Tarleton, and State Rep. Noel Frame (36th Legislative District) What: Town hall meeting When: 11:00 AM –  12:30 PM Saturday, March 11th Where: Leif Erikson Lodge 2245 NW 57th St. Seattle, WA 98107 Why: To meet with constituents to... READ MORE
  • Safeguarding vulnerable adults from physical and financial abuse | News - February 27, 2017
    Today, February 27, we passed HB 1153 off the House floor in a 92-4 vote. I was proud to vote in favor of this important legislation, which puts in place additional protections for vulnerable adults. We must do all we... READ MORE
  • House Passes Education Measure! | News - February 24, 2017
    This afternoon we voted SHB 1843 off the House floor in a 50 to 47 vote. This bill is the beginning of getting our job done in fulfilling our paramount duty. This bill now moves to the Senate. HB 1843... READ MORE
  • House bill would help prioritize university capital budgets | News - February 13, 2017
    From The Daily Evergreen – House Bill 1325, which would change the way two- and four-year universities apply for capital budget projects, will be discussed tomorrow in executive session. The Capital Budget Committee held a hearing for the bill on... READ MORE
  • Videos

    Legislator Profiles with State Representative Gael Tarleton, 36th District.

    Strengthen the middle class through investments in higher education

    Building an economy that works for everyone means making college affordable and accessible. In a state known for its high-tech and engineering industries, Washington House Democrats are committed to removing barriers to college. Here’s Rep. Gael Tarleton sharing ideas on how to strengthen the middle class through investments in higher education. #waleg

    Posted by Washington House Democrats on Friday, February 26, 2016


    Olympia Address:
    429A Legislative Building
    PO Box 40600
    Olympia, WA 98504

    (360) 786-7860
    Email Gael

    Legislative Assistant:
    Elka Peterson Horner
    Email: Elka.PetersonHorner@leg.wa.gov

    Toll-free Hotline:
    1-800-635-9993 (TTY)

    Technology & Economic Development (Vice Chair)
    Higher Education

    For Press Inquiries:
    Jamie Nixon, Communications Specialist
    (360) 786-7202

    For broadcast-quality audio or TV/radio interviews:
    Dan Frizzell, Broadcast Coordinator
    (360) 786-7208

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