Washington State House Democrats


Blake’s 1/2/17 Update: Education Funding / Hirst / Veterans

Making sense of the debate about fully funding our public schools

There’s a decades-long debate in Olympia about how to pay for public schools and a lot of the debate involves whether we should ignore the rest of the budget, fund our schools, then give all those other services whatever money is left over.

I’d like to talk about that idea in a way that doesn’t involve a sea of numbers and acronyms. Because this is important—for all of us, and for the 1.1 million kids in our public schools.

As a mom or dad, you don’t just make sure your kids get to school in the morning and call it good. You make sure they have a warm home and a hot breakfast. That their shoes are tied, they wear a coat when it’s rainy, and get to a doctor when they’re sick.

You take care of the whole child—because ignoring any of those areas puts that whole child at risk.

So no, you can’t only fund K-12 schools while cutting off kids from a warm place to sleep at night and three meals a day. You can’t slash funding that makes sure homeless kids have coats and shoes. You can’t cut off blue collar kids from the health coverage that lets them see a doctor when they’re sick.

Not if you want those kids to succeed in school and in life.

Nobody can raise their kids, or run a state, by simple bumper stickers. It’s not that easy. But nothing worth doing is easy.

And our kids are definitely worth it.

Figuring out rural development where it “Hirst” the most


I am determined to make sure that our rural communities are supported in ways that help them to grow and thrive. However, these communities are hurting after the unexpected Hirst decision. The decision halts new construction in many rural areas and we are aware that growth is necessary for farmers and communities to expand and make necessary infrastructure changes. We hear our communities asking for our help and we at the legislature are trying to find ways to reverse some of the harmful impacts of Hirst. Our goal is to pass legislation that lets people continue to build on their land.

Connecting rural veterans to earned services

I’m proud to support a bill to help veterans access their hard- earned federal services. Often, even though veterans are eligible for services, they cannot use them because of how far away or difficult these services are to get to for those who live in rural areas. 


Rep. Reeves thinks we can help. She introduced the bill that will help the Department of Veterans Affairs come up with a plan to identify partners in rural communities who can help connect veterans and services provided by the federal government, such as veterans’ benefits. By helping them access those services, we’re making good use of federal resources (which otherwise would be spent on other people, or wasted) without massive funding burdens stretching our already thin state resources.

I look forward to casting my vote on this important bill.

Dairy Day

Dairy Day

Last week we had Dairy Day at the Washington State Capitol. We had the chance to meet with dairy farmers and organizations from around the state.

I heard their concerns and we talked about ways we can work together on policies that strengthen the dairy industry  to benefit both farmers and consumers.

Please know my door is always open, so don’t hesitate to contact my office if you’re going to be in town. Or let me know what’s on your mind by telephone or email. Hearing from you helps me represent you better.