Newsletter: Survey Results, MLK, Update on Ferries, and lots more!

Dear friends and neighbors,

Community engagement is vital for our democratic process. As your representative, I need input from people from diverse communities and with a wide range of lived experiences. That’s why I am truly grateful to those of you who took my legislative priorities survey. Here are the results. This feedback is very useful in informing how I can represent you best.




Yesterday we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We honored Dr. King’s legacy in a special celebration and adopted a resolution on the floor. His vision for equality and justice for all inspires us to continue fighting for what’s right: a more just and inclusive society. The quotes in the image below are from a speech delivered by my friend and colleague, Rep. Chipalo Street:


Quick Update on Ferries

As a member of the Transportation Committee, I am well aware that many communities across our state depend on ferries for jobs, for education, and for health care.

As of today, we have 21 boats. We need a total of 26 and, while we are finally prioritizing building new boats, they won’t come online fast enough to restore service to every route for several years. But building them is only part of the equation, the other is an insufficient workforce.

On January 4th, Washington State Ferries (WSF) released a contingency plan for dealing with the shortage of vessels, replacing its previous service restoration plans.

I’m glad that the legislature allocated additional resources to restore 2-boat service to the Clinton-Mukilteo run, which is vitally important. I’m also fighting to ensure that the Coupeville-Port Townsend route will return to 2-boat service as quickly as WSF has the resources to do so.

Get the Scoop:

Here’s an opportunity to hear directly from WSF managers about their plans to improve service and build new ferries: there are two virtual public meetings held by WSF this week.

The first is 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17 and the second is 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18. Click here to register to either event.

Visiting the Capitol

Exciting News for College-Bound Students

The new, revised, and simplified FAFSA form for college aid is here! From a streamlined application process to increased financial assistance opportunities, here’s what you need to know for the 2024-25 academic year: 

student microscope

Less is More: The redesigned FAFSA has fewer questions, making it easier than ever to apply for grants, work-study jobs, and loans. 

Student Aid Index (SAI): The SAI now calculates your ability to pay for college, with more income protected and changes benefiting students with children. 

Pell Grant Boost: Over 2.1 million more students could now qualify for a full Pell Grant, providing substantial aid for those with exceptional financial need. 

Easy Application: Create your ID on the Federal Student Aid website. The deadline is June 30, 2025. 

Soft Launch: While the form is already available online, the Education Department will monitor and fix issues until later in January.  

Check out this Seattle Times story for more information.

Smokey Bear on license plates

I am one of the sponsors of House Bill 2108, which would create a special license plate that was proposed back in November by our state’s Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz.

smokey bear plates

About 80 percent of wildfires are caused by people, and a license plate with Smokey’s face and message is one way to help. Proceeds from sales of the plates would go toward public education programs focused on wildfire prevention. Washington would join Oregon and Texas with Smokey Bear plates. I think it’s a great idea and, since it does require both approval from lawmakers and public support, I encourage you to check out the petition.


Here’s some good news: Picture-in-picture American Sign Language interpretation is now available for select committee hearings during the 2024 legislative session on TVW and!


The schedule of picture-in-picture ASL interpretation can be found at the Washington State Legislature website:

You can also find this information by visiting, click on the three lines on the top left of the webpage to enable the menu. Then choose “media archives.” Set the start and end dates of your choice, under “categories” select “ASL”, and click on “submit.” All the hearings you will see listed will have ASL interpretation available.


Learn more about accessibility accommodations in the Legislature:

Thank you for reading this newsletter. I hope you find this information useful. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions, ideas or concerns.


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