Nothing About Us Without Us, a Week Without Driving and Improving Voter Participation 

Friends and neighbors, 

My second session and a legislator starts at the beginning of January. Last year we had some good successes, but we still have a lot of work to do on important issues like improving voter participation, representation in government, health care affordability for older adults and people with disabilities on Medicare, as well as addressing childhood sexual abuse. 

Recap of our community conversation in October 

Thank you to everyone who took the time to attend my October Community Conversation in Lake City. It was a privilege to be able to gather in community with all of you. Thank you for letting me share updates about the work I’ve done since taking my oath of office, and for taking the time to meet up so I could hear from you about issues that matter to you the most. I will be hosting more events like this in the future and look forward to seeing you there. It is an honor to serve the 46th district. 

Week Without Driving and Nothing About Us Without Us 

Lake City at night doesn’t feel safe. Vehicle collisions or pedestrian-involved incidents could happen at any minute. Before getting elected, I supported Week Without Driving as part of my day job which is a way to show how more pedestrian-friendly transportation options help to reduce transportation related incidents and furthers our climate goals. This can’t happen unless the people and communities affected by transportation barriers have a seat at the table to help us fill in the gaps in multimodal transit. These gaps include sidewalk access, easier access to light rail, and improved bus services.  

For instance, King County Metro has been trying to reduce bus lines along Lake City Way- a majority minority neighborhood- which would hurt communities who rely on busses as their main mode of transportation to get to work and school. The entire 46th delegation collaborated with Councilmember Dembowski to meet with King County Metro to push back against this and insist that Lake City busses be protected. I will advocate for continued funding from the legislature to protect these lines as well as increase connection with link light rail. 

(Photo Credit – LSS Photography) 

This just goes to show how important it is to have representation from affected communities at the table when decisions are made. It isn’t possible to make effective policy decisions if impacted communities aren’t included in the process, without people with direct lived experience we will continue to create unintended consequences. That is why I will be pushing harder than ever for the Nothing About Us Without Us act this session. It is a smart step to make sure our neighbors with lived experiences are represented, our decisions well thought out, and truly improve the lives of our constituents. 

King County Legislative Forum on Behavioral Health 

It was surreal to attend the King County Legislative Forum on Behavioral Health as a state representative! I’ve attended this event for years as an advocate and to be up on the stage this year with my elected colleagues was truly a dream come true. I remember watching from the audience at Representative Davis’s first time attending as a legislator and was glad to share my first time with her too. We heard powerful stories of folks in recovery, and I shared about some of my legislative priorities as well. This session we are going back for more funding for valuable behavioral health diversion programs in King County, specifically, the Legal Intervention and Network of Care (LINC) and the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program (LEAD), getting identification on exit for folks leaving the Department of Corrections and state hospitals and creating more opportunities for the criminal legal system to divert low level charges. And of course, I’m working very hard to make sure we institutionalize our commitment to taking direction from people with direct lived experience through the Nothing About Us Without Us Act. 

Recent trip to the White House 

It was an honor to be sent to the White House for the Washington State Legislature! We learned about the depth of investments our federal partners have provided through transportation, clean energy, and healthcare. Because of their investments we were able to provide quality affordable healthcare to 230,000 Washingtonians. We are so grateful AND we need more support with behavioral health. Even after hundreds of millions of dollars invested in behavioral health this session, we are far from meeting our goals.  

I’ve asked the White House and our congressional partners to please invest in behavioral health workforce so that more will join the field and be able to stay. I spoke with our delegation about the fantastic co-responder, mobile crisis, crisis stabilization and receiving centers, permanent supportive housing, and other innovative programs. For them to work, we need a robust behavioral health workforce, and we need our federal partners to be a strong pillar in our multijurisdictional approach. I am committed to working on this.  

Improving voter participation 

This year’s election turnout was abysmal. This is continuing a trend we’ve seen over the last five years. It is clear that we need to do more to improve access to voting. One way I am working on improving voter participation is by sponsoring legislation to give counties and cities the option to move their elections to even years – putting them on the ballot with presidential and state-wide races. This will help improve voter participation and will strengthen our democracy. 

The Seattle Times recently published a great article on this specific issue. 

Thank you for your continued engagement with the legislative process. I look forward to hearing from you as we move into the legislative session. 

In service, 

Rep. Darya Farivar