Keeping promises and problem solving
March 2, 2018 | By Rep. Kristine Reeves
Keeping our promise to kids
It should come to you as no surprise that my #1 priority in coming to Olympia was to get our K-12 education system fully-funded so we could meet our court ordered McCleary obligation. I have two kids who will be entering Federal Way public schools soon and I want them to have the best education possible. It’s why I’m in Olympia fighting for our kids, our families, and our future.
With less than two weeks left, I’m proud to say I voted for a House budget that finally puts the last piece of the education funding puzzle together. Last year, the Legislature passed a plan that met all of the Supreme Court’s requirements for education funding–except one. That last piece, increasing teacher salaries by September 2018, is part of the budget I voted for this week.
The original budget plan didn’t keep our promise to our teachers, so I joined many colleagues to insist we find a way to meet the court’s requirements, while still maintaining funding for crucial state services.
The budget isn’t a done deal yet. There’s still negotiating to be done with the Senate and some differences to work out. But I’m confident that if we continue along the path we’re on now, our kids are going to get a great education, with well-funded classrooms, properly paid teachers, and the resources they need to be successful.
You sent me to Olympia to put people first and solve problems. It’s why I voted against increased property taxes but am fighting hard to find property tax relief, while still ensuring we provide people with the resources they need when times are hard, and building an economy that works for everyone in our region.
Tackling homelessness in Federal Way
The state needs a comprehensive plan to address homelessness. It’s affecting every town and city in our state. While I’ve heard a lot of possible solutions to the problem while serving on the Community Development, Housing, and Tribal Affairs committee, I know it’s going to take a combination of options, including public-private partnerships, and looking to our faith communities to help make sure all our neighbors have roofs over their heads.
In our district, I’ve fought for operating and capital budget increases to help get our neighbors off the streets and into housing. That includes:
- $100,000 for Mary’s Place Women’s & Children’s Shelter
- $500,000 for FUSION Boutique Transitional Housing
- $1.2 million for foster kids to successfully transition out of the foster care system into safe housing
- $250,000 for Habitat for Humanity Homeless Veterans Housing
You’ve probably heard a lot in the news about the Legislature’s recent proposed changes to the laws regarding open records. The bill, SB 6617, passed the Legislature last Friday.
I want you to know I voted against this bill. As someone who has been subject to the Public Records Act in other capacities, I know what it takes to operate under public scrutiny. While the legislature has not traditionally considered itself subject to public disclosure, last year I released my calendar to the news media that asked for it because I have nothing to hide. Until the Legislature sets a firm policy for all members, I will continue to voluntarily turn over records that are requested.
I will continue to fight for a transparent and open government that is accountable to you.
Please reach out in these final weeks with any thoughts or question.