Newsletter: Looking ahead to next session and your participation!

Dear friends and neighbors,

These final weeks of the year are a great opportunity to give you some pointers on the different ways you can participate in your democracy next session, as well as information on how your kid can participate in our Page Program. We are also including a few resources for food assistance and information on the 988 lifeline services. Lastly, we ask you to take a very short survey to help us learn more about the issues that matter to you.

Ways to Participate in 2024

Ways to participate joint
  • broadcasts all debates and votes that happen in the House or Senate, as well as all committee meetings in both chambers.
  • TestifyGo here for an overview of the process, here for instructions on how to testify remotely, and here to sign in for hearings in the House or Senate.
  • Research —Look up any bill by number, lawmaker, or topic here. To learn about the entire legislative process, click here.
  • Stay Informed — Visit our websites and official social media pages:
  • Get in Touch — You can always reach our offices by email or phone; all our contact information is listed at the bottom of this newsletter.

Legislative Page Program – Applications are Open!

Do you know any 14-16 year-old students who are interested in state government and politics? Encourage them to check out our Page Program!

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Washington has one of the best Legislative Page programs in the country.

Paging presents students with a unique educational opportunity to participate in the legislative process as they:

  • Contribute to the efficient operation of the Legislature by providing assistance to the chamber during floor debates.
  • Receive daily civics instruction while attending the Legislative Page School.
  • Draft their own bills.
  • Participate in mock committee hearings, and more.

This program gives students an up-close look at government in action, while they are having fun, making friends with kids from different parts of the state, earning a stipend, and receiving community service hours.

Spots fill up quickly and there’s a limit as to how many pages a legislator can sponsor. The good news is that even if/when our slots are full, legislators from any part of the state can sponsor pages from other districts. Click here to apply.

The expense of travelling to and staying in Olympia for a week can restrict young people’s ability to participate in the page program, that’s why we created a scholarship to help offset costs for those who qualify.

Food Assistance

While many of us are looking forward to celebrating the holidays, this is a particularly challenging time of the year for individuals and families who are struggling to put food on their tables.

If you, or someone you know is going through a rough patch, here are some of the resources available for anyone facing food insecurity:

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) information here.
  • Information on food assistance programs here.
  • To apply for either/both TANF or Basic Food, or other assistance programs, click here.
  • Find your closest food bank here.
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We know that nearly 700,000 people in Washington don’t have consistent access to enough food for everyone in their household. Last session we passed legislation to help meet the need left by reduced federal funding, we expanded free school meals to 90,000 additional students, and removed barriers for college students to access basic needs like food, water, housing and childcare.

We invested $95 million in food assistance programs, $81 million for refugee supports, and $44 million to fund an increase for TANF and other cash assistance programs. We also invested $19 million in TANF for diaper subsidies and a time limit extension.

While this is good work, hunger is an incessant issue, which is why our efforts to fight food insecurity in Washington are ongoing and we keep pushing for more funding and resources every session.

There is Hope

Mental health and behavioral health can also play a part in the lives of individuals and families for whom the holiday season is a heavy emotional load.

If you or a loved one is experiencing mental or behavioral health struggles or is in crisis, there is hope through Washington’s 988 system. Don’t hesitate to call, text, or message 988 and get connected with people who can help. 988 Lifeline services are also available in Spanish, along with interpretation services in over 240 languages and dialects. If you have a hearing impairment or use TTY, you can use your preferred relay service. You can also dial 711 and then 988. 


Please remember that you are not alone and there are resources available to you. 

Your 2024 Priorities

The 2024 Legislative Session begins on January 8, that’s less than a month away! It’s a short session, so we have to make the best of our time. That’s why we are reaching out to request that you share your priorities with us. Your input is essential for us to represent your interests in Olympia as it helps guide the decisions we make. Please take this very short survey to help us identify key issues that are important to you.

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Keep in Touch!

As we wrap up the year, we want to thank you for taking the time to read our updates and for your interest in our work on your behalf. Please keep in mind that your input and feedback are the driving forces behind our shared journey, so we hope you’ll take our survey, and always feel free to contact our offices with any concerns.

May this festive season bring you moments of joy, love, and reflection in the company of family and friends. Here’s to a new year filled with hope, health, prosperity, and continued collaboration!

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Your state representatives,

Peterson Ortiz-Self sigs