Visiting Washington Communities, A Survey on Medical Debt, and Page Applications!

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Once again we have made the twice-yearly change to our clocks. You’ll remember that I passed a law to keep us on permanent Daylight Savings Time, but that change needs to be approved by Congress and the U.S. House of Representatives has failed to pass legislation approved by the U.S. Senate to ditch the time switch. There have been discussions about moving to permanent Standard Time, something that does not require federal approval, and I’ll keep you updated as those deliberations occur.

Meanwhile, I’m pleased to share with you some of my insights from my recent tour of the state with the Local Government Committee. I’m also hoping you’ll take a look at the Page Program, as I’m always excited to sponsor pages from Eastern Washington to come work at the Legislature. Finally, as chair of the Health Care & Wellness Committee, the role that medical debt plays in our lives is important to understand. I’ve put together a very brief survey I hope you’ll fill out.

Rural Jobs, Affordable Housing, & Crops: Highlights from the Local Government tour

Serving on the Local Government Committee, I hear a lot about the issues our local officials face when making decisions. These city and county officials have to manage complex issues and work directly with communities to identify pressing concerns. When those issues require state-level policy changes, they come to us with their ideas. It’s always great when we can spend the interim between sessions going out to those communities and seeing things firsthand.

A lot of the issues communities across the state are facing is lack of affordable housing. One example I heard from the mayor of Leavenworth was about how many of the homes in the area are vacation homes and how that impacts the housing stock available. Zoning and housing affordability challenges aren’t isolated to one area of the state, and it hurts the workers and families in communities the most.

A scenic shot of a street in Leavenworth, Washington. In the foreground is a beige building with two blue signs and in the background a white building with a red roof and dark trim.

Agriculture is a leading industry in Washington state, and the effects of climate change is changing how and what kind of crops we can grow. At a local pear orchard, I got to hear about how water temperature in streams and rivers plays a large role in whether a crop will succeed or fail. It’s important we look at all the ways we can keep crops healthy and mitigate impacts from climate change.

Representative Marcus Riccelli tosses a green pear in the air while standing in a pear orchard.

As our high-tech economy continues to spread throughout the state, we’ll see more rural communities building out the infrastructure to bring in those jobs. Data storage facilities and server farms are some of the new facilities requiring access to cheap power and high-speed internet and visiting one of those sites was an interesting insight into the types of change we’re seeing in Eastern Washington.

Representative Marcus Riccelli listening to someone out of frame speaking and standing beside a two lane highway with Representatives Berg and Duerr

Eastern Washington Students Needed for Page Program!

Do you know a 14-16 year old who wants to learn more about the Legislature? The House Page Program is accepting applications for the 2024 legislative session! I’m always excited to sponsor Eastern Washington and Spokane-area students for the page program. It’s a great way to learn more about the legislative process, meet new friends from across the state, and see your government in action.

Pages earn a daily stipend and there is a scholarship available for those that qualify. To learn more and to apply, visit the House Page Program website by clicking here.

Do you or have you had medical debt?

If you have had or currently have medical debt, I’d love for you to take this very brief survey. It should take no more than 2 minutes. My goal is to understand how much medical debt my constituents have or have had to deal with and how it impacted their day-to-day lives. All results are completely anonymous, and I won’t know who fills out the survey. I hope you’ll take the time to answer these brief questions.

A graphic with a blue rounded rectangle and a mouse arrow in the bottom right corner and the text "click here to fill out the survey" laid out in white font.

It is my honor to serve you!




Rep. Marcus Riccelli