Working for you in Olympia

Friends and neighbors,

Welcome to my first newsletter! I’ll be sending regular email updates on my work as a first-year lawmaker, COVID-19 resources and news developments. You can also follow me on Facebook for the latest. It’s an honor to represent you, Whatcom County, in Olympia.

Caring for one another

This past year has been tough. There’s no doubt that workers, families and small business owners across Northwest Washington are struggling to make ends meet. If you, or your family, is going through a tough time, please know that you’re not alone. I have your back in the Legislature. I’m committed to fighting for economic recovery and supporting small businesses that have been devastated by COVID-19 restrictions.

The pandemic has shown us just how important it is to not only take care of each other and be good neighbors, but also to invest in our communities. We must create more jobs and opportunities, improve child care access and build stronger unions.

As a social worker, mental health professional and mom of three boys, I believe it’s important to put our kids first. We must ensure schools are able to respond to the needs of children who have suffered so much during this pandemic, as well as children who need additional support or mental health services and aren’t getting the help they need.

It’s my priority to be available and accessible to you. Don’t hesitate to reach out at 360-746-3744 or with your questions, thoughts or concerns.

Doubling down on our efforts

Our COVID-19 rates in Whatcom County are spiking higher than anywhere in Washington state. I know it’s been hard. I miss spending time with family and friends, and I know many of you do too. But I learned this week that our communities are more vulnerable than ever. Let’s double down on our efforts. Mask up and social distance friends.

The pandemic has been difficult, but here’s some help:

-The Small Business Administration reopened the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which gives loans to small businesses to help retain workers and keep the lights on. Visit this link for more information about COVID-19 relief options.

-Washington Listens provides emotional and mental support to anyone in our state who feels sad, anxious or stressed from COVID-19. You can call 1-833-681-0211 any day of the week to speak with a support specialist. It’s free and anonymous.

We’re also working on making improvements to unemployment benefits, and on ways the Legislature can support workers. Stay tuned for more information.

Ensuring vaccine access

With the COVID-19 vaccine being approved, our communities were starting to feel a sense of relief and an end in sight to the pandemic. But vaccine distribution has been a confusing, inconsistent process.

That’s why I called on the state Department of Health to provide more information about when, how and where Whatcom County residents can access the vaccine. To read my letter to state Health Secretary Dr. Umair Shah, click here.

All Washingtonians who want the vaccine should have access to information about it.

Working for you remotely

This was the first week of the 2021 legislative session. Though the session is being held remotely this year because of the pandemic, there’s lots of ways to be involved.

You can still watch committee meetings and floor sessions on (look for me in the Children, Youth & Families; Community & Economic Development; and Capital Budget Committees). And you can sign up here to testify remotely.

Now that you can testify from the comfort of your own home, this session will be even more accessible than an in-person session. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for reading! Always feel free to contact me.

Stay well,

Alicia Rule