Greetings from Olympia!
During the first week of the 2017 legislative session, I was officially sworn in to serve the constituents of the 41st District for my second full term. But that is where the pomp and circumstance ends and the real work begins.
This year, the Legislature must do the hard work necessary to fully fund basic education as required by the state Constitution and because it’s what’s best for our kids and the state. I am honored to be serving on the Education, the Appropriations and the Early Learning & Human Services Committees this year – truly at the nexus of this year’s priorities.
While most of the attention and oxygen in the room will be focused on education, there are still dozens of issues critical to keeping our state, economy and citizens healthy and safe that must be addressed, from mental health and early learning to equal pay and homelessness.
Living up to our Commitment on Education
House Democrats wasted no time in beginning to address our education challenges. In the House Appropriations Committee, we voted—and passed–the “levy cliff” bill (HB 1059) to ensure our public schools can use voter-approved local levy dollars to support our kids and classrooms until the legislature takes action. Sadly, this was on a 100% party-line vote: No Republicans voted for the bill despite its passage last year 91-7. I am committed to working toward a budget solution that not only fulfills our educational commitments, but also preserves essential safety net services and higher education funding. Therefore, we must include new progressive revenue in our budget, for we cannot solve this challenge on the backs of struggling families, nor can we stop providing much-needed secondary education for the jobs of today and of the future.
Standing Strong with our Community
This weekend’s arson at the Islamic Center of the Eastside is an attack on all of us. We are a community strengthened by our diversity and this kind of hate and violence has no place here. I hope you will join me in offering your support.
I want to assure you that I share the concerns of so many of you who fear what the Trump Administration will mean for our friends, neighbors and community. From the Dreamers facing uncertainty to the 750,000 people in Washington state who would lose their health care if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, there are very real threats coming from the Other Washington. No matter what happens, House Democrats here in your state capital will continue to defend the defenseless, protect the health and welfare of people in all our communities, and stand for civil rights and basic human decency.
As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we must remember the words that he said: [pullquote]”The best time for equality and justice is always, ALWAYS, now.”[/pullquote]
Great opportunity for young people to see their government in action
With the Legislature in session, it’s Page season once again. Our Page program offers 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds from across the state a hands-on experience in government. And they get paid too!
If you know a young person who is interested in this opportunity, click here to learn more and to download an application. Don’t delay – spots fill up quickly!
Thank you for re-electing me to represent you in Olympia, I am truly honored. If you have any thoughts, questions, or comments, don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know. Be sure to keep an eye out for my next e-newsletter when I’ll be discussing the bills I’m introducing this year.
Rep. Tana Senn