Traveling throughout the 24th District and the state to listen and learn

Dear neighbors,

It was my pleasure to travel throughout the 24th District and the state this year–and I’d like to share the stories of the people I met.

The first is about the Sea to Sound ride, where I went five miles in a powered wheelchair along the Discovery Trail to experience what it’s like, and what we need to do–together–to make sure everyone can enjoy the outdoors.

Listening to students

Twenty young people took the time to speak with Rep. Mike Chapman, myself, and staff from Sen. Van De Wege’s office at an event in Port Angeles.

They shared their questions, ideas, and concerns about the future.

Here are some of the notes about issues they cared about:

  • Youth homelessness and housing–A student from Sequim said 10 percent of youth in the area have issues with housing, while a Seaview Academy student said a lack of affordable housing and transportation created issues.
  • Behavioral health and health care–They spoke of the need for affordable and accessible services, with providers empowered to provide what’s needed according to the patient, including issues related to gender.
  • How to get involved–Information on majors to consider, internship/volunteer opportunities, and careers in civics or public service.
  • Funding for education–Including a lack of funding for special education, sports, and other extracurricular activities. Also, problems with school buildings such as leaking roofs.

I appreciated hearing all of this directly from these well-spoken young people. We’ve been working on many of these same issues, including behavioral health, housing, and education funding, for years. But there is always more work to be done.

Bipartisan committee tours

Throughout the year, I’ve joined lawmakers from both parties and visit different corners of the state. As chair of the Capital Budget Committee, we build projects in every district–schools and universities, parks and ports.

One tour I’d like to talk about is the one of southwest Washington that included Lower Columbia College, Clark College’s Center of Excellence, and a number of K-12 schools. This was important to get a first-hand look at the needs of our students, teachers, and professors.

Education is our paramount duty under the state constitution and the engine that drives our state’s economy.

Hearing from you

Please get in touch if you have an idea or comment. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you–and the toughest challenges we face can only be solved if we listening to each other with respect and work together as a team.