Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are currently in the fifth week of this year's legislative session. I'd like to share a few things with you.
It is time to safely reopen Washington
In the last year, we have seen lives lost and livelihoods destroyed because of COVID-19 and our state's response to it.
Extended shutdown orders have closed businesses and taken away jobs, as well as increased depression, substance abuse, homelessness and domestic violence in our communities.
We have remained patient in the long fight against this disease, and now it is time for our government to demonstrate that it trusts its citizens to live and work in a way that is responsible and considerate of others.
That is why I co-sponsored House Bill 1321, which would immediately reopen everything currently closed under the shutdown orders.
State institutions like businesses, churches and schools would be allowed to operate again under the supervision of the Legislature. If adjustments need to be made, the Legislature, not the governor, will decide what changes to make and how to implement them.
The people of Washington have shown that they are rising to the challenges of COVID-19. They have shown that they care about the safety of their communities and will do what is necessary to protect their neighbors. It is time to safely reopen.
Getting our kids back into the classroom
Perhaps the most important part of reopening our state is giving our children and families the option to return to in-person instruction. Over the last year, too many students have fallen behind. Last week, I voted in support of legislation that would allocate funds from existing resources to help schools in our state safely reopen.
State lawmakers can disagree on the particulars, but this is not a partisan issue. We all need to come together and equip school districts with the tools necessary to reopen our state's classrooms.
Improving internet access in rural communities
Every student in Washington has been impacted by the shift to online learning, but the ones hit the hardest are those living in rural and low-income areas. Many don't have access to the same technology available to their peers in wealthier parts of the state.
I support Senate Bill 5357, which would dedicate $200 million in existing resources to the mission. That money would go a long way towards ensuring that students without the proper tools to continue their education at home get equipment they need to be successful.
I welcome your emails, calls, and letters. It is an honor to serve you.