Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Your voice matters. Although it may feel as if one person can't affect public policy, that's not true. The process may seem complex, but getting involved in public policy decisions you care about can change the way our state government functions. When it comes to supporting or opposing bills, the most powerful voice still belongs to the people willing to speak up.
As we enter the second month of the 2021 session, I'd like to thank everyone that has reached out to my office—either by email or phone—to share your thoughts on bills being considered by the Legislature. Hearing from you takes on even more importance during this virtual session.
During previous sessions, I met with citizens from our district in face-to-face meetings and heard their comments and opinions on bills being decided and debated in Olympia. Now, unfortunately, virus-driven separation means I sit for long hours alone in front of my computer screen, taking part in online committee hearings and floor debates.
That's why your comments continue to be incredibly valuable to me. Although we can't meet in person, I'm getting the information from you I need to make informed decisions on behalf of our district. We've got several more weeks of work ahead of us, so please keep those messages, phone calls and comments coming. I'm always happy to hear from you!
Family Resource Centers
Family resource centers are community-based, family-focused facilities that provide programs for families that need help. These facilities can be located in schools, health centers, churches, and many other places. There are already several across our state. Services offered include parenting support, access to resources, and child development activities. A growing body of research, evaluation, and real-life stories of families positively affected by their services, all say the same thing: when done right, these centers really work.
To keep them on track in Washington, a bill I've sponsored, House Bill 1237, would help define existing and newly forming family resource centers. Last week, it was approved in the House Committee on Children, Youth and Families. Click here to watch the virtual House committee hearing on my bill.
House Bill 1237 now sits in the House Rules Committee, which will make a decision soon on whether to bring it to the House floor for a vote.
Every 10 years, after a new census count, states adjust the boundaries of state legislative and U.S. House of Representatives districts to account for population shifts. The process can be grueling. In 1983, after decades of tough redistricting fights, the Legislature did what voters asked for: they amended the state constitution to place political mapping in the hands of a bipartisan commission.
That's why the commission now consists of two Democrats and two Republicans picked by leaders of all four corners of the Legislature. A fifth member is chosen by the four voting members to act as a non-voting chairperson.
- Joe Fain, Senate Republican Caucus Appointee
- Paul Graves, House Republican Caucus Appointee
- April Sims, House Democratic Caucus Appointee
- Brady Walkinshaw, Senate Democratic Caucus Appointee
The bipartisan commission works together to draw new maps for the state's 10 congressional and 49 legislative districts. Although the negotiations are still tough, the best choices are not power grabs—where the politicians pick their voters—but when the voters pick their politicians through a fairer redistricting.
That's why it's crucially important for citizens to be a part of the process. You can take part in public hearings, provide input, or even propose new maps. Although the website with public hearing dates and information is not up yet—I'll include that information in a future update—you can learn more about the process by clicking here or watch a video presentation by clicking here. Have a question, or want to leave a comment? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional questions about the redistricting process? Call me. I'm happy to help.
I encourage you to stay engaged in the legislative process by following House Republicans on Twitter and Facebook, or by visiting The Ledger, a legislative news aggregator. You can also bookmark my legislative website, where you will find my latest updates, press releases, and more.
It is an honor to serve you!