Dear Friends and Neighbors,
To give something up, or go without, is not something most of us do on a daily basis. But for service men and women, sacrifice is not just a word, it's a lifestyle. On beaches, deserts and in the jungles they have demonstrated courage and strength on our behalf. Veterans Day is a holiday designed for all of us to say a heartfelt, “thank you.”
Thank you to every mom and dad who kissed their child goodbye at the airport hoping it would not be the last time. Thank you to military spouses who have spent sleepless nights pacing kitchen floors, anxiously awaiting a phone call saying, “I'm alright.”
Thank you to children who often live weeks, months and sometimes years on the promise that mommy or daddy will come home soon. Thank you for missed holidays, birthdays, school concerts, baseball games, big events and small. Thank you to military families keeping it all together, despite their aching hearts, not knowing when or if their loved one is coming home. Thank you to veterans who have spent lonely days and nights in hospital beds, and recovery centers, suffering injuries so we can walk in freedom.
And though words may fail to properly express our immense gratitude, thank you to every person who has clutched a folded American flag to their heart and shed tears for a service man or woman whose sacrifice was truly ultimate. To the fathers, mothers, husbands, wives and children who bear a Gold Star, veterans wounded or healthy, and all our current U.S. military members – we say thank you.
This Veterans Day, let's all be mindful that we live in the land of the free, because of the brave.
If you know a veteran or veterans family in need of support, please direct them to the Clark County Veterans Assistance Center. Veterans can access information on benefits, services and programs online at: http://www.dva.wa.gov/county-information/clark-county-information.
Education funding update
The agreement that produced the most significant changes to education funding in more than three decades was the result of months of hard-fought, bipartisan negotiations. In July, the Legislature submitted an 85-page report to the state Supreme Court outlining the education reform funding measures approved during the 2017 legislative session. This report is the Legislature's response to the court's 2012 McCleary decision asserting the Legislature was not meeting its constitutional duty to amply provide for education in our state.
As the report outlines, the governor, attorney general, Legislature and Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) all agree we have now met the goal of amply funding our state's program of basic education. Generations to come will enjoy the benefits of a sustainable and equitable funding model for K-12 education.
In the upcoming 2018 legislative session, lawmakers will continue to refine and improve upon the major education funding reforms put in place in 2017. Important policy areas to watch in the weeks and months ahead include proposals to expand Career and Technical Education (CTE) in our state. Students enrolled in CTE are given academic and technical training, helping them to be successful in many professional fields.
After graduation, students can immediately take the skills they learned in CTE into the workforce, or further their education by attending college or technical school. We need to keep the momentum going on education reform by continuing to expand CTE options in Washington state.
Click here or on the picture below to watch my recent legislative video on this topic.
House page program
Do you know a teen who would like to participate in the House Page Program? If you know a student, between 14-17 years of age, that would like to learn more about state government, its time for them to consider applying to be a House page. Pages are given the opportunity to take part in the legislative process, observe state government in action and learn about the Washington State Capitol. Students spend one week serving as a page at the Capitol, attending page school and delivering messages for legislators. Students participate from across the state and experience first-hand how our government works.
As always, I want to hear from you. Please feel free to contact my office if you have comments, questions or feedback on state government.
Thank you for allowing me to represent you in Olympia!