Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Congratulations to teacher Mindy Shaw of Riverside Elementary School for winning the $10,000 grand prize in the Great American Classroom Makeover contest. Mindy plans to use the money to upgrade the school's antiquated computer lab. I often tell people that our teachers are some of the best in the nation, and this proves it!
This week I had the honor to meet with Seahawk Coach Pete Carroll when he came to Olympia to speak to us about his youth outreach program “A Better Seattle,” which hires street outreach workers in Seattle and south King County in an effort to reduce gang and youth violence. It was a great conversation and I took the opportunity to speak to him about the issue of gang violence in Spokane, and even got a photo with the Hawks coach.
“Inside Olympia” appearance
This week I had the pleasure to appear on the TVW program “Inside Olympia” to speak to host Austin Jenkins about my experiences as a survivor of the Columbine massacre and how I believe we can best prevent school violence. I told Austin that as a legislator my reaction to school violence is not to rely on legislation, but rather discuss how to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill individuals.
I have also been involved in meetings with the House Republican Caucus to discuss school safety, offering my unique perspective as a school shooting survivor. I have also been working with the FBI nationally on developing school evacuation plans in the event of an active shooter on campus. I do not believe a single piece of legislation or package of bills is the answer. It takes a change of heart, which is something you can't legislate. An FBI agent I spoke to told me that in 80 percent of school shootings at least one person had information prior to the shooting. Education and awareness is paramount.
You can watch my segment here.
Per capita, Washington state is one of the largest trade dependent states in the country. We rank number one in fruit exports of apples, cherries, red raspberries, and pears. Historically, agriculture has always played a huge role in Washington's economy and frankly, with the projected population growth internationally, the demand for our agricultural products will only rise in the coming years. Eastern Washington truly is the world's garden.
Over the past few years, the issues facing agricultural employers and small businesses have become very similar. Unemployment Insurance and Workers Compensation reforms are two areas we have historically always heard about from small business owners, and recently our agriculture community has joined with them in asking for help. As chair of the Business and Financial Services Committee, I am always looking for ways to help both our agriculture employers and our small businesses, and will continue to be their voice in Olympia.
Please contact me if I can help in any way. It's an honor to serve you.
421 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7922 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000