The importance of working across the aisle

Before I was elected, I knew the most successful legislation was that which is worked on with people on both sides of the aisle, and vetted with those affected the most. That's why, in my first three months in office, all of the bills I've worked on have received bipartisan support.

I sponsored House Bill 1852, aimed at reducing copays for preventative dental services for families in the Health Exchange, with five Democrat co-sponsors and four Republican co-sponsors. Another bill I sponsored to reduce the high school dropout rate for at-risk youth, House Bill 1855, had four Democrat co-sponsors and four Republican co-sponsors. My other two bills also had bipartisan support. Getting legislators from both sides of the aisle to sign on to your legislation gives the bill a better chance of getting through the grueling legislative process.

Of course, not all proposals receive bipartisan support. While about 80 percent of the bills in the Legislature pass with broad support, the remaining 20 percent represent very different ways of looking at an issue and the solution. The Legislature is diverse, just like our communities. I'll bet when you speak with your neighbors, friends or family, you don't always agree on everything. In fact, on some topics, you may be steadfast in your beliefs and realize you might need to just agree to disagree and move on. With both the Legislature and your neighbors, it is impossible to agree on everything. In this process, I've been able to make friends and frequently agree on issues, but sometimes differ on the solutions.

This diversity of ideas, and how we respect each other for those ideas, is what makes our country great. Voltaire once said, “I do not agree with a thing you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” In the same spirit, as your state representative, I will always listen to what you have to say and consider your viewpoint. I appreciate all of the feedback and varying views on the issues. Please feel free to contact my office anytime with questions, comments or suggestions.

State Representative Michelle Caldier, 26th Legislative District
122H Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 956-7562 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000