Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! The 2016 legislative session is rapidly approaching, and because it is a supplemental budget year, we have a lot of work to do and just 60 days to do it. The Legislature will convene in Olympia on Jan. 11 to resolve issues relating to education funding, levy reform, charter schools and McCleary. We will also be addressing voter-approved Initiative 1366, which would reduce the state sales tax by one percent unless the Legislature sends a constitutional amendment to the ballot that would require a two-thirds majority for the Legislature to raise taxes. These are all very important issues, and I want to continue to hear your thoughts on them. Please don't hesitate to send me an email or give me a call with your comments, concerns and solutions.
Donating dental care at the Key Free Clinic
Prior to serving as your state representative, I worked as a dentist providing care to nursing home residents. My dental practice recently partnered with the Key Free Clinic and had the opportunity to donate dental services to residents in the Key Peninsula. In a recent two-day period, we donated more than $12,000 of dental care to residents. I am extremely passionate about improving access to quality and affordable dental care, and am currently working on a Medicaid reform bill, as well as a long-term plan to provide donated dental services to the Key Free Clinic.
Food bank tours
I recently had the opportunity to tour the Key Peninsula, Gig Harbor and Bremerton Food Banks, which provide thousands of meals to those in need every year. I believe it is important for each of us to give back however we can, which is why I have decided to donate three months of my legislative salary increase to the Gig Harbor Food Bank. I want to thank all of the volunteers who dedicate their time, energy and resources to ensuring others don't go to bed hungry at night. You're doing amazing work for the people of our community. Thank you!
Nursing home listening tours
In addition to touring food banks in our community, I have also visited many assisted living, skilled nursing, and retirement homes to listen to the concerns of the nursing staff and residents. My dental practice is devoted to caring for nursing home residents, and I am passionate about improving care for this population.
Foster parent meetings
During the 2015 legislative session, Rep. Tom Dent, R-Moses Lake, established the kids kaucus, which brings stakeholders together to develop solutions in an effort to improve Washington state's foster care system. As a former foster youth and foster parent, I care deeply about ensuring all foster children have the ability and opportunity to succeed in life. I serve as co-chair of the kids kaucus and organized several foster parent meetings around the state during this interim. These meetings were set up to allow foster parents and foster children to speak directly with legislators about their personal experiences, and for us to learn about what we can do to help. We are currently working on legislation that would help improve outcomes for foster youth. In addition, I will be donating three months of my legislative salary increase to the Kitsap County Foster Parent Association to help them in their efforts. There is much to be done to fix our system, and I believe we have a responsibility as legislators to do whatever we can to ensure every child in this state has a fighting chance to succeed.
It is an honor to serve as your state representative. Please continue to contact me with any comments, questions or concerns you have. My email address is email@example.com and my phone number is (360) 786-7802. I wish you and yours a very happy holiday season!