Tag Archives: Seaquist

Town Hall Meetings Offer Chance to Speak to Legislators

From Kim Abel
League of Women Voters of Washington
Action Chair

The Lobby Team encourages you to join with our coalition partners in Rebuilding Our Economic Future by getting out to talk with your Legislators tomorrow, Saturday. The information below comes from the coalition, but just as important, League members can help encourage a civil discussion with our elected officials. Show up, wear your League pin and be great role models.

Over the next three weeks, our elected officials in Olympia will face tough decisions about how to close the state’s budget deficit. After billions in cuts last year, the estimated $2.8 billion dollar deficit for 2010 threatens vital programs that protect the health and well being of children and families in Washington state.

This Saturday, February 20, is your chance to speak with legislators directly about proposed cuts to child welfare services, education, and children’s health, as well as bills before the legislature. Legislators from across the state are taking time off from the session to hold town hall meetings in their home districts.

These town hall meetings are a rare chance to influence your legislators mid-session while they are still working out the details of critical legislation, including the budget. By urging legislators to look at all revenue options before cutting programs, you can ensure that vital social and educational services are protected.

At the height of the legislative session, your elected leaders are looking for ideas and stories from constituents to take back to Olympia. Your local town hall meeting is an important venue to advocate for the needs of kids and families in Washington!

If you are interested in joining friends and neighbors at a local town hall on Saturday, please see below (check with your legislator if you don’t see them listed, but let them know what is important to you):

Town Hall Meetings:

23rd Legislative District (Kitsap) – Rep. Christine Rolfes (D) and Senator Phil Rockefeller (D)
1) 9:30 – 11 AM at Bainbridge Island fire station; and
2) 1-2:30 PM at the Eagles Nest, Bremerton

26th Legislative District – Rep. Larry Seaquist (D) & Sen. Derek Kilmer (D)
1) Noon – 1:30 PM at Olympic College Student Center, Bremerton
2) 2 – 3:30 PM at Givens Community Center, Rm 1026, Port Orchard
3) 4 – 5:30 PM at Peninsula High School, Purdy

Searching for Signs of Hope in Bleak Budget Picture

League President Catherine Ahl displays "No State Income Tax" sign brought by some attendees at the League's forum at the Eagle's Nest in Bremerton on Wednesday.
League President Catherine Ahl displays "No State Income Tax" sign brought by some attendees at the League's forum at the Eagle's Nest in Bremerton on Wednesday.
From left, Rep. Christine Rolfes, Rep. Sherry Appleton, Rep. Larry Seaquist, Sen. Derek Kilmer and Rep. Kathy Haigh attended Wednesday's forum.
From left, Rep. Sherry Appleton, Rep. Larry Seaquist and Sen. Derek Kilmer at Wednesday's forum.
Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-26th District, makes a point during the forum.
Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-26th District, makes a point during the forum.

Legislators at Wednesday’s League of Women Voters forum agreed that the state’s budget situation looks dire, but they managed to find a few rays of hope in a bleak picture.
“We wouldn’t do this if we weren’t optimists by nature,” said Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-23rd District, told a packed audience of about 70 people.
On the bright side for transportation, she said the state is on track for building three new ferry boats. And even though they are small ferries, they will relieve the overall shortage of boats once they come into the system. She said they also provide jobs for boat builders and economic stimulus for local communities once they are put into service.
Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-26th District, said that during the current recession more people than ever are looking for worker retraining programs at community colleges. Olympic College has a waiting list of 1,000 people in need of such training, he said.
Even with budget constraints the Legislature did manage to put $20 million more into worker retraining last year, and Kilmer would like to see that amount increased by taking a small percentage of worker compensation funds paid by employers and putting it into retraining.
Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-23rd District, said serving on the Health and Human Services Committee in the House is the most difficult assignment she has had in the Legislatures.
“People are talking about cutting out the Basic Health plan,” she said. “It already has a waiting list with more people on it than are in the plan. This means we have 70,000 people with no health insurance.”
She said these are the people who end up in the emergency room. And the costs, she said, are passed on to the rest of us whether we realize it or not.
Catherine Ahl, president of LWV Kitsap and moderator of the forum, asked whether cutting one major program, such as the Puget Sound Partnership, would be worth doing to save other programs.
Rolfes said that even if all spending on natural resources were eliminated it would only save half a billion dollars when the Legislature is faced with trimming $2 billion from the budget during the session beginning in January.
Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-26th District, said it’s a false dichotomy to think that cutting out spending on the environment will somehow help the economy. It’s just the opposite, he said.
“The route out of the bottom on this recession is through green jobs and better stewardship,” he said.
The others agreed that spending on cleaning up Puget Sound and other environmental initiatives will help pull us out of the recession.
The lawmakers had a hard time trying to come up with new areas for cutting.
Rep. Kathy Haigh, D-35th District, said the Legislature cut out teachers’ cost-of-living increases last session and did not fund I-728, which normally provides money for class size reduction and enrichment programs.
All of the state’s universities saw severe budget cuts, with the result that tuition is rising.
“As we talk about no new taxes,” she said, eyeing signs around the room brought by anti-tax advocates, “we need to realize we are putting the burden on our kids. They are coming out of school with huge debts.”
Despite the problems facing the state, Ahl said she was encouraged by the turnout at the meeting and hoped to see many of the same faces in Olympia next year when she and other League members go to lobby the legislators.

Time to Talk Dollars and Sense

Local legislators will be on hand Wednesday to discuss the upcoming legislative session in Olympia and to answer questions about the state budget crisis.
The League of Women Voters of Kitsap will host a meeting with our local elected representatives from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Eagles Nest, 1200 NW Fairgrounds Road, Bremerton.
Confirmed guests for the event titled “Let’s Talk Dollars and Sense with our Legislators”: 23rd District: Rep. Sherry Appleton, Rep. Christine Rolfes; 26th District: Sen. Derek Kilmer, Rep. Larry Seaquist; 35th District: Rep. Kathy Haigh.
Please plan to attend and bring your questions for our elected leaders. The event is free and open to the public.
For information call 360-509-2695.

Talking Dollars & Sense with our Legislators

Cuts in education, basic health care and transportation – these are just a few of the things we are facing as a result of the worst state budget crisis that most of us can remember.
The 2009-2011 budget cuts approximately $1.8 billion from education funding, so new programs and grants that were appropriated to education projects have been eliminated. This will mean, for many schools, larger classes sizes, fewer after-school programs, fewer sports teams and less professional development for teachers.
The state’s Basic Health Plan — which provides low-cost health coverage for the working poor — has been slashed by 42 percent. This means 40,000 people will have to be cut from the plan, which now serves 102,000.
And funding for public transportation and van pools is being cut just as ridership is on the rise.
But how, specifically, will Kitsap County be affected by the current budget woes?
Mark your calendar for a public meeting with our state legislators on Wednesday, Nov. 18. Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Kitsap, the event is called “Let’s Talk Dollars and Sense with our Legislators.”
It will take place from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Eagles Nest, 1200 NW Fairgrounds Road, Bremerton.
The following local legislators have confirmed that they will be there:
23rd District: Rep. Sherry Appleton, Rep. Christine Rolfes; 26th District: Sen. Derek Kilmer, Rep. Larry Seaquist, Rep. Jan. Angel (tentative); 35th District: Rep. Kathy Haigh, Rep. Fred Finn.
There will be coffee and social time from 9:30 to 10 a.m., followed by the forum from 10 to noon. Plan to come and bring your budgetary questions for our elected representatives.
For information about the forum call Loretta Payne at (360) 598-3267.