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How Fast Time Flies

January 20, 2017 by Brenda Portaro

As week three finishes, it feels crazy how time flies. The experience in such little time is amazing. This week's schedule was a little more relaxed because of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Although that doesn’t mean that it didn’t become busy once we came back to office.

On Tuesday, Katelyn Hummel and I had a wonderful time in the capitol. Why? Well, let me walk you through it. First, I went to the Senate Higher Education Committee. This hearing was important, in my opinion, because there was so much information, and they heard testimony on the importance of fully funding the State Need Grant. This was done by Washington Competes, and they shared many facts about why higher education is so important.

Afterward, representatives from the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges and the colleges talked about the work they do and why it’s important to support our capital and operational budget requests.

Later on in the day, we were able to see our corrections bill in the House Higher Education Committee. The great thing about this bill is that research has shown that providing inmates with education greatly reduces recidivism rates. This is because if a person comes back holding a minimum wage job, and not being able to improve, and succeed coming back into the community. What’s better? Be back in the community but be poor, or lose your freedom and be taken care of? Of course, this is not how it is, but many who go back to jail do so because at least they won’t be homeless and will have something to eat. To me, this bill is something very important, because don’t we all deserve second chances?

After hearing both the House and Senate committees, we had the great opportunity to walk around with a legend, Phyllis Gutierrez-Kenney. We went to meetings with legislators, and it was just incredible. Something funny that happened: a walk that usually takes around five minutes took around 20 or 30 minutes with Phyllis because of all the people that came to greet her. The reason so many people came is because of the respect and appreciation they have for her. Being with such an important person in the community felt amazing.

On Wednesday, I had to testify in front of the State Board members, and that was pretty great. I learned the difference between a district legislator and senators. Want to know what it is? Well, basically none. Only that Senators and Representatives are district legislators. So a senator is a district legislator but a district legislator is not a senator. Cool, right?

Lastly on Thursday we had a meeting to watch for the bills that concern us. Hearings are so important throughout the legislative session because they let us be involved in what is happening in our community.  I encourage everyone to take some time to go to them, and be more involved in our community. It’s ours after all, so if we aren’t involved we don’t have any excuse to be upset.

As you can see this week has had a lot of exciting events in it, and I am sure it will continue to happen. My experience here so far has been great, and so has Kate’s. So, far I recommend it to everyone!

Last Modified: 2/9/18 11:32 AM
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