This November, voters elected Reuven Carlyle (D) to the 36th District legislative seat. Carlyle ran on a platform of openness and transparency with the goal of becoming a “citizen legislator who listens well.” With that in mind, Carlyle has agreed to open a new and (we think) unprecedented line of communication: he’ll write about local issues right here on PhinneyWood and our sister blogs, encouraging your feedback and ideas. And yes, he’ll read the comments that follow. (Occasionally, we’ll invite other local leaders to write for PhinneyWood, as well.)
We encourage you to take advantage of this unique opportunity to engage your local legislator at a critically-important time. Without further ado, here’s Carlyle’s introductory post below, with a challenge for PhinneyWood readers…
I am so grateful for the invitation from our district’s premier blog sites to connect directly with you and to raise real deal public policy issues facing our district, city and state during the 2009 Legislative Session that begins January 12, 2009.
First, I want everyone to know how deeply honored I am to succeed Rep. Helen Sommers who has served our community with dignity for 36 years. When she first ran for the state House of Representatives in 1972 and knocked on thousands of doors, it was literally unprecedented for anyone who was a Democrat or a woman to represent our neighborhoods in state government. She broke the barriers on so many levels and deserves our appreciation for her moral leadership on so many issues.
Second, as I prepare to join Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson in Olympia, I’m pleased to announce I’ll serve on: Education Appropriations (writes the entire education budget from early learning through higher education); Higher Education (sets policy for all higher education including community and technical colleges, University of Washington and the other four year research institutions and lifelong learning such as workforce development); Technology, Energy and Communications (clear energy, broadband, telecommunications, IT and the full range of public and private sector technology issues). These committees represent my personal and professional experience and will allow me to tackle many of the pressing issues facing our community.
Third, my goal is, of course, not to waste this wonderful opportunity to engage with you directly. We are too focused on the future for these posts to be used as a shallow, rhetorical even patronizing lecture or self centered PR machine about my pet issues in Olympia. It is rather to challenge you to light up the comment section with thoughtful ideas, advice, insight, conviction, perspective and suggestions for ways to make Washington a better place. I want and need your passionate insights about the full range of issues we face. We have among the most educated, engaged, sophisticated and active legislative districts in the state. That’s why we live here and why we’re proud of our community. It’s your job as a citizen activist in the community to help us as your citizen legislators make a difference in state government.
In that spirit, I would like to issue a direct challenge: Share your very best idea for an actual piece of legislation that I should introduce to benefit our community. Your idea should be: a) grounded in good public policy that won’t embarrass you, me or our district, b) a thoughtful approach to a real problem or opportunity, c) somewhat within the larger realm of political reality, d) financially responsible during these very ugly budgetary times, e) meaningful in a genuine way to help build our community into the 21st Century. You only need to provide a few paragraphs of well reasoned description and I’ll have the professional legislative staff put ‘meat on the bones’ if that’s necessary. You might want to direct the Seattle Public Schools to reform their management practices, or to lower the Port of Seattle’s taxing authority, or reform the B&O tax for small business, or encourage cruise ships to use electric power instead of fossil fuels, or introduce a state income tax or regional tolling to pay for public transit and thousands of other ideas. You get the notion. It doesn’t have to necessarily be serious–humor has it’s place in politics– but it does have to be thoughtful and real.
As the late Tom Wales said, “Be engaged. Be involved in what goes on around you. Be present in your own life. Find something you believe in passionately and get into it. Get outraged. Take a stand.”
Your partner in service, Reuven.
36th Legislative District
firstname.lastname@example.org (live Jan. 12, 2009)
Have a legislative idea to share? A comment? Post it below…