This week new council members Margaret Neighbors, Gretchen Wearne and I went together to our state Capitol to participate in the current legislative session. A nonprofit group called the Association of WA Cities hosted a conference that brought elected city officials and state legislators together to both learn about process as well as specific issues in front of us right now.
In Washington State we have 49 legislative districts which each have three legislators: one senator and two representatives. We are in district 12 which is huge. It includes all of Chelan and Douglas counties and part of Okanogan and Grant counties. Our senator is Linda Parlette. Our representatives are Cary Condotta and Brad Hawkins.
The conference was a fascinating looking at how I can work at the state level for our issues in Leavenworth. As elected city officials, we can lobby our legislators to develop, endorse and vote for bills that will improve our local issues. For example, this session Senator Parlette is pushing SB 6513 that will expand our water rights in Leavenworth while Representative Hawkings is pushing HB 2348 that will give cities the authority to create an emergency ban on fireworks to prevent fires. We are here supporting our legislators and these bills, and testifying to committees on how these issues impact us in Leavenworth!
We were able to meet all three of our District 12 legislators during our time in Olympia. It was fascinating to see what they are working on this session. I now realize how important the state level work is for our city. I am looking forward to developing my relationship with each of our legislators.