Residents focus on education funding, transportation during 5th District telephone town hall
In an April 2 telephone town hall meeting, 5th Legislative District residents asked questions of their state lawmakers and offered thoughts on everything from the state budget and education funding to road projects and the proposed 10-cent gas tax proposal. The hour-long call was hosted by Reps. Jay Rodne and Chad Magendanz.
While the call experienced a technical glitch, it allowed the lawmakers a little extra time to discuss transportation and education issues being considered in the Legislature. Due to the technology issues, they answered only 14 of the 53 questions. Their attendance for the hour was 2,075, with 489 steadily listening to the conversation. Several constituents left voicemails after the call. Rodne and Magendanz will return those calls this week.
With regard to transportation projects and proposed new and higher taxes, residents expressed concern that reforms were not part of the Democratic tax package proposal. They also expressed their opposition to the plan to place tolls on the Interstate 90 Bridge to subsidize the exploding costs of the 520 Bridge.
“In the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to speak to Fifth District constituents at both in-person town halls as well as the telephone town hall held last night,” said Rodne, R-North Bend and member of the House Transportation Committee. “I take their concerns about the proposed gas tax increase very seriously and will continue to work to make sure transportation reforms are implemented before even entertaining the idea of raising the gas tax on families in our state who are already struggling.”
Education funding and reforms were also topics of great concern to 5th District residents. Pouring more money into the same system that is leaving 30 percent of children behind and not addressing the achievement and skills gaps in classrooms topped the list of comments during the call.
“I truly appreciated all the feedback and questions we heard during the call,” said Magendanz, R-Issaquah and assistant lead Republican on the House Education Committee. “I have always known how engaged our communities are on education. However, it was nice to hear from new voices about the need not only to amply fund education but that folks also want new dollars in public education geared toward better student outcomes, closing the skills gap and addressing the achievement gap.”
The lawmakers asked participants to take part in three instant poll questions. The questions and results are as follows:
1. The House Democrats have proposed a 10-cent increase for each gallon of gas you purchase. Would you be willing to pay 10 cents more a gallon to help pay for transportation projects in the state?
1. Yes = 26 percent 2. No = 68 percent 3. Not sure = 6 percent
2. The State Legislature is currently under a Supreme Court order to amply fund basic education. Over the next biennium, it's expected that at least $1B of new funding will be provided for our K-12 schools. Please select the statement with which you most agree:
1. We should increase the amount of funding for schools before adding any new requirements or expectations for improvements on teachers and schools = 20 percent
2. Any increases in public school funding should be accompanied by increased expectations and accountability so that we can measure improvements in the system = 80 percent
3. Which issue is most important to you?
1. Jobs and the economy = 46 percent
2. The state budget = 20 percent
3. Education funding = 17 percent
4. Public safety = 6 percent
5. Affordable health care = 11 percent
The 2013 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn April 28. The next three weeks will focus on the state operating, transportation and capital budgets. Constituents who were unable to participate in the telephone town hall, can contact the lawmakers' offices directly. Rodne can be reached at (360) 786-7852 or email@example.com. Magendanz can be reached at (360) 786-7876 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
###Washington State House Republican Communications