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Lawmakers visit after marathon session ends
The three lawmakers who represent the 34th Legislative District, which includes Vashon, West Seattle and Burien, attended the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council meeting Monday night, where they talked about the lengthy legislative session that ended last week.
The three Democrats — from left, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, Rep. Eileen Cody and Sen. Sharon Nelson — said the session was at times brutal and rancorous. Even so, they said, it ended on a positive note, with lawmakers successfully staving off threatened cuts to K-12 and higher education and keeping the safety net largely intact.
“I have to say, this was the worst session we’ve had in my 18 years (in Olympia), but I’m very happy with the way it turned out,” Cody told the crowd of about 30 Islanders at McMurray Middle School.
All three cited successes, including ending a tax break for large, out-of-state banks, progress on state-sponsored health care reform and a transportation budget that once again keeps the state ferry system afloat. The state budget was spared some of the worst-case scenarios, thanks to a slowly improving economy and fewer people seeking state services, they said.
Even so, significant problems persist, including a ferry system that still is not on solid financial footing. “There’s a lot of good news but a lot of huge challenges,” Fitzgibbon said. Nelson agreed, adding, “Our community has to be one that votes for taxes.”