Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This month, open enrollment begins for the state's Health Benefit Exchange, which is where individuals and small businesses will be able search for health plans as part of the federal government's health care reform (aka Obamacare). You may have heard or seen ads for Washington's "health plan finder." You can read more about what the exchange will do, and how it affects you, here.
My understanding is that the program’s online launch has been less than perfect. Regardless, public funds are being spent on the exchange and everyone should know how to access it.
This is a good time to remind you that my office is here to help with questions, complaints, suggestions and struggles with state government services all year-round. While we may not know everything, we know who does know and can serve as a bridge between you and a state agency. When you feel like you're not getting anywhere with traditional routes, call my office.
Since I started this job, my office has been able to help many people overcome struggles with state government. This ranges from assisting employers with fraud, to helping employees get fair treatment on the job, to helping folks get their drivers licenses and business licenses renewed. We have saved taxpayers thousands of dollars on occasion! A great deal of credit goes to my hardworking legislative assistant, Sharon Trask, who is the friendly voice on the phone when you call my office. She also does the lion's share of work going back and forth between an agency and constituents to resolve an issue. Sharon and I went more into depth in this video we shot in January:
Sharon's work allows me to spend more time in the community during the interim, with Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, in schools and meeting with small business owners. Often times we'll meet on my family farm so I can give them a tour and an understanding of where I come from. Resolution on state matters isn't always quick, but Sharon and I try to encourage agencies to respond to constituents more like customers than adversaries. After all, you pay our salaries.
Though the Washington Legislature is part-time, I try to spend each Tuesday in Olympia when we're not in session. I use this time not only to meet with constituents and colleagues, but to review what constituents have been concerned about and how I can help. If you would like to meet with me in Olympia, on the farm or any other location in our Second District, please call Sharon and she will get us scheduled. I also want to know how I can better serve you – so please reply to this e-mail with any suggestions you have.
It's an honor to serve you.