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I am working on what you told me

A view from the state house - Dave Paul, State Representative

How can we listen to each other and find common ground – and solutions that work for our community? I think it starts with listening to each other. 

The legislative session began on Jan. 8 and runs for 60 straight days, including weekends.  

I’d like to share two things with you this week: (1) comments and ideas from our recent 10th District survey and (2) some common-sense reforms I’m working on this session. 

First, your comments and ideas. 

Hearing directly from you is incredibly important to me. So, I’m happy to say that hundreds of people in the 10th District took a moment to share their thoughts about the issues they care about and their ideas to address them. 

Out of the hundreds of responses, a few issues stood out. These three comments were pretty representative of the survey.  

The ferry system is unreliable for residents who depend on ferries for medical appointments, classes and jobs.   

Housing is far too expensive. My son is in his late twenties and works full time at a local business but cannot afford to live anywhere nearby. I’m growing increasingly worried about his ability to afford buying a home. For many in our community, apartment rents consume more than 50% of their income. This is not acceptable ... .

Housing prices are impossibly out of reach for an entire generation of hard working and educated people. 

Education, rural broadband and economic development go hand-in-hand. It’s vital for our state to expand access to quality broadband services.  

Other key concerns included tackling homelessness, improving public safety, protecting the environment and improving apprenticeship and career training opportunities for young people. 

Here are three ideas people shared as possible solutions: 

Since I live on Whidbey Island, I wish you could restart the program to bring new ferries online. The current fleet is very old and unreliable. 

Legislation that limits short-term rentals such as AirBnB. We need more affordable housing. 

Homelessness is the problem that I would focus on, which is also a drug problem in many communities. 

I appreciate every person who took the time to share their thoughts and ideas. Thank you! 

This session, I’ll keep working on ferries, rural broadband, housing and other major issues that are critical to people in the 10th District. We can – and must – make progress on our common problems. 

I’m also working on legislation to help people in specific ways: 

Capping the cost of inhalers and epi-pens at $35 each, matching the cap on insulin costs we passed last year (House Bill 1979). 

Increasing access to portable orders for life-sustaining treatment, which would let paramedics and EMTs recognize medical jewelry linked to Do Not Resuscitate orders, along with a database of people who established such orders (House Bill 2166). 

Tackling the law enforcement workforce shortage by allowing retired officers to work part time (House Bill 2167). 

Things happen fast in the short 60-day session. 

I’ll keep you updated on issues that affect all our families back home in the 10th District – and I hope you keep me informed with your stories, comments and ideas. 

Rep. Dave Paul and his family live in Oak Harbor. He is co-chair of the bipartisan Ferry Caucus. 


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