Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Senator reaches out . . .

Following up on yesterday's post about the Majority Coalition in the state Senate, I had an opportunity this morning to speak with Senator Joe Fain about a number of issues.  Senator Fain is in his first term so he is still fairly new to the chamber, but even with little seniority he will be the Senate Majority Whip in the upcoming session.  This is an important position with the potential to have significant influence over what bills come to the floor for votes.

Senator Fain also shared with me that some of the committee chairs are also those with little seniority in the caucus and that they want to work collaboratively to find solutions to the complex issues that they face.  These appointments of less senior people is a change to past practice and may be an indicator that there is a possibility for a different working relationship, one where individuals can reach across the aisle to find solutions instead of pointing fingers.  Whether this will be possible has yet to be determined as I haven't seen how the democratic leadership will respond to the proposed power share.

We discussed more than just what is happening in Olympia.  Our primary topic of conversation was the concept of a regional learning center built around a new Tahoma High School.  Senator Fain is very interested in the project and asked how he could help.  One thing he can do and has already started is getting us together with individuals from advanced manufacturing firms to assist us in a renewed focus in this area.

I also took the opportunity to share with him the concerns and stress created by the mandated TPEP in our and many others systems.  Our discussion of the difficulties we face with the size of our buildings and current structures resulted in him suggesting that he organize an opportunity for the new Senate Education Chair, Senator Litzow, to meet with a delegation of superintendents to hear these concerns.  Given our current reality, we need to keep the unrealistic expectations this implementation creates in front of the legislators.  They need to understand that changes to structures will be necessary to meet the intent of this new evaluation process.

Thanks to Senator Fain for the opportunity to share and for the support on these two important needs in our system.

No comments: