Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Last week I was in Olympia for our annual Legislative Assembly to begin preparing for the 2014 legislative session, beginning January 13.
On Thursday, I chaired my first Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee meeting. We addressed critical issues facing our mental health care system including an update on efforts to move folks off state assistance so they can lead independent, dignifying lives. The best social program is a job. We can and must do better to provide job- and skills-training to make a real job possible for those receiving government welfare.
MY TRANSPORTATION PRIORITIES
In the Senate Transportation Committee meeting, we had a work session on 10 reform measures. One of those key reforms was my comprehensive proposal to address design errors and cost overruns within the troubled Washington State Department of Transportation.
Another major transportation priority of mine is the complete funding for a full build-out of I-5 at Joint Base Lewis McChord. If you live in the district, you know first-hand how bad the traffic congestion is around JBLM. Any transportation package has to adequately solve this critical bottleneck; the JBLM/I-5 corridor is a vital artery in our state transportation system for moving both freight and people. You can read a copy of my second follow-up letter that I wrote to transportation leaders asking for their support of this funding. My proposal is supported by the mayors of Lakewood, Steilacoom and DuPont.
|L to R: Sen. Steve O’Ban, John Caulfield (Lakewood City Manager), Don Anderson (Mayor of Lakewood), Ron Lucas (Mayor of Steilacoom), and Rep. Dick Muri
NOTE: Dupont Mayor Michael Grayum is not pictured
REMEMBERING SENATOR MIKE CARRELL
On Sunday, my wife and I, along with Charlotte Carrell and other friends, witnessed the unveiling of the grave marker of our beloved, late Senator Mike Carrell. He was my friend and mentor, and it’s my honor to follow in his footsteps and represent the people of the 28th District.
MOSES’ STORY AND THANKSGIVING
One of the best parts of this job is getting to meet individuals from the district and across the state and hearing their stories. Last week I had the opportunity to meet Moses Chege who lives in Tacoma now, but is originally from Kenya. He is an impressive young man who has worked hard and thrived in school to make a better life for himself.
During this season of Thanksgiving, we are reminded that we live in a country where families like Moses’ come to America for freedom and opportunity.
What are you doing this Thanksgiving? What are you thankful for?
Laurie and I will be spending Thanksgiving with our two military sons. I am very thankful that we will all be together and able to go to church together tomorrow morning. The congregation spends the whole service sharing what they are thankful for. It’s my favorite service of the year.
Please send me your stories of thanksgiving and I’ll share them, without mentioning names – Steve.Oban@leg.wa.gov.
Senator Steve O’Ban