Washington State begins its 2023 Legislative Session

Guest Opinion Post by Senator Brad Hawkins

The 2023 legislative session began on January 9th. This session takes place following elections within the new legislative district boundaries and will include the development of the three state budgets (operating, transportation, and capital) for the 2023-2025 biennium. 

The session is scheduled for 105 days. It is a longer session considering the budget development required, and many questions will likely arise. Please know that serving you and answering your questions about state government is very important to me and my office.

I’d like to take the time to introduce my staff who will be working hard this year to help answer your questions and keep you connected with state government. The legislative offices have some year-round employees, but additional staff is hired to assist with the high workload associated with the legislative session. My office works very hard to select the best people for staff because I view them as an important element of my public service to you.

The way I view my job as your state senator is that I work for you. As constituents of the 12th District, you are and always will be our number one priority. As you can probably imagine, legislators receive speaking and meeting requests from throughout the state, and many organizations and state agencies hire professional advocates to reach out to us. I appreciate the role that statewide groups and their hired advocates have in the legislative arena, but I never want their active participation in the process to overshadow your opportunity to share insights with me.

Meeting the office staff

My office staff understands my philosophy for constituent customer service and will be assisting me with scheduling requests, bill tracking, media inquiries, virtual meetings, email responses, and phone calls. We value public service and the opportunity you provide us to help you. Given the high volume of requests and communications we receive – and the research required for responses – it may take us a couple of days to get back to you, but we will be working very hard to ensure that not a single constituent inquiry goes unanswered. This may seem like a very ambitious goal, but it is the standard set for my office. Here are the staff helping me this session:

Elizabeth Popoff, Legislative Assistant

Elizabeth was recently hired as my Legislative Assistant. She is returning to my office as she worked last session as my Legislative Session Aide. Now as my Legislative Assistant, she works closely with me on all matters in the office, with constituents, and on legislative priorities. She and the other staff will assist with meeting requests, constituent appointments, email responses, and other activities. Elizabeth is a native of the Wenatchee Valley and was a member of the 2019 Apple Blossom Festival Royal Court. She graduated from the University of Washington with a communications degree and is nearly completed with her Master of Public Administration degree through the University of Idaho. Her work experience includes RH2 Engineering, Cashmere Valley Bank, Fabulous Feet Dance Studio, and Lake Life Chelan.

Emily Galde, Legislative Session Aide

Emily is joining my office this year as my Legislative Session Aide. She is a senior at Washington State University, completing her final internship class as part of her Political Science and Pre-Law Program. Emily will be based in our Olympia office and assist with incoming correspondence, constituent visits, and capitol tours, among many other things. Emily is very passionate about state government and the judiciary branch. Her past work includes working for Lake Life Chelan, in restaurant service, and as a legal intern.

Tricia Gullion, Public Information Officer

Tricia is a senior member of the communications staff assigned to me through the Senate Republican Caucus. She has worked closely with me on all aspects of my communication efforts since 2022, including managing my website, editing my email newsletters, reviewing my guest opinion submittals, distributing news releases, coordinating local radio interviews, and responding to media requests. An Olympia native, she graduated from Walla Walla University with a communications degree. She previously worked for the Washington State School Directors’ Association as legislative coordinator and the House of Representatives as a legislative assistant.

Ethan McClintock, Legislative Intern

Ethan McClintock is serving as my Legislative Intern this session. He spends a portion of each week completing a rigorous program with other interns from state universities. In addition to his intern program duties, Ethan will work each day for my office, tracking legislative priorities, meeting with constituents, responding to phone calls, and coordinating correspondence. Ethan is from Vancouver, Washington and is currently a student at Washington State University studying Public Affairs.

Staying connected with us 

For the 2023 session, my staff and I will be back in-person from the State Capitol and our Olympia office. After two years of remote work, returning to in-person activities has taken extra coordination to ensure that our high standards for constituent customer service can still be achieved. Our Olympia offices are also in a new, temporary building while our prior offices are being rebuilt and remodeled. Despite all the changes for this session, the goal of my office is to be very responsive to your inquiries and provide the highest level of customer service. If you have any questions, please connect with us through our website at senatorbradhawkins.org or our Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your state senator.

Brad Hawkins is the state senator for the 12th District.

[Views expressed are those of the author, not the Living Snoqualmie website. You may submit letters to the editor or opinion posts to info@livingsnoqualmie.com]

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