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    Fraser bill could add northern Thurston County to Sound Transit

Fraser bill could add northern Thurston County to Sound Transit

February 10th, 2015|

OLYMPIA – A bill that would give local governments and voters the ability to decide if northern Thurston County will become a sub region within the Sound Transit system was heard today in the Senate Transportation Committee.

“The goal of this bill is to give people in northern Thurston County more transit options,” said the bill’s sponsor Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Thurston County. “Traffic studies show that each weekday 15,000 trips are made into the county and 30,000 trips are made out. Add in that half of all the trips through the JBLM corridor get on or off the exits, which leads to the congestion we’re all too familiar with. Local governments and voters should have the ability to consider additional transportation options that can help reduce traffic congestion and improve bus routes north from our region.”

Senate Bill 5780 would allow not only Thurston County residents but also local governments and the voters in counties that border the existing Regional Transit Authority counties, west of the Cascade mountains, to decide if they would like to be annexed in to the Regional Transit Authority, Sound Transit.

“We are a long way off from having light rail or a commuter train come and go from our region,” said Fraser. “This proposal is about giving local governments and the people the chance to determine if they want more efficient bus routes from our county in the short run. I know there is a considerable amount of frustration about the traffic congestion to and from our region. This would make one more option available to consider.”

Ibelema Stahmer serves as page in state Senate

January 29th, 2015|

During the week of Jan. 19, Ibelema Stahmer of Olympia served as a page in the Washington State Senate. Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Thurston County, the Democratic Caucus Chair, sponsored Stahmer’s weeklong experience in the Legislature.

“It was my pleasure to sponsor Ibelema this week,” said Fraser. “She was a great help to me and my staff.”

During the week pages assist senators and staff, attend lectures with guest speakers and go to page school where they create their own bills in a mock committee setting. Stahmer and fellow page Sara Walker drafted a bill concerning later school starting times. Stahmer said they were trying to find a solution for students who have trouble paying attention and focusing. Stahmer and Walker’s bill proposed a 9:30 a.m. start time to solve this problem, however it was not voted out of mock committee.

“It was great to be on the Senate floor and go through the all buildings and see new things every day,” Stahmer said.

Stahmer said everyone she interacted with throughout the week was friendly and nice. She said she would recommend the program to her friends.

Stahmer, 15, is a freshman at Olympia High School. She also enjoys math, science, visual arts and basketball.

Sara Walker serves as page in state Senate

January 29th, 2015|

During the week of Jan. 19, Sara Walker of Tumwater served as a page in the Washington State Senate. Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Thurston County, the Democratic Caucus Chair, sponsored Walker’s weeklong experience in the Legislature.

“Sara was tremendously helpful to me this week” said Fraser. “She was invested in the experience and very friendly toward staff and other pages.”

During the week pages assist senators and staff, attend lectures with guest speakers and go to page school where they create their own bills in a mock committee setting. Walker and fellow page Ibelema Stahmer drafted a bill concerning school start times.

“Sometimes it’s hard for kids to pay attention during class,” Walker said. “Our bill would have given them a little more time in the morning to get ready for school.”

Walker said that attending Supreme Court hearings and floor debates were among the best parts of her paging experience.

“It was really cool to actually go on the floor and see everything in person instead of on TV,” Walker said. Walker, 15, is a sophomore at Tumwater High School where she participates in choir.

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    Sen. Karen Fraser talks budget, transportation, committees in video update

Sen. Karen Fraser talks budget, transportation, committees in video update

January 27th, 2015|

In the first video update of the 2015 Legislative Session, Sen. Karen Fraser talks about the budget, transportation, committees, and general business of the Senate.

Brady Barker serves as page in state Senate

January 19th, 2015|

OLYMPIA – During the week of Jan. 12, Brady Barker of Lacey served as a page in the Washington State Senate. Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Thurston County, the Democratic Caucus Chair sponsored Barker’s week-long experience in the Legislature.

“It was a pleasure to sponsor Brady this week,” said Fraser. “He was a great help and a bright student.”

During the week pages assist senators and staff, attend lectures with guest speakers and go to page school where they create their own bills in a mock committee setting. Barker drafted a bill concerning fraudulent use of EBT cards.

Barker said at first he was nervous to page because he did not know where any of the buildings were and was afraid to ask for help.

“After I learned where everything was I had a lot of fun,” said Barker. “I was excited to learn about how legislature works.”

Barker, 15, attends Timberline High School and in his spare time he enjoys reading, swimming and watching movies.

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    Ruckelshaus Center finishes Capitol Lake Assessment, releases report

Ruckelshaus Center finishes Capitol Lake Assessment, releases report

December 23rd, 2014|

The William D. Ruckelshaus Center has released their Situation Assessment Report on Capitol Lake Management.

The report highlights the opportunities and shared values, as well as challenges and concerns that were common among those interviewed.

Representatives from the Ruckelshaus Center presented their findings at the Dec. 11  joint meeting of the State Capitol Committee and the  Capitol Campus Design Advisory Committee. The Washington State Department of Enterprise Services recorded the presentation.

To read the Ruckelshaus Center report, click here. For more information on Capitol Lake Assessment reports, click here.

Fraser receives Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation

December 11th, 2014|

Photo courtesy of the Consulate-General of Japan

Photo courtesy of the Consulate-General of Japan

Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Thurston County, was awarded the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation at a reception in honor of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan’s birthday at Japanese Consul-General Omura’s residence in Seattle.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award,” said Fraser. “When I was born our two countries were at war. Today our countries are not only friends, we are partners in the global economy. We were able to turn a negative relationship with Japan into one that is positive and beneficial to our citizens, countries, and the world. I am grateful to everyone who has helped strengthen the bonds of friendship – it was not accomplished by one person. The Foreign Minister’s Commendation is a once in a lifetime award and I am humbled to be a recipient of this great honor.”

Fraser has been involved with the Olympia – Kato Sister City relationship for more than 35 years. In 2013, as the chair of the Washington-Hyogo Sister State 50th Anniversary Host Committee, Fraser welcomed the governor of Hyogo prefecture and more than 300 distinguished guests to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the sister city relationship.

The Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation is awarded to individuals and groups for outstanding achievements in international fields, to acknowledge their contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries. This year, the Commendation was awarded to 108 individuals and 30 groups worldwide.

Fraser re-elected Senate Democratic Caucus Chair

November 19th, 2014|

Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Thurston County, has been re-elected to serve as the Senate Democratic Caucus Chair.

“I am honored to be re-elected by my peers to this position,” said Fraser. “I enjoy being a member of our leadership team and look forward to working with my colleagues in the coming legislative session.”

As caucus chair, Fraser sets the agenda and presides over caucus meetings, and helps keep the caucus organized.

This will be Fraser’s third term as Senate Democratic Caucus Chair, a position she has held since 2011.

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    Washington 125 – “Perspectives on the Bench and Bar of Thurston County since Statehood”

Washington 125 – “Perspectives on the Bench and Bar of Thurston County since Statehood”

November 14th, 2014|

As part of the Washington 125 events celebrating statehood, I had the opportunity to sit in on a fascinating conversation titled, “Perspectives on the Bench and Bar of Thurston County Since Statehood,” that featured retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander and retired Superior Court Judge Carol Fuller.

The one-hour event may be viewed here courtesy of TVW.

An update from WSDOT on I-5 lane closures

September 5th, 2014|

The following information was sent in a news release from the Washington State Department of Transportation:

Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater drivers are encouraged to avoid using Interstate 5 in Olympia for cross-town travel during two upcoming weekends. Long-distance travelers should plan alternative routes to avoid the Olympia area or be prepared for significant delays.

Over the weekends of Sept. 12 and Sept. 19, crews will repair a worn bridge expansion joint that bisects all lanes of northbound and southbound I-5 near Capitol Lake. The expansion joint also extends through adjacent US 101 on- and off-ramps. Work is part of a larger $4.5 million project to pave sections of I-5 from Tumwater Boulevard to Gravelly Lake Drive in Pierce County.

I-5 closure details (note work is weather-dependent):

Beginning 10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, crews will shift three northbound I-5 lanes to the left and reduce the on-ramp from southbound US 101 to northbound I-5 to one lane. At that time, the Deschutes Way on-ramp to northbound I-5 will also close until 5 a.m. Monday, Sept. 15.

Beginning at 10 p.m., Friday, Sept. 12, and continuing around the clock through 5 a.m. Monday, Sept. 15, contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will reduce lanes and shift traffic on southbound and northbound I-5.

During daytime hours on both weekends, I-5 will be reduced to two lanes in each direction. At 10 p.m. on each Friday, Saturday and Sunday, an additional lane will close, reducing I-5 to one lane in each direction. Ramps in the area will close as well and remain closed through Monday morning. A second lane will reopen each following morning by 8 a.m.

WSDOT traffic engineers anticipate lengthy traffic backups and delays on both […]