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Sen. Saldaña Legislative Update

May 11th, 2018|

Sen. Saldaña Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

We had a historically productive and progressive session this year. We passed a package of legislation to make voting easier and fairer in our state, setting a national example for other states to follow. We also passed several bills that put people first and which will have an immediate impact on communities, including expanding access to financial aid for Dreamers, banning the cruel practice known as “conversion therapy” on LGBTQ youth, advancing equal pay and preventing gun violence.

The Senate passed 308 bills, 98 percent of which received bipartisan support, and finished its work in just 60 days – the first time since 2014 that the Legislature has ended session on time. That work included a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 72,000 teachers and public employees in the PERS and TRS Plan 1 retirement programs, the first since 2010, and a health care insurance subsidy for retired or disabled teachers and public employees.

This session’s achievements reflect the hard work, grit and determination of the people of Washington. Our work in Olympia depends on the input of advocates and constituents who bring their perspective and expertise to the table as we shape policies that affect everyone.

I hope you will continue to reach out to my office with questions, suggestions or ideas for next year. I look forward to hearing from you and continuing to work together to achieve progress for the 37th District and the State of Washington.

Sincerely,
Rebecca Saldaña

Equal Pay

This year we took steps to end gender wage discrimination by passing House Bill 1506, which modifies the Equal Pay Act to provide a range of remedies addressing unfair pay disparity.

DREAM Act 2.0

We passed the “DREAM Act 2.0,” expanding state financial aid resources to undocumented students (“Dreamers”). It builds on the 2014 Real Hope Act, which widened access to the State Need Grant and enabled Dreamers to pay in-state tuition at our colleges and universities.

Initiative 940, De-Escalate Washington

We took a huge step forward in improving relationships between law enforcement and our communities with an agreement to meaningfully address police use of deadly force. Although a court challenge has left the status of the agreement unclear, I stand behind it and I am committed to working to ensure that it becomes law.

My Legislation

I sponsored a dozen bills this year, six of which became law; so did three House bills containing the same language as my bills:

  • Senate Bill 6002, the Washington Voting Rights Act, removes legal barriers to ensure fair representation in cities and local jurisdictions
  • Senate Bill 5683 rights a historic wrong by extending health care coverage to certain Pacific Islanders living in Washington
  • Senate Bill 6245 empowers spoken language interpreters
  • Senate Bill 6529 establishes a work group to find ways to address harmful “pesticide drift”
  • Senate Bill 6145 lets law enforcement and firefighting agencies hire any legal residents
  • Senate Bill 6126 helps create a regional workforce of quality electricians

Gun Responsibility

News stories about gun violence and mass shootings have inundated our communities, schools and homes. Enough is enough. As legislators, we have an obligation to keep our communities safe. This session, we passed bills that:

  • Ban bump stocks (Senate Bill 5992)
  • Let those experiencing extreme depression or stress waive their firearm rights (Senate Bill 5553)
  • Keep guns away from those convicted of domestic violence harassment (Senate Bill 6298)
  • Ensure that concealed pistol licenses are taken from people subject to protective orders for stalking and other crimes (House Bill 2519)
  • We also allocated $382,000 to clear the state’s backlog of 478,000 firearm transfer and sale records.

Stay in touch!

Thank you for contacting us on what matters to you. Your participation is making a difference and helping to improve our communities! Follow my official Facebook page for updates and remember to stay in touch by calling or emailing my office.

Legislative Update from Sen. Saldaña

February 27th, 2018|

The last several days have been a whirlwind! I can’t believe that it was just over a week ago that we hosted our town hall. We had a great turnout, and folks asked robust and thoughtful questions about carbon, the social safety net, gun responsibility and public safety, economic development, taxes, environment, and civil rights.

Sen. Saldaña with constituent AFSCME representatives at the 37th Legislative District town hall meeting on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018.

I love seeing constituents in Olympia who visit to advocate for their priorities. Last week residents of the 37th turned out in large numbers for the annual African-American Advocacy Day, Catholic, Jewish, and Interfaith Lobby Day, and Senior Lobby Day. Residents advocated on issues ranging from repealing I-200, to health care, to safe schools, to addressing homelessness.

Sen. Saldaña with constituents from the 37th Legislative District in her Olympia office on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018.

This week our three supplemental budgets were released and passed. Washington state budgets provide funding on a two-year (biennial) cycle.

Supplemental budgets are passed in even years and allow the Legislature to make mid-course corrections on the two-year budget. It gives the state the opportunity to make critical new investments that keep families safe, provide high-quality teachers, and address other emergent needs like mental health care.

2018 supplemental budgets

Operating budget

This budget helps fund the day-to-day operations of state government such as schools and universities, state parks, teacher salaries and other state services and programs.

On Friday, the Senate passed the 2018 supplemental operating budget plan — a budget that will fully fund education and provide adequate support for those in our society who need mental health treatment.

This budget makes targeted investments in key areas, including:

  • Education: Brings the state into compliance with its constitutional obligation to amply fund our public schools. Includes an additional $1 billion to fully fund teacher and staff salaries as directed by the state Supreme Court.
  • Mental health: Invests nearly $300 million more over the next four years for state hospitals, mental health treatment and addressing the opioid crisis.

Capital budget

On Friday, the Senate also passed $334.7 million in new construction funding for Washington communities. The budget invests in public schools, higher education, behavioral health and local community infrastructure.

The proposal would provide an additional $66.2 million for K-12 school construction statewide. Of that sum, funding would be allocated as follows:

  • $51.3 million to the School Construction Assistance Program
  • $9 million for distressed schools
  • $6 million in rural school modernization grants

Transportation budget

As vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, I was part of a team that negotiated the budget that passed on Friday. The transportation budget sees an increase of $826 million over the enacted 2017-19 transportation budget. Much of the increase is a result of re-appropriated funds to continue Connecting Washington projects passed in 2015 that include investments in ferries, environmental protections, and the Washington State Patrol.

Stay in touch!

Thank you for contacting us on what matters to you. Your participation is making a difference and helping to improve our communities! Follow my official Facebook page for updates and remember to stay in touch by calling or emailing my office.

Legislative Update from Sen. Saldaña

February 13th, 2018|

We are more than halfway through the 2018 Legislative Session. In the Senate, we are still working in a bipartisan way to pass long-awaited priorities. Last week, we passed Senate Bill 5407, which would prevent landlords from discriminating against tenants based on the source of their income. Homelessness is a crisis in Washington, and we have limited tools to solve this problem. One of those tools is housing assistance. But that only works if people are able to rent homes using that source of income. I was proud to support this legislation.

Join us for a town hall meeting!

I am co-hosting a town hall with Rep. Santos and Rep. Pettigrew. We hope you can join us! This will be good opportunity for us to hear directly from you and answer your questions. All are encouraged to attend. Childcare will be available. You can also find event details on my Facebook page.

WHAT: Town Hall Meeting

WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 from 10:00 – 12:00 p.m.

WHERE: Ethiopian Community Center, Multipurpose room, 8323 Rainier Avenue S. Seattle, WA 98118

My recently passed legislation

Three of my bills passed recently, each with strong bipartisan support!

Senate Bill 5683Expanding access to health care for Pacific Islanders living in Washington State: The Senate passed legislation I was proud to introduce that creates a statewide premium assistance program for Washington residents from Compact of Free Association (COFA) nations. Under COFA, citizens of Palau, The Marshall Islands, and Micronesia are free to live and work in the United States. While they are eligible for federal tax credits through the Affordable Care Act, they do not qualify for Medicaid since the federal government revoked eligibility in the 1990s.  This bill fixes that. These residents work in our state and serve in our military, and they need the same access to health care. The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 46-2.

Senate Bill 6245Empowering spoken language interpreters: This bill will streamline how the state procures interpreter services and give interpreters a voice in their work. I was proud to bring this bill forward because it will help our state work smarter while also giving an immigrant workforce the opportunity to have greater dignity and respect in their profession. It passed by a vote of 31-16.

Senate Bill 6529Protecting people from harmful pesticide drift:  Every year, people in Washington, especially agricultural workers, are exposed to harmful pesticides through something called “pesticide drift,” which is when the pesticides are blown beyond their targets. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reports those most harmed are workers on neighboring farms and children in nearby schools. This bill establishes a pesticide application safety workgroup to develop recommendations for improving the safety of pesticide applications. The workgroup will provide a report on their findings, recommendations, and draft legislation by this November. This bill will help us make informed decisions during next year’s legislative session to better protect our kids and public health. The bill does not prevent farmers from doing their work. It passed by a vote of 45-2.

Addressing health care

We also passed legislation to protect access to reproductive health care, require insurers to cover 3D mammograms, and direct physicians to report on breast density to better identify and treat breast cancer and more.

Access to Democracy

This weekend the Senate passed Senate Bill 6353, to implement Automatic Voter Registration at Washington state agencies starting in 2019. Automatic voter registration will increase the opportunity to register and vote without endangering the security of the election process.

In addition to automatic voter registration, the Senate passed legislation to strengthen campaign finance laws to clearly show who pays for political advertising on every ad. These bills are part of the Senate’s Access to Democracy package that also includes the Washington Voting Rights Act, Same Day Voter Registration, and the DISCLOSE Act.

Legislative Update from Sen. Saldaña

January 24th, 2018|

Dear Neighbor,

In just the first few weeks of session, the Senate has taken action on major Democratic priorities that passed with strong bipartisan support. We passed a $4 billion capital budget with historic investments for school construction and $16 million in investments for the 37th Legislative District.

Early Action on Legislative Priorities

We worked to pass the Washington Voting Rights Act, which I introduced, Same Day Voter Registration and the DISCLOSE Act. Washington is leading the nation in expanding access to democracy, increasing opportunities for voting, and improving transparency in elections. We also passed legislation to expand opportunities for state financial aid to every student who wants to go to college, regardless of their immigration status.

Senator Rebecca Saldaña celebrating with OneAmerica advocates after the Senate passed legislation to expand eligibility of the College Bound Scholarship to Dreamers.

Meet our Olympia Office

From left: Dana Owens-Cheatham, session aide │ Allison Banks, intern │ Sen. Rebecca Saldaña │ Ayla Kadah, legislative assistant

Remember that my office is always open to you. I hope you will call, email or visit us in Olympia. You can find information about how to reach us on my website.

Senate Page Program

The Washington State Senate Page Program provides an excellent opportunity for young people to get firsthand professional experience in our state Capitol and learn about the legislative process. The program is open to students between the ages of 14 and 17.  I encourage you to share this opportunity with as many students in our district as possible.

Priorities for the 2018 Legislative Session

January 9th, 2018|

January 9, 2018

Dear Neighbor,

The Washington State Senate has convened the 2018 legislative session. My top priorities include completing the unfinished business in K-12 education and passing the capital budget, which funds critical affordable housing projects, mental health services and economic development.

This week, I have committee hearings on two bills that I sponsored, which advance our district values of representative democracy, civil rights and economic equity.

The Washington Voting Rights Act

On Wednesday, Jan. 10, the Senate Committee on State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections will hold a hearing on the Voting Rights Act. This bill will enable local governments that want to change to district-based elections to do so without costly litigation. District-based elections empower communities and neighborhoods to run and elect candidates of their choice. This is the next step forward in a truly representative government. You can watch the hearing on Wednesday beginning at 8 a.m. at https://www.tvw.org/.

The Washington Fair Chance Act

Also this Wednesday, the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on The Fair Chance Act, which would prevent potential employers from discriminating against qualified applicants on the basis of past criminal records. Seamless reintegration after someone has paid their debt should be the ultimate goal of the criminal justice system. This bill is a first step toward ensuring that citizens who have served their time get a fair chance at rebuilding their lives. The hearing will be streamed beginning at 1:30 p.m. at https://www.tvw.org/.

Stay in touch

I will keep you updated regularly on the work I am doing in Olympia through these newsletters, but you don’t have to wait for an email to communicate with me. I hope you will call, email, or visit us in Olympia and share your ideas on how we can work together to meet our community’s needs. This Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I will continue the tradition of past 37th Legislative District senators and offer a resolution and remarks to honor Dr. King’s important legacy. Please tune in on Monday, Jan. 15 at http://watv.org/.

Thank you for the privilege of serving as your representative in the Washington State Senate. Together, we will continue to promote the 37th Legislative District’s values of justice and inclusion in our state Capitol.

Sincerely,
Rebecca

 

Contact Me

Phone: (360) 786-7688

Email: Rebecca.Saldana@leg.wa.gov

Olympia Office:

230 John A. Cherberg Building
Olympia, WA 98501

Website: www.sdc.wastateleg.org/Saldana

 

 

Legislative Update: Budget passes, shutdown averted

June 30th, 2017|

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June 30, 2017

37th District Values Reflected in Budget

Capitol sunset

With only hours to go before the deadline, a budget passed the Legislature and has been sent to the governor’s desk for his signature, avoiding a government shutdown.

While no budget is perfect, this has many positive things in it and reflects the values of the 37th Legislative District. Some reasons I voted for the budget include:

  • Funds the strongest statewide paid family leave program in the country. This will make a real difference to working families at the most important times of their lives – in welcoming a child or in caring for older parents or those with disabilities.
  • Fully funds collective bargaining agreements for public employees.
  • Real investments in Expanding New Americans Program. This budget increases support and capacity for immigration legal services for naturalization assistance for legal permanent residents.
  • Latino Health Center at UW
  • Critical investments in environmental justice and climate mitigation: Wildfire prevention planning, air quality study on implications of air traffic including assessment of ultra-fine particulate matter in impacted communities including Beacon Hill, and a funded Clean Air Act.
  • Investments in Child Care: Provides important critical rate increases for family child care providers, child care centers, and ECEAP program and ensures 3,700 childcare vouchers for families in the 37th District.
  • Formation of the Department of Children and Family Services, which will better serve foster youth and struggling families and includes parity for kinship providers.
  • More funding for homelessness prevention and services including housing and services for homeless youth and individuals with a history of mental illness.
  • Increased state need grant over the next two years and a state matching funds for the opportunity scholarship

“Yes” for Education – “No” for Regressive Funding

School kids

Along with the budget, the Legislature on Friday also passed a landmark bill to address the underfunding of public schools in this state. Overall, I support the policy because it ensures additional funds for:

  • Teacher salaries
  • Low-income schools and students, and ensures it goes directly to the school rather than the district where it can be distributed elsewhere
  • Special education
  • Career and technical education

Unfortunately, Republicans insisted on paying for the investments primarily through a property tax. This approach doubles down on our regressive tax system (the most unfair in the nation) and further burdens working families in Seattle, Renton and dozens of other communities throughout the state.

Seattle Renton impacts

In the end, it is a Democratic bill with Republican funding. And because the Republican property tax hits the 37th district particularly hard I could not vote for the bill. Raising property taxes by hundreds of dollars each year in a time when the rising cost of living is squeezing too many out of our neighborhoods is not an acceptable solution to our school funding issues.

I support progressive approaches to funding, including the capital gains tax and progressive real estate excise taxes. I am committed to reversing the unfair nature of our state tax system and pleased to share with you that a study was funded in the budget to examine the feasibility of a state bank (for more on that, click here).

I celebrate the good that will be done with the $7.3 billion going into our schools in the next four years, but will continue to work with you and my colleagues in the Legislature to ensure more fair funding in the future.

For detailed information on tax impacts, please click here.

Community Conversations

Community Conversations

This summer I am holding a Community Conversations series in our district. We will discuss how to make life in the 37th Legislative District more affordable while still making critical investments that ensure everyone in our community has opportunities to thrive.

Upcoming Events

July 28th, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.  – Renton Highlands Library –  2801 NE 10th St, Renton, WA 98056

July 29th, 11:05 a.m. – 12:35 p.m. – Secondary Learning Center – 7800 S 132nd St, Seattle, WA 98178

July 30th, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.  – Mt. Baker Housing Association – 2900 S. McClellan. Seattle, WA 98144

Do you want to host a

Community Conversation?

Contact me.

Saldana

Contact Me

Phone: (360) 786-7688

Email: Rebecca.Saldana@leg.wa.gov

District Office:

2900 S McClellan St.

Seattle, WA 98144

Website: www.sdc.wastateleg.org/Saldana

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    Legislative Update: Community conversations and possible government shutdown

Legislative Update: Community conversations and possible government shutdown

June 26th, 2017|

June 22, 2017

Starting Saturday!

Community Conversations

This Saturday, I hope you’ll join me as I launch a summer Community Conversations series. We will  discuss how we can make life in the 37th Legislative District more affordable while still making critical investments that ensure everyone in our community has opportunities to thrive.

  • Saturday, June 24 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Redwing Café in Rainier Beach.
  • Friday, July 28 – Time and place coming soon.
  • Saturday, July 29 – Time and place coming soon.
  • Sunday, July 30 – Time and place coming soon.

Republican Shutdown Looms

On July 1, our state government could shutdown for the first time in history.

For months, the Senate Republican majority has refused to participate in comprehensive budget negotiations. Although progress has been made in certain issue areas, Republican negotiators have taken a “my way or the highway” approach to some of the toughest challenges we face. This is especially true with regards to the revenue necessary to pay for schools and essential services. Republicans have insisted on a property tax only solution, which would increase the cost of living for working families in Seattle while adding little new money to our schools. This is unacceptable.

Washington has the most upside-down tax system in the nation, and we cannot continue to cut essential services and overburden only low and middle-income families in order to balance the budget. A shutdown would be devastating to Washingtonians across our state, hurting families, kids, workers and the most vulnerable. In our district alone, some 3,700 families could suddenly be without child care just as school lets out.

Republicans need to share Democrats’ sense of urgency and help us solve this problem now.

Call lawmakers at

1-800-562-6000

to share your views on the budget and possible government shutdown.

Read All About It

Senate budget is wrong approach on both sides of the Cascades

I recently had an op-ed published about the Senate Republicans plan to raise property taxes statewide.

Read it here.

Republicans move to cut family planning

A Senate colleague recently published an op-ed about Senate Republicans’ move to cut essential family planning funding for thousands of Washington women and families.

Read it here

Contact Me

Phone: (360) 786-7688

Email: Rebecca.Saldana@leg.wa.gov

District Office:

2900 S McClellan St.

Seattle, WA 98144

Website: www.sdc.wastateleg.org/Saldana

Legislative Update: What do budgets tell us?

March 31st, 2017|

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Note from Rebecca 033017

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There are three separate budgets that fund all the responsibilities of the state. They are passed on a biennial basis, or every two years, with smaller 2017 Senate Capital Budget 37thsupplemental budgets passed in alternating years.

Operating Budget

The operating budget is the main budget for the state, with proposals this year ranging from $43 to $46 billion. It funds everything from higher education to state agencies and the mental health care system.

Transportation Budget

The transportation budget funds everything from pedestrian safety to traffic improvement projects, street completion, bridge repairs, ferries and avalanche control. This year’s transportation budget includes a number of projects for the 37th district. Some examples include funds for multimodal transportation options like Amtrak improvements, safe routes to schools and bike and pedestrian improvements, as well as improvements on I-5 between downtown Seattle and State Route 167.

Capital Budget

The capital budget funds a variety of building and maintenance projects throughout the state. From affordable housing grants to schools to community and arts centers and parks, the capital budget is critical to building and expanding public spaces throughout Washington.

I teamed up with our budget negotiators and the other members of the Senate Members of Color of Caucus to advocate for key projects and investments in our districts.

Our priorities include the Housing Trust Fund, Building Communities Fund Grants, Dental Capacity Grants, and Model Toxics. I will continue to advocate for these priorities and 37th District projects as the final capital budget is negotiated with the House of Representatives.

 

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D v R revenue comparison

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Cesar Chavez floor speechAhead of César Chávez Day, celebrated on MarchCesar Chavez reader board 31, the Senate honored the work of this great American civil and labor rights leader in a resolution I brought to the Senate floor. Chávez was an advocate for farm workers who tirelessly promoted equality through non-violent resistance, and uplifted Latino communities and workers throughout the nation and world. It was a privilege to recognize Chávez with the rest of the Washington State Senate.

Contact me banner

Olympia OfficeSaldana floor speaking

230 John A. Cherberg Building

Phone: (360) 786-7688

Email: Rebecca.Saldana@leg.wa.gov

Website: www.sdc.wastateleg.org/saldana

Legislative Update: Thank you for your input

March 22nd, 2017|

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Town Hall Update

Thank you to everyone who took time out of their busy lives to participate in the 37th Legislative District town hall. It was a huge success! The discussion was robust and civil – a true testament to the democratic process. I am honored to represent such a well-informed and engaged group of people.

We discussed a wide range of topics, including:

  • Broken tax system and the need for new revenue from fair sources
  • Education funding
  • Caring for foster kids
  • Gun safety
  • Health care
  • Damaging effects of Republican and Trump policies coming out of Washington D.C.
  • Federal immigration policy

I also want to thank the wonderful panelists who came to share with us about the work they do for the 37th District, and the advocacy they take on in Olympia. The panelists were:

  • Sue Cary, Grandmothers Against Gun Violence
  • Robert Beiser, Seattle Against Slavery
  • Sameth Mell, Coalition of Immigrants, Refugees, and Communities of Color
  • Cash Carlos, Washington Care Services

If you were unable to make it to the town hall or did not get your question answered, please feel free to contact my office.

Town hall 2017

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Saldana Stay in Touch

Olympia Office

230 John A. Cherberg Building

Phone: (360) 786-7688

Email: Rebecca.Saldana@leg.wa.gov

Website: www.sdc.wastateleg.org/saldana

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    2017 Session Halfway Point Update: Good things happening in Olympia

2017 Session Halfway Point Update: Good things happening in Olympia

March 10th, 2017|

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Halfway point 2017

Every year, hundreds of bills pass through the Senate and House of Representatives. Some bills get a lot of attention, while others get little or no attention. Below are a few bills that passed the Senate that you may not have heard about but which will improve the lives of Washingtonians.Capitol in spring

  • SB 5833 This provides a small increase for our honored retired teachers who, after a career of service, live on very modest fixed incomes. There is more work to do, but this bill is a good start.
  • SB 5614 Increases diversion opportunities for juvenile offenders. These are measures to deal with offenses besides incarceration, including community service or behavioral management classes.
  • SB 5712 Creates the Bilingual Educator Initiative to encourage bilingual Washington students to become teachers.
  • SB 5835 Improves health outcomes by making accommodations for pregnant workers. The U.S. maternal and mortality rates are some of the highest among developed nations, particularly for women of color. This anti-discrimination bill is key to healthier outcomes for mothers and babies.
  • SB 5107 This bill helps reduce the number of barriers to use local and private funds to expand early childhood education.
  • SB 5141 This exempts yoga schools from licensure and regulatory requirements for private vocational schools.
  • SB 5236 This ensures students in K-12 schools are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to engage effectively in government.
  • SB 5357 This requires the Department of Early Learning to create outdoor, nature-based early learning and child care programs.
  • SB 5077 This authorizes the Department of Corrections to provide temporary housing assistance for women released from the Washington Corrections Center.

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Be Bold for Change

Women of the Senate Democratic Caucus celebrate International Women’s Day

Women's day video

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Levy cliff passage alert

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Saldana clip keep in touch

Stay in Touch

Olympia Office

230 John A. Cherberg Building

Phone: (360) 786-7688

Email: Rebecca.Saldana@leg.wa.gov

Website: www.sdc.wastateleg.org/saldana