By Ralph Schwartz
The 2013 state legislative session begins Monday. It’s a big year, with Republicans effecting a coup in the Senate, and a budget to be written, and a call from the state Supreme Court to better fund K-12 education.
As a former Anacortes School Board president, Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes, has education high on her priority list. She’ll be working within the Education and Finance committees in the state House to find ways to increase funding to schools. (In Finance, she’ll look at closing tax loopholes or otherwise restructuring the tax system to add revenue.)
Lytton’s office sent a press release yesterday encouraging constituents to stay in touch during session, which is scheduled to end in late April. She says it’s easy to lose touch with constituents when she’s deep into the political goings-on in Olympia.
“It’s important for people to know they have access to me,” she said today.
Lytton represents the 40th Legislative District, which includes south Bellingham and southwest Whatcom County.
Here’s that press release, with a link to how to sign up for her e-memo:
Rep. Kristine Lytton planning regular e-memos to update constituents on legislative business
Anacortes lawmaker to forgo the expense of printed newsletters
OLYMPIA — With the 2013 legislative session kicking off in just a few days, state Rep. Kristine Lytton (D-40th, Anacortes) is asking constituents who want to receive regular electronic updates from Olympia to provide her with their e-mail addresses.
“Just as most Washington families have had to look closely at their budgets,” Lytton explained, “members of the state House of Representatives are trimming expenses wherever possible. We’ve voluntarily reduced the amount that each lawmaker is allotted for official postage and printing, and many of us have decided to eliminate, or at least cut back on, the paper newsletters that representatives have traditionally relied on to keep in touch with constituents.
“And frankly,” she added, “I’m not sure how effective those printed mailers really are. They’re expensive to produce, it can take weeks between the time they’re written and the time they reach a constituent’s mailbox, and I suspect that a lot of them go straight into the recycling bin without being read.”
Lytton noted that she can come out of a hearing on an important or controversial piece of legislation, climb two flights of stairs to her office, and quickly draft an e-memo to bring constituents up to speed on that issue, or several. The information can be in thousands of 40th-district e-mail inboxes within minutes, at essentially no cost to taxpayers.
Lytton stressed that she’s hoping to build her e-memo distribution list with addresses that have been submitted by citizens who request the e-mails, rather than buying e-mail addresses from a vendor.
“Unwanted, unsolicited e-mail – spam – is one of the daily frustrations of everyone with an e-mail address. I don’t want to add to that problem, and that’s why I’m asking 40th-district constituents, regardless of whether they voted for me, to contact my office and tell me to put them on the e-memo list. We’ll only use these addresses for legislative information; they won’t be shared with anyone, especially political parties or election-related organizations.
“I encourage everyone to follow the Legislature in their local newspaper, on TV and radio, and on the Internet,” Lytton said. “But I’m also hoping to share my perspective via e-memo with as many constituents as possible throughout the legislative session.”
Clicking on this link will take constituents directly to Lytton’s sign-up page. They can also contact her office for any reason by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), by phone (360-786-7800), or by snail-mail (Rep. Kristine Lytton, P.O. Box 40600, Olympia WA 98504-0600).
The 2013 legislative session opens Monday, January 14, and is scheduled to continue for 105 consecutive days, adjourning April 28.