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Lawmakers say their goodbyes

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on April 11, 2012 at 2:16 pm with No Comments »
April 11, 2012 2:20 pm

It’s not out of the question that lawmakers will have to return this year. A bad revenue forecast this summer or fall could easily wipe out the 1 percent reserve of $319 million that lawmakers left in their budget as a cushion.

But barring that, this morning’s adjournment after an all-nighter was the last hurrah for several long-serving members of the Legislature, including Debbie Regala of Tacoma, Jim Kastama of Puyallup, Mark Miloscia of Federal Way, Margarita Prentice of Renton and Glenn Anderson of Fall City. Kastama, Miloscia and Anderson are running for statewide office.

Others leaving include Jim McCune of Graham and Connie Ladenburg of Tacoma, who are both running for Pierce County Council.

They were bidding goodbye to colleagues in the wee hours of this morning. Here’s an e-mail Regala sent just after midnight remarking on her 18 years in the Legislature:

Dear Friends,

Twenty years ago, the idea of serving in the Washington State Legislature was not in my wildest dreams or scariest nightmares.  Yet I was elected to the House of Representatives in November of 1994 and have had the honor of representing the people of the 27th District for the past 18 years.

It has been – to quote the title of a book I have recently enjoyed reading – ‘A Journey Long and Strange.’ This last session has certainly been memorable.

But I have had many memorable experiences over the years: walking across the Elwha Dam before it was torn down, descending almost 2000 feet below the surface of the earth in a mine at Metaline Falls, viewing a forest looking down on the trees from a construction crane, visiting death row in Walla Walla, and wearing a ‘sex offender’ ankle bracelet for a weekend.

I have met many people who have enriched my life with their personal stories: Billy, Robert, Diana, Kimberly, and Gerald, to mention a few.

And, of course, I’ve also learned something from each legislator I’ve worked with along the way.  As well as Governor Gregoire and Lt. Governor Owen.  Sometimes we have had strong disagreements, but I know we all are trying to do what we believe is best for the future of our state.  So I thank you all for raising your hand in willingness to take on this job.

I also wish to thank all the advocates and lobbyists who have provided input, worked with me, and helped me develop and pass legislation over the years. I’m proud of my wide variety of successful legislation including Forest and Fish, Streamlined Sales Tax, Prison Reform, Local Government Finances, Sex Offender Policy and a reset of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.

We all know that none of us could do this job without the indefatigable knowledgeable staff of the Legislature – both partisan and non-partisan.  They all have my admiration and thanks. Especially, my Aide Lisa Fisch who has kept my office functioning, dealt with challenging constituent issues, and ensured my Interns and session aides were part of the office team.

I’ve often said I want to write a book about all my adventures in this long strange journey– but whether I do or not – know that I have stored a large cache of memories in my head and my heart.
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