Senator Hans Zeiger is the Ranking Member on the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee. He also sits on the Transportation Committee and the State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee. He joins us as a “Wire Insider” to talk about bi-partisanship in the legislature.
I think it’s going to be very important that we establish a working relationship between Republicans and Democrats in the legislature. I think we’ve had that in a very positive way over the last five years that we’ve had the Majority Coalition Caucus in charge in the Senate and Democrats in charge in the House. I think we’ve been able to work together and get some very, very important things done. We were able to resolve, largely resolve the McCleary issue that was given to us by the State Supreme Court. I think we did some major lifting on that issue, restructured our state’s taxation to pay for education to the point where it’s now over 50 percent of our state budget. We made the largest transportation investments in state history. We also made some important reforms to make sure we’re being responsible with taxpayer dollars.
So I think we’ve had a good experiment in bipartisanship over the last five years. I would hope that that can continue even though you have a Democrat majority in both houses of the legislature, but there would be an outreach to the Republicans to say “Okay, how can we include Republican perspectives in the discussions that we’re going to have?” And I think that’s for the good of Washington State because we are not a one-party state.