On Martin Luther King Day, I went with other members from my local union, the Federal Way Education Association, to Olympia to advocate for amply funded education and other issues impacting students and teachers. As part of our day of action, we scheduled meetings with our local elected officials to campaign for our cause.
Our day was mostly filled with positivity, sharing values and building relationships with officials in order to better our schools. Unfortunately, our meeting with Sen. Mark Miloscia, in which I attended with three other constituents from the 30th District, did not go as well.
It seemed as though the senator was in a sour mood right off the bat. Rather than immediately press forth an agenda, we tried instead to have a conversation to gain a general understanding of ideals so that we might come to a shared goal. When we asked him questions, his responses were almost always short or one word answers, making it difficult to carry on a conversation and creating a hostile environment.
The senator was adamant that the state was now fully funding education and kept insisting that increasing the levy lid would be absolutely terrible for Federal Way. We asked why the district must continue to request levy funds from its residents if schools are now fully funded, but his only response was that the state should only pay for general education funding. He declined to answer if he believes school nurses and special education programs should be included in general education.
Regardless of one’s political views, an elected official should at least respect and listen to their constituents. It was clear to me that Sen. Miloscia had no interest in listening to his constituents’ issues that meeting, and his behavior was hostile and unprofessional. Our elected officials are there to serve their constituents. Let’s work to elect someone this November who will at the very least listen to us.
Sam Rise, Federal Way