I have loved my first four years in the State Senate. I have enjoyed working with my other elected colleagues from both Eastern and Western Washington. The staff in Olympia has been excellent, and I’m happy to report that as long as we continue to work together, we can make sure we never become like the “other” Washington back in D.C.
During my four years as the Senator for our local communities I am proud to report about the following projects that have been funded, and bills that have been passed.
- A new interchange at Highway 18 and I-90 with a flyover to reduce congestion.
- Extra lanes on I-90 between Issaquah and Bellevue.
- Extra lanes on Issaquah-Fall City road by Klahanie.
- A new road system around the Costco retail complex with additional entry and exit points.
- Secured funding for North Bend to repave their streets that have been torn up by semi-trucks using their local truck stop.
Traffic in our district stinks. These projects will go a long ways to reducing congestion when completed.
- A complete makeover of Lake Sammamish State Park—making it the jewel of our State Park system. This involves a new playground opening in the summer of 2016, along with a complete beach makeover, and improved bathroom and vendor facilities.
- Secured funding to help with turf fields in a variety of communities in our district. Any parent with kids playing soccer or baseball knows that in our climate, you need more turf fields to avoid games being cancelled from bad weather.
- Secured funding to implement a statewide fishing line recycling program. This program partners with local non-profits to keep used fishing line out of our streams, lakes, and parks.
- New investments in Historic Snoqualmie to help revitalize this important retail corridor. We need to make sure that tourists who visit Snoqualmie Falls also visit other Snoqualmie merchants during their stay.
- New Skate Park in Snoqualmie.
- We are finally paving the entrance to the High Point Trailhead on Tiger Mountain at Exit 20 off the freeway. No more moon craters to traverse on the way to the trailhead.
- Secured funding to provide enhancements to the Middle Fork Wilderness Area outside North Bend. The natural beauty in this area is stunning, and it will now be easier for our local residents to enjoy.
Financial literacy bill. Ensured all graduates of Washington State high schools will be offered financial literacy courses so they better understand personal finances before they graduate. I learned from my time at Zeeks Pizza and Ben and Jerry’s that too many of our high school graduates don’t have common financial knowledge about managing a checking account and saving money.
Donut Hole Bill. Passed a bill to remove zoning control of the “donut hole” from King County and return zoning control to the City of Maple Valley. This enabled the City to partner with the Tahoma School district to build a new high school that will open in 2017. When talking to Maple Valley residents while running for office in 2012 this was their number one issue. I was thrilled to successfully take on King County and bring back a victory for our local community.
Healthcare Transparency Bill. Passed a bill to require all insurance companies to build tools that will go on their websites so people can look up how much a procedure will cost before the procedure occurs. If we want to lower healthcare costs, we all need to become engaged healthcare consumers and make sure we compare prices and quality when receiving healthcare treatment. This bill makes that possible by giving the consumers the tools and information they need to choose high quality doctors who also have reasonable prices.
Retirement Bill. Created the Washington Small Business Retirement Marketplace. This makes it easier for small business owners to help their staff save for retirement. It is a unique model that removes the traditional $1,500 annual fee small business owners pay to offer a payroll deduction IRA for their staff. This will make it easier for every employee in our State to have the option to save for their retirement directly out of their paycheck with low fees. I was thrilled to see other States like New Jersey copying our bill language verbatim, as people across the country realize this is a great private sector solution to making it easier for people to save for retirement.
Epi-Pen Bill. Passed a bill that enables an allergy doctor to prescribe an Epi-Pen directly to a school. This gives a school nurse the right tools to help a child with no previous allergy diagnosis who has an allergic reaction to a bee sting or food while at school. Also worked with pharmaceutical companies to make sure these Epi-Pens are available for free to our schools.
No extra pay. Mark opposed the legislative pay raise last year from $42,000 to $47,000—so he donates his raise to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank each year.
Independent Record. Mark has the most independent voting record in the State Senate—putting the priorities of the 5th District above special interest groups and partisan politics.