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Hundreds dial in to Litzow’s ‘telephone Town Hall’ meeting
Nearly 2,400 people participated in a telephone town hall held by State Senator Steve Litzow on the evening of Jan. 16.
Participants were either contacted directly or called in themselves to participate.
Litzow spoke to a set of 16 questions for the hour that were either sent in by email ahead of time or directly from people who were on the line during the hour.
Litzow’s press officer Joe Adamack, said that questions centered around three main topics: Transportation, education (both K-12 and higher education) and taxes.
"The 16 questions covered a wide range of interests and issue areas,” he said, "but transportation was definitely at the forefront of people’s minds.”
Transportation questions included: “Explain what the Legislature is doing about the perceived incompetence with WSDOT related to Bertha and SR 520.”
And, “I’m concerned about the lack of the transportation package in the Legislature and believe there must be a discussion about taxes. Is there any chance that could happen this year?”
Within each of those that asked questions live and from those who left messages afterward there were a mix of people who supported local options for transit and an additional gas tax to fund projects as well as individuals who were against increasing gas taxes on Washington drivers.
"Transportation remains a clear priority for those who participated, which reflects what I hear from community residents almost daily," Litzow said. "Transportation leaders have spent a great deal of time working on ways to address our short- and long-term transportation needs and the Eastside will play a major role if a funding package is adopted."
Tax questions were mostly from callers who were concerned about taxes increasing over time. One caller said, “I don’t know how people in Olympia can keep taxing us to death in this state. You keep getting more money for roads and nothing gets fixed. How do you feel about Metro’s proposal to put an additional car tab fee on those who drive?”
In regards to education matters, one caller asked: “My son is at the University of Washington and has all the credits he needs to graduate, but cannot get into the engineering program due to a lack of space. When will legislators be able to ensure Washington’s own students will be able to access these programs?”
Other questions included interest in whether or not Sen. Litzow supports the DREAM Act (he does), if he supports I-594 for universal background checks (he does) and one about medical marijuana.
“Holding town-hall meetings over the phone is a great way to hear from many constituents and do so in a manner that’s convenient for everyone. We’ll still be hosting our in-person town hall later in the session, but for many people it’s difficult to take the time to go in-person. Hearing from and providing information to thousands of constituents while I’m in Olympia is a great way to engage with people who are interested in state government.”
Participants were asked “Would you support a more than 10 cent per gallon gas tax increase if it completed State Route 520 without tolling Interstate 90?”
Seventy percent said “yes,” 22 percent said “no,” and eight percent were undecided.
Eighty-three percent of respondents said their primary mode of transportation was by car.