By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
The 2018 midterm elections are winding down. Ballots are (almost all) tallied, most measures have been decided, nail-biter races are slowly showing their true colors, and newly elected legislators, as well as victorious incumbents, are looking to how they can make an impact in the term ahead.
Now is when the Federation’s advocacy team jumps into high gear, preparing for the Washington State legislative session, and ensuring the Federation is ready to make our community’s values and priorities heard in Olympia come January. Thanks to the hundreds of community members who responded to our 2018-2019 Policy Priorities Survey this fall, we have a strong sense of what matters most to you and where the Federation should focus its advocacy in the year to come.
As we analyzed the survey results, all captured before October 27, several issues emerged as the highest-priority concerns of the community. Respondents ranked combating anti-Semitism and other forms of religious discrimination, maintaining Jewish communal safety and security, addressing hate crimes, and supporting Jewish history and Holocaust education as the top four issues on which the Federation should be advocating for in our state Capitol.
The Federation’s track record demonstrates how expressing your views amplifies our community voice. In the 2018 legislative session, guided by your feedback to make fighting anti-Semitism and other forms of religious discrimination a top priority, we secured $100,000 in the state budget for expanding the number of schools served by ADL’s No Place for Hate program and another $100,000 for the Holocaust Center for Humanity to create an online encyclopedia of educational resources.
We take the survey results seriously, especially in the wake of the grave attack in Pittsburgh. We will continue working with legislators in Olympia to combat anti-Semitism and hate through as many avenues as possible. You can see a complete summary of the results from the 2018-2019 policy priorities survey here.
In addition to ensuring the community’s top areas of concern receive ample voice and support, the Federation, as it does each year, is working with local Jewish agencies that request our lobbying services to understand their top issues of concern, ensure their organizational needs are met, and that the clients they serve and the programs their clients rely on are protected.
Judaism teaches that one of the most important covenants of our people is kehillah, or community. Kehillah can be interpreted as our commitment to work together, to be in relationship with one another, and to support the well-being of all in our community. Your unique voice and contributions are key to building and guiding our kehillah. When the Federation advocacy team meets with our elected representatives to support a bill or a budget line item, they know we speak on behalf of constituents in the Jewish community. Only with your contributions can we ensure our kehillah is built with purpose and on behalf of the collective. Thank you for building community with the Federation and making our work possible.