By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
One of the most significant accomplishments of the Washington State Legislature’s 2019 session was passage of several pieces of legislation that will help move the needle significantly in combating rising antisemitism, bias, hate incidents, and hate crimes.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle’s advocacy was critical to getting these bills enacted into law. We could not have done it without YOU. By taking the time to let us know the issues that matter most to you and your family, you helped craft the Federation’s policy agenda, and ensured the Federation accurately and effectively represents the needs of our community in Olympia.
Now, you have an opportunity to help us develop our legislative agenda for 2020 by taking a few minutes to complete our Policy Priorities Survey.
Here’s why that is so important. The results of the 2019 session show how a legislative agenda created to reflect your priorities makes our advocacy impactful. In our 2018 survey, we heard clearly from you that fighting antisemitism and other forms of religious discrimination were top priorities. You told us you wanted a strong focus on strengthening community security, fighting hate crimes, and supporting Holocaust education. And we heard you. In response, the Federation led diverse coalitions to create policies to strengthen our state’s hate crimes statute, develop new best practices for Holocaust and genocide education, and secure religious accommodation for minority students in higher education. Thanks to the work of the Federation and our advocacy partners, these bills were passed and signed into law.
Additionally, we secured passage of other high-priority legislation that had broad community support. Increased funding for housing assistance and naturalization services. Stronger protections for immigrants and refugees. Expanded safeguards against gun violence.
Now, we’re gearing up for the Legislature’s 2020 session, which gavels to order on January 13. Once again, you have an important opportunity to shape our work in Olympia next year. By taking a few minutes to complete our Policy Priorities Survey, you will provide the information we need to plan an agenda that reflects YOUR priorities for our community.
By completing the public policy survey, you will ensure that Federation’s work in Olympia represents our community. When our team meets with legislators to request their support for legislation, they know that our requests reflect the broader values, issues, and concerns of our people here locally. That knowledge builds credibility, which in turn strengthens relationships with lawmakers. Those relationships matter — a lot! In every legislative session, thousands of bills are introduced. Most do not get far in the process. Having strong relationships with legislators greatly improves the chances that bills reflecting our priorities will make it across the finish line.
The success of our advocacy work is testament to the power of the collective. One person’s voice, added to the voices of many others in touching people’s lives, is a vivid demonstration of timeless Jewish values — of kol yisrael arevim zeh lazeh, that all Jews are responsible for one another, and of tikkun olam, repairing our world. There is plenty of work to be done and all of us can do our part. Please take a few minutes to complete our Policy Priorities Survey. You can make a difference!