More than 50 members of the 20th Legislative District’s Latino community joined Sen. John Braun on Sunday afternoon in Chehalis for a discussion about priorities for the upcoming legislative session, which begins Jan. 12.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout,” said Braun, R-Centralia, who had invited members of the area’s faith community and leaders from the broader Latino community. “I’m glad that people took time to voice their concerns and help me understand the issues facing the community. I’m looking forward to reviewing the issues that were raised and finding constructive solutions.”
Braun’s goal for the forum, held at St. Joseph Catholic Church, was to better engage and address concerns in the Latino community. Participants spoke at length about issues ranging from school quality, business regulations, access to affordable health care and parental involvement in schools.
“I see a great deal of alignment with some of my legislative priorities for the coming session,” Braun said. “Having parents more involved in their children’s education, fostering entrepreneurship and having quality educational opportunities are values we all share. The issues that we discussed at this event are important for people across the state, not just one community. I will be working hard this coming session to prioritize our state’s spending that reflects these shared commitments to improving education and our state’s business climate.”
The community forum was Braun’s first; he hopes the positive results will encourage other legislators to connect with diverse communities around the state. His goal is to build consensus and broader understanding of how issues cross language, cultural and district boundaries.