At the opening of the special session, Ned Hammar, a family practice doctor from Okanogan, drove six hours to Olympia then waited in our committee for more than two hours so he could speak to Legislators for just nine minutes. But they were an important nine minutes.
He wanted to share the stories of his patients with us. Today, I want to share his stories with you.
“Our system is failing, and it’s failing those who already have very little left to lose,” Hammar said.
The budget realities we face are stark. There is no doubt that we will not be able to meet all the needs our communities have – whether in education, health care or social services.
But the system I was elected to serve, our democratic system of government, is not failing so long as the people of our state can make themselves heard. No amount of accounting proposals or political wrangling can inform our budget decisions like taking the time to listen to our neighbors.