Our State Representatives Failed Us in ‘Nay’ Votes

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I am disappointed to learn from the Nisqually Valley News front-page story March 22, 2018 

that all three 2nd Legislative District lawmakers, Sen. Randi Becker, Reps. JT Wilcox and Andrew Barkis, voted “nay” to every bill Gov. Jay Inslee signed March 19 aimed to improve voter access in Washington state. 

This is so sad. How can our representatives be against greater access to democracy for the public? Even their fellow Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman was quoted in your story saying, “These new laws are a positive step forward for our state’s elections.”

I was raised in the south (Louisville, Kentucky) and visited my grandparents often in Birmingham, Alabama, where I clearly still recall the events that ripped this nation apart when I was in my youth. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led black voters in a March 1965 walk of the 54 miles from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery, Alabama, in an effort to register them, facing opposition and violence along the way.

This was so vividly broadcast in black and white on national television (no color TV then), which I remember being taught by my 5th grade teacher Mrs. Leeth, a wonderful lady who is still in contact with me to this day. As we remember MLK, Jr. next week on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, I am amazed that voter access for which he advocated and was jailed would be opposed by our three representatives.  

When 53 years later after Dr. King’s march and our own LD2 Representatives voting against the opposing party’s proposals became more important than doing what is right for their constituents, that contributed to what I call  “The Age of Cynicism” — and this applies “on both sides, on both sides.”

Our three representatives’ small and minuscule reasons for voting against the five voter access bills do not hold merit when they should be supportive of greater access to democracy for all of their constituents, which becomes crystal clear when we reflect as a nation on MLK, Jr.’s legacy next week. These representatives’ commendations on King’s work then will hold no credibility. 

This is especially so when put in context of the Oath of Office to the nation’s and this state’s Constitution they swore to uphold that proclaim equal rights for all!  

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