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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It's difficult to believe the upcoming 2020 legislative session begins in just a few short weeks. To prepare for the work ahead, lawmakers are back in Olympia for Committee Assembly Days to discuss public policy topics that will be considered and decided in the upcoming session. With several House committee meetings planned, much of my time has been spent in work sessions and hearings.

The future of Career and Technical Education (CTE)

As the ranking member of the House Education Committee, it's my job to identify and find solutions for all types of K-12 education concerns. Since I began my tenure at the Legislature, I've looked for ways to augment our state's investments in teaching specific career skills to students in middle school, high school and post-secondary institutions. I've been deeply involved in developing and improving our state's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs to address ongoing job growth. 

This year, I'll be expanding my efforts to include bolstering the visibility and availability of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. Here's why: College is not the only path to success and financial security. The sad truth is we've stopped teaching children that vocational training can be just as valuable as college. 

For several years, student enrollments at universities and colleges have grown—along with student loan debt. According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, there are more than $1.6 trillion in outstanding student loans. With the financial return from a bachelor's degree softening and the price—and average student loan debt—increasing, it makes sense to encourage students to consider a career in a skilled trade.

In Washington state, employers are clamoring for skilled construction workers, electricians, auto mechanics, plumbers and ironworkers. Shortages in these career fields are pushing wages higher and higher. It's becoming clearer to parents, lawmakers, and educators that vocational training might be a better path to a stable job for many students.

During the upcoming 2020 session, I'm proposing a bill that would create a Running Start program for vocational and skilled trades. Running Start allows high school students to take college courses. They can earn high school and college credit for their classes. My legislation would expand the program to include both vocational and skilled trades, where the training is often shorter and far less expensive than college. Stay-tuned, I will be sharing more about this bill in the weeks to come. 

House Page Program

The House Page Program provides young people with the opportunity to learn about—and even take part in—the legislative process of our state. Students have been participating in the program since it began in 1891.

To serve as a page, students must be between 14 to 17 years of age, have permission from their school, parent or guardian—and be sponsored by a current member of the state House of Representatives. Click here for more details on how to apply.

Stay in touch!

I'd like to thank each person who has reached out to meet with me to express concern about issues involving state government. To be an effective representative, it's important that I hear from you. If you would like to schedule a meeting or share an idea, contact me. I'm always happy to hear from you.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you!


Mike Steele

State Representative Mike Steele, 12th Legislative District
122F Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(509) 782-3436 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000