Appleton’s work isn’t yet finished

State Rep. Sherry Appleton is asking voters to extend her service in Olympia another two years. The 23rd Leg. District Position 1 Democrat has been plugged into the state capitol’s political scene for 15 years — four of them as a representative — and she knows the process well, she said. She’s also put in eight years on the Poulsbo City Council.

Fresh from a trip to Lexington, Ky., where she was one of 40 selected leaders throughout the country to participate in the Toll Fellowship Program, Appleton didn’t hesitate when asked what type of leader she is. Her answer: responsive, even when fielding 300-500 e-mails a day while in session.

“I’m very responsive to all my constituents,” she said. “If you’ve ever e-mailed me in the middle of the night you know you will get an answer.”

She also noted she doesn’t think the state’s system is a broken one, and can serve as the conduit between the citizens and government in a solving manner.

“I don’t think it’s perfect. It’s far from perfect,” she said. “But if we work together we’ll find the solutions.”

Her short-term goals for the district include funding the Poulsbo Marine Science Center and Kitsap Well-Baby Program, two budget items nixed under Gov. Chris Gregoire’s hand earlier in the year.

She said she isn’t changing her approach, but instead going at it with continued emphasis. She also looks to achieve funding for the Kingston community center project.

In the long run, Appleton said she aims to solve the ferry crisis. Building new boats and making ferries more affordable are changes she hopes to see in the marine highway system’s future.

“I, for one, would like to see a redistribution of the gas tax so ferries have more stable funding and we stop making our commuters pay for the system,” she said.

She’s also gaging to shield school districts from the financial crisis.

“Basic education is the paramount duty of the state — so says our constitution,” she said, adding new technologies have changed its definition. “We need our children to be well-rounded. Colleges look for well-rounded kids who have not only good grades, but who have participated in their communities. besides the core subjects, children need art, music, physical education, libraries, language, etc.,” Appleton continued.

She said she’s against unfunded mandates for schools.

Appleton also made note of her efforts to cap payday lending, a “predatory” trade banned in 13 states.

Environmentally speaking, the incumbent’s on a trajectory to boost the cleanup of area waterways.

“As an original partner with the Puget Sound Partnership, it is most important that we restore Puget Sound and the Hood Canal to reasonable health,” she said. “In the 1970s we had orca pods that numbered 274 orca, now we have 78. It is about the dwindling food chain, salmon runs, etc., but we need to have eel grasses, which are incubators for many species that live in the Sound.

“It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick, but if we lose this precious jewel, it will hurt us economically and esthetically.”

In reference to health care, Appleton said she’ll keep up her support of her universal health care bill — House Bill 1886 — which provided basic health care to the tune of $75 per month. The nature of universal health care is one she’d like to make clear: “Universal health care is different from a single payer system and allows people to keep their own insurance, or insurance from their employers, or they can get health care coverage from the state.” It isn’t a socialization of the system, she said.

“The beauty of it is that everyone gets health care. Everyone should have a medical home.”

On her radar are the 40,000 kids in Washington state currently uninsured.

“If you have healthy children, you have healthy adults; you spend $1, you save $3,” she said.

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