Evan Smith: Kagi gets spot on new legislative committee, holds leadership of another

Friday, July 22, 2011

Rep. Ruth Kagi
By Evan Smith
ShorelineAreaNews Politics Writer

Democratic state Rep. Ruth Kagi has won appointment to a new legislative committee and kept the chairmanship of another committee.

Kagi’s new assignment is on the Welfare and WorkFirst Task Force, a committee formed to oversee welfare reform efforts from the recent legislative session.

She will continue as chairwoman of the Children’s Oversight Committee.

Kagi represents the 32nd Legislative District, including Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Woodway, south Edmonds and adjacent areas of both King and Snohomish counties.

House Speaker Frank Chopp announced the appointments last week.

During the Legislative session, Kagi was chairwoman of the House committee on early learning and human services, which helped redesign the state welfare and WorkFirst programs.

Kagi sponsored the House version of the reform bill, and as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, helped amend the Senate version that became the vehicle for the proposed reforms. She also sponsored an amendment to the bill on the House floor that ensured creation of the Task Force, which she said was crucial to successfully implementing reform efforts.

“It’s not only the reality of the current state budget situation that has prompted the need for changes to our welfare system,” Kagi said. “As we go forward and the economy improves, we need to ensure our programs are bringing about the desired outcome for the people we serve, which is to help them become self-sufficient so that they no longer require state assistance.”

Kagi will continue to lead the Legislative Children’s Oversight Committee. The Committee was created over a decade ago through legislation that also created the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombudsman within the state Department of Social and Health Services. This committee monitors and ensures compliance with laws and policies pertaining to family and children’s services and the placement, supervision, and treatment of children in the state's care.

“I’m honored to be able to serve on both of these important committees, and to work on behalf of the many families in our state who are struggling,” Kagi said. “Too often, family hardship has severe negative consequences for children. All of society pays a price when these children fall through the cracks.”

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