Multiple benefits of lawmakers on campus

Rep. Roger GoodmanBy Douglas Esser
Marc Studer photos

For state lawmakers such as Rep. Roger Goodman, speaking to classes at the University of Washington Bothell is a two-way street. Legislators share their insights, and they take something away.

Goodman, above, is glad to impart a practical understanding of how the Legislature works and appreciates the students in return.

Rep. Roger Goodman at podium“I’m moved by the demographic profile of this student body — many of them first-generation Americans, many of them first-generation college students — and how highly motivated they are and engaged in their studies,” said Goodman. “So that makes it a pleasure for me.”

Now serving a sixth term, Goodman represents the 45th District, which includes parts of Woodinville, Kirkland and Redmond. As chair of the House Public Safety Committee, Goodman has oversight of criminal justice policies including domestic violence, sexual assault and substance abuse. 

Camille Walsh with Rep. Roger GoodmanThe policy expertise was appreciated Nov. 28 when Goodman spoke to a class of Master of Arts in policy studies (MAPS) students taught by Camille Walsh, an assistant professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (IAS).

“They can talk to somebody who was actually involved,” said Walsh, left with Goodman. “How much better can it get?”

Goodman helped Walsh review student presentations on the policy process behind laws such as those involving marijuana, health care and sentencing. 

Joren Clowers led off with an analysis of marijuana laws in Washington and state agreements to allow Indian tribes to participate in the cannabis market. “Getting feedback from someone who was influential in the policy process was greatly beneficial,” said Clowers.

Goodman also spoke Nov. 30 to the same MAPS cohort in a seminar led by Bruce Kochis, a senior lecturer in IAS.

Kelly SnyderThe University invites a number of lawmakers each year to speak to classes, said Kelly Snyder, assistant vice chancellor for government and community relations.

“Bringing that level of experience into the classroom is an incredible opportunity for students who may have never met an elected official before,” said Snyder, left, who introduced Goodman. “Providing a chance for students to see that they’re regular everyday people who have dedicated time and energy to public service is really great.”

Visiting lawmakers also have the opportunity to see the campus and meet students, some of whom may come from the lawmaker’s district, Snyder said. The invitations, which have been going to lawmakers the past three years, focus on 11 districts nearest to campus. The lawmakers typically visit in the fall, before the legislative session begins in January in Olympia. Many speak to students majoring in law, economics and public policy (LEPP).

Rep. John Lovick, whose 44th District includes Mill Creek, is a former Washington state trooper, Snohomish County sheriff and Snohomish County executive. Lovick spoke about law enforcement to a LEPP taught by IAS Assistant Professor Tate Twinam. Rep. Larry Springer, who like Goodman represents the 45th District, also spoke to Twinam’s class. 

Students were interested in Lovick’s law enforcement background and asked about issues such as police brutality, Twinam said. Springer’s 20-minute talk turned into a two hour Q&A session on issues including business taxes and a state Supreme Court decision on water rights.

“I think it was valuable for the class to get a chance to quiz elected officials and see their breadth of policy knowledge, especially given that we often don’t hear as much about state-level policymaking as we should,” Twinam said.

Rep. Shelley Kloba, whose 1st District includes Bothell and Kirkland, spoke about climate change to a class taught by lecturer Heather Galindo in the School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics. 

Another MAPS student in the class that Goodman visited, Jaren Walker, welcomed the opportunity to meet and talk with a policymaker.

“If nothing else, it’s very inspiring,” Walker said. “While staying up late, writing those papers, it’s a reminder what we’re doing really matters.”