Friday, January 18, 2013

Meet the new member: Steve Bergquist

Rep. Steve Bergquist on Opening Day
This year, nine new House Democrats took the oath of office.

To introduce you to these new faces, we're doing a series of Meet the New Member posts.

You can read the first one here: Meet the new member: Gael Tarleton
Steve is a public school teacher, union member and small business owner from Renton.

He's a proud fourth-generation resident of the 11th District who graduated from Hazen High School and got his bachelor's degree from UW and his master's degree from WWU. His wife, Avanti, is a doctor at UW and Seattle Children's Hospital.

Steve answered our questions during the first week of session.

Question: Is there a moment, or an image, you'll remember most from your first day as a lawmaker?
Answer: Signing my oath of office, at that moment, the reality truly hit that I now represent the 11th district and all of the responsibilities and hard work ahead of me.

Q: What inspired you to run for office?
A: When I was in high school, I had the opportunity to come down to Olympia as a senate page for Senator Margarita Prentice.

During this time I was inspired to get more involved in politics which led to my attendance at Evergreen Boys State, which is a mock government. I then attended the University of Washington and majored in Political Science and History then received my Masters in Teaching at Western.

As a teacher and small business owner in the 11th district, I felt my experiences in those areas and as a fourth generation 11th district resident would be an asset to the legislature and my community.

Q: What bills are you working on?
A: Quite a few. One in particular would give 16 & 17 year olds the opportunity to preregister to vote at the Department of Licensing.
I have already had the opportunity to lobby different high school classes that have come to Olympia to visit. Every student has embraced this bill and I hope they will now help me get it passed into law.

Q: What is the most difficult part about being a legislator?
Realizing that your schedule during session is completely filled from 8 a.m. 8 p.m. just about every weekday with committees, caucus meetings, floor sessions, receptions, and constituent relations -- and not being able to figure out how to squeeze in time to eat.

Q: If we peeked at your iPod, who would we see?
A: Don't have one.

Q: Imagine being governor for a day, and able to pass any legislation. What problem would you fix?
A: Fully funding basic education. We need to give every student in our state a chance to succeed.

Click here to visit Steve's website
Read this story in Spanish here.