Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Meet the new member: Jake Fey

Rep. Jake Fey
They hail from all over the Evergreen State, these newly-sworn-in Democratic members of the state House. Today, The Advance continues its "Meet the New Member” series with a freshman representative from the Tacoma area.
Representative Jake Fey serves the 27th Legislative District, which is comprised of Ruston and a big portion of urban Tacoma (specifically, the city's North and West Ends, the Eastside, and the Northeast Tacoma and Pierce County neighborhoods). Jake is the Director of the Washington State University Energy Program. He has served on the boards of Sound Transit and Pierce Transit, and as vice chair of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. He also served on the Tacoma City Council for seven years, including a stint as deputy mayor. Jake has two children and two grandchildren.

The Advance:
What inspired you to run for the Legislature?
Jake Fey: My experience in the YMCA Youth Legislature really piqued my interest in politics as a high-school student. I also had a wonderful mentor -- Dr. Werner Quast -- who was a PDC Commissioner, county party chair, and city councilmember.

Is there a moment, or an image, that you'll remember from your first week here as a legislator?
Jake Fey: I would have to say the swearing-in ceremony on the first day of session was very emotional for me. Being on the House floor and soaking up all the institutional history from territorial days onward was very inspiring. I was struck by how lucky I was to serve in Olympia.

Recognizing that this place, and state government in general, has its own sort of separate language, what words or phrases baffled you until somebody explained them?
Jake Fey: For me, with my experience in public service, a lot of the language was familiar. But then, the whole state-legislative process of bill development, prime sponsorship, and blue sheets -- that was not something I expected.

If you could pass any piece of legislation, what would it be? In other words: What’s the most pressing problem, the question or quandary that you'd really like to crack?
Jake Fey: Actually, I have a couple of priorities, which involve two major public "systems": I want our state to fully fund a high-quality education system -- from early learning and K-12 and then on through higher education. And I want us to upgrade our transportation system -- at the state, regional and local levels.
Read this story in Spanish.