Why I Support Leah Griffin for 34th District State Rep., Position 1

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    The 34th district has two great candidates for State Rep to choose from. Both are smart, progressive women who will bring fresh energy to a seat Eileen Cody held for more than 27 years. But there’s a difference between them that I haven’t seen discussed in any editorial or endorsement.

    Griffin and Alvarado occupy different policy niches, both informed by their personal and occupational histories. Griffin focuses on her outsider experience of working with local and national leaders to create policy and pass legislation. Alvarado emphasizes her history working within city bureaucracy to move the policy needle. To me, the policy areas matter less than the passion, energy, focus, and people skills each candidate brings to the table. Subject matter expertise can be learned.

    Here’s the big differentiator no one is talking about: If elected, Griffin plans to resign her library job and devote herself full time to representing the 34th District. Alvarado plans to continue in her job as the vice president of a national non-profit organization. When I asked her about splitting her focus, she stated that she’d probably drop down to a .7 FTE but, as primary financial supporter of her family, she wasn’t going to leave her job. It’s not hard to see why: state reps earn a salary of $56,881 plus $120/day per diem during session.

    In my volunteer work, I track policy development during state legislative sessions. Reps and staff work 15-hour days and it’s a sprint from the starting blocks to the 11th hour vote on the last day of session. It’s the development work that happens during the rest of the year that is key to starting the session with well-researched, well-supported policies that can survive the committee negotiations and floor votes to emerge as laws or budget priorities. I want a state rep who is fully focused on representing our district year-round. (I want reps recognized and paid a living wage for that full-time work as well, but that’s a different argument.)

    Their progressive priorities and ability to gain deep subject matter expertise on any issue are not differentiators in this race. Passion, energy, and focus are. That’s why I support Leah Griffin for 34th District State Representative, Position 1.

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