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Iman Baghai Headshot

What Do Both Washingtons Have In Common? Troubled Houses

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Iman is a member of the Junior State of America (JSA), a student-run political awareness organization for high school students.

What do Washington State and Washington D.C. have in common? Well, similar margins of victory: 3.85 percent for the President and 3.06 percent for Governor-Elect Jay Inslee respectively. Split houses: in Washington D.C. there is the Republican House and Democratic Senate, in Washington State there is a now Republican-coalition for the State Senate majority and the Democrats hold the Washington House of Representatives. Both Washingtons will have enduring and bitter budget fights.

Interestingly, both Washingtons have an extremely high disapproval rating. Congress has a disapproval rating of 75.4 percent and the Washington State Legislature has a disapproval rating of 72 percent. One would imagine that with those dismal numbers the people would ask for something different, ask for some change, but they didn't. In Washington State, the only incumbent that lost re-election for state office was by a candidate from his own party. Members looking to retain their jobs in D.C. had a 91 percent re-election rate. My gut tells me these disapproval numbers aren't going anywhere for quite some time.

Now, Congress hasn't set the perfect example of how to be bipartisan and make a mixed house work. So, I can only wonder what the mixed house in Washington State will look like considering there will be a fight for which party or coalition gets the keys to the Majority Caucus room. The vibe will be bitter when the new session starts on January 14. But to an extent, Olympia is lucky -- they have had the privilege of watching the other Washington quarrel. Hopefully they've picked up a trick or two to not have the same results.

What are some of the lessons Washington legislators should pick up?

• Don't wait till the very last minute to get something done.
• Make sure you have the votes before you say you have good alternative.
• Don't procrastinate problems by kicking the can to try to solve problems later because we know you can't.

I'm going to be an optimist. I'm going to hope that my state legislators studied their history, because as the saying goes, those that do not study history are doomed to repeat its mistakes. And I don't want to see my state go down the road that the other Washington went down. But I also have another hope. I hope that the citizens of Washington state and across the nation will actually do something about the way politicians act. We need to remind them that even though they may have kept their job, and even though we may have some of the same beliefs as them, we want them to work for us. Even though we can't vote them in or out at this every instant, we can remind them of our opinions.

If you don't like the way your legislator or Representative is acting, regardless if you support or don't support them, send them a message, start a petition, and make some noise. Let's give our legislators some pressure to actually make both Washingtons to work.