State Relations

May 10, 2013

Q&A with State Representative Jake Fey ’71

State Rep. Jake Fey

State Rep. Jake Fey (D-Tacoma)

This is the seventh installment in our “Huskies on the Hill” series featuring UW Alumni serving in state government.

Today’s Q&A features State Representative Jake Fey, B.A. ’71, who represents the 27th Legislative District. He currently serves on the Capital Budget, Environment, and Transportation committees.

Representative Fey was the first in his family to attend college, earning a BA in Political Science from the University of Washington and then an MPA from the University of Puget Sound. He has lived in Tacoma for more than 30 years, and has two children and two grandkids.

1. What motivated you to run for office?

Washington State’s elected leaders face challenges and opportunities that will impact the State’s future for many years to come. It is vitally important that the right decisions are made that will help move Washington’s economy forward and create increased prosperity for the citizens of the State. I believe that I can provide sorely needed leadership on educational, economic and transportation issues that will help move the State forward. We are still dealing with a very sluggish economy. We have a transportation infrastructure in need of substantial investments in order to effectively move goods and people. Most importantly, the State has been shortsighted in its support of our K-12 and higher education system. We are at great risk of losing out on future business investment because we may not have an educational system that produces the workforce that is needed. I am an experienced leader. I am a problem solver. I am a consensus builder. I am a policymaker that understands the important issues facing our State, and I will also bring extensive budget experience to the Legislature. Above all, I will bring a deep passion for improving the lives of our next generation Washingtonians.

2. What are your legislative priorities this session?

Providing leadership on key issues that will facilitate the State of Washington’s recovery from the economic downturn is my top priority. My three key priorities are jobs, education, and transportation. A recovered state economy will provide us with more financial resources to address the needs of vulnerable peoples. That being said, in the near term, I will vote for additional revenue sources to meet the State’s duty to support the vulnerable.

3. What has been the biggest surprise and biggest disappointment for you so far this session?

The biggest surprise is the level of congeniality among members regardless of political leanings and the high respect shown for legislative staff. The biggest disappointment has been the failure by the Legislature to address gun violence.

4. What do you think the long-term outlook is for higher education in our state?

Higher education institutions in Washington State provide a great service to the people of the State but face a long term crisis. Students often lack the necessary resources to access higher education. Low interest loans, grants, and scholarships are an opportunity for many students to get through school. Sadly, not all students have the same opportunities. How the State funds education and how students finance school need to undergo a transformation. I am working with other Representatives to address this very serious under-investment in higher education.

5. How do you spend your time when the legislature is not in session?

I have a great job as the Director of the Washington State University Energy Program addressing challenges to the adoption of energy efficiency technologies and developing renewable energy resources. I enjoy biking, running, golf, and attending sporting events and movies.