Sutherland speaks about plans to advocate in Olympia

Plans include improved healthcare, flexible plans for student loan payment



GPSA senator, Halle Weimer, addresses members during the open floor discussion during the meeting on Monday evening in the CUB.

ANDREA GONZALEZ, Evergreen reporter

Matthew Sutherland told attendees he wants to speak with state lawmakers about graduate students and the policies that affect them during Monday night’s GPSA meeting.

Sutherland, who will travel to the state Capital to lobby should the GPSA board approve it, said he is working to advocate for students so that they are able to get tax credits, incentives or have tuition payments as a non-taxable income.

He hopes to work on the interest rates of refinancing plans, which offer support to students, he said. Sutherland is working to support students from defaulting to more lenient extensions and more flexible payments after Attorney General Bob Ferguson requested legislation to reduce the debt in Washington, he said.

His plans are to improve mental health resources, sexual assault programs on a state level, Sutherland said.

He will also be advocating on behalf of women’s health, as well as for the LGBTQ+ community and any health-related issues, he said.

“Specifically, the reason why I included more protections for the LGBTQ+ community is because of the current policies coming out of education department that seems to be targeting them,” Sutherland said.

He wanted to make sure that there was a unified idea of what legislators should be working on, Sutherland said.

GPSA is working on making public transportation more accessible. Sutherland said not everyone is able to afford their own personal transportation.

GPSA members split into groups to discuss what the issues the colleges they represent are facing.

Anastasia Vishnevskaya, chair of internal affairs, said there was an issue regarding the representation of graduate and professional students. She certain colleges are over-represented while others are under-represented. She said they are working to fix the issue concerning representation.