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WA STATE REPRESENTATIVE DENNIS FLANNIGAN, 27thLegislative District, 360.786.7930 or flannigan.dennis@leg.wa.gov.    http://hdc.leg.wa.gov/members/flannigan/ 
BOARD,  AUGUST 30, 2007

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Iím going to tell you a little more informal history of this bill than that of a bright legislator who walked into town fixed things up (unintelligible). This bill began in a way when I met Constance Miller not Tommy Manning. That was because Constance and I were both asked to join the Giraffe board of directors. I donít know if you know what the Giraffe Board is, but the Giraffe is an organization that celebrates people who stick their neck out. 

 I was there somebody said you ought to have him on the board; I wasnít a legislator. You ever been on a board when somebody says oh yeah go get so and so then somebody asks you and in a weak moment you say yes. But Constance Miller was on the board because she was a recipient of a Giraffe award. The Giraffe Award has been given to about one thousand people across the world Nelson Mandella; you know few people (unintelligible). 

 But Constance Miller is such an award winner and how did she stick her neck out? (unintelligible) One thing she found, and this is my story not hers it may never have happened this way, but we all see the history that others have (unintelligible). Connie Miller found herself being expected to perform the in way she performed in the past; first by herself because she didnít spot those moments that it was a tbi for some time.  She thought as others did youíre just fine, but she couldnít she remember why canít I add these numbers so to speak? Why canít I make the same cognitive decisions? because I can come to work, I look healthy I can exercise and all these series of things. 

Anyway, so Constance had that happen and it isnít that she had it happen and she tried to affect her own life that got her a sticking your neck out award. Itís that she decided that someone had to understand that this happens all across the world, across the country. What Bob Woodruffís book is now telling the world is that what happens over in Iraq also happens in the lives of people at this table and is known to everybody at this table through personal experience of some sort or another.

So she stuck her neck out and began to do something such as creating a help line; from creating a web site, from beginning to talk go to groups and in a sense to talk to government; talk to people into beginning to think about TBI. Even before I knew that I liked her. Give us the Constance Miller smile see cause in a room without light she can smile and the room can light up. And so that was the beginning and we became friends long before I was in the legislature.

When I got to the legislature I brought Marialise into the office and she was already valuable and talented and doing good things and I saw working somewhere else and I thought sheís underpaid, I can have her, and I did, but what I didnít know was I was getting a person whose heart and head were both in touch with her being. and when we got to Olympia this person called Tommy Manning began to call us on the phone.  And, Tommy Manning wanted services and he wanted help and he wanted assistance. And, as we got to know him we learned that if you could listen to him occasionally be obnoxious you could find that underneath everything that he was asking was a plea for someone help people like me. 

What we didnít know when I met Tommy (unintelligible) was that the law in the State of Washington offers serves to people who get their TBI at the right time, you just have to be young enough to get it. Or you have to not to be on X or B or you have to not need dental care but you do need some other care. And so an injury that is a TBI if it is diagnosed as simply a mental health issue can get a service that doesnít occur, as you already know, if the diagnose is a TBI. 

And, Maralise began to bring Tommy into our world, partly because he came to lobby, partly for a lot of reasons, but also because he lived about a block and a half from our office.  And, Tommy isnít always good about riding the bus but he is awfully good about wanting to walk a block and a half, so he joined the family of this legislature in the sense that we learned more and more.

And, then I have a wonderful and dear friend Linda Ishem, who you may or may not know.  Linda Ishem  had a tbi and she is absolutely highest end of kind of responsibilities, senior vice president of a Chicago bank a whole series of things then suddenly she could not count, she could not walk, she could not, could not.  Sheís now getting her PhD. Sheís been able to bring herself back. She will tell you that twenty minutes of every day she has none of those skills she never knows which ones that they just seem to drift in and if youíre up lecturing thatís not a good time for that kind of thing. and how do you (unintelligible) function with your own dysfunction when mostly youíre not dysfunctional. You know, all of these things so what Iím trying to say is that sort of thing. and I asked Maralise up here to speak too, but Iím not going to let her yet.

Before the last session Maralise and I and some others Tommy and others Penny and others met primarily because Constance had sent this thing to us which is about 8000 pages strong. And it demanded things and it said why isnít there a lot of money and why isnít that money in a trust fund? And why isnít that trust fund functioning around all the needs we that have? why doesnít that agency; there is an agency in there, theyíre supposed to beÖ why arenít they why arenít the.

 And I said oh god, Constance is at it again in eight hundred thousand pages. And I paid serious attention to it And I also knew that I didnít know what to do with all of it because it wasÖ but I think it was a shot across the bow.  It was sheís pretty smart and she knew that if she threw water on this flame of pleasant liberalism that I am that I would have to do something. So Maralise began pulling us together and people together and Connie was there as well and we kicked around some things and the result was that eventually 2055. 
What we didnít know was that was in Seattle other people as well as those people were working with another and that bill came over to the senate and Ken Jacobson. and other people here worked on that and I didnít even know about that bill and they didnít even know about our bill So that sounds like we ought to have been coordinating. But it also sounds like times might have been right.

We also met with Bill Moss and his staff during this period of time and we found that the staff in Olympia who had this responsibility had little money but had a lot of care and passion in the background and they wanted good things to happen. I donít actually like to actually write the bills that I write and other than a comment about somewhere we stumbled across something. Our bill got appointed to a committee she was on in which the chair, was a good friend, wasnít even particularly happy that the bill had come. Iíll let Maralise jump in here.


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