JASON RANTZ

WA lawmaker shocked by ‘complete mismanagement’ of unemployment aid

Dec 16, 2020, 2:02 PM | Updated: Dec 17, 2020, 10:13 am
Unemployment, job search, Employment Security...
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Tens of thousands of Washingtonians are still dealing with the unemployment issues in Washington state, and continue to be frustrated with how it’s being handled. Rep. Bruce Chandler (R-Granger) is the assistant ranking member of the state House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee, which oversees the Employment Security Department, and joined the Jason Rantz Show to discuss.

“People, totally unexpectedly, found themselves unemployed and had a hard time trying to figure out how they got to that point,” he said. “They didn’t really know who to go to, and they weren’t getting much cooperation. From what I get from my constituents, they haven’t been getting much cooperation from the department. And I think this department was kind of stunned and just had a hard time responding to this throughout, just the robbery of that money.”

Is there any excuse as to why there’s still any backlog at all?

“I cannot explain the the persistence of the backlog. … We all were hearing from people who were having problems, and we were able to contact people and to work on it and get an awful lot of them — several thousands of them — give them the relief and just work out the complications,” he said.

“I think that the department was slow, in a way they never did really reach out to the public,” he added.

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Regarding the millions of dollars lost as result of fraud, Chandler hopes that Employment Security Department head Suzan LeVine will testify.

“We’re waiting to see if she will agree to testify before the committee in the House and in the Senate and give her an opportunity to defend herself, … the Legislature doesn’t know what went wrong or why, and they don’t know what’s behind her recalcitrance,” he said.

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Chandler holds both Inslee and LeVine responsible for the negligence with unemployment the past few months, and hopes more immediate action will be taken.

“The governor has an obligation to take some action and to respond to her reluctance or refusal to come forward and be accountable. I am shocked that there’s been such a complete mismanagement on the part of the government,” he said.

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WA lawmaker shocked by ‘complete mismanagement’ of unemployment aid