April Berg, Candidate for 44th LD State Representative

April Berg, Candidate for 44th LD State Representative

On this midweek show, Crystal chats with Representative April Berg about her re-election campaign for State Representative in the 44th Legislative District - her path to elected office, running as a progressive Black woman in a swing district, and how she managed the transition to becoming a legislator during COVID. Representative Berg talks about bills she successfully passed in her first term to address student poverty and to enact common sense gun policy around public meetings and places where democracy is practiced. She then shares her vision and priorities for the 2023 legislative session - student safety, addressing disproportionate ballot rejection rates, and modernizing the legislative calendar to allow legislators to work full-time and address community issues in real-time.

NOTE: This episode was recorded before incidences of racist vandalism and harassment against Representative Berg’s campaign, which is why they aren’t addressed on the show.

For more information - “A new push to combat harassment of Black candidates and staff” by Melissa Santos from Axios: https://www.axios.com/local/seattle/2022/07/25/black-candidates-washington-harassment

About the Guest

Find Rep Berg on Twitter/X at @RepBerg.


Campaign Website - April Berg: https://www.aprilberg.com/


[00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I'm Crystal Fincher, and I'm a political consultant and your host. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy in Washington State through the lens of those doing the work with behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening, and what you can do about it. Full transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at officialhacksandwonks.com and in our episode notes. So today I am very excited to be welcoming Representative April Berg to the program today - hello.

[00:00:45] April Berg: Hi Crystal - thanks so much for having me.

[00:00:47] Crystal Fincher: Thanks for coming on - appreciate it. I want to start off just by letting folks know who you are, what your path to office was, and then we can talk about what you've been up to since you've been in office. So just starting out - what was your path to office? What were you doing and what motivated you to run?

[00:01:10] April Berg: Yeah, thank you for that. And it's - my path was probably not the most direct path to office. So I was a student activist in college and I proudly served as the first Black Student Body President of Oregon State University. I was also one of the youngest - or the youngest - to ever be elected to that position. I was passionate about equity, student diversity, inclusion - and so I decided to go ahead and run for that position. I won that, I served as a junior, and then my senior year, I served on the State Board of Higher Ed for the State of Oregon. And then I came up here to Washington to work for Boeing and start a family - and took about 20 years or more off from politics. And so I started getting more active in my kids' schools and that led me to the school board position in Edmonds and eventually to running for school board in Everett and eventually to the State House for our great state - so a little bit of a windy path with a big break, but that was my path here - came through student activism.

[00:02:20] Crystal Fincher: And it's really exciting, it has been really fun to - I became aware of you when you were a school board member and doing cool things - and then you decided to run, were successful. What was it like running in really a swing district that you have turned blue right now, but is absolutely a swing district - had been known for even the Democrats that it had with Senator Hobbs - certainly known as a moderate, part of the Roadkill Caucus, and certainly not viewed as a progressive. But you coming in with your values and running as who you were - what was that like in a district that sometimes elects Republicans?

[00:03:09] April Berg: Yeah, and I'll tell you that is a great question. And because of the Roadkill Caucus - I smiled when you mentioned that caucus, it's been quite some time since they've been in power in the House and Senate. And so, coming from a district that was seen, that is seen, as very swingy - 'cause it has been swingy - being a progressive, a Democrat, a Black woman with locked hair, being an unapologetic Black leader in a community that's seen as swing was interesting. It was interesting because part of the myth around swing districts is that you have to be moderate, you have to not not lean too far into your values - and what my race did, what my campaign did for our district is to show that everybody in our district had the vision of shared prosperity and it wasn't about what someone looked like, it wasn't about - issues that people thought were controversial weren't controversial. I'm a pro-choice candidate, I am a candidate that believes in common sense gun laws, and I'm a candidate that's passionate about progressive tax reform. And I could run unapologetically on all of those issues and have voters support me because the voters in this district believed in the shared prosperity around those issues.

That said, running as a Black woman in a swing district during a public health crisis was not at the top of my bucket list. And to be frank it added some other elements of - I won't say surprises, but just challenges that turned into opportunities. And one of the things that my district - that I can say about my district and about my community is that my daughter's high school was the first one in the country to have a COVID-positive student. And so as a school board director and as a mother, I was on the frontlines of COVID and that was - a lot of the leadership I had to show in those moments led me to wanting to become a larger part of the policy community, the policy leadership community in our state. And that's why I said yes to running for this position.

[00:05:28] Crystal Fincher: I'm so happy you said yes to running to that position. And the things that you just spoke about were so evident and really exciting. And I think there is - we continue to have conversations, we record these shows sometimes a little while before they air - but we saw some Congressional elections recently where there were moderates and more progressive challengers from the left in red states and purple states. And really the people who did run unapologetically were much more successful. And it was really interesting, as a political consultant, hearing the conversations around your district and around your candidacy for the Legislature and conversations about who the ideal candidate has, which in politics oftentimes is code for like white male business owner, some veteran - and while those are people with valuable things to contribute to our community, our community is so much more diverse and rich and varied than that.

[00:06:39] April Berg: Yes.

[00:06:39] Crystal Fincher: And it's so wonderful to have more people who represent and speak for, and have experiences consistent with more of our community - and seeing you just embrace that, to be unapologetic while some people were clutching their pearls going - oh my goodness, is this possible in a swing district. And you, and so many others, showed that not only is it possible, it is the winning formula for where you were at and so many other districts and encouraging more people to do the same, who then went on to win. It was just really exciting to watch. But I do hear you that man, you dealt with a lot - a lot - while you were running and going into office. What was the transition like from being a school board member and a mom starting off dealing with COVID, going into the Leg and dealing with COVID? What was that like just for you becoming a legislator, and how did those other things that you had to deal with that you didn't necessarily sign up for impact how you approached the job and what you got out of it?

[00:07:54] April Berg: Yeah, and that's - that's a great question. And it's funny, Crystal - I always forget you've got the lens of the consultant, right? You've got the inside baseball lens. So as I was grinding it out in my district, you probably were hearing things. You were probably hearing the audible clutching of pearls as a candidate like myself was making my way through campaign season. And I'll tell you - I'll start there and land about how it is to transition to the Legislature. But as I was running the campaign, there was a very distinct point - there's lots of distinct points 'cause of the public health crisis - but one distinct point was the George Floyd tragedy. And I know we're literally upon the second anniversary of that tragedy and for my campaign, there was pre-George Floyd and there was post-George Floyd. And pre-George Floyd, the very much open conversation was that I didn't look like my district. How could I represent, how would anybody vote for me? I don't look like my district. And it was just a weird thing to hear, 'cause I'm used to running on policies and issues and being very prepared. And when someone hits you with you don't look like your district - what do you do with that? And when you're a candidate, what you do with it is you sit with it. You can't really do much else. That said, post-George Floyd - there was a lot of apologies and that's when I really got the opportunity to communicate with folks about my vision and my values and my leadership. And that was really a turning point for me because I didn't understand how much of a box I had been put into - all with the - we were around that box of it's a swing district, so we gotta be careful - we can't take any chances. She doesn't fit that mold that you just laid out.

That said, being successful in the campaign at both the primary level and of course the general, led me into this transition point. I had thought it might lead into a transition off the school board - it didn't. I'm still a school board director for the Everett School District. I will be leaving that role on June 1st, but I say that because it was important for me to keep my word to voters, especially during COVID and the crisis that we were having in all of the schools. But I felt like my institutional knowledge of districts - that was something - it was a responsibility for me to stay in that role.

But as I transitioned into becoming a legislator, it was a 100% virtual and that was difficult on a lot of levels because as a politician, I love, I thrive on talking to people, being face-to-face with people, understanding their issues, seeing body language to help me use context clues to really understand what people need and how I can help. And part of that has become my learning style. And so having to do things on Zoom, to be onboarded to a role as big as state representative was difficult, to say the least. But I will say - I believe I was successful in that transition, taking in everything that was given to me in terms of mentorship and help and training and resources. And that first year in the House, I was able to write five bills, sponsor those five bills, and see all five bills signed into law. So that transition I'd say -

[00:11:25] Crystal Fincher: You sure did.

[00:11:27] April Berg: - it was a successful transition, so I can't complain. But I will say it was hard 'cause it was virtual.

[00:11:34] Crystal Fincher: That was also exciting to watch - just someone who, just hearing the rumblings that - you are risky - that didn't know if you were the right "fit" for the district - to watch you not only be the definition of electable and popular, but then to so successfully and effectively transition into legislative leadership and just work in conjunction with your colleagues to advance the things that you talked about while you were running was really encouraging. And I guess I want to talk about some of the stuff that you were able to do and just your thoughts about the last session overall and what you were able to accomplish.

[00:12:31] April Berg: Yeah, and it was a - clearly a historic session and I look at it in two parts, it's a biennium, right - so we've got 2021 and 2022. And I was really fortunate that my colleagues saw my vision for how we need to come out of the pandemic. And so two of the bills that I sponsored my very first year were very important to me. One was on menstrual equity - making sure that all menstruating individuals have the products they need in all of our K-12 and beyond institutions. So this applies to colleges, community colleges, technical colleges, public, private, throughout - so when a young person that's menstruating enters that restroom, the products they need are available. Very important to me because of the impact period poverty has on our youth and our students specifically. The second bill that was really, I was very passionate about was the reduced price fee elimination bill. So when we have students that are on reduced price lunches, they have to pay a 40 cents fee - and this 40 cents is absurd. It's difficult because these students are in abject poverty - our free and reduced price meals - the income qualification levels are not regionalized. And so folks making that income in our area is - they're in abject poverty and to ask them for that 40 cents, five days a week for multiple kids just seem horrific, especially coming out of a public health crisis. So I had a bill to eliminate that. And so as we move into next fall, students who normally would pay that 40 cents will not have to pay anything and they'll be fed.

So I was fortunate because my colleagues saw the need. And when I say colleagues, we're talking about Republicans and Democrats. And when I talk about people can lean into their values as candidates and running on things like shared prosperity, it doesn't mean that we're not gonna find areas of compromise or find areas where we can agree. And so all of my bills have been bipartisan. They've all been embraced by both sides of the aisle, because they're all important for everyone in the community - not just Dems, not just ours. I think it's important to really think about that because so many people want to put politicians into boxes, labels - and so you're conservative, you're moderate, you're progressive, you're this, you're that. For me as a politician, my mantra has always been, and it's been like this for these bills, is how do we get to yes. And how getting to yes helps everyone in the community. So that said, I was able to do some amazing work that helped communities all over our state, lean into my unapologetic-ness in terms of my values, and hopefully I can keep doing the same in 2023.

[00:15:32] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. I also want to talk about another group of bills - that you were able to pass - or a bill that you were able to pass specifically trying to prevent gun violence, which we have just seen over and over and over again. We're having this conversation shortly after two, just absolutely horrific mass shootings - one in a church, one in an elementary school - and everybody is demanding that more be done. And with, at this point, even more than frustration, just growing infuriation that we know the things that reduce the likelihood of gun violence and specifically mass shootings - and more guns does not help this situation. And you took action, you were not afraid in your swing district which, again, on this side of the things in politics - hear constantly people wonder - in swing districts if it's safe for them to do something about guns, people take 'em so seriously. And being afraid to act - you weren't afraid. What did you do?

[00:16:56] April Berg: Yeah. And I - it's interesting you ask me that. I will tell you - in the moment - crafting that bill, sponsoring the bill - it was 1618 and it was to keep our places of democracy safe from gun violence. It did not seem like a controversial, heavy lift. And being in my district - funny enough, the folks in the 44th - we don't walk around calling ourselves swing districters. We just say we live in the 44th. So this was an issue for my community. I wrote a bill and moved it forward. I was actually surprised when I heard from colleagues and other individuals that they were worried about me sponsoring a bill dealing with gun rights or gun legislation.

So that said, it was what led me to that point - it was a no-brainer. I went through, even though I handily won my election in 2020, there was a Republican requested hand count. That was fine. If folks remember after my election in 2020, or during it, I broke my back in a car accident. And so I wasn't able to attend my own recount. It just wasn't physically something that was gonna happen, so I sent my husband instead and he came back from that experience a little shaken. He described what I later saw pictures of, which was these amazing ballot counters, these election workers sitting in a cage surrounded by chain link fence. And you're able to come in as representatives of the campaign and the folks who asked for the hand recount - 'cause mind you, they had to pay for that since it was not close at all. They came in and they outnumbered my husband, like by many. And they started pushing and shoving and getting as close as they could to those chain links and staring at those election workers, making sure they weren't doing anything wrong. And he was just describing this 'til at one point someone in leadership had to say - Hey, the Berg campaign deserves a chance to witness this as well - 'cause they had crowded him out. And so they looked at him, someone snarled and said - oh, you can't see - or just something like that. And so he got up there, he saw it, and he just came home shook - that was a lot of negative energy, that was a lot of vitriol for something that literally came down to the exact same numbers as the machine count, as the hand count. So all for nothing, if you will.

The auditor later on reached out to me and said - because it wasn't just my race, it was many others that were - this recount was requested and there was same level of tension and animosity at all of those. He said - my election workers just aren't feeling safe, they're sitting in literally chain link cages - and he's describing it to me and then he shows me a picture. I laughed because the picture he happened to snap to show what conditions they're working in - you could see my husband watching my recount. So when I said - yep, that's what I heard. And so he said - oh, that's your husband. It was just a - it's funny, but it's not funny, right? That there was definitely tension in the air enough to where my husband, representing me in that moment, felt it. And the auditor, representing his workers in that moment, felt it and said - April, something has to be done. And so he said - could we make this a gun-free zone? Just like we have at schools. And I said - yes - yes, we can. And so his office came up with some language, my staff came up with some language. We ended up with bill 1618. I talked to other auditors around the state. They had similar concerns and brought up the fact that in a lot of counties, our ballots are counted in courthouses that do not allow guns, so inherently those workers are kept safe. So it seemed not just a safety issue, but a parity issue. You shouldn't have to work for Snohomish County and be less safe than another county that has ballots counted in courthouses.

So we wrote this bill, got the typical pushback from folks saying - we're taking away rights and so on and so forth. In the meantime, my colleague Tana Senn wrote a bill that I co-sponsored - and she co-sponsored my bill - but hers talked more about city council meetings, school district meetings - other municipal places, other places where democracy's being done. And after the hearing, it became obvious that you had the same folks pro and against, so we decided to combine the bills. And so the bill that passed includes all of those areas. So we're keeping everywhere that democracy is had, is practiced, is done - we're keeping all of those areas safe - your city council meetings, school board meetings, ballot counting sites. It passed the House, it passed the Senate, it was signed into law by the governor. It was before the horrific tragedies that we've seen just over the last two weeks - in Texas yesterday, and of course in Buffalo. And it shows - it was - it's a bill that's needed and I will continue to fight for common sense gun legislation to keep everyone in all of our communities safe.

[00:22:02] Crystal Fincher: And I appreciate that, I'm thankful that we have people like you in the state willing to do that 'cause like you said, there were some of your colleagues who get nervous by that. Which is - from my end - is frustrating. It's so popular. It is common sense. It really is uncontroversial to regular people living in our communities. And it really is a fight from some specific special interests who are just not in alignment with what is going on across our country and what people are expecting to be done in their communities. And we should be safe. We should be able to elect people and have them participate in meetings and work on our behalf without someone brooding over them with a gun, without staring at a high-powered rifle all the time - those things just don't belong in areas where democracy is done. So I sincerely appreciate that and hope your colleagues learn that that is something that's not controversial, that is actually quite popular when it's done. As you look forward now to what needs to happen as you are running your current campaign - you'll be on the ballot this year - what are you prioritizing and what do you most want to get done?

[00:23:33] April Berg: Yeah, and that's a great question. So I think for this next cycle - and I'm just going to go out there and say that this is, it's gonna be a successful campaign season for me - and I know a lot of candidates like to wait to talk about what they're gonna do until after the Election Day, but it's - sometimes that's a little bit too late. So a couple of things that I'm focusing on during the interim to really think about what we want to do in the 2023 session - one is student safety. How do we keep our students safe, healthy, and whole? And I think there's gonna be a lot of conversation around the prototypical school funding model and the gaps that it has, because it really is a model that's fully-funded, but it's a model that does not fully address what's actually happening in our schools. So how many counselors and nurses and other support staff we need to make sure our kids are healthy, safe, and whole - as they go in and come out of school.

Another issue that I want to, and I'm actually looking forward to a study that's coming out by the UW - that is coming out by the UW Evans School - is on our ballot rejection rate. There was a report done by our Joint Legislative Audit Committee that found four times as many Black ballots - ballots from African American individuals - were thrown out as white ballots. And the numbers, for all of the different BIPOC community categories - they were higher, there was a higher rate of rejection - and so the question is why. And as we looked the report, there were things that were adjusted for - so this was not just a bad actor or like a oopsie in a county - this was across the board, which means that there potentially is a systemic problem and that's where we can get into legislative action, policy action once we figure out what that problem is. So we're looking at the UW Evans School to - we had a little bit of money in the last budget to have them really dig deep and do some data disaggregation and say - where are the problem points? What are the issues that we can potentially fix so that we don't have this disproportionate rate of rejection for ballots from communities of color?

And then lastly, the other thing that my office is looking at and that I'm looking at working on is real hard conversations about how we function as a legislature. And what I mean by that is we, as legislators, we have a budget of about a half billion dollars for our state that we appropriate each biennium. Our bienniums consist of a work year of a 105 days and then 60 days. That calendar was set when we were an agrarian economy and I had to get out of Olympia to go tend my crops. Since that's no longer the case, I think that it's time for a conversation about modernizing the legislature and specifically the legislative calendar so that when things like a public health crisis happen or historic inflation, among other tragedies and oddities that happen within the working life of a state, that we're able to be at least available to take action. And whether that action be legislative, or oversight, or just using our power to convene in a formal way - I think that we need to really look at how we do business as a state to make it more representative and responsive to current day activities and realities. Those are the small, itty-bitty issues we're looking at - I'm looking at specifically tackling - it's just a small step.

[00:27:20] Crystal Fincher: And I appreciate you - I appreciate looking at some of the systemic issues that impact everything that you're able to do, how you govern, and how you're able to serve the state. And certainly - right now, having a part-time legislature - one, is a barrier for the types of people that can afford to serve in that office. It is not an easy situation to have something three or four months out of the year that demands - it's beyond a full-time job at that point in time - you are putting in very long hours, specifically at this one job. And the rest of the year - yes, there are some meetings and stuff, but there's nothing else going on. And your pay is part-time pay, to be clear. And it is not the kind of pay, especially right now median income in Seattle is over six-figures, we are in the midst of a housing affordability crisis - and most people can't afford to only work for that period of the year. And most people don't have jobs flexible enough where you can just take four months off.

And so it really does impact who is able to serve. A lot of people who are coming from more wealthy, privileged, comfortable backgrounds that represent only a segment of our society and that is leaving out so many other people. And life experiences don't cover the gamut of communities, so some issues that significant portions of our communities are dealing with are just invisible to people who sometimes are just not in proximity to, or have no familiarity with, a different kind of lifestyle or different kinds of challenges. And so really making sure that we get people elected who come from our communities and who reflect our communities and the wide variety of experiences, whether it's someone who's a renter, or a parent, or someone from the LGBTQ community, or someone disabled - all of those experiences are so necessary to formulate policy that does serve everyone. And we count out so many of those people - when you just look at the pictures of legislators on the wall, you see some folks have traditionally been included and others haven't.

And so moving to a full-time legislature - one, seems like it would increase the amount of people and increase the representation and ability to serve the community. On top of that, it does give you time to learn about our community, to work on legislation in ways that aren't rushed or you get cut off when you're almost at a breakthrough or you don't have time. How many times have we heard - we wanted to get to that, but it was a short session and we just ran out of time. It happens so much. So thank you so much for taking that on. I sincerely appreciate it. And what can people do to help with that effort?

[00:30:39] April Berg: And thank you for that, 'cause I - first off, I've been socializing it with both community members, as well as folks who are in organizations, that would potentially have an opinion about us moving to a full-time legislature. I think what folks can do is really support it and really talk to their legislators about it. I'll tell you this didn't come from me. Despite having so many colleagues deciding not to come back and despite even myself saying, having to look at the challenges of what it means to return to this role. This idea actually came from a constituent, who in a town hall said - Hey, why can't we have a gas tax moratorium, like some other states are passing? And this is, this was probably in March, late March. We had just finished sine die - it's a short session. Had it been a long session, we would've still been there. And I said - well, the one reason why we can't vote on it is 'cause I don't go back to work until January 2023. And I don't know where inflation will be, but if it's where it is now and if gas prices are doing what they're doing, then I would definitely want to look at something like a gas tax moratorium to give you - me talking to this person - to give you relief at your kitchen table for something like gas in the moment. Because that's what's important to people right - in the moment - right now they're feeling that financial pinch. I don't go back to work 'til January 2023.

Needless to say, that constituent's response was - well, why? Are you not back to work because you don't feel like it? Because you think about it - you and me, Crystal - we play that inside baseball, we understand how these things work - but to a mom working two jobs and kids in school and feeling the pain at the pump, they're not looking at our legislative calendar. They're like - Rep Berg, get back to work. And I'm telling them I can't. And so that's where the idea started coming from. And luckily in our state, when we talk about things like salary for legislators, we don't dictate our own salary. So for me to say, I want a legislature that's full-time - that is gonna be - salary decisions will be made by a commission. What I like to hear from voters and why I think all voters should talk to their legislators about is - do they want them there full-time working, making decisions, and representing them real-time and in the moment?

Because right now, just to give you another perspective and to give folks listening another perspective, as a legislator - right now, because we're in campaign season, I cannot communicate officially with my constituents. So if we have a tragedy in the community, a - let's say, even the heat dome, right? Where do you go to have a cooling area? And let's say you follow me on Facebook and you're like - Rep Berg, I get some great information for you on Facebook, we've got this heat emergency and I want to tell you exactly where the cooling centers are in the 44th. I legally cannot do that, because we're in the "election cycle" and so I can't communicate with constituents via Facebook right now in the moment when there's a crisis in our community. And that's really hard - I think people are used to getting information, they're used to getting information from their representative officials. They - maybe they don't want to follow me on some of my personal social media platforms. They want to interact with me as their public official that their tax dollars are going towards. And they want to know officially what is my - what am I going to do for them and help them in that moment. I cannot communicate legally with them.

And that's one of the - that's where some of this comes from. And so I think as folks are in the community, listening and saying what can we do to get our legislators in Olympia full-time doing the people's work on a traditional calendar - talk to your legislators, write me notes, tell me that it's a good idea, tell me that's a bad idea. But that's gonna be the input that we need, that I need, as I move forward trying to get this idea across the finish line in terms of the House and the Senate. Because I think my colleagues are gonna be somewhat surprised that folks want us to work full-time in Olympia to get stuff done. So that would be my biggest thing - asking people to communicate.

[00:35:00] Crystal Fincher: Will do - my legislators will hear from me, certainly.

[00:35:04] April Berg: Thank you.

[00:35:05] Crystal Fincher: Who I'm a fan of and they're always really receptive to conversations, fortunately, here in the 33rd Legislative District where I am currently at, but appreciate you doing that. As we conclude today, is there anything that you would just tell voters as they're seeking to make a decision about how they're gonna vote, or trying to figure out how to best engage in their community to meet their needs? What would you say to them about who you are, and how you can help, and how they can engage?

[00:35:44] April Berg: Yeah, and I would say - for voters, especially in this moment in the times that we're living in, the biggest thing is first off to make sure you're registered to vote, make sure your friends are registered to vote. And then the second thing would be really getting involved with - and when I say involved, it's not - it'd be great if you want to volunteer on someone's campaign that shares your values, or giving any type of time or treasure - those are great things. But the biggest thing is really making sure that you are actively seeking leaders that are authentic and that believe in your values. Because I think sometimes we get caught up in - that person's more moderate, or that person's more progressive - or, Crystal - that person voted for Hillary, but that person voted for Bernie. We hear that a lot, and you want to just go and that means, they mean they want this, this, and this. No, we have to - we really have to put that aside and talk to people about values. And as you engage with candidates - are they gonna support common sense gun reform? Are they gonna support women's reproductive rights? Are they gonna support student equity in schools and allowing students to be a whole student, to be a whole in their social, emotional, as well as their academic activities? And so making sure that you're supporting candidates who have your values. And it's, unfortunately, not as easy as just checking D or R - it really is engaging with candidates about what's happening in your community. So that would be my tip, my ask of folks listening. And honestly, for a candidate like me, that's what got me over the finish line - was engaging with voters not as a progressive, not as a moderate, but as a Democrat that shares their values for a prosperous, safe, happy, educated, lively community. And so that's that's the most important thing in my opinion.

[00:37:47] Crystal Fincher: Completely agree. Completely appreciate you taking the time to speak with us today and just continuing to serve your community and the state as well as you are. Thank you so much for joining us, Representative Berg.

[00:37:59] April Berg: Thank you for having me, Crystal, and thank you for providing this amazing platform for information. So it really is a gift to have you on-air and a gift to be talking with you.

[00:38:10] Crystal Fincher: Thank you so much. I thank you all for listening to Hacks & Wonks on KVRU 105.7 FM. The producer of Hacks & Wonks is Lisl Stadler with assistance from Shannon Cheng. You can find me on Twitter @finchfrii, spelled F-I-N-C-H-F-R-I-I. Now you can follow Hacks & Wonks on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts - just type "Hacks and Wonks" into the search bar. Be sure to subscribe to get our Friday almost-live shows and our midweek show delivered to your podcast feed. If you like us, leave a review wherever you listen to Hacks & Wonks. You can also get a full transcript of this episode and links to the resources referenced in the show at officialhacksandwonks.com and in the episode notes.

Thanks for tuning in - we'll talk to you next time.