At the end of her cheery voice mail message, Republican State Sen. Barbara Bailey -- the committee chair who refuses to allow a vote on the Washington Dream Act -- urges her callers:  "Go on out and make it a great day."

Xochitl Rojas, in the United States since the age of 3, would like to make it a great life for her family in a country she has learned to love.  She could do so by getting a State Need Grant and completing her nursing education at South Seattle Community College. 

"I've never seen myself living anywhere else," she said.  "We are shaped by our environment.  This in the environment that I live in.  My dad instilled in me the attitude: This is what I call home.  I want to make my home a better place."

Fully accessing the American dream isn't all that easy for someone who is married, with a 4-year-old son,  another baby on the way, and holding down a job while her husband works at two jobs.

The Washington Dream Act would extend to students, often brought north when they were very young, eligibility for state financial aid.  Need grants are sorely needed, given the skyrocketing cost of tuition and debt burdens which so many students carry as they leave college.

Joel Connelly photoJoel Connelly has been a staff columnist for more than 30 years. He comments regularly on politics and public policy.

The Dream Act would easily pass the state Senate were a floor vote allowed.  It mustered a bipartisan 77-20 majority in the House, including the votes of Republican Reps. Norma Smith and Dave Hayes from the 10th District.

Sen. Bailey is the 10th District's senator, a first-term Republican from Oak Harbor who chairs the Higher Education Committee.  She is the one refusing to permit a vote that would send the Dream Act to the floor.

Bailey puts on a public face as a sweet-as-sugar Christian lady and paragon of public piety.  But one must wonder:  Is it a Christian act to deny young people the opportunity to get an education, fulfill their dreams and make a contribution to what is very much their country?

As mentioned at the beginning, I've put in calls to Bailey's cell phone and emailed Senate Republican communications.  I stand ready to go anywhere on Whidbey Island on any weekend to talk with the good senator.

Fredy Zarate would also like to talk with Sen. Bailey.  The 23-year-old arrived in Kent at age 10, has aspired to college since he was 12, studied accounting at Green River Community College and been accepted to Seattle Pacific University. He dreams of bringing his skills -- and a conscience (which is needed there) -- to Wall Street.

"It's all I know," he says of Washington.  "When I'm asked about Mexico, I don't know.  I mean, ask me about U.S. history."

If he could meet with Sen. Bailey, added Zarate, "I would assure her that I am contributing to this state and nation."

Xochiti Rojas and Fredy Zarate are beneficiaries of President Obama's 2012 executive order, creating the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  It is, as the Herald of Everett editorialized last week, "an out-of-shadows path to education, to legal employment, to giving back."

But young people need a hand up.  It is likely to be repaid, according to a RAND report:  It found that a woman immigrant from Mexico with a college diploma pays $5,300 more each year in taxes and costs $3,900 less in government expenses than one who has dropped out of high school.

The Christian lady is turning a cold shoulder.  All we've heard from Sen. Bailey is a staff-written piece in Washington Focus, saying:  "By extending financial aid to undocumented students, it could add an additional 800 eligible students to the already underfunded program."

What a load of horse pucky!  The Senate's ruling coalition, including Bailey, this week put up $19.4 million to EXPAND the Washington need grant program.

Besides, if those 800 eligible students get their education and graduate, they will be paying more taxes.  They will be contributing to an American dream forged by generations of immigrants.  

"It is a matter of low-paying jobs or high technology jobs," said Zarate.  He points out -- as did Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna did eloquently last year -- that Washington is not training enough people to fill the Amazon and Google and Microsoft jobs that are opening here.

And, added Rojas, "The better educated a mother and father are, the better the opportuities for their children.  For my son I want good schooling.  I want American values."

Why is the Dream Act being blocked?  A bit of speculation:

-- Sen. Bailey is a "pander" bear.  There is still an ugly streak of nativist anti-immigrant sentiment in our state's Republican Party.  No place was it more on display than at an Oak Harbor town meeting held a few years back by U.S. Senate candidate Mike(!) McGavick.  He was heckled for NOT using racial stereotypes.

-- Sen. Bailey is obeying orders.  Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, a renegade Democrat, makes a show of endorsing socially progressive measures.  They then get assigned to committees chaired by ultraconservative Republicans who put worthy proposals where the sun don't shine.

-- Sen. Bailey is just plain dumb.  As a constituent, I've endured years of her jargon in House mailings, including a laughable claim that faith-based programs would pick up the slack if state social spending were slashed.  She appears to have a firmly closed mind and is unable to talk in anything but Republican boilerplate.

As a constituent, it's unsettling to confront the fact that your senior state legislator is a fool, or a tool, or a knave.