Dear Friends and Neighbors,
You Are Invited!
Join us for our 7th District Telephone Town Hall
Tuesday, Jan. 23 from 6 – 7 p.m.
Just call (509) 404-3053
The 2018 session is underway and things are happening very fast in Olympia. We heard Gov. Inslee talk about 'One Washington' in his state of the state address, yet he continues to push for an energy tax that even his own people admit will raise the price of gas, increase costs to heat our homes and potentially drive jobs out of this state.
As you probably know, control of the state Senate has shifted into Democrat hands. But the numbers are still very close: 25-24 (Democrat) in the Senate, and 50-48 (Democrat) in the House. We're seeing the other side introduce several different proposals that would raise taxes on sugar, vehicle miles travelled, gas, electricity, and even your income. But with the Legislature so evenly divided it will be difficult for the Democrats to pass large tax increases as they would need the votes of several Democrat lawmakers representing more rural, blue-collar constituencies. That being said, I'll continue to fight to help you keep more of your hard-earned money. Our state is seeing record revenues thanks to a recovering economy. There is no need to raise taxes.
I've introduced legislation to assist veterans in gaining access to the benefits and services they've earned. Another bill I've introduced will help the state manage heavy forest fuel loads to prevent the extremely hot and destructive wildfires our state has seen the past few years. I also have legislation that would help small towns gain access to main street revitalization dollars to invest in our rural communities.
Hirst solution reached
A bipartisan, permanent solution to the Hirst problem was reached last week! After months of hard-fought negotiations – and significant input from House Republican negotiators – an agreement passed the Legislature and was signed by the governor. Because it contained an emergency clause, the bill went into effect immediately upon receiving the governor's signature.
Under the new law, existing wells are grandfathered in. If you own a well on private property and have been waiting to build, you can go get a building permit right now. Here in Northeast Washington, we're seeing some of the benefits from former Sens. Scott Barr and Bob Morton who advocated for – and worked hard on – early watershed planning. As one colleague put it, “The Seventh is golden!”
In a press release I issued along with my seatmate, Rep. Joel Kretz, I called the original Hirst debacle “the continuation of a multigenerational decimation of rural life in our state. We're slowly being litigated out of our liberties.”
This was why you sent me to Olympia – to fight for you and for our way of life; our values, our priorities and our God-given rights.
To help the other side (mostly urban) understand the seriousness of this issue for those of us representing rural constituents, my seatmate, Rep. Joel Kretz, introduced the One Washington Water Act last week. His bill would force cities over with population over 100,000 (think Seattle) to live under same rules as Hirst and the so-called “solutions” being offered by Democrats and environmentalists. You can read more about that proposal here. Suffice to say, his “what's good for the goose is good for the gander” approach helped clarify many of our concerns. It's amazing what happens when someone is potentially forced to live under the same rules and restrictions they want OTHER people to live under!
His efforts helped clarify our position and eventually forced the other side to come back to the table where concessions were made and a final agreement was reached.
I'm in Olympia because you elected me to be your voice in the state House of Representatives. I'm here to listen, learn and then lead the charge in the fight for our liberties and for the future we want for our children and grandchildren.
It is an honor to serve you. Please, never hesitate to reach out via email, letter or phone call to let me know how you feel about an issue.