Dear friends and neighbors,
The legislature is back in session this week, and we have our work cut out for us. Once again, Seattle-area lawmakers have proven just how out-of-touch they are with Eastern Washington. On Tuesday, they rolled out an agenda that would prioritize urban areas and completely ignore rural Washington. Their tax-heavy, policy-light agenda includes a 20 cent per gallon gas tax, soda tax, reckless spending instead of fiscal responsibility, and no plan to earnestly negotiate a Hirst fix.
Yesterday, I spoke on the House floor in support of House Bill 1723, ensuring health insurance protections for Hanford workers. This is typical. Over the next 55 days, I’ll speak many more times, constantly reminding urban lawmakers that Eastern Washington deserves thoughtful policies that weren’t crafted in Seattle, but instead address the specific needs of our region.
A few of my priorities this year include…
Passing a capital budget.
Our communities and schools have gone long enough without these funds.
Adopting a permanent solution to Hirst.
Every year we go without a permanent solution will cost the Walla Walla and Columbia valleys billions of dollars in wages, property value and economic activity.
Holding the line on new taxes.
New taxes cost jobs, hurt our economy and crush small businesses.
Tightening regulations on the marijuana industry.
This includes limiting where pot shops can open and preventing them from advertising anywhere they please, especially using animals or cartoons that appeal to kids.
Consolidating and streamlining regulations on the wine industry
Wine is the fastest growing industry in Washington state and provides jobs, revenue and tourism to our region. Small wineries should be protected and supported so they can flourish and thrive.
Protecting our rainy day fund
Many lawmakers in Olympia want to dip into our emergency account to pay for new programs. This is fiscally irresponsible. I’ll push to protect our rainy day fund so it’s available when we truly need it — in the face of emergencies or sudden economic downturns.
These are just a few of the issues I’m passionate about. More than ever, I need to hear from you so I can continue representing you in Olympia. Please email me directly at Bill.Jenkin@leg.wa.gov or call (360)786-7836. I look forward to hearing from you and representing you over the next 60 days.