Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It's hard to believe we are quickly approaching the end of 2019. Where has the time gone? The Legislature will be entering the 2020 legislative session in just two months, on Jan. 13, 2020.
In this email update, I'll highlight some of my 2020 legislative priorities and wrap up some of the interim work I've been doing around the 16th District.
2020 legislative priorities
There are many issues the Legislature will face during the 2020 session. I'm working on several issues for this session, including:
- Snake and Columbia River Dams. This is a hot-topic issue throughout our district. During the 2019 session, Gov. Inslee advocated for and received $750,000 in the 2019-21 operating budget to pay for a study that would look at the benefits of removing or breaching the lower Snake River dams to provide more salmon for South Resident orcas. In October, the Yakama and Lummi tribal nations joined forces to call for the removal of the Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River as another method to increase salmon populations. I'm against the removal of our dams and will continue to fight against any policy that suggests we move forward with the removal or break of the dams. For more information on this issue, please visit this link: http://houserepublicans.wa.gov/2019/11/14/harm-of-breaching-dams/.
- Housing. As the ranking Republican on the House Housing, Community Development and Veterans Committee, I know there will be several issues on the table for us to tackle. During the interim, I had the opportunity to attend a legislative tour hosted by the Senate Housing Stability and Affordability Committee. We visited the St. Michael's Supportive Housing for Vets and The Hub – Hope Center, both in Walla Walla. It was a great opportunity and starting point to think about future housing and veterans related policy.
In 2020, I will be introducing housing specific legislation to create an equity sharing program. I will have more information on my bill at the start of session in January. Please stay tuned.
- Transportation. During the interim, I had the opportunity to attend the Good Roads meeting and gain some insight on the transportation-related issues throughout our district. Transportation will be a key priority for me during the 2020 session, especially working through the impacts of the passage of Initiative 976 and ensuring our transportation projects continue to move forward.
- Fighting against tax increases. The people of Washington state sent us a clear message in this year's November general election. They do not agree with the tax increases passed by Democrats in the 2019 session. I voted against those new taxes, and I'll continue to respect your wishes by continuing to vote against any proposed tax increases, including property tax increases and any form of a state income tax.
As we get closer to January, I'll provide a more detailed update of the legislation I'll be introducing, including several wine-related bills, and what else can be expected during the 60-day session.
House Republican Caucus | 2020 priorities
Our caucus has been busy during the interim preparing for the 2020 session. Strategies and ideas are still being worked on with staff to build our priorities and agenda. Right now, the discussion is guided by these three key principles:
- You should never fear for your safety in your home and community;
- The actions of the Legislature should not increase your cost of living; and
- Your public officials should be held accountable for their actions.
Stay tuned for upcoming email updates as we roll out the final agenda in January. It's important to me to keep you up-to-date on what we, as the House Republican Caucus, will be working on and fighting for on behalf of the people of the 16th District, and throughout Washington state.
House Page Program
Did you know the House of Representatives has a page and intern program? These programs are a great way to keep our youth involved in their state government and receive hands-on experience in civic education. If you have a child in school who would be interested in these programs, applications are currently being accepted for the 2020 session.
Please visit this link for more information: http://leg.wa.gov/House/Pages/PageandInternPrograms.aspx.
Stay in touch!
This will be my last email update until session, but I encourage you to stay in touch with me. My district office in Pasco will remain open through December. You're welcome to drop in and speak with my Legislative Assistant, Marge, or contact me via email.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a blessed holiday season!
It's an honor to serve you.