Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Happy New Year! We have just a week before the 2015 legislative session begins. It will be a challenging session as we work to prioritize our state’s spending. We face significant pressure to meet our obligations to fully fund basic education; however, we must do so in a way that produces better outcomes for students.
It is important that we also build a budget that protects our state’s most vulnerable residents. We’ve seen serious failures recently in how our state delivers essential services, and I will be working to make government more open, efficient and accountable.
Senator Steve O’Ban
This year I will serve as Chair of the Senate Human Services, Mental Health and Housing Committee, Vice-Chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee and as a member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
I am looking at ways to help veterans transition into civilian life and reduce the tax and regulatory burden on Washington’s small-business community.
I will focus on addressing serious issues concerning child protection, foster care and empowering parents to get help for their mentally ill children
Governor Inslee recently announced his budget for the 2015-2017 biennium. Of particular interest were his proposals regarding transportation. I’ve been working for years to address the congestion issues along the Interstate 5 corridor through Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Unfortunately, the governor’s budget largely ignores problems in that critical part of our district.
Fully funding projects along the corridor will cost close to $800 million; however, the governor’s budget includes only $278 million for minor improvements for choke points at I-5 where it passes through JBLM. Governor Inslee should have prioritized these projects better. JBLM is a large employer in the region and although every district has transportation needs, this area cannot be ignored as its benefits to our state are far-reaching.
As we enter the legislative session next week, I will continue working hard to secure the funding needed — it’s long overdue and necessary to keep people and goods moving.
It’s an honor to represent the 28th Legislative District – home to Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord and thousands of veterans and their families. Thank you for allowing me to serve you.