Thank you for trusting me to serve as your state representative in the 28th Legislative District, which includes Tacoma, University Place, Steilacoom, DuPont, Fircrest, Lakewood, Tillicum, Spanaway, Graham, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Anderson Island and Ketron Island, among many other great communities.
My job is to serve as your voice in the state Legislature. To do this, I must communicate with you in many different ways, including e-mail updates like this. I hope we can make these e-mails two-way conversations. I will also be hosting a telephone town hall meeting February 19 at 7 p.m. with Sen. Mike Carrell. The call-in information is listed to the right.
Please feel free to contact me about the issues in this brief update or any others being discussed at the state level. I can be reached at (360) 786-7890 or email@example.com. If you plan to visit Olympia, please contact my office to schedule an appointment. This will ensure we have ample time to meet and go over the topics you would like to discuss. Your feedback is always welcome and my door is always open.
As your newest 28th District state representative, I am excited to work on the issues impacting our part of the state. My priorities include:
- Addressing K-12 education funding in a way that meets our constitutional obligation by funding it first.
- Finding solutions to address our most pressing transportation needs, including finding ways to address major choke points such as the Joint Base Lewis-McChord exchange.
- Crafting a sustainable and responsible budget that funds education, public safety and services for the most vulnerable.
- Ensuring government begins to remove barriers to private-sector job creation.
I have been assigned to three committees that I will serve on throughout my two-year term. I believe these committees both fit my skill set and will give me the best opportunities to serve you to the best of my ability. My committee assignments include:
House Judiciary Committee: I will serve as one of the leaders in my party on this committee. This committee considers a wide variety of subjects relating to civil and criminal law, including issues involving commercial law, torts, probate, guardianships, civil commitment, firearms, eminent domain, landlord/tenant law, Consumer Protection Act remedies and processes, and courts and judicial administration. It also considers family law issues, such as marriage, marriage dissolution, child support and adoption.
House Business and Financial Services Committee: This committee considers licensing and regulation of businesses and professions (except for health care and law-related professions). It also addresses issues relating to insurance and insurance company solvency, including the activities of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner and the Pollution Liability Insurance. Financial services issues include the safety and soundness of state banks and credit unions, the regulation of consumer credit and lending, and the regulation of securities and investments. It also considers consumer protection issues relating to motor vehicles, financial services and insurance.
House Transportation Committee: This committee considers the transportation budget, revenue sources for transportation funding, and issues relating to transportation policy and transportation agencies, including the Department of Transportation and the Washington State Patrol.
A complete list of House committees can be found here. By clicking on the committee link, you will see upcoming meetings and agendas. You can also watch coverage of legislative action online at www.tvw.org.
Changing House operating rules:
House rule changes may not mean a lot to folks, in fact it didn’t mean a lot to me either until you sent me to Olympia. Normally, we simply approve the rules. However, this year, our side of the aisle thought adding some higher standards to better serve the public as we go about our business was in order. We offered four rule changes to better serve the taxpayers of Washington, which would have:
- placed supermajority vote provisions of Initiative 1185 into House rules (amendment to House Rule 10(B));
- prioritized education funding through Fund Education First (amendment to House Rule 12);
- allowed each state representative to have one bill that receives a House committee hearing (amendment to House Rule 24); and
- prioritized citizen testimony in House committee hearings (amendment to House Rule 24).
The majority party in the House rejected the first three amendments, but incorporated the citizen-first testimony concept into final House rules. This will ensure those who travel to Olympia to testify on legislation are prioritized before lobbyists and state government officials.
The state operating budget:
As in the past few years, the 2013-15 state operating budget will face a roughly $900 million spending gap despite the projection that tax collections will increase by nearly $2 billion over the two-year budget, according to the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. The budget deficit was created due to overspending since 2005 by the current majority party in the House. The growth in government, particularly programs that are created but continue to be suspended, is hampering the Legislature’s ability to balance the budget in a responsible manner.
My goal is to offer positive solutions that prioritize state government spending. I support the Fund Education First proposal, House Bill 1174, which would require a separate budget for K-12 education to be passed and signed by the governor before any other spending is allocated. The state constitution is clear – education is the “paramount duty” of the state and it should be treated as such.
After we have funded K-12 education, we could start an honest debate about what priorities should be funded within the remainder of the budget. I believe we should prioritize public safety and services that support our most vulnerable.
This can be accomplished within current tax collections. This is not the time to raise taxes on small business; we are barely emerging from the Great Recession and shouldn’t do anything to jeopardize a recovery. I look forward to working in a bipartisan manner to do what is best for our state’s citizens while controlling state government spending.
The photo above is a group of students from Bethel Junior High School in Spanaway who joined me in Olympia during my first week serving as your representative.
28th Legislative District
424 John L. O’Brien Building – P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7890 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000