Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Last week, I was sworn-in to represent the 25th District in the Washington State House of Representatives. In my oath, I pledged to “support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the State of Washington,” and to “faithfully discharge the duties of the office of State Representative to the best of my ability.”
I take that seriously. I hope you will help to hold me accountable.
The first week in Olympia included meetings with constituents and colleagues, committee meetings (I serve on the Transportation, Higher Education, and Capital Budget committees), and a lot of homework on the bills we'll be considering in the weeks ahead.
We already have some serious budget decisions to debate. This Tuesday and Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee held public hearings on Democrat measures proposed that attempt to correct the overspending in the current 2009-11 budget. House Republicans did not support the proposal because:
- We are extremely opposed to removing funds from K-4 enhancement. This is money that school districts have already budgeted for, and in many cases, have already spent to hire additional staff. For most school districts, this is just as critical as levy equalization. It's another broken promise to schools and kids. We will fight efforts to retroactively pull the funding for K-4 enhancements and any cut to levy equalization.
- It does not address reforms or elimination of costly programs like the General Assistance-Unemployable/Disability Lifeline, which is a cash entitlement program unique to our state.
- It is unbalanced – it places too much of the burden on education.
- It is not sustainable and still leaves a current budget deficit of more than $200 million.
- It continues to rely on one-time money to fund on-going programs.
I commend the efforts of the majority party and by working quickly to bring solutions to the table to balance the budget, but more work needs to be done.
One of the highlights of my week was delivering my first speech on the House floor honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Click here for the press release with a link to the audio.
We're only a couple weeks into the session. We have many tough decisions and a lot of hard work is ahead. I look forward to building strong relationships with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and maintaining good communication with the people of the 25th District as we go through this process.
It is an honor to serve you. Please do not hesitate to contact me with your ideas or to set up a meeting in Olympia.
468 John L.O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7968 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000