Dear Friends and Neighbors,
On January 14, I was sworn in as your newest state representative. I want you to know I take my oath seriously to “uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, the Constitution and laws of the State of Washington, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of the office of a Washington State Representative to the best of my ability.”
I have been assigned to three House committees:
- Government Accountability and Oversight (as the assistant ranking Republican), which will consider regulation and oversight of liquor, tobacco, gambling and marijuana; as well as find ways to provide a more efficient and effective state government.
- Labor and Workforce Development, which will consider legislation and oversight of industrial insurance, unemployment compensation, collective bargaining, workplace safety and health standards, wage laws and more.
- Public Safety, which oversees law enforcement agencies, crime prevention, criminal penalties and sentencing, impaired driving, sex offenders, mentally ill offenders and more.
- Rules, which considers all bills reported from committees and determines whether to schedule their consideration for the entire House chamber.
I am pleased with these committee assignments, as they match with my background and goals. You can read more about me here.
My top priority for the legislative session is economic development, and providing more opportunities for working families. Spokane and Washington have so much potential for growth. I have been impressed with the work of Al French and the rest of the Spokane County commissioners to bring more jobs to our district. This can be a model for the rest of the state. While government does not create jobs, it can adopt policies that encourage small business creation and growth for medium and large businesses to create more jobs.
With a $900 million shortfall, the budget will be the focus of the Legislature. However, the lack of jobs and budget problems are symptoms of a poor economy, not the cause. The solution is improving the climate for business and industry, and that includes investing in a skilled workforce. Washingtonians are losing out on great jobs because we do not have enough qualified applicants for the jobs available. That's why we must invest better in higher education, because we know we will receive a great return on our investment.
A recent Supreme Court decision (McCleary vs. State) will also require the Legislature to continue reforms and address funding to our K-12 education system. I'm supporting a plan to fund education first, and in fact, will be joining an effort to change the rules of the House chamber to pass an education-only budget first before any other programs or services are funded.
The session is scheduled to last 105 days, and I am busy with committee hearings and meetings with constituents. Today, I attended the March for Life rally and was encouraged to see many people from Spokane that made the trip.
Thank you for trusting me to represent you. Please contact my office and share your ideas and concerns; hearing from you is vital to my job as your public servant.