Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Monday marked the beginning of my second term representing you as well as the first day of the 2015 session. The Legislature has many challenges ahead in this 105-day session, but I am ready to get to work. You can learn about my goals for the year and my new leadership role in this press release.
There will be several major discussions in Olympia this year:
- Education funding. A Supreme Court ruling and our state constitution mandate that the Legislature increase education funding. While I remain concerned about the Court's forced role into the Legislature's duties, our state constitution requires us to fully fund education equitably across the state. Our school districts have been relying on local levies to pay for basic operating costs, and that isn't right. I want to assure you that along with increased education funding, I will be supporting reforms that make the state and schools accountable to you, the taxpayer.
- Transportation projects. While the governor introduced another tax package to pay for transportation projects, I'll be fighting for current dollars to come to Spokane. For too long we have waited for investments to be made in our area to improve our economy – it's our turn! I won't support a new tax package, because promises have been made to Spokane in the past, only to be broken when King County's projects get mismanaged.
- Implementation of voter-approved legalization of marijuana. The state must continue to solve issues that have arisen with making recreational marijuana legal with an existing medical marijuana market. We must adopt policies that keep our communities safe more than anything, and continue to partner with law enforcement to push out the illegal market.
- Cap and trade proposal by Gov. Inslee. I'll be asking lots of questions about Governor Inslee's environmental proposals to determine if they will actually make a difference in helping create clean air and water, and don't put jobs at risk.
- Tax increase proposals. There are too many people in Olympia who want to reach deeper into your pocket to pay for state government's obligations. What they won't tell you is that our state is expected to bring in $3 billion more within current tax sources from the last budget to this one we'll be writing. This amounts to an 8 percent raise for state government! We can and should balance the budget, fund education first, all within the existing revenues that you're sending to Olympia.
As always, I want to know what you think about these and other issues that affect you. I'm here to serve you, and I'm happy to help in any way I can with state government issues. Please feel free to contact my office anytime.
It's an honor to serve as your state representative.