This year's legislative session began this week, and while some contentious issues may be brought forward, I remain focused on the core priorities of government and the priorities of the 20th District.
My 2014 session priorities
My priorities are unchanged from recent years:
- getting people back to work by reducing the barriers government puts in the way of job creators;
- adopting a responsible budget that does not take more from your pocket; and
- protecting our region by moving forward with flood control efforts.
It is important for me to stay connected with you and to hear your concerns about state government. One of the new ways I have found to do that is by hosting a telephone town hall meeting. It's a great chance for you to talk to me from the comfort of your home, and for me to reach out and hear from many people in a short amount of time.
My seatmates (Sen. John Braun and Rep. Ed Orcutt) and I invite you to join us for a telephone town hall meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 6:30 p.m. Anytime during the hour-long event, you can call toll-free (877) 229-8493, then enter PIN number 312374. You can simply listen in to the conversation, or ask us a question directly by pressing * (asterisk/star) on your phone. I'm looking forward to hearing your questions and answering them.
You may have heard that I am now serving as the ranking Republican on the Capital Budget Committee. This will allow me to work closely with the chair of the committee and gives me a stronger position in negotiating for funding for our region's critical flood control projects. I'm committed to supporting the Chehalis Basin Flood Authority and the work they are doing to find a solution that meets the needs of the state and our communities.
You can read about how the capital budget operates here. The governor proposed a supplemental capital budget which the Legislature will work from and amend. There is much to be improved. My greatest concern is that the proposal contains $109 million in shifts from the capital budget to the operating budget. This is like taking out a 25-year loan to pay for your home roof repairs when you have cash available to pay for them. This is not a responsible way of balancing the budget, and it robs worthwhile infrastructure needs in the capital budget.
Please feel free to contact my office anytime with questions, concerns or suggestions. My contact information is below. I'm here to listen and it's an honor to serve the 20th District.