Opinion editorial by Brad Hawkins: Heading back to Olympia
Recently, I spent a couple days in Olympia for what is called “Committee Days.” This time allows legislators to review work done over the interim by work groups and prepare for the upcoming session. Committees met to get updates on a few major issues and legislators discussed potential legislation they might introduce.
I serve on three committees: Education, Transportation and Business & Financial Services. My work on these committees closely (though not perfectly) aligns with what I believe are the core functions of state government: educating future generations, maintaining infrastructure and protecting the public.
Next year's legislative session begins January 13 and the state constitution provides 60 days for a supplemental budget year. Earlier this year, the Legislature adopted a two-year budget. In 2014, we'll have an opportunity to make minor adjustments to the budget based on use of state services and tax revenue generated by things like business receipts and the sales tax.
Transportation has been and will continue to be one of the biggest issues debated in Olympia. Some legislators want to adopt a transportation revenue package – including a gas tax increase – to fund transportation projects across the state. Others oppose the idea because families can't afford to pay more at the pump. I believe we need to ensure current transportation revenues are used efficiently before we consider asking for more funding from the people.
Important to all aspects of state government functions is transparency and accountability to the people it serves. Last year, I passed a bill aimed at doing just that, and this year I plan to continue that work. You can find out more by visiting my website at www.representativebradhawkins.com and signing up for my periodic e-mail updates. This is a great way to stay informed about what your state Legislature is considering, and how I am responding to your needs.
Critical to my job as your representative is hearing from you! Please contact my office in Wenatchee using the information provided. I take my job very seriously and value the voice of my constituents above all others. It's an honor to serve you.
Rep. Brad Hawkins represents the 12th Legislative District, which includes Chelan, Douglas, and parts of Grant and Okanogan counties. He lives in East Wenatchee with his wife and two sons. He can be contacted at email@example.com or (509) 662-5733.
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