Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2015 session began Monday, and I was sworn into my second term as your state representative. It's an honor to continue serving you in Olympia.
While there will be several high-profile issues discussed this year in the Legislature, at the top of my mind are the wildfires last summer in our district. I joined the recent meeting in Brewster over the phone and was able to hear many concerns about how the wildfires were handled by the state and how better local control can help during fire season.
I'm proposing solutions to help with the recovery and to prepare for future wildfire seasons.
- House Bill 1003, my School Infrastructure Recovery Bill, would help schools after natural disasters. After the fires, the Pateros School District, which suffered over $2 million in damage to its only school, struggled with who to contact for funding assistance, what to do to repair its building, and how to restore the proper learning environment for kids. School officials and the community came together in a remarkable way to start the school year. My bill would pull together state agencies to help develop an optional policy for school districts who suffer natural disasters, including mudslides, wildfires, or flooding.
- House Bill 1125, my Carlton Complex Fire Economic Recovery Bill, would provide $500,000 toward recovery efforts in Okanogan County. The dollars would come from existing funding from the Economic Development Strategic Reserve Account administered by the Washington State Department of Commerce. The funds would be directed to the Carlton Complex Fire Long-Term Recovery Organization, which is doing great work in Okanogan County.
These are just small ways to improve things for our communities following the wildfires. This process is a team effort, and I am thankful that my House colleagues Reps. Cary Condotta, Joel Kretz and Shelly Short are co-sponsoring these efforts. Recovery could take 10-15 years, and we are committed to supporting wildfire victims as well as ensuring future fire seasons are handled better.
I'm hoping to have a work session held in Olympia at the end of this month to discuss the wildfires. I'll keep you updated so you can attend if you are interested and able to travel and share your story.
Education funding, transportation projects, and the governor's tax proposals will also dominate discussions in the Legislature. As always, I appreciate hearing from you about these and other issues that affect you.
Please contact my office anytime with questions, comments or concerns.
122G Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7832 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000