Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I had the pleasure of meeting the 2015 Apple Blossom Royalty Court at the Capitol last week. Queen Gabby Waterman and Princesses Anissa Sangster and Francesca Nevil are smart, well-spoken young women who have been representing the Wenatchee Valley well throughout the state. The royal court had a busy day here at the Capitol. Watch this video, where we discuss their visit to Olympia. After our taping, the girls told me about a song they prepared to the tune of a popular Taylor Swift song. At first I thought they were kidding, but when they told me it was a tradition for the Court to write a song, I asked them to sing it on camera. I was impressed. Watch their performance here.
I had a great conversation with teachers and administrators during our town hall last weekend at the North Central Educational Service District. I received lots of helpful information about education issues, and appreciated the dialogue we had. Please continue sharing your ideas with me about how we can support and improve education in our state.
We're expecting to see budget proposals from the House Democrats soon. Washington state has three different budgets:
- The operating budget provides for the daily operating expenses of the state, including K-12 and higher education, health and human services and public safety. The good news is that our state is expected to bring in $3 billion more for the 2015-17 budget than it did in the 2013-15 budget because of our recovering economy.
- The capital budget is often called the “bricks and mortar” budget because it pays for public facilities, including the construction of schools, prisons and other state buildings. It also provides loans to local governments for sewers, parks and other uses. I've made requests for funding of public infrastructure impacted by the Carlton Complex Fire, including the Brewster and Pateros water systems.
- The transportation budget provides for the maintenance, preservation and operation of the state's highways, bridges and ferries. While most of what you've heard in the news is related to a separate transportation gas tax package, there will be a budget that funds maintenance and operations within current revenues. This budget is approved every two years and is separate from the gas tax proposal.
With each of these budgets, it's important we make wise, long-term decisions that efficiently invest your hard-earned tax dollars.
Both my School Infrastructure Recovery Bill and my Chief Examiners Bill have received public hearings in the Senate. Now they await a vote by their respective committees to move forward for consideration by the full Senate.
As always, I appreciate hearing any questions, concerns or comments you may have. It's an honor to serve as your state representative.
122G Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7832 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000