Difficult decisions in the Legislature require consistent contact with the public

“Please visit my web site or e-mail me and sign up for my e-newsletter today”

 

By Rep. Joe Schmick

The 105-day 2011 legislative session kicked off this month with several new faces in the marbled halls of Olympia.

After last year's November elections, Republicans in the House of Representatives gained five more seats to bring our total numbers up to 42. While the House Democrats lost these seats, they also have several new members as others retired or moved on to other public offices.

While the pomp and circumstance of swearing in new members and the governor's state of the state address took center stage the first week of session, there's been a palpable weight on the shoulders of all the members of the Legislature: the nearly $5 billion budget shortfall.

Previous budget deficits were solved with one-time bailout money from the federal government, a smattering of tax increases, fund transfers and delayed payments. Many of my colleagues and I disagreed with these short-sighted, unsustainable tactics and warned that we would continue to have budget problems unless we come up with long-term, sustainable solutions. And here we are again – only this year, there is no federal bailout money and the taxpayers have once again (and rightly so) said 'no' to new taxes.

While some are shrinking away from the very difficult decisions that need to be made in Olympia, I believe this is an incredible opportunity to reset government. This session can't just be about the numbers on a calculator; if we fail to fundamentally change the way government does business – meaning, a government with a much smaller footprint – we'll be right down this road again in the very near future.

One of the ways we can help out our state is to get people working again. This continues to be one of my highest priorities. We need to implement policies that encourage entrepreneurs and small business growth. Government needs to get out of the way of creative, market-driven ideas and let them come to fruition. I firmly believe small businesses are going to be the significant driving force to help our state and nation recover from this recession.

Staying connected to those back home, those I serve and represent, is a critical part of making these difficult decisions ahead. Normally, legislators from the 9th District team up and send out hardcopy mailings to let people know what's going on in Olympia. With recent, necessary budget cutbacks, we're all trying to find better, more cost-effective ways to reach out to constituents.

For the last two years, I have been sending out weekly e-mail updates to those who have visited my office or e-mailed me requesting information. If you would like to be informed and involved in the decisions taking place in Olympia, please visit my web site at houserepublicans.wa.gov/members/joe-schmick/ where you can sign up for my e-newsletter, or send me an e-mail at joe.schmick@leg.wa.gov

It is imperative that I stay connected to you as we press forward this session. Please take the time to contact me today.

 

(Rep. Joe Schmick represents the 9th Legislative District.  He serves on the budget-writing House Ways and Means Committee and is the House Republican leader on health care issues.  He is a second-generation farmer and small business owner and lives with his wife, Kim, in Colfax.)

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For more information, contact Brendon Wold, Senior Information Officer: (360) 786-7698

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov