Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I want to thank those of you who participated in my recent “tele-town hall” event. What a wonderful way to stay in touch with the folks back home. It was great to hear many familiar voices and to once again bask in the common sense perspective of Eastern Washington citizens. Throughout the hour-long program, we had 4,301 attendees come and go. And, at one point, we had 631 people on the line listening in at the same time! We went live with 22 callers who had questions and/or comments and 48 people left voice mail messages.
Here I am right before the action starts with teleforum “host” John Sattgast in our makeshift studio…which is really just a spare room we use sometimes as a conference room and to store extra chairs. Pretty cool, huh?
Below are the results of our poll questions that we asked callers throughout the program:
1) We have the ability to conduct future teleforums at 6:30 pm instead of 7:00. What works best for your? Do you prefer a 6:30pm or 7:00pm start time?
a. 6:30pm (27%)
b. 7:00pm (73%)
2) One of the battles between the House and Senate budgets centers around “retroactive money for K-4 teachers.” The Senate proposes to eliminate this money. We would rather see other programs cut back or eliminated, like the Puget Sound Partnership or the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program which buys up land for “habitat” management. What do you think?
1. Go ahead and take the retroactive money for K-4 teachers (8%)
2. Instead of cutting K-4 teachers, reduce funding for PSP and WWRP (62%)
3. Instead of cutting K-4 teachers, elim. the BHP or other social services (17%)
4. Don't eliminate any of these programs – instead, raise taxes (13%)
3) On the heels of a recent federal court ruling that found “Obamacare” to be unconstitutional, I've introduced legislation to prohibit the use of state funds in the planning for, or implementation of, federal health care reform. Do you support this idea?
a. Yes (80%)
b. No (20%)
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
People at home would not have believed this without a picture.
Tuesday was “environment day” in Olympia. There were several groups at the Capitol Campus protesting against one thing or another tied to the environment. We also had a group of workers from the Centralia power plant protesting against the environmental legislation that would shut the coal-fired plant down. Never mind that this is one of the cleanest coal-fired plants in the nation or that over 300 people would lose their jobs (the average salary for these 300 jobs is about $85,000 a year). This environmental legislation does not have a plan to replace the base load power lost on our energy grid. The plant is scheduled to be converted to a natural gas burning plant in 2025, per a negotiated agreement between the company (TransAlta) and Gov. Gregoire. But now, environmentalist groups like the Sierra Club have made closing the plant their number one goal.
According to supporters of the bill, this will save “Snowflake” (who represents the polar bears). “Snowflake” came to protest and illustrate the plight of polar bears and global warming claiming that TransAlta has responsibility to the potential loss of these animals. (See picture above). This is all-too-common of thinking here in Olympia.
Storm water tax
There is a proposal to place a 1% tax on all petroleum products at the wholesale level. Petroleum products including fertilizer, chemicals, and diesel (both on and off-road) are defined in the legislation. This bill is being supported by certain legislators and special interest groups. I cannot see a connection between storm water runoff and any of these products used on the farm. The Washington State Farm Bureau has calculated that the price per acre is $15.20. I will be fighting vigorously against this effort and will keep you updated throughout the next few weeks.