Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We're reaching the halfway point in the 2016 session. Today is the policy cutoff, meaning House bills have to pass out of their respective policy committees or they are considered dead. Next Tuesday is the fiscal cutoff. This applies to bills that are in the fiscal committees like Appropriations, Finance and the Transportation committees.
National Guard – say 'thank you' to a hero
This week we celebrated National Guard day at the Capitol. Normally this is a time to honor our men and women serving in the Washington National Guard and remember their service to – and sacrifice for – our state and nation. The galleries are usually filled with men and women in uniform and floor speeches are given to bring recognition to their efforts – past, present and future.
This year, however, was different. In January, Staff Sgt. Matthew McClintock, a Green Beret and member of the Washington National Guard, was killed in Afghanistan when his unit came under fire by the Taliban. He left an infant son and wife, Alexandra. During our caucus meeting, Alexandra came in to meet with members and talk to us about her fallen husband. It is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life. There was not a dry eye among the 60 or so Representatives and staff. It was a stark and very real – very human – reminder of the men and women who stand at the ready to protect you and I and our freedoms, and the price they sometimes pay. So I do not say this lightly; please pray for our men and women in uniform and if you see one or know of an active duty service member or veteran, tell them “thank you.”
Transportation Secretary fired?
The state Senate brought up Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson this afternoon for confirmation after her appointment to the post three years ago by Gov. Jay Inslee. They voted to not confirm her, effectively firing her from office. During the heated debate, much was made about the ongoing costs of road projects, the I-405 toll lanes and the Big Bertha fiasco. While there will be some rushing to call this move a partisan attack by Senate Republicans, I have a feeling that if given the opportunity, most Washingtonians would prefer a fresh start in addressing our state's transportation needs.
Rep. Graham Hunt resigns
A few of you have contacted me about the need for Rep. Graham Hunt to resign after allegations he exaggerated his military service and some of the medals he received. After being given more than a week to bring evidence of his claims, but being unable to do so, he has resigned from office. I agree with his decision and I look forward to working with his replacement from the 2nd Legislative District.
Earlier this session, I was able to meet with two special constituents from the 9th District. Monica Haugen is the FFA State Vice President and Mitch Jamison is the FFA State Secretary. Monica is a Pullman grad and Mitch graduated from Garfield High School. In their role at the state level, both Monica and Mitch spend an entire year travelling throughout the state representing Future Farmers of America. I was happy they stopped in Olympia and we were able to visit together. Congratulations to both of them for their valuable role and commitment to FFA.
Thank you for reading my e-newsletter. Please forward it to your family and friends and let me know if you have issues you'd like to see me address in upcoming e-newsletters.