Walsh begins 2009 session without her seatmate

‘As we begin this year’s session without him, we try to remember the example he gave us,’ Walsh says


Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, began the 2009 legislative session in Olympia grieving the loss of her seatmate and friend, Rep. Bill Grant, who passed away Jan. 4.

"Bill’s absence has been difficult for our legislative family," Walsh said. "He was a true statesman and so often worked quietly behind the scenes to help guide legislation through the process in a bipartisan manner. As we begin this year’s session without him, we try to remember the example he gave us."

Despite her sadness, Walsh said she must now focus on potential solutions to solve an almost $6 billion budget shortfall.

"My hope with this difficult budget is that we do the least amount of harm," Walsh said. "There will be sacrifices made by everyone. We can’t put new taxes on people, especially in these difficult economic times, but I hope we can provide enough protection for the most vulnerable individuals in our state."

The 16th District lawmaker said she is concerned with how heavily the governor’s proposed budget depends on a federal stimulus plan.

"I don’t like that we got into this position in the first place," Walsh said. "We may need money from the federal government, but my concern is that it will prevent us from being prudent with the money we have."

Walsh will serve on three committees this year: Early Learning and Children’s Services, Human Services and Health and Human Services Appropriations.

Walsh encourages constituents to sign up for her electronic newsletter to receive updates on legislation and agendas from her Web site at houserepublicans.wa.gov/Walsh.

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Washington State House Republican Communications