Dear Friends and Neighbors,
First, I want to make you aware of an important meeting being held tomorrow in the Tri-Cities regarding a potential transportation revenue package. Senate transportation leaders are hosting feedback forums across the state to hear from the public about a potential revenue package to fund transportation projects. The original proposal, which amounted to $10 billion funded primarily by a 10.5 cent/gallon gas tax, I could not support because it was rushed and put too great a burden on lower and middle class working people. I am pleased to see the Senate reach out to hear from regular folks about what they would or would not like to see from the Legislature.
Thursday's event is from 6-9 p.m. at Columbia Basin College, Gjerde Center, 2600 N. 20th Ave., Pasco, WA 99301. I encourage you to attend and share your opinion! If you can't attend the meeting, you can submit your comments online at www.senatetranspofeedbackforum.org or simply contact my office and share your thoughts.
I've remained busy during this “interim” between legislative sessions, not only with my own small business, but also working for you.
In August, I took part in the “Farmer for a Day” event in Pasco. We toured orchards, a dairy operation, processing facilities, and we enjoyed two incredible meals hosted by the Manterola family. Being a farmer is hard work, there's no doubt about that!
Earlier this month, I was named co-chair of the Child Care Improvement Task Force. It's an honor to work beside my Democrat co-chair, Sen. Andy Billig of Spokane, on improving child care reimbursements and thoughtfully expanding early childhood education. You can read more about this here. We are hoping to host our October meeting in Walla Walla – if you're interested in attending, contact my office so we can get you the information when its available.
Last week, I joined other legislators on a higher education tour. We started the tour at Walla Walla Community College, and then visited Columbia Basin College and Yakima Valley Community College. It was great hearing from faculty and students about their current challenges and their great successes in research. You can read about the meeting at the Yakima Valley Community College here.
Earlier this week, I participated in my first meeting of Washington State Institute for Public Policy, which does non-partisan research to inform the Legislature in its policy making. Later this week, I'll attend the groundbreaking for the Wine Science Center at WSU Tri-Cities. Later that day, I'll be meeting with the governor and the Prosser Economic Development Association to discuss economic development in the wine and agriculture industry.
The Thrive by Five Foundation, which I serve on, will be merging with the Foundation for Early Learning to provide a stronger public-private partnership on early learning issues. I will remain a board member for this new group, which will meet together next month to discuss the transition and our shared goals. Officially, the group will be merged in January.
In November, members of the Legislature will travel to Olympia for our annual “Committee Days” to review work over the interim and plans for the coming session. This is when Gov. Inslee wants to call a special session to pass a transportation revenue package. If this happens and what a transportation revenue package looks like, depends on the input received at the feedback forums, so I encourage you to share your opinion!
It's an honor to serve you. If you ever have questions and comments about state government services, or need help with a state agency, please contact my office at the information below.
420 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7836 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000