Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Happy almost Thanksgiving! Whether you're most looking forward to the food, football or time with family, I hope you'll take a moment tomorrow to reflect on just how much there is to be thankful for. We're blessed to live in this great country, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to serve as your state representative. I strive every day to make our district and state a better place to live. Thank you for taking a moment out of your day to learn about what I'm focused on as the 2018 session approaches.
As many of you already know, the Democrats will control both chambers for the first time since 2012. While the margin in each chamber is razor thin (50-48 in the House, 25-24 in the Senate), I fully expect both Democrat majorities to move to the left together as hard and as fast as they can.
As for me, I will remain steadfastly opposed to massive tax increases, wasteful spending and bigger government. I will also continue to oppose any effort to pass a capital budget without first passing a long-term Hirst fix. The 2016 ruling by the state Supreme Court has put the status of exempt private wells into question in every county in the state, jeopardizing development and potentially causing hundreds of millions of dollars in financial losses for rural landowners. To green-light projects around our state while simultaneously denying families access to water on their undeveloped private property would be unconscionable, and we can't let it happen.
So that's what I'm going to oppose. What I'm going to support are bills that will help create a strong, balanced economy that works for the entire state. I'm going to continue standing up for working families, making sure state agencies are serving you well, supporting legislation that reduces excessive and costly regulations, working toward solutions that end the state's teacher shortage, and more.
One problem that currently exists within our K-12 system is many of our teachers and principals are simply overburdened. To help address this, I introduced a bill last year (House Bill 1319) to reduce the frequency of evaluations for teachers and principals who have proven their skill and competency. My bill, which focuses our resources on new teachers and those who have not performed as well on their evaluations, passed the House 96-0 but did not reach the Senate floor. I will be reintroducing it this session and will try once again to get it signed into law.
When it comes to early learning and child care in our state, the excessive administrative burdens placed on child care providers have been incredibly damaging. As I mentioned in an email update earlier this year, 22 percent of these providers have shut down since 2011. As bureaucratic red tape increases, so do costs, which results in fewer providers serving working families. If these families can't find a safe and trusted place for their children to learn and grow, that will have serious ramifications down the line. That's why I'll be working on and supporting legislation that loosens restrictions on child care providers and frees them up to innovate outside of the existing one-size-fits-all bureaucracy.
These are important issues, and I look forward to tackling them when session starts on Jan. 8.
As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with any thoughts, questions or ideas on how we can make our district and state a better place to live. I would also be happy to meet with you in district before I travel back to Olympia for the 2018 session.
It is an honor to serve as your state representative. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.