Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Our state has been reeling from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic for almost a year now. And Gov. Jay Inslee has managed that response with little or no input from the Legislature.
He has used his temporary “emergency” powers to close hundreds of Washington's churches and thousands of its businesses. Those powers, which he can invoke in times of crises, have allowed him to act without consulting the Legislature.
Some people think Gov. Inslee did what needed to be done. Others believe he went too far. But one thing is certain: He did what he did without the Legislature, and I believe that's wrong.
And now things are even worse. Last week, Democrats in the House and Senate voted to extend the governor's emergency proclamations until the pandemic is over. When will that be? Well, no one knows.
Inslee declared an emergency on Feb. 29 of last year — and it's still in effect — leaving the governor with the sole authority to impose whatever restrictions he wants.
That means the survival of our state's already struggling restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, and other businesses closed under the governor's orders is in question. That means the hundreds of thousands of those who have been left jobless because of the pandemic could continue to be stuck at home without a paycheck.
The Legislature should be involved in these decisions. We're the voice of the people. We know our communities better than the governor. We know what our constituents want and what's best for our businesses.
So now, as our state continues to grapple with the challenges caused by COVID-19, the only one in Olympia with the power to present solutions is the governor. That's too much power for one person.
I will provide you with more updates as the legislative session moves forward. I welcome your emails, calls, and letters as I work on behalf of our great communities. It is an honor to serve you.