Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The gavel dropped and the 2022 legislative session ended just a few moments ago. State lawmakers will not return to Olympia until January 2023 unless a special session is called.
The Good News: Bipartisan Successes, Yakima Valley Projects, Honoring Veterans, Cooper Kupp
I am pleased to report that legislators worked across the aisle this year to improve education, health care and critical infrastructure in Washington state. The bipartisan capital budget included funding for several important Yakima Valley projects, including an east Yakima swimming pool, the Selah food bank, the Yakima Greenway enhancement, and Noah's Ark homeless shelter in Wapato.
One of my favorite moments of the session was when I had the opportunity to give the Republican speech in support of House Bill 1181 – a bill that creates the Washington State Global War on Terrorism Memorial Account and funds several Veteran suicide prevention efforts. You can watch my speech here.
Another memorable day was when my colleagues from both sides of the aisle joined me in sponsoring House Resolution 4662 honoring fellow Davis High School alumnus and Super Bowl LVI MVP, Cooper Kupp. The resolution recognized Cooper's outstanding achievements, his priorities of faith and family, and the class and humility he showed as the proud Yakima Valley and entire world watched his Super Bowl performance. You can learn more in this Yakima Herald-Republic article from February 28.
The Bad News: Wasteful Spending, Endless State of Emergency, Unconstitutional Laws
While I am pleased with many of our accomplishments this year, I have serious concerns with the irresponsible spending of our operating budget surplus, the endless state of emergency that remains in place and several new laws that infringe on constitutional rights.
The majority party failed to use our state's huge budget surplus to give any property tax or $30 car tab relief, or to build up our state's rainy-day fund. They instead opted to spend today's record receipts on a Green New Deal. Not only does this create expanded future financial obligations for our state's taxpayers, it will also raise energy and transportation costs, overwhelm our state's electrical grid and make no impact whatsoever on global climate. Every Republican voted against the Democrats' operating budget along with their transportation tax and fee package.
Additionally, Democrats refused to follow almost every other state, including California and New York, and limit the governor's emergency powers and end the COVID “state of emergency” now in its third year. The majority party also pushed through an unconstitutional ban on high-capacity magazines. Like the capital gains income tax they passed last year that was recently declared unconstitutional, Senate Bill 5078 will cost the state millions of dollars in needless litigation and create legal uncertainty for Washington residents in the coming years.
Despite these problematic policies, I continue to believe that our best days are ahead. Washingtonians are resilient and will insist that our state's leaders embrace common sense and the rule of law.
It has been an honor to represent my friends and neighbors in the 15th Legislative District these past four years. My colleagues surprised me on March 7 by passing House Resolution 4672, which recognized my legislative service. It was a special moment for me and my family. You can watch the presentation in this video.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve, and for helping me accomplish some important measures. Together, we have provided housing and services for homeless Veterans, built out mental health care capacity in the Yakima Valley and invested in schools, roadways, youth programs and parks in our community. That work continues.
I look forward to hearing from you in the weeks and months ahead. May God bless you, your family and the United States of America this year and always.