Dear Friends and Neighbors,
After training of nearly 60 miles of hiking each week for seven weeks, I began my midnight ascent to the top of Mt. St. Helens under a beautiful September harvest moon. It took us 4.5 hours to reach the summit, traveling up Monitor Ridge through large and challenging boulder fields, and steep cliffs. The beauty was breathtaking and reminded me of the importance of preserving our national and state parks. It was one of the most strenuous and thrilling things I've ever done. And I will admit at times, I wondered whether I would make it all the way to the top. But anyone who knows me also knows I am not a quitter. When a challenge is before me, I take it on!
Since my last e-newsletter to you in August, we've had a number of new challenges and issues arise – some more difficult than others. But, I won't back down, especially when it comes to protecting the constituents I represent from the heavy hand of government. So please take a few minutes to read my update. There are some VERY important meetings ahead, including town hall meetings this weekend that Sen. Ann Rivers and I are holding in Ridgefield and Battle Ground. Please mark your calendars to attend.
As always, I invite your comments, questions and input. Please respond to my e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. For your convenience, I maintain a district office at 415 N.E. Cedar Street, Suite A, in Camas. The telephone number is (360) 210-4117.
Thank you for the privilege of allowing me to serve as your state representative. Together, we can protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!
IMPORTANT MEETINGS – Please mark your calendars, attend and speak out!
Here is your opportunity to speak up on issues affecting the 18th Legislative District and the future of our state. Please plan to attend!
Town Hall meetings with Sen. Ann Rivers and Rep. Liz Pike
Click here to read details of this event in my press release.
Saturday, Oct. 5
10 a.m. – noon
Clark County Fire and Rescue Station
911 N. 65th Avenue
(I-5 Exit 14, east to roundabout, north 1/4th mile to fire station.)
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Battle Ground City Hall
109 S.W. First Street
Battle Ground, WA
If you are unable to attend these, Sen. Rivers and I will be holding another town hall meeting Nov. 9 in Camas. Read my press release for further details.
Transportation Feedback Forum and the CRC
Gov. Inslee wants the Legislature to approve a state gas tax increase, possibly as high as 10.5 cents a gallon, to fund transportation projects in Washington. He's considering calling a special session in November to address this issue. I voted against a similar proposal in June. My Republican colleagues and I feel strongly the Legislature needs to implement accountability reforms within the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to stop wasteful spending and expensive mistakes – and these reforms must be enacted first. I oppose a gas tax increase, especially when your tax dollars are not being used wisely and efficiently.
In addition to the issue of a higher state gas tax, Southwest Washington residents are being sold down the river by Gov. Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who want to cede Washington's authority to Oregon to build the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) between Vancouver and Portland. They're pulling out all the stops to force light rail into our community that is unwanted. Plus, they are willing to provide unbridled power to Oregon to force unlimited tolls upon our citizens without any representation. An aide to Attorney General Ferguson has essentially given the “green light” for Oregon to move forward in building the CRC without input from the Legislature or Washington's citizens. And C-Tran has approved a plan to operate and finance light rail in Clark County. (Watch the Sept. 26 C-Tran meeting, including my comments in the middle of the video. Please wait for the download.)
Senate Transportation Committee Co-Chairs, Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, and Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, have been conducting Transportation Feedback Forums throughout the state to get the public's view on these issues. I strongly encourage you to attend and say “NO” to higher gas taxes, “NO” to CRC and Portland's light rail, and “YES” to reforms.
Monday, Oct. 7
6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Department of Transportation Southwest Region office
11018 N.E. 51st Circle
Hearing on expansion of port terminals
A public hearing has been scheduled by the Washington Department of Ecology to take comments on what environmental impacts should be considered in the proposed expansion of an export terminal in Longview. Please read my opinion editorial on this issue and support this worthy goal to bring jobs to Washington.
Wednesday, Oct. 9
Open house from noon – 8 p.m. Oral comment periods from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Clark County Fairgrounds
17402 N.E. Delfel Road
I am honored to have recently been chosen to serve as a member of the House Transportation Committee. This is an extremely important appointment for the coming months as the Legislature turns much of its focus to the future of transportation. With recent developments on the Columbia River Crossing project, I plan to be the people's voice on this committee, representing their strong opposition to the project as currently proposed. For further details of my appointment and where I stand on transportation issues, please read my press release.
Education and Business Kitchen Cabinets provide great input, expertise on issues
I've had the honor of hosting meetings with my Education Kitchen Cabinet and my Business Kitchen Cabinet, and I've learned a lot from both of these groups. Top concerns within the Education Kitchen Cabinet include: funding, disciplinary issues, curriculum, workloadd and salaries, and encouraging parental involvement. This last issue was very important to the educators within my group. So, I authored an article that was published Sept. 22 in The Columbian that discussed the importance of parents becoming active in their children's education. Read the article here: Parental involvement vital to students' success
Business leaders in my Business Kitchen Cabinet tell me the best way to stimulate our economy and grow jobs is to curb overregulation by state agencies and reform industrial insurance so we become a more competitive state for employers.
State insurance exchange opens this week under Obamacare
I share the concerns of my Republican colleagues about the high cost of insurance under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), lack of options and the many mandates that drive up costs. Implementation and expansion of the Washington State Health Exchange is one of the reasons I voted “NO” on the 2013-15 biennial budget. Nevertheless, the insurance exchange opens this week in Washington.
I recently received an e-mail from a constituent that underscores one of the reasons why I oppose Obamacare. He was hospitalized in August with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a serious disorder that occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system. In some cases, it can be fatal. But my constituent received excellent care at a local hospital. He writes, “Not only was my health care excellent, so was my insurance. I purchased an individual policy from (a private carrier) with a rather high deductible. It is working exactly as planned and designed. It is also a very affordable policy. Now I'm told my plan is being cancelled by Obamacare (nothing to do with my recent hospitalization). I am being forced to buy some new Obama-approved plan on Oct. 1.”
Here is a real story of someone satisfied with his private health care coverage, but he's now being forced into government-run health care at a likely higher premium with substandard coverage.
Another constituent who is being forced into a new plan writes, “My deductible would rise from $1,970 to $6,350 for their network of providers.”
The Affordable Care Act is anything but “affordable.” It is why I will continue to oppose government-run health care.
"Protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!"