No policy issue is more important to the citizens of our community than their jobs. I often hear from constituents who are out of work, homeowners who are facing foreclosure, or small business owners who are dealing with excessive government regulations, B&O taxes, or worker’s compensation payments. We in government owe much to our community’s private sector workers and job creators. I am inspired by the many entrepreneurs who create jobs and provide goods and services in our community. A free society, to be prosperous, requires appropriate but limited taxes and regulations.
As the son, grandson, and great grandson of Puyallup teachers, education runs in my blood. We live in an education community—and an education state. Our state Constitution says that education is Washington’s “paramount duty.” And I believe that good teachers hold the keys to our future. We should do everything we can to recruit, reward, and retain great teachers. We must return authority to teachers, principals, and parents—not state bureaucrats. I voted against the 2011 state budget because of its cuts to teachers and students.
Growing up in the outdoors of the Pacific Northwest, I learned the value of environmental stewardship. As a legislator, I am proud to be an advocate for clean air and water and land conservation. Government ought to work with property owners, businesses, and communities to find the best answers to problems like storm water runoff, growth management, and air pollution. The old regulatory and bureaucratic model isn’t sufficient. We can do better for our precious resources by encouraging green innovation, private sector conservation, and market-driven energy solutions.
I’m as tired as you are of tired of sitting in traffic on Meridian and 167. If we’re going to grow our local economy, we need to focus on improving our roads. As a member of the House Transportation Committee, I am committed to seeing the completion of Highway 167 to I-5 and the Port of Tacoma. We also need to complete the Cross-base Highway and widen I-5 through Joint Base Lewis McChord. As a new legislator, I worked to ensure that bridge replacement funding was prioritized to the Meridian Street Bridge over the Puyallup River. I am also committed to exploring all options for funding and completing needed infrastructure, including public-private partnerships.
Colleges and Universities
Higher education is one of our most essential state investments. Our economic future depends on a highly educated workforce, especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Yet Washington’s six four-year institutions and 34 community and technical colleges have repeatedly borne cuts to their state funding, resulting in tuition increases and strains on the middle class. As a member of the House Higher Education Committee, I believe that we need to sustain funding to public higher education.
Government exists to provide security so that you and I can live freely and peacefully. We must ensure that our police and fire departments are equipped with the technologies, coordination, pay and benefits that they need to do their jobs well. We must also prioritize funding for the criminal justice system, including prisons.