Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Being a state representative means responding to the needs of our communities. Recently, I traveled around the 19th Legislative District filming videos on several public policy topics critical to our region. The 21-video series, which will be published periodically during the next few months, includes topics such as transportation, K-12 education funding, capital budget construction projects, health care, rural jobs and economic growth.
Port of Grays Harbor
Our first visit on the video tour was to the Port of Grays Harbor, where a potash facility has recently been proposed. Potash is a potassium-based product used in the production of agricultural fertilizer and industrial products such as soap. BHP, an Australia-based mining company, would like to use Terminal 3 in Hoquiam as an export facility for its Jansen Potash Project in Saskatchewan, Canada.
However, before the facility can get started, several conditions must be met including a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review and all federal, state and local permit approvals.
In Olympia, there's a lot of talk about creating more “rural jobs,” but out-of-control state bureaucrats often kill development projects like this one with unlawful delays. That destructive behavior needs to stop. We need to do a better job of streaming agency permitting procedures to ensure good projects get up and running in a timely manner.
School construction and 'hold harmless' education funding
The next stop on the tour was a visit to Cosmopolis Elementary School. The state provides funding for school construction and remodeling projects through the capital budget. In 2019, I sponsored the funding they needed to remodel the school's cafeteria, do some weather-proofing, and replace a few windows in the classrooms.
While I was in Cosmopolis, I also discussed the “hold harmless” K-12 legislation, Senate Bill 5313, approved in 2019. The bill provides one-time, temporary funding relief for smaller school districts suffering losses due to inequities in the prototypical school funding model used by the state. The only shortcoming of the bill is that it's only funded for one year. The state must find the resources in 2020 to keep the hold harmless funding in place.
Improving health care in rural WA
We need to improve health care access in rural Washington. During the 2019 session, I sponsored the capital budget funding that provided for the new Ocean Beach Hospital in Naselle, replacing the old double-wide trailer that once housed the facility.
Providing funding for construction and remodeling of medical facilities in rural regions of our state are wise investments. Having an insurance card is meaningless if there are no medical facilities nearby to see a health care provider.
If you would like to meet with me, please contact my office. I welcome your comments, questions and ideas about how we can make the 19th District, and all of Washington state, a better place to live, work and raise a family.
It is an honor to serve you.