Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It has been great to be back in Whatcom County after the long 2012 sessions. As always, I am thankful for the support of everyone in my district. I appreciated hearing from you while I was in Olympia and hope to connect with you out in our communities. This will be my final e-newsletter update until December due to election-year regulations. Below is a quick recap of our recent telephone town hall and details about the communications restrictions that will be in place.
Telephone town hall
On Monday of this week, April 30, I held a telephone town hall with my fellow legislators from the 42nd District. We felt this was a great way to connect with the citizens of our district. It is also less costly than the typical end-of-session printed newsletter.
Each state representative has a modest mail and postage budget to communicate with constituents. We can use as much or as little of these budgets as we would like and are allowed to send two district printed newsletters, which can use the entire budget. I believe that even though my communications budget is small, it's still taxpayer money. In this tough economy it is only right for me to respect every dollar you send to the state by only spending what is absolutely necessary.
Additionally, the hour-long call allows those who cannot drive to a meeting, for whatever reason, to ask questions from the comfort of their homes. We had a great turnout with 4,945 attendees! This level of participation far surpasses any that we could achieve with a traditional town hall.
There were a lot of great questions asked during the call and it was clear that many of you remain concerned about the budget, as am I. I have mentioned in previous newsletters that I voted “no” on the operating budget this session. I didn't believe this budget left enough money in reserve. Now, with additional reductions to the reserve because of the governor's vetoes, the problem is even more dire. A recent article from the Washington Policy Center, an independent think tank, paints a clear picture of what the vetoes and lack of reserve funds will mean. (Read the article here: www.washingtonpolicy.org/blog/post/final-budget-stands-only-46-million-away-deficit)
Washington state has some of the tightest restrictions on legislative use of resources during an election year. So beginning May 12, I will no longer be able to send out these updates. This restriction is lifted in December. Additionally, as of June 30, I will not be able to correspond with you through e-mail or written letter – unless I have a “clear request from a constituent” to do so. For example, if you send an e-mail asking me about a certain bill that passed, you must explicitly ask me to respond to you in writing if that is what you prefer. Otherwise, I cannot send you anything in writing, but I can call you with the answer if you include your phone number in the correspondence.
That said, you are always welcome to call my legislative office for information on state legislative issues or assistance with state agencies regardless of my communications restrictions.
As we move into the upcoming months, I hope to see many of you while I am out in the district. The needs of Whatcom County are at the forefront of my thoughts and fuel my decisions. I remain personally dedicated to the reduction of regulations which lack common sense and have led to a loss of jobs in our state. Nearly 290,000 people in Washington are still without work. Despite House Republicans' efforts to move this issue to the forefront, job creation became a missed opportunity of the 2012 legislative sessions. It is my hope and goal that jobs will be the main priority of the Legislature in 2013 and I will work tirelessly to make that a reality.
P.S. I want you to know I respect your time and privacy. If for any reason you would no longer like to receive my e-mail updates, you may go to this link to unsubscribe. Simply enter your name, e-mail address and select “Leave.” Your friends and family can also sign up for my e-mail updates by going to this same link and selecting “Join.” Please forward this to anyone else you think might be interested in what is happening in Olympia.