Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Interim has been busy for me since our second special session ended on June 29. I’ve been fortunate to spend time at my construction business building a new home, traveling to Olympia for meetings and hearings, and a recent mission trip to Haiti to help bring clean water to the less fortunate. Since the end of session, I have been to Olympia for committee meetings on the Growth Management Act, state appropriations for early childhood education, to continue work on drafting legislation for 2014 and more. Last but not least, it has been great to see many of you out-and-about in our district. I continue to appreciate the support of all my friends, neighbors and community.
Many of you have heard that Gov. Inslee urged a special session in November in order to pass a transportation tax package. As a result, the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus created a series of listening tours to see what the public had to say regarding transportation. This listening tour will wrap-up in our district, at the Port of Bellingham, on Oct. 15. While I believe these tours are a great asset, I am also interested to hear directly from you on this issue. Please send me your thoughts about transportation, an increase to our fuel tax and what you feel we should be doing to help Washington keep moving. Email me at Vincent.Buys@leg.wa.gov.
I believe the governor’s push to have a special session is part of the Washington D.C. mentality he brought with him. Clearly, D.C. politics are very different than ours. The Washington State Legislature is made up of real people with other jobs, homes, farms and families. Our part-time, citizen Legislature was formed to ensure that the people taking votes that impact your life are also citizens who must live within those choices themselves; instead of solely being government employees or the independently wealthy. Calling our Legislature back in November for an issue we couldn’t solve in more than 150 days proves just how detached our governor is from the process in this Washington.
Additionally, I agree with the House Republican lead on transportation, Rep. Ed Orcutt, who recently wrote,
“Calling a special session in November of this year, or any other month in 2013, would negate the vital information coming from a study currently being conducted to determine why similar transportation projects in Washington state cost up to two-and-a-half times as much as other states.
“Knowing why transportation projects cost more in Washington and how much we could reduce those costs would ensure that our taxpayers get the most bang for their buck.”
We must reform our current transportation system and its wasteful spending before we agree to fund new projects. Citizens in Whatcom County already pay a typically higher price at the pump than the majority of the state. Tourism from Canada increases the demand and drives up the price for fuel. An extra 10-cents per gallon increase can be damaging to those who are still on tight budgets. I’m not against addressing our state’s transportation needs, but we must do it in a fiscally-responsible way that treats taxpayer dollars like the precious resource they are.
Contacting me during the interim
I am honored to continue to represent you. Please call my office anytime with your comments or suggestions about state government, legislation and how I can be of service to you. Also, please feel free to pass this e-mail along to others who may be interested. You can sign up for my e-mail updates by clicking this link: receive Rep. Buys email updates.
In the last month, my office has received numerous calls and e-mails about federal level activity like the crisis in Syria and the government shutdown. I sincerely appreciate your feedback. These issues are great concerns of mine as well.
If you would like to have a more direct impact, the best way to do that is to contact our members of Congress, who are voting and debating these pressing issues.
You can find the contact information for Congresswoman Suzan Delbene at www.delbene.house.gov/contact-me/offices and for Bellingham residents, Congressman Rick Larsen at www.larsen.house.gov/contact-rick.
If you cannot reach your U.S. representative or senator, and would still like to speak with someone urgently please try calling the number to your left. You can also visit the USA.gov website for a listing of the status of services.
As always, I am here to be a resource for you. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your state representative for the 42nd District.