Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 62nd Legislature convened Jan. 10, and I'd like to bring you up to date on a few highlights of the first week of business here in Olympia.
The double challenges of a struggling economy and deep deficits in the budget are center stage during the scheduled 105-day session, which will be among the toughest and most demanding in state history.
The magnitude of the crisis is daunting, and the choices before us will be hard. Disciplined budget-writing, leadership and political courage will be required to accomplish what's necessary to address the severity of the widening budget shortfall.
In addition to crafting a responsible budget, improving the state's overall business climate is the best long-term strategy to putting Washington back on the road to economic recovery.
A competitive economic climate is the key to retaining the jobs we have. This can be done through enabling existing businesses to expand and hire, and attracting new companies and new employment opportunities to the state. To that end, House Republicans are moving forward with solid proposals to reduce regulatory burdens that stifle business growth and private-sector job creation.
What's encouraging is, I believe there are more areas of common ground between the two parties than in years past, and opportunities to work with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to solve the problems facing our state and economy.
2011 Committee assignments
A very important part of my work in Olympia takes place in the committees on which I serve. I'm very pleased to report that I was re-appointed as assistant ranking member on the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee. As a law enforcement officer, legislation that comes before this committee is of particular interest to me. New assignments this year for me are the Education and Judiciary committees. I also will continue as a member of both the Transportation Committee and The Joint Committee on Veterans' and Military Affairs.
Bicycle and pedestrian safety
The first bill I sponsored this session is a proposal (HB 1129) that would incorporate a bicycle and pedestrian safety segment in driver training and traffic safety courses. The measure has gained strong support from the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, which would provide the curriculum for the classes at no charge. The bill is now under consideration by the House Transportation Committee.
Columbia River Young Marines back on duty in Olympia
A personal highlight for me during the first week of the session was the honor of welcoming to Olympia the Columbia River Young Marines. The group served as the color guard Jan. 12 as the Legislature convened a joint session for the State of the Judiciary Address. This was the second year the group has presented the colors prior to daily proceedings in the House chamber.
Leadership, honor, character and commitment are the standards that guide these outstanding young people, and we were proud to have them at the Capitol. They did a fantastic job!
Your opinions guide my decisions
Throughout the session, I encourage you to keep in touch whenever you have questions, comments or an idea to share. Please call, write a letter, or send me an e-mail. You'll find our office contact information below. My door is always open, and hearing from people back home is always welcomed, appreciated and exciting.
You can also keep track of relevant legislative news through my Web site at https://houserepublicans.wa.gov/members/brad-klippert. There you will find information about our district, the legislation that I have sponsored and co-sponsored, news releases, our last newsletter, and much more.
It is an honor to serve as your legislator, and I am grateful for the trust the people of our district have placed in me as their state representative.
Have a great Washington day!