Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I wanted to take this opportunity to check-in with everyone as we continue to maneuver through these challenging times. I hope and pray that you and your family are doing well. I want to also say thank you to everyone who continues to reach out to my office with your questions, concerns and comments. I encourage you to keep it up! I will do my best to respond to you and provide you with the information and resources you need.
We live in tough times. Few of us have experienced anything close to the full societal shutdown we currently live through each day. I'd like to express my sincere appreciation to you, the people of the 8th District, and everyone across Washington state, for the incredible sacrifices you continue to make to protect the health and welfare of loved ones, neighbors, and our communities.
THANK YOU! | Telephone town hall follow-up
I want to thank each and every one of you who took the time out of your evening to participate in the call with us. We definitely felt your frustrations surrounding the stay-at-home order; why you aren't allowed to reopen your business; and the continued divide in ideologies on how best to respond to COVID-19.
If your question wasn't answered, or in general you still have concerns about where we currently stand on the COVID-19 response, please don't hesitate to contact my office at (360) 786-7882. You can also email me at Brad.Klippert@leg.wa.gov. I am here for you.
First and foremost, I have expressed some public safety concerns with the governor's response to the COVID-19 outbreak. He thought a proper measure in response to the outbreak was to release thousands of inmates from prison and back into our communities.
As the ranking Republican on the House Public Safety Committee, I'm extremely disappointed the governor moved forward with the early release of more than a thousand felons. We've already seen some of these newly released criminals in the news as they commit new crimes.
Fortunately, a recent 5-4 decision by the Washington State Supreme Court will keep thousands of additional felons in prison rather than releasing violent criminals, murderers, and sex predators.
Additional COVID-19 updates and information:
- During a press conference on Friday, May 1, Gov. Jay Inslee and the Washington State Department of Health announced the extension of the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order until May 31, and potentially longer. During this briefing, the governor also announced the Washington state economy will take a four-phased approach in its efforts to reopen.
- Low-risk construction projects may resume with safety measures in place. What this means is any ongoing construction or building project put on hold at the start of the COVID-19 restrictions will now be allowed to resume.
- As of Tuesday May 5, Washingtonians can resume fishing, hunting, and golfing statewide. Day trips to most state parks and public lands will also be allowed.
- For more information and resources on COVID-19, please click here.
I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with some additional details on Gov. Inslee's Safe Start Plan – a four-phased approach to reopening our state. The chart below highlights his four-phases.
All of our state's reopening activities will depend on the continued success in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and by meeting these four capabilities:
- Health care system readiness
- Testing capacity
- Ability to do contact investigations
- Ability to protect high-risk populations
We currently are in Phase 1. The governor has already allowed some construction to resume as well as reopening of some recreational activities including day use at state parks, playing golf, fishing and hunting starting Tuesday, May 5. Officials are working with industries to develop new protocols that could soon allow for retail curbside pickup, car washes, landscaping and house cleaning services, and drive-in spiritual services with one household per vehicle.
Phase 2: Additional expansions of outdoor recreation activities would be allowed, as well as small gatherings of five or fewer people, new construction and in-store retail purchases with health restrictions. Barber shops and salons could reopen. Restaurants could reopen with 50% capacity and table size no larger than five. Some professional services and offices could open up as well, even though teleworking would remain strongly encouraged. Pet care services including grooming could resume.
Phase 3: Gatherings of 50 people or less, including sports activities, would be allowed, and non-essential travel could resume. Restaurants could move up to 75% capacity and tables up to 10 people, and bars at 25% capacity; gyms and movie theaters could reopen at 50% capacity; retail, libraries, museums and government buildings could reopen. Recreational facilities like pools could open at 50% capacity. Nightclubs and entertainment venues would still not be able to reopen.
Phase 4: Would involve resuming the majority of public interactions. Gatherings of more than 50 people would be allowed, but still while practicing physical distancing.
Is this the only plan to get Washington state back to work and to rebuild the economy?
I have heard from many of you asking what my colleagues and I have been doing in response to the governor's actions.
Republicans have brought forward several plans before the governor made his announcement on May 1.
Implementing plans for a full economic recovery is as beneficial to our communities as identifying effective treatment for the virus. That's why, along with my Republican colleagues in both the House and Senate, I'm supporting the Legislative Republicans' Safe Economic Restart Plan. This plan was introduced on April 17.
Our plan has three sets of actions – immediate action to be taken right now; legislative action to be taken in a special session; and actions to be taken within 6-12 months of lifting the business closure order – to enable the safe restart of Washington's economy and promote its continued recovery over the long term.
I have also signed onto a letter supporting my colleague, Rep. Chris Gildon's plan to decentralize some of the governor's decision-making capabilities. A one-size-fits-all approach may help flatten the curve of the virus but is only prolonging the emotional and economic suffering of Washingtonians. I support giving local governments the authority to fully open their communities, especially our local elected officials in the 8th District.
Two more of my colleagues, Reps. Jesse Young and Jim Walsh have introduced the “BOISE” plan seeking to allow shuttered businesses the opportunity to quickly earn back much-needed lost revenue and increase their short-term margin.Their plan was introduced on April 29 and legislation is currently being drafted for consideration should we have a special session.
House Republicans are working hard for you and doing all we can to introduce timely solutions to get Washington back to work safely.
What are your thoughts on these plans? Please contact my office with your thoughts, concerns, and ideas.
Your participation matters! | 2020 Census
Finally, I want to remind and encourage everyone to fill our the short questionnaire for the 2020 Census as it provides critical data for lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others who provide daily services, products, and support to our communities.
With the financial burdens our state is sure to face because of COVID-19, it is imperative that our hard-earned tax dollars are accurately returned to our state and our district. The Census data determines the funding amount for our communities for things such as hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other essential services. The results also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and to draw the congressional and state legislative districts.
Please participate today! You can do so by clicking here.
Together, we'll continue to maneuver through these challenging times. WE will overcome!
May God richly bless you, your families, our state and our nation! It is indeed an honor to serve you!