Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I am heading into an election-year cycle which means my legislative communications will be put under what's known as an election-year freeze beginning Monday, May 11. This freeze on my communications will lift once Secretary of State Kim Wyman certifies the election at the end of November.
It is important to note that the freeze does not restrict me from responding to your emails, phone calls and messages. I am also not restricted from having in-person meetings with you, so please continue to reach out to me as you normally would. My office phone number is (360) 786-7882, or you can email me at Brad.Klippert@leg.wa.gov.
2020 Legislative Session Review
The hard work my colleagues and I put into the 60-day session was placed under the shadow of COVID-19. Your 8th District team believes it is important you are kept updated on everything that takes place in Olympia during session. If you have not already received your 2020 Legislative Session Review newsletter, it should be hitting your mailbox anytime.
You can also read the digital version by clicking here.
COVID-19: We need to flip the switch now and get Washington back on track
As our communities try to recover in the waves of the reaction to this crisis, I want you to know that my thoughts and prayers are always with you. As your state representative, I will continue to do everything in my power to help Washingtonians in the 8th District, and throughout the state, find answers and maintain hope.
I am deeply concerned that the extension of the “stay home, stay healthy” order is destroying your overall way of life. It is preventing you from going to church. It is likely taking a toll on other problems like access to health care and medical procedures; homelessness; substance abuse; depression and other mental health conditions; domestic violence and other crimes.
Not to mention the toll this extension is taking on your finances, jobs, and businesses. More than 1.4 million Washingtonians have filed for unemployment benefits. Hundreds of thousands of businesses have shut their doors due to the social distancing measures put in place by the governor; many of which will never reopen. The projected June revenue forecast shows we could face a reduction in state revenues of $7 billion through mid-2023.
In my opinion, the severity of the state's financial well-being could have been avoided with better management of the crisis. I continue to hear the governor tout that we need to gently turn the dial, and this will be enough to balance public health and the return of our economy. I believe this is the wrong approach.
I do not accept this as our new normal or way of life. As your state representative, it is my duty to make tough decisions for the people that I represent, using the best available data. I have the utmost faith in our medical professionals, scientists, and epidemiologists to instruct and educate us on the best ways to stay healthy as we completely reopen our state. We must prevent hundreds of thousands of you from falling deeper into financial distress. Our state's long-term future depends on it.
The time is now! We need to flip the switch and get Washingtonians back to work to save the financial wellness of our citizens, families, and businesses.
We have also reached the point where protecting public health has collided with preserving civil rights. The governor cannot continue to ignore state lawmakers and – more importantly – the tens of thousands of our constituents who do not agree with the extension and authority of the “stay home, stay healthy” order.
What many of my colleagues in the House Republican Caucus and I are advocating for is this: accelerate the phases of the governor's Safe Start Washington plan; increase the number of counties, and include cities, that can apply for variances; properly balance public health with civil rights; and while protecting and serving our most vulnerable, trust Washingtonians to make their own decision about their health and safety.
- This is already being done in other states. Colorado, which has a Democratic governor and is part of the governor's Western States Pact, has safely restarted its economy.
- Republicans in the Legislature put forward the Safe Economic Restart Plan back on April 17. We have offered other ideas and guidance to the governor and his staff. And we will continue to so.
For additional information and resources, I hope these links are useful.
- Legislative Republicans' Safe Economic Restart Plan
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Resources
- The Legislature's role in temporarily waiving statutes and regulations
- Governor COVID-19 proclamations waiving/suspending statutes and regulations issued under RCW 43.06.220(2)
- FAQ on governor's authority during an emergency
- Summary of coronavirus (COVID-19) proclamations issued by Gov. Inslee
As always, you can contact my office with any questions, concerns, or further information. I am here to help in any way I can.
May God richly bless you all! It is indeed an honor to serve you!