2001 IN REVIEWWashington State SenateBy Senator Georgia Gardner

Published on Thu, Jan 3, 2002
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Washington State Senate

By Senator Georgia Gardner

The 2001 legislative session was a very difficult one, but very successful for me personally as I was able to pass a large number of bills.

The issues over the presidential election in Florida prompted me to initiate several changes in our election laws, making our statues clearer and cleaner. I worked with my fellow certified public accountants to completely re-write the accountancy laws, providing increased consumer protection and bringing the statutes in line with a global economy.

I was able to obtain an increase in the limits under the small claim courts, helping individuals and businesses to collect their accounts. I successfully worked several transportation bills, increasing efficiencies and promoting safety.

2001 was a good year for capital projects in Whatcom County. I was able to obtain funding for new buildings at all three of our colleges. I was successful in including improvements in the Blaine and Semiahmoo docks for the Plover and for the local portion of the Centennial Trail. These are important projects, not only for the improvements they bring to our community, but also for the local jobs they provide.

But the overshadowing disappointment in 2001 and the primary responsibility for the 2002 session is the new transportation budget. It is imperative that we start to do something about our transportation problems as quickly as possible.

First, there is nothing that will start us back on the road to economic recovery like creating jobs. Secondly, we have to restore confidence in our Washington businesses that we intend to address our transportation deficiencies. And finally, we need these transportation improvements. A transportation budget is my first priority.

We are going into 2002 with an operating budget deficiency of $1.2 billion dollars, and major painful cuts are unavoidable. I am receiving many expressions of concern and I know my constituents want to maintain criminal justice, human services, and other state services as best we can.

I believe the best chance we have is to stimulate the economy and increase revenues for all of us. I hope people will continue to keep in touch with me as we go through these difficult times.

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