2001 IN REVIEWHouse of Washington State

Published on Thu, Jan 31, 2002 by Kelli Linville

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2001 IN REVIEW
House of Washington State

By Kelli Linville

This is the time. This time, this day, this new year before us – maybe more than any time and day and year in our history – is right for considering the qualities it takes to be a good family member. A thoughtful neighbor. An honorable citizen.

If ever there was a time for people to pull together and work for each other, for their neighborhoods, for their communities and schools – this is that time.
Our country’s citizens and people in other nations still grieve for lives taken in the terror against our United States. New York City, Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania countryside were the awful apex for atrocity of ghastly, nightmarish dimension. But no family here in Washington state and no family anywhere else in our land is far removed from this horror. In our legislature, we Washington citizens face still other formidable challenges.The energy crisis, the drought, the earthquake, and the business slump have jolted us to economic recession. It’s estimated that our state’s revenue shortfall is about $1.2 billion right now, and we’re not expecting the recession in our state to back off until 2003. Infinitely more important than numbers are the real citizens, the real families who don’t know for sure what next week’s paycheck will buy – or if there will even be a paycheck next week.

Which brings me to the very important legislative session about recently convened. For this session Democrats and Republicans, businesspeople and schoolteachers, city residents and rural citizens alike share many of the same concerns.

Democrats aren’t genetically predisposed to raise taxes any more than Republicans are genetically predisposed to let people starve to death in the streets. I will personally be part of the vast majority of Democrats – a loud majority of Democrats – flatly rejecting any increase in general taxes. In working together with our Republican colleagues, our commitment is to represent all Washington citizens.

We are more determined than ever to finish this legislative business within the 60 days set aside for it by our state constitution. We want:
A fair and balanced budget that reflects our state’s economic slump – that maintains essential services, and that addresses the health and safety of Washington children and their families.

A reasonable and forward-thinking transportation plan that gets Washington moving in the new century - and that doesn’t exploit one group of citizens over another.

A creative and thorough water policy that assures our communities a dependable supply of this essential resource – and that provides this same dependability for Washington farmers and other businesses, and for the
environment.

Speaking of business, I know what it means to own a small business. I know what it means to deal with government regulations of every kind - those rules and paperwork that make sense and those rules and paperwork that don’t make any sense at all. Again, I see this current budget climate as an opportunity to establish and emphasize in state agencies the sort of sound, performance-based regulations that encourage people to do the right thing.

As rarely before, Whatcom County, Washington, and American citizens in general are united. Each of us as a Washingtonian has every right to expect civility and cooperation in the legislative process. With a citizenry undivided, this is no time for divisiveness in government - no time at all for political bickering..

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