Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Along with many of you, I am deeply affected by the events surrounding the Boston Marathon. I studied leadership at Harvard in the Executive Education program, and still have many friends in the area. I hope that you join with me in keeping the community and relatives of the victims in your thoughts and prayers.
I have been involved with the American Red Cross for many years, and am a sitting board member of the Spokane chapter. Even though I know the Red Cross helps communities around the world every day, I am still amazed by the heroic actions of volunteers during emergencies. Often, Red Cross chapters across the nation deploy their local volunteers to these tragedies. I hope we can recognize how much good still exists in the world even during some of the darkest moments. The images of people running from the smoke are powerful, but I am even more amazed to see the photos of volunteers running into harms way to help the victims.
It was great to see many of you in person at my town hall last weekend, and also to speak to close to 2500 of you during my telephone town hall. I answered many thoughtful questions ranging from my thoughts on a gas tax increase to how to help our K-12 schools. I was reminded of how lucky I am to represent such an engaged district, and I thank you for letting me serve you.
In 2012, the Spokane economy picked up steam, particularly in the service sector. The service sector, which includes most professions outside of farming, makes up about 70 percent of our employment in the Spokane Valley.
Two of the largest emerging industries in the private sector are aerospace and construction. When most people think about aerospace, they think of Boeing. But the reality is there are many smaller companies which play a part in the industry and Spokane is seeing more and more of these businesses start and grow.
We are also seeing an increase in housing permits which means the construction industry is growing. This is good news for workers in the industry, but it also means people are beginning to once again feel comfortable buying and building homes.
Last Friday, the House of Representatives voted on the House Democrat operating budget. I voted against this budget because it would raise taxes on struggling families in our state. As a small business owner, I know that more taxes are the worst thing for businesses during a recession. We want to encourage job growth, not stop it in its tracks.
As I outlined last week, the budget is fiscally irresponsible, leaving little in reserves and completely draining the rainy day fund.
In the coming weeks I will continue to be involved in negotiations as the House and Senate move towards agreement in their budgets. The bottom line is this: We have 2 billion dollars in new revenue for the 2013-2015 biennium. Legislators must make the decisions to live within these means.
Please let me know if I can help in any way.
421 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7922 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000