Dear Friends and Neighbors,
First, I want to take a moment and acknowledge the tremendous loss to our community of the three Fairchild airmen killed in Kyrgyzstan earlier this month. I was able to attend the memorial service for the three young service members, and it was clear what outstanding and exemplary individuals they were. Capt. Mark T. Voss, 27, of Colorado Springs, CO, Capt. Victoria A. Pinckney, 27, of Palmdale, CA, and Tech Sgt. Herman Mackey III, 30, of Bakersfield, CA all made the decision to dedicate their lives to the service of their country as part of the US Air Force, and they died as heroes. You may be gone, but not forgotten.
I was asked to deliver the keynote address at the National Day of Prayer luncheon at Fairchild Air Force Base. There were many heavy hearts in that room, and I was honored to speak about “Adversity and Faith” and draw upon my experiences as a survivor of the Columbine tragedy.
Our Olympia family recently lost a member with the death of Sen. Mike Carrell from the 28th District. Sen. Carrell cared passionately about his District and our state, and Washington lost an outstanding legislator and man.
Whitworth commencement address
I was so honored to deliver the commencement address to the class of 2013 at Whitworth University. I have been excited to give this speech for a very long time, and I will never forget the way I felt just moments before stepping up to the podium. The title of my speech was “Tomorrow,” and I spoke to the graduates about their obligation to the world and to be citizens of mind and heart. Congratulations to the Whitworth graduates, and to all the graduates this Spring in Spokane!
We are now on day 22 of the 30-day special session without an agreement on the operating and capital budgets. Negotiations continue with budget and legislative leaders and House members back in Olympia today to begin to move parts of the operating budget forward. Many bills will accompany the overall 2013-15 operating budget and it is good news we are starting to move on some of this legislation. I travelled to Olympia this week to participate in these votes.
The special session is about one question: Should the operating budget include around $1 billion in tax increases? An important number to remember in the budget debate is $2 billion. The state is on track to collect $2 billion more revenue in the 2013-15 budget cycle compared to the current two-year cycle that ends on June 30. And that number will grow if our economy improves. We can and should balance the budget without raising taxes.
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