As we enter the holiday season I am looking forward to spending time with family and friends and enjoying the beauty of Eastern Washington in the winter. I am thankful for so many things, but I am particularly grateful to live in such an outstanding community. As Washingtonians, we have much for which to be thankful—thriving economies in agriculture, technology and aerospace are just some examples.
Senate Majority Coalition Adds One More
And now I’m also thankful to add a conservative voice and further solidify the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus with the election of Jan Angel (R-Port Orchard) in the 26th District! I of course was a big supporter of Angel’s race against Democrat incumbent Nathan Schlicher (Gig Harbor), who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Derek Kilmer, and I am excited by her election. I look forward to continued bipartisan collaboration on important upcoming issues in the 2014 Legislative Session.
Governor Jay Inslee called the Legislature together for another Special Session in early November. We addressed extending preferential tax rates for the aerospace industry—a leading economic driver with a huge statewide ripple effect. The Legislature passed two bills that extended economic incentives to encourage Boeing to build its next generation airliner, the 777X, in Washington State. The tax breaks, set to expire in 2024, will now be extended until 2040.
Keeping Washington competitive for the aerospace industry is critical to our economic health. Boeing and the related industry it requires generates 11 percent of Washington’s gross domestic product, billions of dollars of tax revenue and thousands of family-wage jobs. If Boeing departs for sunnier economic skies it would have huge economic consequences for our State.
Maintaining a competitive environment for Boeing in Washington, however, was contingent on the machinists and aerospace workers accepting its labor contract, which they voted down. Boeing is now being courted by a healthy handful of other states to build the 777X in their states.
I’m still hoping a deal can be struck with labor, but the Legislature has done its part to protect Washington from a devastating economic blow should Boeing pick up and build elsewhere. We also passed legislation that would create the skilled workforce necessary for Washington to be competitive and create a vibrant economic future.
Easing the Gridlock…
The Senate Transportation Committee has been meeting to address funding for critical transportation issues around the state, including the North Spokane Corridor—considered a statewide priority and certainly one for me in the 9th District.
A recent editorial in the Spokesman Review highlights the Senate’s ideas. We in the Majority Coalition Caucus will be prepared to quickly resolve this issue in the next Legislative session, whether next year or even in a special session this year. If we can compromise to accomplish much-needed reforms in transportation funding that would fully fund transportation projects critical to our state’s economic future, we can make steps to provide a bright and mobile future for generations to come.
Thankful for You
Lastly, I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I am grateful to be able to serve the 9th District. I hope you can take the time to slow down, enjoy your family and friends, and remember your blessings. No matter our circumstances, I believe we are blessed. We live in a free, great country and a vibrant, diverse state wherein opportunity is ripe.
Also—I will be watching Friday’s Apple Cup with excitement. The fun rivalry is one of my favorite games of the year. Go Cougs!