Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
It is truly an honor to serve as your state senator. While I am still familiarizing myself with the nuances of life here in the Senate, I continue working hard on issues that impact our district. Being in the majority offers new opportunities to work on your behalf. My focus will be on keeping taxes low, highlighting agricultural and water issues and promoting policies that grow jobs and the economy. I am looking forward to a productive legislative session.
13th District State Senator
I have the honor of serving as the chair of the Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee which looks at issues relating to agricultural land, products, food safety and water policies affecting economic development in rural parts of the state. Water usage is a big issue for our district and I hope to highlight the work we are doing on conservation.
I also serve on the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee and the Senate budget committee, Ways and Means.
2015 Legislative Session
This legislative session will focus on education. We are projected to have nearly $3 billion more in revenue without any change in taxes. I want to keep it that way. The governor proposed a budget that would increase state spending by 15.4 percent and pay for those increases with a “cap and trade” tax, a capital gains tax and using over half a billion dollars in reserves and fund transfers.
Our state has 8.6 percent more revenue than we did in the 2013-15 budget. A small business or household would be thrilled with that kind of increase and our state should use those additional resources wisely. In my opinion, the governor’s proposal moves us in the wrong direction and tax increases should be a last resort.
My job is to focus on what matters to the people in our district and support policies that increase jobs, help small businesses and find creative solutions to rural economic development.
Click on the picture above to watch a recent interview with the Columbia Basin Herald where I discuss my priorities for this legislative session.
My priorities are simple. I will be working to keep taxes low, make investments in education and keep our state’s business climate healthy. In my committee I recently heard a number of bills that will help small business and small farmers.
Senate Bill 5015 was passed out of my committee Jan. 20. This bill maintains the same program requirements and extends the date of inspections to keep our dairy supplies safe. Industry leaders who testified explained why this legislation is vital to keeping our exports strong and our economy growing.
Another bill that was moved out of the Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee was Senate Bill 5017. This bill would exempt farmers who provide honey bee products and bee pollination services from the B&O tax.