Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2015 legislative session began Monday, and my 42nd District colleagues and I were sworn in. I was happy to be surrounded by family and friends during this very humbling day and am hopeful for what this session will bring. I'm really excited to begin representing you in my official capacity.
For the next 105 days, I'll be in committee hearings, meeting with groups, constituents and fellow legislators, and considering bills on the House floor. I have already had the opportunity to sit down with several folks to discuss issues that matter to our district. I'm looking forward to more meetings in the coming weeks.
While I'm in Olympia fulfilling my legislative duties, I want you to know you can always contact me with any ideas or questions you have about the Legislature. Your feedback guides the decisions I make here and it's important I know how state government is affecting you.
I'll be sending these email updates periodically throughout session. You're always encouraged to forward them to friends and family you think may be interested in hearing from me, too.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you!
2015 legislative session: Creating a budget
In December, House leadership entrusted me to serve on three House committees: Appropriations, Higher Education and State Government. These all cover important issues and compliment Whatcom County well. As we work to craft a two-year state operating budget in the Appropriations Committee, it's important we keep in mind our community values and live within our means.
The good news is the state is expecting $3 billion more, or an 8-percent increase, in state tax collections. I know a lot of families who would like to see their budget grow by that much, and I'm confident we can create a budget solution that meets all of our constitutional obligations and maintains funding to critical services.
The state of the state
During the second day of session, the governor delivered the State of the State address during which he outlined his goals for our state. You might find this surprising, but I agree with the governor on some of his goals. Ensuring our economy continues on the upswing, investing in early learning opportunities for our children, and maintaining our commitment to a clean, healthy environment are all key to Washington's future success.
Though these are all important, I disagree with the governor on how we achieve them. I can't help but question his focus on taxing “carbon polluters,” six of which are specifically located in the 42nd District, and possibly risking those companies leaving Washington and taking away Whatcom County jobs. Many of these employers have spent millions to reduce emissions and become more environmentally responsible. I want to ensure that we remain good stewards of our environment, but not at the expense of hard-working families. We must support our industries and protect our local economy.
Keep in touch
There are several ways you can stay connected with me during session. Calling me at my legislative office, sending me a letter or e-mailing me are all quick and easy ways you can get in touch. There's also additional information on my website at www.representativeluannevanwerven.com for you to stay up-to-date on legislative news relating to the 42nd District.
Finally, if you're planning a trip down to my office, please call my legislative assistant so that we can find a time that works for us to meet.
Stay tuned for more updates this session. It's an honor to serve you!
Luanne Van Werven