Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We live in tough times. Few of us have experienced anything close to the full societal shutdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak. I'd like to express my sincere appreciation to the people of the 39th District and across the state for the incredible sacrifices being made to protect the health and welfare of loved ones, neighbors, and our communities.
COVID-19 legislative survey
I'm committed to representing the values of our district. That's why I'd like to hear your thoughts on the state's response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Please take a few minutes of time to complete a quick survey. If you have additional thoughts or comments, click here to send me an email.
Reopening the state's economy
Now that we've seen significant progress in slowing down the virus—helping hospitals and first responders by spacing out the number of confirmed cases—it's time to focus on safely reopening our state's economy.
In the days ahead, we must make difficult public policy decisions to protect both lives and livelihoods. However, we can't allow the cure to be worse than the problem itself. Rebuilding the economy is as crucial as protecting public health.
More than 230,000 small businesses have been shut down by order of the governor. Government help, although temporarily necessary, is no substitute for going back to work. Measurable plans for the safe restart of business sectors, with clearly defined metrics and timelines, must be published and distributed. We should allow industries that can return to safe operations to reopen.
Implementing plans for a full economic recovery is as beneficial to our communities as identifying effective treatment for the virus. That's why, along with my Republican colleagues in both the House and Senate, I'm supporting the “Safe Economic Restart Plan.” Please take a few moments to look through the plan. If you have questions about the reopening of the economy, contact me. I'm always glad to hear your thoughts.
The early release of inmates
With only 13 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state's corrections system, nearly all of which were from the Monroe Correctional Complex, I'm extremely disappointed the governor moved forward with the early release of more than a thousand felons. Newly released criminals are already making headlines. An inmate was re-arrested last weekend after a short high-speed chase and brief pursuit in Pierce County.
Thankfully, a recent 5-4 decision by the State Supreme Court means thousands more will not be exiting prisons in the coming weeks. Many of the offenders looking for release were violent criminals, murderers, and sexual predators. As far as I'm concerned, there is no compelling reason to jeopardize the safety of our families and communities by releasing convicted criminals early.
Some good news!
Recently, the governor allowed low-risk construction projects to resume with safety measures in place. Ongoing projects put on hold at the start of the coronavirus restrictions will now be allowed to resume ‒ keeping them safe from theft and other problems that occurred when they were abandoned.
Commercial and residential homebuilding, including remodeling and repair, is highly regulated. Government inspections occur during the entire process. The industry has been careful to promote the use of best safety practices to combat the spread of COVID-19. The governor's office should consider the industry essential and allow all segments—both commercial and residential—to get back to work as soon as possible.
As of May 5, Washingtonians can resume fishing, hunting, and golfing. Day trips to most state parks and public lands will be allowed, as long as the sites are close to where you live. Visitors to Washington's state parks should also check state webpages for which sites are open. Everyone must continue to follow coronavirus safety guidelines, including keeping the 6-foot social distancing rules.
Additionally, new guidelines from the governor mean hospitals may begin non-urgent procedures as long as they follow rules on personal protective equipment. You can read more about those changes here.
I'm proud of the people of our district and across the state for their resiliency in the face of this invisible enemy. In the days ahead, we must continue to be strong. As we look forward, let's do so with the determination to emerge from this fight victorious.
It's an honor to serve you.