Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Can you believe how fast time flies? It's hard to believe fall is in full swing, and we are already preparing for the 2020 session.
Since the 2019 session concluded back in April, I've been back in-district meeting with stakeholders, attending a multitude of meetings and events, taking tours, and listening and learning about the issues that matter most to you, and what you feel impacts our state.
In this email update, I'll highlight some of the work I've been doing during the last several months. I'll also give you a glimpse into my priorities heading into the 2020 session.
To begin, and for a quick rundown of my interim activities, please watch the latest edition of the Barkis Breakdown. You can do so by clicking on the photo below. For more detailed information, continue reading this update.
Out-and-about throughout the 2nd District and state
Interim, also known as the period between legislative sessions, gives me the opportunity to spend time out and about in our beautiful corner of Washington state. This interim, I had the chance to take amazing tours, both in our district and throughout the state.
Here are a few of the tours I had the pleasure of participating in.
- Joint Transportation Committee Legislative Tour. This tour focused on the issues surrounding salmon, fish culverts and transportation, primarily around the Olympic Peninsula.
- BNSF Vancouver Railyard Tour. As the Rail Caucus co-chair, I had the opportunity to learn more about our rail network and operations throughout the state.
- Electron Hydro Project. Located just outside Orting, on the Puyallup River, this project is home to a ten-mile flume carrying river water to the power plant. It's one of the oldest producers of hyrdro-electric power in our state. In addition, on top of the flume is the nations crookedest railroad. It was amazing to see and have the opportunity to ride this engineering masterpiece and experience a small piece of our history.
- Mount Rainier Gateway Forest Reserve. This is a major forestry conservation project in partnership with the Nisqually Land Trust and other partners. The tour highlighted the outdoor recreational opportunities in the 2nd District, including the vast network of trails, cross county ski trails and huts, combined with preservation efforts.
- Snake River/Ice Harbor Dam tour. The removal of our dams is definitely a “hot topic” issue throughout our state. Our tour highlighted how important these dams are to our agricultural industry, and how they are imperative to help our fish get to their spawning areas. This engineering masterpiece is providing clean, renewable power for the Northwest. The thought of removing these assets is unbelievable. I'll continue to advocate against any proposal that pushes for removal of this vital infrastructure.
A glimpse into the 2020 session | Top priority: Housing
During the 2020 session, one of my top priorities will be to bring forward real solutions to our state's housing affordability crisis.
Earlier this interim, I had the opportunity to present the five tools I've identified to make it possible for the private, public and non-profit markets to develop housing stock at the Association of Washington Business Housing Forum. The five tools I've identified include:
- Expedite permitting process at all levels.
- Increase zoning density and flexibility.
- Tax incentives and exemptions.
- Sales tax: develop credit equal to 50% of state and local portion.
- Mitigation fees (permit, impact, hookup, etc.)
For more details, please watch my presentation by clicking the photo below.
I had the great pleasure of attending and participating in the 2019 Ruth Anderson Public Debate at Pacific Lutheran University. Our debate topic focused on the idea of introducing rent control to Tacoma. We specifically debated the efficacy of government intervention versus market-based strategies and balancing rights of tenants and property owners. I was impressed with the passion for this topic, and to have the opportunity to present the case of why rent control is not the right option for any of our communities, or for our state.
To watch this debate in its entirety, please click on the photo below. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts and input on the topic.
And finally, in preparation for developing policy around my five tools to affordable housing, I'll be hosting a housing forum with key stakeholders to start the discussion around building these policies. In future updates, I'll go into more detail about the hard work being accomplished and what policies we can potentially see in 2020.
A glimpse into the 2020 session | Caucus-wide agenda
Our caucus has been busy during the interim preparing for the 2020 session. Strategies and ideas are still being worked on with staff to build our agenda. Right now, the discussion is guided by these three key principles:
- You should never fear for your safety in your home and community;
- The actions of the Legislature should not increase your cost of living; and
- Your public officials should be held accountable for their actions.
Stay tuned to upcoming email updates as we roll out the final agenda in the coming weeks. It's important to me to keep you up-to-date on what we, as the House Republican Caucus, will be working on and fighting for on behalf of the people of Washington state.
To stay current on what's happening within our caucus, please follow us:
- House Republican Caucus website: houserepublicans.wa.gov
- Facebook: @wahouserepublicans
- Twitter: @wahousegop
- Instagram: @wahouserepublicans
Stay in touch!
I'm your state representative year-round. Please reach out to my office to set up an appointment, to arrange a speaking opportunity, or to just sit and chat. My legislative assistant, Kendra, is happy to help with whatever you need.
It's an honor to serve you.