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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Can you believe we are already rounding the corner into December? Where has the time gone? I hope you had a great fall season and had the chance to get out and about to experience our state's remarkable fall colors. Now, it's time to put those rain boots back on as we welcome back Old Man Winter. It is also time to get down to business and gear up for the 2018 legislative session.

In this legislative update, I will highlight some of the amazing tours I participated in during the interim months. Getting out in the district and engaging with businesses, service organizations, schools and constituents gives me the best insight into what really matters most, and what areas need the most attention. I will also provide you with a glimpse into my passion, dedication and focus for the upcoming session.

We live and work in an amazing place | Out and about in the 2nd District

We truly live in one of the best areas of the state. Interim gives me the opportunity to get out of my office and spend time in our district talking to businesses, schools, and constituents. I would like to thank everyone who opened your doors, land, and boats and took time out of your busy schedules to meet with me. It was great to spend time with your organizations.

  • Meadows Elementary School (Lacey)
  • Weyerhaeuser Elementary School (Eatonville)
  • Fresenius Dialysis Tour (Lacey)
  • PCC Farmland Trust Conservation and Economic Development Tour (various farms around the district; pictured right)
  • Virgin Clarkson Lacey Senior Center – served lunch and it was a blast! (Lacey)
  • Washington Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Washington Soldiers Home Tour (Orting)
  • Puget Sound Early Marine Survival Boat Tour (Olympia/Nisqually)

I also had the opportunity to dive into the affordable housing and homelessness crisis, and the impacts to our district and state. I would like to thank the following groups for sharing how this crisis has affected your business, and helping identify solutions for me to take into the next session so we can make a positive change!

  • Our Village of Hope Homeless Encampment at Yakama Tribal Reservation
  • Quixote Village Tiny Homes
  • Plymouth Housing Group in Seattle
  • Chief Seattle Club
  • Mercy Housing
  • Navigation Center

The 2018 legislative session | A glimpse ahead

I am a state lawmaker with a passion. I want to ensure affordable housing is available to everyone, but sadly too few options exist in our state. I have dedicated my professional life to this ever-increasing problem. It is now time I take my mission inside the Legislature and find solutions to expand access to affordable housing.

I am centering my priorities on the following:

  • Focusing on the immediate needs of those affected by the lack of affordable housing;
  • Increasing housing stock by allowing more housing units to be built;
  • Regulatory reform, specifically with the respect to streamlining the permitting process; and,
  • Working across the aisle, specifically with Rep. Joan McBride (D-Kirkland), on a bipartisan effort aimed at giving local authorities the ability to use existing local funds to increase investments in affordable housing and affordable-housing infrastructure.

I will also keep my commitment to the people of Washington by holding the line against the wrong solution to the Hirst decision. Our rural communities are depending on us to make the right decision, not just some solution that continues to move us in the wrong direction. I know there are projects throughout our district affected by the lack of a capital budget. But it is unfair to allow government to build new infrastructure in the same communities where families cannot obtain a permit to build a home, or affordable housing units.

There has already been so much work put into this effort during the interim. Stay tuned throughout the 2018 legislative session to see what solutions and legislation we bring to the table to alleviate this massive crisis.

From my family to yours, we wish you a happy holiday season,
a very Merry Christmas, and a blessed New Year!

It's an honor to serve you.

In Service,

Andrew Barkis

State Representative Andrew Barkis, 2nd Legislative District
122D Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 584-9846 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000