Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we prepare to send our kids back to school, I wanted to send you a quick update about what I have been doing during the interim. I've been lucky to spend some time with my sons visiting historical places around our great nation, as well as spending time in the district meeting with people and attending special events. It has been a busy summer! I hope that you and your family have had an eventful, safe and fun summer as well.
Recently, I opened a local office in downtown Shelton where my staff and I will be working during the interim. On August 8, we held the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony with the Shelton-Mason County Chamber of Commerce. Not all legislators take the time and effort to invest in a district office, but I believe the best ideas do not come from politicians and lobbyists in Olympia – they come from our citizens. I hope my local office will give you even more opportunities to be a part of the law-making process.
Our office is located at 327 West Railroad Avenue, Shelton, Wash., 98584. Please stop in anytime you have questions, need help with state government or if you would just like to talk with me or my legislative assistant, Kevin Shutty. You can also call us at (360) 868-2189.
I've also been privileged to take part in two change-of-command ceremonies. One for the Naval Hospital in Bremerton and another for the Naval Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Bangor. I wish Captain Culp and Captain Baker the best in their new assignments and thank them for their many years of service. I am happy to welcome Captain Quarles and Captain Jones to their new commands, respectively, at the Bremerton Naval Hospital and the Bangor Intermediate Facility.
New committee assignment
I am honored to have been recently appointed to the Joint Committee on Veterans' and Military Affairs. Last week, I received word of my new appointment from House Speaker Frank Chopp. As a Navy veteran, I hope to bring my first-hand perspective to this committee as it makes critical recommendations which impact our military. I look forward to working on behalf of our service men and women.
The 16-member Joint Committee on Veterans' and Military Affairs was created in 2001 and studies issues regarding veterans, active military forces and the National Guard. Members are tasked with making recommendations to the Legislature. The committee also studies the structure and administration of the Washington State Department of Veterans' Affairs and the military department.
The Council of State Governments – West (CSG-West), which is a prestigious training institute for lawmakers in their first four years of service, recently informed me that I was chosen to participate in their Western Legislative Academy. I am one of 39 Western state legislators, from among the 114 applicants, chosen to take part this year.
The purpose of the Western Legislative Academy is to build excellence and effectiveness in state legislators. Admission to the Western Legislative Academy is very competitive and is based on commitment to public service, desire to improve personal legislative effectiveness and interest in improving the legislative process. I am excited for the chance to participate and to learn how to be even more effective as your legislator.
New community center
In closing, I would like to highlight the ground breaking of our new Mason County Transit and Community Center. As a member of the Capital Budget Committee, I worked hard to include funds for this project in the budget. The 35th District has received an investment that was overlooked in previous capital budgets and the community center will be a great benefit to local businesses and the citizens of Mason County. I fought for critical investments for our area to increase the quality of life for the people back home and I am proud of the results.