Hello! On Jan. 14, I began my first term serving as your state representative in the 25th Legislative District. I am honored and humbled to serve our communities in this new role.
As I was preparing for the 2019 legislative session, which got underway a couple of weeks ago, a few priorities came to mind:
- Fiscal responsibility and sustainable budgeting. Our state economy is experiencing record revenue growth. At times like this, we should be siphoning more funds into our state’s rainy day fund and doing all we can to bolster continued economic activity. Yet, our governor is proposing $3.7 billion in tax increases for the 2019-21 budget cycle, and another $5.4 billion for 2021-23. These tax increases would include a new capital gains income tax, an increase in the service business and occupation tax rate, and graduated real estate excise tax rates. If our goal is to not stand in the way of economic generation, then why do calls for massive tax increases persist?
- A holistic approach to homelessness. Homelessness and vagrancy is a problem in the 25th District, and in communities throughout Washington. Unfortunately, many of the solutions that have come forward aim to treat the symptoms instead of addressing the underlying problems. More needs to be done.
- Set our students up for success with more education choices. We can all agree our students deserve a world-class education. Part of that quality education means preparing students for the jobs that await them upon graduation. There are many good-paying jobs that don’t require an undergraduate degree or higher. Students need to be given a breadth of education options, including but not exclusive to apprenticeships and career and technical education, in order to make wise decisions about their futures.
My priorities are informed by your input. If you have an idea for how to improve our communities, have a concern to share, or hit a snag with a state agency, I want to hear from you. You can reach my office at (360) 786-7968 or Chris.Gildon@leg.wa.gov. Also, if you ever make your way down to Olympia, please contact my legislative assistant, Rachel Jo Elliott, to set up some time for us to meet.
2019 committee assignments
I serve on four House committees: the Rules Committee, the Capital Budget Committee, the College and Workforce Development Committee, and the Housing, Community Development and Veterans Committee.
Just this week, I was asked to step in as the ranking Republican on the Housing, Community Development and Veterans Committee after our current ranking member, Rep. Bill Jenkin, suffered a heart attack last Friday.
Bill is in good spirits and I wish him well on his recovery!
You can learn more about the committee and my new role here.
I also serve as the assistant ranking Republican on the College and Workforce Development Committee.
How can we make college more accessible and affordable?
I spent some time this week talking about the House College and Workforce Development Committee. We recently heard some bills aimed at providing what some are calling “free college education.” Did you know the cost of college tuition has gone up twice as much as the cost of housing since 1997? I believe the most benevolent form of finanical aid is to cut the cost of tuition and books for everyone.
Learn more about these bills and my thoughts by watching the video below.
Bill to reduce license-plate costs for disabled vets
Under current law, veterans with a 100 percent disability rating may receive free license plates. I’ve introduced a bill – House Bill 1707 – that will lower that threshold to a 70 percent disability rating. You can learn more about the bill here.
House Page Program still accepting applications
Students ages 14 to 16 have an excellent opportunity to see their state Legislature in action by participating in the House Page Program. During a page’s week-long service, he or she will attend Page School, help lawmakers and staff fulfill their duties, and gain an invaluable experience witnessing state government operations. Pages also earn $35 per day while participating in the program. Many times we can even find a local family to sponsor your child so you don’t have to commute each day. To learn more and apply, click here.
Thank you for reading this legislative update! I’ll be sending these periodically throughout the session to keep you apprised of legislative news and information affecting residents of the 25th District. If you know anyone who would benefit from receiving these emails, please direct them to my official website at RepresentativeChrisGildon.com. There, you can find more information about me, the legislation I’m working on, and more.
I look forward to working with you!