Back in person for 2023!

Dear Neighbor,

As we finish the second week of this year’s 105-day legislative session, I wanted to share a session overview, update you on my committee assignments and outline what needs to be done to address our state’s housing crisis.

I am excited to be back at the Capitol in Olympia after two years of mostly remote legislative work. Our state government is more efficient when lawmakers collaborate face-to-face instead of behind computer screens. It is also a more transparent, open government, which is what it should be – accountable to you, its citizens.

New year, new roles

I’m honored that my Senate Republican colleagues recently chose me to serve as Deputy Leader. Serving with these great individuals has been a tremendous experience and I look forward to the opportunities ahead.

Additionally, this year, I will serve on the following Senate Committees:

Business, Financial Services, Gaming & Trade

This committee hears issues relating to insurance, gambling, banks and credit unions. It also focuses on the regulation of consumer credit and lending, the regulation of securities and investments, economic development, international trade, regulation of business and tourism.


This committee focuses on housing authorities, housing affordability, the housing trust fund and landlord tenant issues. It also addresses homelessness and the housing shortage.


The Rules Committee determines if bills should move forward to the Senate floor where the full body can debate and vote on them. It is kind of like the gatekeeper before the final step in each chamber.

Ways and Means (Assistant Ranking — Operating Budget)

This committee focuses on all things fiscal. It considers the operating and capital budgets and the bills that comprise those two budgets. It also hears bills related to tax policy, pension policy and compensation. This will be my first year assisting the budget writers as we form our state’s two-year operating budget.



Housing shortages must be addresses from all angles

It is no secret that our state does not have enough housing units to adequately meet the needs of our growing population. While my Republican colleagues and I have been sounding the alarm for quite some time, I am hopeful that this year, we can work with our colleagues across the aisle to make significant steps in increasing the housing supply in every corner of our state. Below are the major proposals lawmakers are bringing forward this year.

Middle housing 

Senate Bill 5190 seeks to increase density in neighborhoods all across the state.  As defined in the bill, it would allow housing of various types such as stacked or clustered homes including duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, fiveplexes, sixplexes, townhouses, courtyard apartments and cottage housing to be built where current zoning restrictions only allow for single family homes to be built.

While I am encouraged to see the opportunity to build more multifamily units, this legislation would mandate density levels rather than give cities and counties the opportunity to determine where these units are placed based on their specific needs.

Transit oriented development

Senate Bill 5466 is a bipartisan bill which would alter zoning to allow more homes to be built near transit stations.

More than 70% of people on the Puget Sound region said they would like to live in a walkable neighborhood. This legislation would go a long way in making that a reality.

Accessory dwelling units outside urban growth areas

Senate Bill 5357 would allow for more housing units referred to as accessory dwelling units – or more commonly known as Mother-in-Law units. These are small, self-contained residential units that are on the same property or lot as an existing single-family home.

I have sponsored this bipartisan legislation in an effort to make it easier for existing homeowners to build an additional structure on their existing property. These units may be used for an adult child or loved one. It would also be an excellent option to help care for an aging parent.

Condo expansion

Senate Bill 5258 is another bipartisan bill aimed at increasing the supply and affordability of condos and townhouses, making them more affordable for homebuyers. The Seattle Times recently reported that our state may need 2.5 million more homes by 2050 to create a healthy housing market. Making condos and townhouses more affordable and available will help meet that goal.

American Dream Home

Senate Bill 5027 would encourage the development of single-family housing for low-income households whose adjusted income is less than 80% of the median family income for the city or county of residence. This legislation would cap the permit fees to $1,250 and exempt impact fees.

Additionally, the home would be exempt from property taxes for 12 years. If the home is resold before 2033, the price must be affordable for low-income households.

Overall, the feeling in Olympia this year is much different than in years past. I get a real feeling the legislature is working for real solutions in the housing arena, and I’ll do my best to keep you informed and will continue to advocate for sustainable solutions to increase housing supply and reduce your cost of living.

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Your input is vital and I invite you to view committee meetings of interest, leave written comments on bills of interest or even sign up to testify on them. It is much easier than you may think!

Thanks for reading and it is an honor serving you!



Chris Gildon

Senator, 25 LD

Deputy Leader