Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I'm pleased to provide our first e-mail update of the 2010 legislative session. Between now and the scheduled end of the 60-day session on March 11, I'm hoping to provide frequent updates about the activities at the state Capitol, especially those that could potentially affect the 16th District.
Communication with those I serve is very important to me. E-mail is a quick way to keep in touch. Best of all, it's free. As the newest member of the Legislature, I'm working to increase communications to 16th District constituents. If you know of someone who would like to receive my updates, I invite you to send this to them so he or she can subscribe.
Also, here is my contact information. Please feel free to contact my office any time you have questions, comments or suggestions about state government.
Rep. Terry Nealey
P.O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98505-0600
It's an honor to serve you!
Hitting the ground running
I was sworn into office Dec. 1 in the chamber of the House of Representatives by Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey. Judge Brosey is a long-time friend from my law school days. Many of you traveled the long distance to Olympia to witness the event. Jan and I greatly appreciated all of our friends and family who joined us on that important day in our lives. Click here if you would like to see photos and read more about the ceremony.
Having a full six weeks before the 2010 legislative session began on Jan. 11 gave me time to become familiar with the Capitol campus and to read up on the protocols and procedures used in the House of Representatives. I also worked to set up my office in Olympia and to hire a legislative assistant. Meagan Allen is staffing my office and she's the friendly voice you'll hear when you call. Meagan is the former executive manager of the Marcus Whitman Hotel and Conference Center in Walla Walla. She also has local experience as a small business owner.
The first day of session
As the new guy on the block, I was honored to be chosen during the first day of session, along with Rep. Fred Finn of Shelton, to a two-person delegation to notify the governor that the House of Representatives was organized and ready to do business. Unfortunately, the governor was not in her office when we arrived, as she was attending a funeral for a fallen law enforcement officer in Grant County. We returned to the House and reported that we had completed our announcement.
The opening speech by House Speaker Frank Chopp set the stage for the majority party's view on how to close a $2.6 billion budget shortfall.
Speaker Chopp emphasized that a priorities of government budgeting process should not only apply just to spending, but to revenue as well. “A basic question should always be asked,” he said. “Is this particular tax incentive, exemption, or loophole more important than funding for schools, health care, and public safety for our people?”
A following speech by House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt drew out the differences in philosophies on how the two parties view this year's legislative session. DeBolt said the priority of House Republicans this year would be the creation of jobs in the private sector. He noted the state's budget is predicated on people working, adding that increases to the state's tax burden would interfere with the economic recovery.
I'm particularly pleased to be serving on a committee that will be addressing energy issues. We have a great potential in Southeast Washington to develop clean energy sources, including wind and nuclear power. Hydropower with our Snake River dams is also important to our district, along with the irrigation opportunities and flood control our dams provide. I am hoping to bring a strong voice from our area to advocate for development of energy and protection of our dams.
On the Transportation Committee, I will be working to ensure the completion of the Highway 12 expansion project.
Click here if you would like to learn more about my work on these committees.