Dear Friends and Neighbors,
If you want proof of how everyday Washingtonians can have a major impact when they get involved in the legislative process, look no further than what happened here at the Capitol a couple of weeks ago. Democrats in both chambers were shocked when more than 1,000 hair stylists, cosmetologists and other independent contractors came to Olympia to protest against two bills that could force them to forfeit their ability to remain their own boss.
It was an incredible grassroots effort, and a successful one at that. By the end of the week, the sponsor of the bill that specifically targeted hair stylists ended up withdrawing it. Unfortunately, many other anti-small business bills are still making their way through the legislative process.
This push by Democrats to restrict the economic freedom of independent contractors is deeply concerning, but we're not going to stand idly by and let it happen. House Republicans will always stand with and for those who pour their blood, sweat and tears into their business.
Conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager likes to say, “the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.” This is a struggle between politicians who want to expand the size and scope of government, and individuals who simply want a fair shot to achieve their version of the American Dream.
The fight will continue throughout this 105-day session, so we're going to need Washingtonians to stay engaged in the process. Hopefully Democrats in both chambers now realize how closely people from all over the state are watching.
Protecting and defending your constitutional rights
While I know not all of you are interested or engaged in the ongoing debate over Second Amendment rights, I did want to take a moment to tell you why it matters.
Every two years, I stand at my desk on the floor of the House and swear an oath to “support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the state of Washington.” I don't get to pick-and-choose which parts to respect and which parts to dismiss. That's why the efforts by some to strip constitutional rights away from law-abiding gun owners are so concerning.
I firmly believe when one constitutional right is attacked, it makes all others vulnerable. As I said in my week 3 video review, House Republicans will continue standing with people who want all of their rights protected and defended.
Holding state government accountable
One of our top priorities this session is holding state government accountable. In a recent policy brief, Sen. John Braun wrote, “Washington taxpayers are being expected to shoulder a significant financial burden caused by executive-branch mismanagement, totaling well over $500 million in the upcoming budget.”
One of the problems with one-party rule is there's very little desire from members of the majority party to hold themselves accountable. But that's fine, because we're going to do that for them. We will be relentless in our role as watchdog, and will be quick to highlight mismanagement at all levels of government. At the same time, we will also present solutions to correct mistakes and ensure state agencies are held accountable to the people they serve.
Please continue calling and writing with your thoughts, ideas and concerns about state government or specific bills. My email address is J.T.Wilcox@leg.wa.gov, and my phone number is (360) 786-7912.
It is an honor to serve you.