Wilcox ends first session with accomplishments, disappointments and determination for the future

Rep. J.T. Wilcox entered his first term as 2nd District lawmaker during one of the most difficult economic times in Washington's history. He said he was honored to serve when things were tough, and to sit on four House committees, including being the only freshman on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

“It was proven to me again that there are infinite demands on the state as I saw the number of requests made upon the Legislature for funding various programs,” said Wilcox, R-Yelm. “Last November, the people spoke clearly about wanting their government to live within its means – to do more with less as businesses and families in our communities have done. In Olympia, however, special interest groups lobbied for innumerable increased taxes. Everyone except the taxpayer has a lobbyist; that's why taxpayers elect us.”

He expressed disappointment with the final budget passed in a 30-day special session of the Legislature.

“I could not support a budget I believe is not only unsustainable, but puts large social programs ahead of education, resulting in major cuts to our teachers and classrooms,” Wilcox said. “I supported a more conservative proposal to prioritize education first, minimizing reductions to our classrooms and eliminating large social programs we know we will not be able to afford down the road. We have to face facts with our financial situation – making the difficult decisions now would have left us on a much better path in the future. I am, however, pleased that our expenditures will be less than our revenue, unlike what we are seeing at the federal level.”

Getting Washington back to work was one of the top priorities for Wilcox, along with passing a sustainable budget. He was glad to support two measures which will assist both employers and workers. Early in the session, unemployment insurance reform was passed to help struggling workers and their employers. On May 23, he supported an important first step to reform the state's workers' compensation program.

“Driving through my district, I'm constantly aware of the local shops, restaurants and small businesses that are struggling right now to keep their doors open and keep people employed. It was important for us to pass both these bills, as they recognize the importance of private-sector jobs and will help create more opportunities for people to work,” Wilcox said.

Serving on the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Wilcox heard many cases of agencies overstepping their bounds and harming private property owners and producers.

“I'm frustrated at the attack on the rural way of life during public hearings and the proposals we saw introduced,” Wilcox said. “My friends and neighbors in the Second District take pride in their property, their work and their freedoms. Several times this year I saw an assault on those ideals, and I stood up for them. I believe in common-sense conservation, and doing what works to protect our natural resources while ensuring economic viability for landowners.”

Wilcox said he enjoyed hearing from and meeting with constituents in Olympia.

“It's an honor to represent some very passionate people in my district. While we may not always agree, I am happy to have an open conversation with anyone about issues,” Wilcox said. “I work for the people of the Second District, and I am glad when they hold me accountable.”

Second District constituents will have several opportunities to meet locally with their representative during the interim. Details will be forthcoming through the media and at houserepublicans.wa.gov/wilcox.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov