New Year’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. First, it’s my birthday (44 this time around)! Second, there’s always a bunch of great college football bowl games on. But most importantly, it’s great that once a year we take stock of our lives and make an effort to think about the positive changes we can make in the year ahead.
I’ve definitely got a few resolutions I’m working on in my personal life (less unhealthy food, more taking the stairs instead of the elevator). But since I’m on my way to DC for the first votes of 2018, I’m also thinking about my New Year’s resolutions for Congress.
So for my first newsletter of 2018, I wanted to share three of the things I think Congress should get to work on right away.
2018 Resolutions for Congress
- New Year, new spending plan
Congress should immediately get to work passing a long-term spending plan that funds our government--before January 19. Instead of tackling this issue, Congress punted just before the holidays, kicking the can down the road to early January. This approach of funding the government two or three weeks at a time creates tremendous uncertainty. It isn’t the way that any business or family would manage their spending. In mid-December (around the time of my last newsletter, actually), I outlined why Congress needs to iron out a long-term plan. Read that here.
- Create a comprehensive infrastructure package
Democrats and Republicans have been talking about legislation to improve America’s infrastructure for years. I, for one, think that it’s time Congress stops talking about it and makes 2018 the year our country actually gets something done on this front.
The American Society of Civil Engineers has given our country’s infrastructure a D+. It’s easy to see that refreshing our nation’s aging transportation infrastructure is critical to our economy and to our communities. In Washington state, there are consistent reminders of the challenges we face on this front. We all remember when the I-5 bridge collapsed into the Skagit River a couple of years ago. Now the US-101 bridge over the Elwha is at risk of a similar fate. Folks throughout our region routinely sit in traffic for hours rather than being able to spend that valuable time with their families. This congestion also slows our economy by preventing goods from getting to market efficiently. No one who lives in our region needs to be told that our nation is not making adequate investments in transportation.
Transportation is just one piece of the puzzle. When we talk about comprehensive infrastructure investments, we need to consider the whole picture. This includes making investments in our aging energy and water infrastructure, growing affordable housing, and improving access to federal lands by addressing the substantial maintenance backlog at the National Park Service.
In addition, I’ll be pushing to expand access to high-speed internet service. Investing in rural broadband infrastructure will provide opportunities for everyone from entrepreneurs starting small businesses to students learning computer science skills in rural high schools.
- Tackle campaign finance reform
More than just our infrastructure needs an overhaul--America’s campaign finance system needs one too. Since becoming your representative, I’ve introduced legislation aimed at letting folks know exactly who is trying to influence elections. From the EPIC Act to theHonest Ads Act, I’ve been hard at work making sure that our democracy is protected.
I’ll keep the pressure on to get this right.
Making Progress for Folks in Our Community
Now that I’ve previewed what I hope is on tap in 2018, I wanted to take a moment to look back briefly at 2017 and share with you some of the ways in which my team and I have worked for you over the past year. Thanks for your involvement. I am honored to represent you.
If you or someone you know needs a hand, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with my office.
Dealing with the Train Derailment
Before I sign off, I wanted to let you know that I am keeping a close eye on the investigation into the derailment of Amtrak train 501. I know this has affected a lot of people in our region.
On my first day back home for the holidays, I went down to the tracks to get a handle on the scale of what had happened.
Last Thursday, the National Transportation Safety Board released its official preliminary report on the derailment. The final report is due out later this year and will include recommendations to prevent future tragedies like this one. While this process will take time, please know I am monitoring things closely.
That’s it for this time! Thanks for following along--and if you or someone you know needs assistance, please reach out. All the best in the New Year (and good luck with those resolutions).