Go Time in DC – and a ‘Day in the Life’ During the District Work Period
Hello Folks –
As I write this, I’m heading back to Washington, D.C., where there is a LOT of work to do over the next few weeks. But it’s an exciting moment – since we’re poised to make some real progress for our nation and for working families.
That includes work to advance the President’s Build Back Better Agenda –which will provide one of the biggest middle class tax cuts in history. In fact, 15 winners of the Nobel Prize in economics wrote in an open letter this week that Biden's agenda will help reduce long-term inflationary pressure, provide inclusive economic growth, and make the tax system more equitable.
This legislation will:
It’s a big deal! And no one making under $400,000 annually will pay a penny more in taxes to make it happen. Instead, the proposal asks those at the top to pay their fair share. Stay tuned!
In addition, the House is planning to take action on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal – a major investment to modernize our nation’s infrastructure, reduce carbon pollution, and put people to work – now and for years to come. This comprehensive bipartisan infrastructure package includes investments in highways, roads, bridges, transit, rail, broadband, and water infrastructure in our region and across the nation. I’m excited to help get this over to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
And that’s not all! Congress will also move to pass a new funding bill to keep the government open, while addressing the damage of recent natural disasters and helping our Afghan partners resettle; pass the National Defense Authorization Act to invest in our servicemembers and ensure they have the tools they need to perform their missions safely and keep our nation safe; advance the Women’s Health Protection Act to protect against efforts (including the recent law in Texas) that restrict access to reproductive health services; and pass legislation to invest in our nation’s veterans.
Phew! It’s going to be a busy time (good thing I ate my Wheaties!). Stay tuned for more details on my social media accounts and in the next newsletter!
Speaking of busy times... As many of you know, Congress holds a district work period each summer to enable Members of Congress to spend time meeting with the folks they represent. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been running from pillar to post around our region (and over Zoom!) – meeting with small businesses, nonprofits, and community organizations; attending festivals and fairs; on video conference calls; and making myself available everywhere else I can to connect with folks.
Importantly, this extended period allows me to spend lots of time visiting with all of YOU and hearing what’s on your mind. It’s an important opportunity for me to learn more about what I can do to lend a hand, and how I can make the federal government work better for folks in our region.
I’m often asked: “When you are home, what does a day look like?”
So, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek of an average day during the district work period. Without further ado, I give you: Thursday, September 16.
5:45am - Wake Up
I get up early to get in some exercise, drink a couple cups of coffee, eat some breakfast with my kiddos (who are back to school), and get ready to hit the road.
8:00am – Drive to Hoodsport
The district I have the honor of representing includes over 710,000 people and covers just under 7,000 square miles! It’s my responsibility to make sure I am representing people in every corner of the district, and today, I’m off to Mason County.
10:00am – Meet with Outdoor Recreationists
First Stop: Big Creek Campground. Growing up on the Olympic Peninsula, I learned the importance of our parks and our public lands for driving tourism, growing jobs, and supporting rural economies. That’s why, last year, I was thrilled when Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act – bipartisan legislation I championed that included two huge, long-standing priorities of mine: permanently and fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and providing funding to address priority repair needs in America’s national parks and national forests. I’ve been working for years to ensure the incredible natural assets in our region can continue to provide amazing visitor experiences and serve as economic drivers for rural communities for future generations – so I met up with outdoor recreationists at the Big Creek Campground just inside the Olympic National Forest to talk about how the Great American Outdoors Act will help address the infrastructure needs in our parks and forests and help ensure our region’s outdoor recreation economy can continue to thrive.
1:00pm – Small Business Tour at The Hardware Distillery
Small businesses, including small independent restaurants, are not only the backbone of our economy; they are also our economy’s star running backs. They rack up the tough yards and score the touchdowns on Main Street in towns and cities across the country – creating over 60 percent of new jobs in the private sector. Unfortunately, for more than a year now, they’ve been getting tackled behind the line of scrimmage.
As the representative for our region and as someone who worked professionally in economic development for over a decade, I believe the federal government should do some blocking and call some plays for our small businesses. Earlier this year, I co-sponsored – and Congress passed – legislation to establish a Restaurant Revitalization Fund to help restaurants, bars, coffee shops, breweries and other small businesses weather the challenges of the past year. Unfortunately, when the Small Business Administration rolled out the program, they effectively disqualified distilleries in our state from getting any help. These are important local employers, and they shouldn’t be hosed on a technicality. That’s why I recently introduced bipartisan legislation to fix that.
So, while in Hoodsport, I stopped by The Hardware Distillery to check-in with owners Jan and Chuck Morris, talk about how they’ve adapted during the pandemic to continue serving patrons, and discuss how my bipartisan legislation would lend a hand to small businesses in their industry.
1:45pm – Small Business Tour at Hoodsport Winery
Hoodsport Winery has operated on the Olympic Peninsula since 1978 – offering incredible views of the Hood Canal and the Olympic Mountains (along with tasty treats!). I enjoyed stopping by to meet with their team, learn about their operation, and hear how they’ve adapted during these challenging times to continue serving customers and tourists alike.
2:30pm – Drive to Belfair
3:00pm – Meet with the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group
My next stop was to meet up with the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group on the Union River. I visited what’s called the “Summer Chum Trap” with an awesome team of volunteers. Together, the team here is working 24/7 at a weir trap that is set-up each year to count and identify Summer Chum Salmon, and then help them move upstream to spawn. It’s an awesome project (that folks can visit for a few more weeks!).
Salmon recovery is both an environmental and cultural concern here in Washington, where our economy and identity are directly tied to the health of our salmon. That’s why in the other Washington – DC – it’s a huge priority of mine to secure enhanced federal funding for programs that support salmon recovery in our region. This year, we’re making some real progress on that front. That includes securing an increase in funding for the Puget Sound Geographic Program, which provides critical grant support to implement projects to improve water quality and enhance fish passage and salmon habitat. Additionally, as a member of the Appropriations Committee, I have worked to secure key funding increases in the federal budget to help recover salmon stocks and support the commercial, recreational, and Tribal fisheries that depend on them. That includes funding for the implementation of the newly ratified Pacific Salmon Treaty, funding to support hatchery activities, and funding to support communities impacted by recent fisheries disasters. We’ve certainly got more work to do to recover our salmon – and awesome groups like the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group are doing incredible work right here in our communities to make progress.
4:00pm – Head Home
5:00pm – Calls with Constituents
As many readers know, I’m committed to responding to the folks I represent. When this pandemic first started, I made a commitment that when anyone from our region contacted my office about losing a job, or a small business, or a loved one due to COVID-19, I would reach out personally to hear their story and see if I could lend a hand. Over the past year and a half, I’ve spoken with folks from every corner of our region. Those conversations have given me a sense of urgency to push for measures (like the American Rescue Plan that passed earlier this year) to provide relief and to have the backs of folks in our neck of the woods. I’ll keep at it.
6:00pm – Catch-Up on Letters
Here’s the deal - if you call or email and ask for a response back, you’ll get one. Today, I wrote a few letters to constituents who wrote about everything from broadband access to Afghan refugees to college student financial aid.
7:15pm – Feed my crew!
One of the best parts of the district work period is I get to see (and occasionally have a meal) my kiddos and wife. Since the sun was out, I cranked up the grill and cooked some burgers.
9:00pm – Catch-Up on Emails
10:00pm – Bedtime
That’s a wrap! Time for bed. Up early the next day for another full day!
I could’ve given plenty of other examples. On September 17, I attended a breakfast with sponsored by the Permission to Start Dreaming Foundation (an organization focused on helping veterans and first responders in our region “transform Post-Traumatic Stress into Post-Traumatic Growth); welcomed Representative Marilyn Strickland and Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards for a tour of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard; met with small business owners at the Jefferson County Chamber; spoke with educational leaders at Puget Sound Educational Service District about the start of the school year; met with the Supervisor of the Olympic National Forest and her team; and had a call with the U.S. Commerce Secretary to talk about implementing the RECOMPETE Act (legislation I’m leading to help create new jobs in communities like ours).
Or September 8 when I met with Mason County economic development stakeholders and a thriving small business about growing jobs; visited Kitsap Physical Therapy and Sports Clinic to hear how they’ve adapted to the pandemic; visited with some terrific students in Ms. Fisher’s 12th grade AP Government class at Central Kitsap High School; and met with Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal Chairman Jeromy Sullivan to tour the Tribe’s new Community Health Center.
In other words, every day is an adventure! And every day it’s an honor to serve you!
Working for You
Supporting Our Economic Engines
Our ports are incredible engines of economic development in our region. Great to catch-up with the leadership teams at the Port of Port Angeles and the Port of Port Townsend to discuss some of the projects the ports are undertaking. Grateful for their partnership as we work to create more jobs and economic opportunity!
Celebrating the 57th Loggers Playday
I had an awesome day in Hoquiam at the 57th Annual Loggers Playday Parade! Great to see Mayor Winkelman, McGruff the Crime Dog, and the Quinault Indian Nation Royal Court— who paid tribute to their incredible nurses serving on the front lines of this pandemic. Thanks to everyone who came out!
Helping Folks Get Ahead
Great to check-in with Sound Outreach in Tacoma - an innovative nonprofit which helps thousands of folks in our region with financial coaching, employment and apprenticeship training, and other services.
OK – that’s it for now, folks. As always, I’m honored to represent you.