Listening to each other and working together for solutions

Dear neighbors,

Our high-tech economy doesn’t just mean jobs in places like the 1st District, where I live—it means jobs throughout our state, including rural areas like Wenatchee, home to a $3 billion server farm project.

As chair of the Local Government Committee, it was a pleasure joining a bipartisan group of lawmakers—including Rep. April Berg and Rep. Marcus Riccelli, pictured on either side of me—to hear what’s happening and how we can listen to each other, and work together, for all the people who call this place home.

This former aluminum site near Wenatchee will be torn down and used for another purpose. Situations like this can happen in any corner of our state.

Luckily, we’ve learned from past plant closures like this one, and there was an agreement in place, with funding, to make sure it was taken down properly if this happened.

Local pear orchardists and county officials took the time to explain how not just weather, but the temperature of local streams and rivers, can help or ruin a crop each year.

It was a pleasure to learn that restoring old beaver dams upstream is one of the solutions to evening out how hot or cold streams and rivers get. Sometimes the old ways are the best. And yes, the pears were delicious.

We heard from the mayors of Leavenworth and Cashmere about jobs, affordable housing, and the unique challenges they face with up to 40 percent of homes in certain parts of the county being vacation homes. Zoning and housing are an issue throughout our state, and as a former city council member and chair of the House Local Government Committee, it was good to hear this, face-to-face, so we could have a real conversation about the challenges facing our communities around the state. 

County officials, business owners, and community leaders joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the Local Government Committee to talk about issues related to rural development and zoning.

I appreciated meeting so many people and hearing their point of view, with many locals telling us they love where they live, but face challenges when it comes having the same type of businesses and services offered in towns and cities.

If you could fix any single problem in your neighborhood–or make a dream solution come true–what would you do?

I’d like to hear your ideas. We can’t fix everything right away. The first step, though, is listening to each other and identifying common problems and common ground.

And thank you to everyone who responded with their comments about education, which were quite insightful. I’ll share some of those with you soon!