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In September, Congress passed a bipartisan bill to fund much of the government to the tune of $854 billion. I voted for it in order to avert a partial government shutdown and because the bill funds Eastern Washington priorities like a pay raise for troops, money to rebuild our armed forces, and funds to care for our veterans. But despite securing these priorities, our budget process is broken – and it has been for a long time. We continue to see deficits and rising debt. Something must be done to turn the tide and bring fiscal restraint back to Congress. The previous administration said the “new normal” of economic growth was 2 percent. We cannot pay down the debt and reduce the deficit without strong economic growth. That’s why I’m proud that our Republican tax cuts, regulatory rollback, and pro-jobs agenda have put more taxpayers in the workforce, led to 4.2 percent GDP growth, and added $19 billion in federal revenue this year alone. Washington state just increased revenue estimates for next year by $348 million. By continuing to grow our economy we can keep increasing revenues to help us pay down our debt – not to mention creating thousands of jobs here in Eastern Washington in the process.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Congress and the president have blown up the national deficit in a series of spending bills and tax cuts that no credible economist calls fiscally responsible. We are projected to have over $1 trillion more going out the door in a year, rather than coming in. Combined with reckless tariff policies of the administration and the trade war with China, Eastern Washington is facing the biggest threat to our regional economy since I moved here and began teaching economics at Eastern Washington University in the 1980s.
I believe our state must defend and improve the consumer protections of the Affordble Care Act, not destroy them.
On Nov. 6, Idahoans have a chance to correct a situation that has imperiled thousands of Idahoans. The general election will give voters the opportunity to vote for the expansion of Medicaid.
At this moment, there are 13,000 to 15,000 unaccompanied youths and young adults who are experiencing homelessness in Washington state.
The judge has ruled. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has once again violated federal law in phase one of its headlong rush to remove Endangered Species Act protection (delisting) for 95 percent of the grizzly bears in the lower 48 states and all but 50 of the grizzly bears in Montana. While the ruling brings a welcome halt to trophy hunting in Wyoming and Idaho and restores ESA protections in the Yellowstone region pending any appeals, here’s the rub: the bulk of Montana’s grizzly bears, which reside in the Glacier-Bob Marshall region, remain on the chopping block.
Marches. TV spots. Strongly-worded letters. Washingtonians have never been shy about making our voices heard when it comes to big decisions for our state. An engaged and opinionated citizenry are key ingredients of a strong democracy. But these elements would be nowhere without our most fundamental right: our freedom to vote. Sept. 25, was National Voter Registration Day; eligible Americans everywhere got registered for the first time, updated an existing registration, and helped their friends, families, and communities get involved for a stronger, more representative democracy for all. Missed it? It’s not too late. Last legislative session, Washington proved its commitment to real democracy by passing a historic suite of voting rights policies: Automatic Voter Registration, Same-Day Registration, Pre-Registration for 16- and 17-year-olds (which was so exciting for the students I work with), and the Washington Voting Rights Act. Next, we’re going to make sure every mail-in ballot has paid postage. These groundbreaking innovations make our voting system less complicated, more secure, and increase accessibility for every eligible voter. It’s a reality many other states only dream of.
Probably the most significant reason we hear from students who don’t vote is that their vote doesn’t matter. Students, we’re here to tell you that your vote is crucial. In many midterm elections, results are determined by just a few votes.
Lisa Brown, D, is a former WSU Spokane chancellor and former Washington state Senate majority leader.
My goal is to make sure everyone has access to quality and affordable health care. At the baseline of this debate, I believe we must protect people with pre-existing conditions and ensure their health care needs are met.
Let’s keep our precious pets on leashes or indoors. If we do that, we will spare the songbirds and also spare ourselves the loss of love to the predators we share Spokane with.
In the presidential election of 1800, John Adams’ camp, through the Connecticut Courant newspaper, said that should Thomas Jefferson win the presidency, the United States would become a nation where “murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will openly be taught and practiced.” Jefferson’s camp in turn accused Adams of being a “gross hypocrite” and “one of the most egregious fools on the continent.”
Many of you have probably not heard of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. It’s not a subject that gets a lot of press even though it’s been around for more than 50 years. While you may not have heard about it, the fruits of the LWCF are all around us. The local parks you take your children to may be the product of LWCF funding.
Let’s ‘de-politicize’ immigration. After all, we share the common heart Emma Lazarus shared with us all.
What does it say about our nation’s priorities when we make it easier to refinance a car loan than a student loan? Hard to believe, but it is true. I was the first in my family to attend college, and I needed grants and loans to get through undergraduate and graduate school. It wasn’t easy back then, but it’s harder now, because federal Pell Grants have not kept pace with the cost of college, forcing students to take on more debt as they pursue their dreams. I witnessed this firsthand as chancellor of WSU Spokane, and teaching at Eastern and Gonzaga.
The increasing cost of higher education and debt burden our students face upon graduation is a growing threat to economic prosperity and success.
A Medicare for All system combined with a tithing would align patients, insurers and providers toward providing good care while being more cost-conscious. It would motivate all of us to make more cost-effective decisions, and limit excessive defensive medicine practices.
I urge Gov. Inslee to respond to the federal assault on cleaner cars by ensuring Washington has a business environment that draws on the imagination of inventors like Edison and keeps Washington’s vehicles on the cutting edge of technology.
Thank you, Rep. Adam Smith and Sen. Maria Cantwell for following in Sen. McCain’s footsteps by exhibiting true bipartisanship and ensuring that the National Defense Authorization Act remains focused only on the military and their families and not special interests.
Michael Cathcart, executive director of Better Spokane, says that Spokane cannot afford the City Council’s energy mandate (“Spokane can’t afford City Council’s energy plan,” Aug. 18, 2018). He is wrong. The city cannot afford the business as usual model that he proposes. As I write, air quality in Spokane is hazardous for humans. The sun has not been visible all day. Smoke hangs in the ponderosa pines and wafts down my street in white clouds. People with respiratory ailments and a history of strokes have been urged to leave the area. And this is only the beginning. There are vast forests in the West, just waiting to burn.