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Issue Position: Private Property

Issue Position

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This is a fundamental principal of liberty. Every person should own, and enjoy, the fruits of their labor. Eminent domain should be used as a last resort, and never to make a profit for the government.

"Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist." John Adams (The Works of John Adams)

"It is…little else than a name where the Government is too feeble… to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of…property." George Washington (Farewell Address)

Legislation like Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) and other currently proposed Land-Use regulations severely undermine private property rights. Proponents of this legislation seem to think that slugs, snails, and rare flowers are somehow more important than human beings. I wholeheartedly disagree with this line of reasoning that a "reverse zoo," where grizzly bears are looking in our back windows, is a good thing for eastern Washington. I also do not believe farmers, ranchers, and loggers in eastern Washington should be told what to do on their land by those living in downtown Seattle.

No citizen should ever have to go to court to fight for rights they already have. The Growth Management Act (GMA) is broken, and has only served to instigate conflicts between developers and landowners. The GMA should be repealed.

Lastly eminent domain should be a power of last resort used only in very specific and limited circumstances, such as for roads, and NEVER for just increasing the "tax base." If the government does not follow through on the project, the land, or profits made from the sale, should be returned to the original owner. To that end, I introduced an amendment to the Transportation Budget that provided the right of first repurchase to the original owner for WSDOT lands acquired by eminent domain but now being sold as surplus (ESSB 5352). After passing the House and the Senate the Governor vetoed the amendment with this comment "Government revenue is not the purpose of eminent domain…period."


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