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Issue Position: In Conclusion

Issue Position

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Date:
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Nationwide we're finally seeing a very significant uptick in American manufacturing for the first time in quite a while. There are two main reasons. First, consumers and businesses that held off making major purchases during the recession are now catching up by buying everything from major appliances and cars to manufacturing tools. The second is that production costs in China have been steadily increasing, and Americans are finally getting fed up with poor quality and seeing their friends and family members jobs outsourced to foreign countries. This resurgence and pride in American manufacturing jobs is great news!

In the end, our long term economic recovery and prosperity will be closely tied to our willingness as a State and as a Nation to abandon the failed policy of buying poor quality inferior products from third world countries just to save a few dollars, while laying off and outsourcing the jobs of millions of Americans. This new resurgence in buying American made products and supporting American jobs is just a part of the spirit that will bring us back together as a country, and help heal our divided nation. We will succeed as Americans when we look for the things that unite us, rather than the ones that divide us.

There was a special legislative session in December of 2011. After that special session ended and prior to the beginning of the regular session in January, here's a piece that ran in the local newspapers:
Time for legislators to roll up their sleeves and work together

The legislature was called into Special Session in December just as the gathering storm clouds of bad economic news seemed to be getting worse. Then suddenly during the special session we great news. Boeing and the Aerospace Machinist Union settled a long standing dispute, and then the announcement that the next generation of Boeing aircraft, the Boeing 737 MAX, will be built here in Washington State. This is great news for all of us, and will be an important part in securing our states job and economic future. Both Boeing and the Machinist Union should be congratulated for this historic agreement. For every new job created at the Boeing Company, of which there will be many, at least five additional good paying jobs are created in other private sector companies.

Although the long term news is good, and gives us a significant reason for being optimistic about our economic recovery, the legislature was still faced with a $1.4 billion budget shortfall. This number is often listed as $2 billion, but that assumes an extra $600 million ending fund balance. The actual shortfall is $1.4 billion.

The Governor had laid out a proposal for a supplemental budget that came under heavy criticism. But it's important to note that the Governor's budget proposal is nothing more than that, a proposal. The Legislature writes the budget, not the Governor. No amount of complaining can change that fact, nor the legislature's responsibility to craft a sustainable budget, that's our job. Other moderates and I in the legislature got right to work on trying to find solutions and reforms that would get the state back on track, and back in the black.

During the Special Session the Legislature reduced that budget shortfall by $480 million, so over a third of the work is already done when we come back in January. We also made investments to make sure that we will be turning out an educated work force that can fill the new aerospace jobs that are now on the horizon. I'm pleased to see that this initial supplemental budget had strong bipartisan support. Since the Special Session ended, other moderates and I have been working hard on a list of proposals to reform mid and upper level state government agencies and operations.

Once we head back to the regular session on January 9th Legislators have two choices; they can either watch the process, or roll up their sleeves and get to work. We're still in the most difficult economic times since the Great Depression. This national and global economic meltdown was unprecedented. It's a tough job, but moderates in the legislature also see this as an extraordinary opportunity to reform and permanently alter the way we do business. The package of reform legislation that we will be introducing in January will be very controversial. Many special interests across the political spectrum, who've come to see their processes and programs as entitlements, will not easily embrace a lot of the ideas that we will be suggesting.

While its time to significantly realign the structure of government, it's also time for individual citizens to ask themselves hard questions about what our economy and society should look like. If we continue buying products made in China to save a few dollars, we can't expect there to be manufacturing jobs left here in the US. More and more, citizens are making an effort to buy products made by their fellow Americans, even if it costs a little bit more. If you don't like the behavior of your financial institution, it's a free market and you can take your business wherever you like. I recently did a little research and found that my homeowners and auto insurance company, which was once based in Washington, had been purchased by a foreign corporation. I went to a local agent in Enumclaw and bought new policies from an insurance company whose headquarters is here in Washington, and although I'm probably not supposed to say exactly which one, suffice to say that it's really really local.

My point is that although the great recession which began in 2008 was caused by irresponsible and reckless risks being taken by Wall Street investment firms, we as consumers have a lot more control over our financial destiny than it may seem on the surface. Where we choose to buy and how we choose to invest plays a large part in market dynamics and protecting American jobs. Now more than ever, it's important to shop local and buy local whenever possible. Even if it costs a couple dollars more, products made in America mean American manufacturing jobs. Without a manufacturing base there is no middle class. Just as its time to reform and retool how government works, it's also a good time to realize that as consumers, where we shop and who we do business with can significantly impact how businesses conduct themselves and provide more jobs in America and in our local communities.


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