As I reach out to you during this continued crisis, I hope you and your families are safe and healthy. This is an unprecedented situation and it's testing every one of us. Despite the challenges we're all facing, we must continue to stay positive and keep looking forward with resolve. We cannot give up.
I want to offer my sincere gratitude to everyone that continues to work so hard to fight this virus and to the thousands of health care workers caring for those who have been infected. We feel the loss of every life and no one is just a number. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have lost a loved one in this pandemic. You will never be forgotten.
After losing my own mother in January, I know the pain each death brings to those who love and miss them desperately. As a professional firefighter, I am aware of the risks and fears those on the front-line face, along with their families.
However, we are seeing firsthand that the precautions we are taking are working. We are combating this new invisible enemy successfully and we have seen a flattening of the curve in most areas.
At the same time, the pandemic has hurt so many people financially. Our entire state is feeling the pain and the economic damage has been overwhelming. But our governor continues to prevent most businesses from reopening. Last week, he extended his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order until at least the end of May, with no guarantee things will open in June.
It is this uncertainty that makes so many people restless and fearful. I've heard from many individuals that want answers. They are struggling to survive, and they feel like no one is listening.
This is not acceptable. The cost to businesses and families is too great. With the proper measures and guidelines in place, we CAN return to work safely. The governor must focus on public health and the economy at the same time. If this statewide shutdown continues, the economic fallout will be devastating. People's lives and livelihoods will be affected, and some will never recover.
It's time for the governor to accelerate the phases of his order and increase the number of counties that can apply for variances. He also needs to balance public health with civil liberties; and lastly, he needs to trust Washingtonians to return to work in a safe manner.
The governor outlined four phases of reopening businesses and resuming activities involving group gatherings, travel, shopping, and recreation. But his plan still leaves many questions unanswered.
All reopening activities depend on continued success in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and meeting four requirements including:
- Health care system readiness
- Testing capacity
- Ability to do contact investigations
- Ability to protect high-risk populations
As of now, the entire state is still in Phase 1. I strongly support continued social distancing to prevent any new outbreaks of the virus, but I also support our businesses' ability to reopen as we try to restart the economy.
We cannot continue to hurt business owners and prevent people from working and still expect to recover. Too many companies have been forced to close their doors for good, and hundreds of thousands of people are still without work.
All of these businesses and individuals are facing overwhelming stress, but the governor doesn't seem to grasp the emotional and economic toll the shutdown is causing Washingtonians. Right now, they need hope and certainty, but instead the governor left them with more unanswered questions.
Republican lawmakers have offered numerous ideas and plans to help the state reopen safely and get our people back to work. You can read more about this plan by clicking here.
I've also received many questions about the possibility of increased taxes to make up for lost state revenue. I strongly oppose this. The majority party already increased taxes significantly during this current biennium, so now is not the time to further burden taxpayers. Individuals, families, and businesses cannot afford any additional taxes, as we work to recover from the fallout of COVID-19. Whether it be in a special session, or our next scheduled session in January, I will oppose any legislation to raise taxes.
We know that every job is essential to our state and we need to allow everyone the ability to earn a living. However, for now, we have to wait for the governor to determine when that can happen. Some lawmakers have called for a special session, which could very likely happen at some point. Should we be called to a special session, I'm ready to help move our state forward in the right direction, including allocating more money from the budget to help in the recovery process.
I'm confident we can recover, but we must have a plan and we must all work together to make it happen. As your state representative, I'm doing everything within my power to help. Please continue to reach out to me with your questions, concerns, and input.
Due to election-year restrictions, this will be the final update from me until after the November election is certified. However, I'm still available throughout the election season via email and phone. I'm here to represent you all year round, including during a special session, should one be called.
Stay safe and healthy and don't give up. We will win this fight!
It's an honor serving you.
Helpful Coronavirus Resources and Information
House Republican Caucus coronavirus website. This site is a comprehensive list of resources and I'd encourage you to bookmark it for easy access.
- Government emergency actions
- You & Your Family
- Travelers & Commuters
- Business & Workers
- Local Health Departments
- Childcare / K-12 / Higher Education
Employment Security Department:
- For workers and businesses affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus) — including the self-employed and independent contractors
- Sign up for COVID-19 action alerts for updates
- COVID-19 | Scenarios & Benefits Available
U.S. Small Business Administration:
- Disaster Loan Assistance: COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application
- SBA COVID19 Disaster Loan Program Open for Applications
- Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
- Guidance for Businesses and Employers
- SBA Products and Resources
- Government Contracting
- Local Assistance
Department of Commerce:
- Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants | Apply for up to $10,000 in emergency funding
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Department of Labor:
Department of Revenue:
- 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19) Update
- COVID-19 Related Relief for Taxpayers.
- Requesting Relief.
- Temporary Business Registrations.
- Online Filing and Call Center Assistance.
Department of Financial Institutions:
Department of Labor & Industries:
- Paid Sick Leave and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Common Questions
- Workers' Compensation Coverage and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Common Questions
Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave: