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home : opinion

Rep. Hawkins' Legislative update
The 2015 session has begun and I was sworn into my second term as your state representative. It's an honor to continue serving you in Olympia.

While there will be several high-profile issues discussed this year in the Legislature, at the top of my mind are the wildfires last summer in our district. I joined the recent meeting in Brewster over the phone and was able to hear many concerns about how the wildfires were handled by the state and how better local control can help during fire season.

I'm proposing solutions to help with the recovery and to prepare for future wildfire seasons:

Thursday, January 22, 2015 More...

Rediscovering the Magic of Leavenworth
For 52 years the Autumn Leaf Festival Association has been bringing thousands of tourists to Leavenworth helping us establish our community as the number one tourism destination in the state.

That simple fact is a credit to those who began the festival so many years ago and sustained it to the present day. But like many organizations it has suffered in recent years from a number of issues including an aging volunteer base and competition for funding with other local festivals and events. In fact, just a few months ago it appeared the Autumn Leaf Festival Association may have reached the end of the road. The ALFA Board had decided to take a year off. The Board members were burned out from the challenges they faced.

Thursday, January 22, 2015 More...
The plan is clear, the time is now
In 2010, the Cascade School District ran a bond proposal to build a new high school. This measure was rejected by the voters, and as a result, the district has spent the last four years listening intently to the community regarding concerns about the construction proposal. Through numerous interviews, meetings, and studies completed by the Citizens Advisory Committees, it became clear the community wanted a comprehensive plan for all facility needs, phased in over time at an affordable cost to the taxpayers.

We have known for some time our aging facilities needed a plan to serve our students and community well into the future. A choice was made by the school board to follow the citizen's advisory committee recommendations to replace or modernize our three aging schools rather than making short term targeted repairs. There comes a time when investing in old construction has a diminishing return and we have arrived at this crossroad.

Thursday, January 22, 2015 More...
Letters to the Editor
Thursday, January 22, 2015 More...
Gavel falls to open 2015 legislative session
Senate committees take closer look at shipping slowdown

One of my major concerns coming into the 2015 session stems from the slowdown of work at our state's ports and how it affect our ability to get Washington crops to market in a timely fashion.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union master contract with Pacific Coast ports expired June 30. Cargo has been moving at half-speed since October as contract talks continue between the union and the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents ports and shipping firms. This has had a huge negative effect on the tree fruit industry, and therefore our local economy.

Thursday, January 22, 2015 More...
Letters to the Editor
Thursday, January 15, 2015 More...
Support our children
Within a community, what is more important than the commitment shown by its citizens to educating its children through quality teachers, programs, and facilities? Most would be hard pressed to think of any community investment of greater significance and with a larger pay-off. As we approach 10 February and have an opportunity to say yes to the upcoming bond which proposes the building of a new high school, a new elementary school to replace Osborn, and a significant modernization of the Peshastin-Dryden elementary school, we ask that you give that question some thought.
Thursday, January 15, 2015 More...
Responding to critics in the mailbag
Many have asked me how I put up with the flack I receive for my editorial positions. It does get to be frustrating at times. Particularly when the critics are so clearly partisan that they have to resort to personal attacks or threats to cancel their subscriptions. The latter usually come at the end of an anonymous letter. I got one of those this week from a "40 year reader" who can no longer tolerate my conservative ideology.

Seems my long time reader was incensed that I would recommend he - or she - watch and listen to some notable conservatives. Apparently suggesting that we at least consider another point of view was just too much to ask. The writer said, "They demoralize and race bait. They are pure conservative propaganda and rhetoric.. They give praise to the oppressors and demonize the oppressed".

Thursday, January 15, 2015 More...
Letters to the Editor
Thursday, January 8, 2015 More...
$15 minimum wage?
Left-wing agitators demanding a "living wage" of a minimum of $15 per hour just don't get it. The idea that the least educated and least skilled get that much would degrade all the hard work those above them had to do to achieve their rung in the American ladder.
Thursday, January 8, 2015 More...
2014 - The Year in Review
As we look back on 2014, I think it's helpful to recall 2013, which I dubbed "The Ugliest Pretty Year in Stock Market History." The stock market boomed, but the economy was sluggish, and our politicians spent their time accomplishing lots of "big things" (The Fiscal Cliff, the Sequester, a government shutdown...).

With that as the backdrop, I courageously made the following prediction about 2014: "The only way this strong run in the stock market can continue is if the economy charges forward. I don't want to jinx it, but that is starting to look like a real possibility. After somehow managing to limp through everything 2013 threw at it, the economy seems poised for a jump... However, even if the economy picks up speed, it's hard to imagine we are headed for another year in the stock market like 2013..."

Thursday, January 8, 2015 More...
But I didn't understand!
Gun control is getting out of control.

I went to North 40 to buy a new gun. They did all the paperwork and I was taken to the front of the store to pay for my purchase. So far, so good. But now the young lady at the checkout register smiled sweetly and said: "Strip down, facing me."

I thought this was a bit much even in today's anti-gun bigotry mood, but what are you gong to do in the face of government bullying? So I complied as she had instructed.

When all the hysteria, shrieking and alarms subsided, it was frostily explained to me that what the cashier had meant was that I should face her while holding the magnetic strip on my credit card downward as I passed it through the card reader.


Thursday, January 8, 2015 More...
The Governor's many (frustrating) climate contradictions
The Governor has announced the rest of his climate strategy, calling for a $1 billion a year cap-and-trade, a low-carbon fuel standard that would add additional cost to gasoline and subsidies for a wide range of politically favored industries.

The details of the plan are not available, so we will address them as they emerge.

But what struck me most were the many contradictions in the Governor's announcement. Such contradictions are indicators that politics, not sound science and economics, are driving the policy.

Friday, January 2, 2015 More...
Two books to start the New Year
I don't read enough and I feel less intelligent for it, but because I avidly watch news and informational television (go figure) I can actually recommend two meaningful books to bring in your New Year.
Friday, January 2, 2015 More...
Letters to the Editor
Friday, January 2, 2015 More...
Saying it is so doesn't make it true
Ever since the fall elections I have noticed my liberal friends are on the attack. They keep sending me emails claiming that the economy is the strongest it has been since... They tell me I have misread the rate of inflation. Unemployment is the lowest it has been since the Bush administration, etc., etc.

The problem of course is they selectively pick the numbers to compare and when they don't fit their opinion well, they just argue that the numbers are just wrong. Really? Well two can play that game. Let's look at some of their claims.

Friday, January 2, 2015 More...

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