Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I’d like to begin this update by thanking all the people in the 14th District for the incredible sacrifices you’ve made to mitigate the impact of coronavirus. According to the latest Department of Health numbers, there are 13,842 confirmed coronavirus cases with at least 786 deaths in Washington state. Few of us have experienced anything close to a full societal shut-down, making it difficult to anticipate what the days and months ahead may look like.
It is my belief that the early responses by our national and state leaders were necessary to slow the progress of the virus. The restrictions slowed the number of cases and enabled hospitals and clinics to treat those infected. Simply stated, the government’s goals were to stem the contagion, identify treatment, and get people back to work as safely and quickly as possible. Now that we’ve seen significant progress in combating the virus, it’s time to begin focusing on safely reopening our state’s economy.
The Safe Economic Restart Plan
More than 230,000 small businesses across our state have been shut down by order of the governor. Government assistance, although temporarily necessary, is no substitute for going back to work. That’s why, along with my Republican colleagues in both the House and Senate, I’m supporting the “Safe Economic Restart Plan.”
In the days ahead, we must focus on helping workers and businesses get back on their feet quickly. Industries that can return to safe operations, with minimal risk to workers or customers, should be allowed to reopen. Clear standards, metrics and rules for safe business operations should also be published so workers and employers can begin planning for their full economic recovery.
Telephone Town Hall
Please consider joining Rep. Gina Mosbrucker and me for a 14th District telephone town hall taking place on Wednesday, May 6, from 4 to 5 p.m. We will be discussing plans to restart our state’s economy and other legislative topics.
Similar to a call-in radio talk program, listeners are invited to call (509) 408-2384 during the hourlong program. Participants can listen and press * (the star key) on their telephone keypad to ask a question.
- What: 14th District Telephone Town Hall with Reps. Gina Mosbrucker and Chris Corry
- When: Wednesday, May 6, from 4 to 5 p.m.
- Dial: (509) 408-2384. Press * (star key) to ask a question.
If you need any other information on how to take part in the town hall, contact my office at (509) 571-1048.
COVID-19 updates | The early release of inmates
Although there are only 13 confirmed cases in the state’s corrections system, nearly all of which were from the Monroe Correctional Complex, the governor has moved forward with the early release of more than a thousand inmates because of the coronavirus.
Already, these newly released inmates are making headlines. A former inmate was re-arrested last weekend after a short high-speed chase and brief pursuit in Pierce County. As far as I’m concerned, especially in light of the low numbers of confirmed cases in our state’s correctional facilities, there is no compelling reason to jeopardize the safety of our families and communities by releasing criminals early.
Construction restrictions eased
Homebuilding, including remodeling and repair, is highly regulated. Government inspections occur during the entire process. The industry continues to promote the use of best practices for additional COVID-19 safety measures to implement and protect workers.
Thankfully, the governor recently said low-risk construction projects could resume with safety measures in place. This means many ongoing projects put on hold will now be allowed to resume‒keeping them safe from theft and other problems that occurred when they were abandoned. Any more delays in reopening this industry will only exacerbate the current economic crisis. Construction, both commercial and residential, should be considered essential and allowed to reopen for business.
Other good news!
As of May 5, Washingtonians can resume fishing, hunting, and golfing. You can also take day trips to most state parks and public lands, as long the sites are close to where you live. Visitors to Washington’s state parks should also check state webpages for which sites are open. Everyone must continue to follow coronavirus safety guidelines, including keeping the 6-foot social distancing rules.
It’s an honor to serve you.