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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I'm delighted to reach out to you again now that election year restrictions have been lifted. I know many of you have a lot of questions for your state representatives, right now, as we wade through these uncertain and trying times. When we left Olympia in March of last year, none of us thought we'd ever been in the situation we're in now.

However, COVID-19 continues to alter our lives in so many ways. No one has escaped the consequences of the pandemic. In one way or another, it has affected all our lives, but despite the many hardships, I continue to look for the positives. I'm also very eager to find the right solutions as we begin this 105-day legislative session.

I want you to know that as your state representative, I take my role in state government very seriously. I do everything in my power to act as your voice in the Legislature. I believe our state is at its best when the government listens to the voices of ALL the people, and not just a few.

You have my promise that I will continue to represent the people and businesses of the 17th District to the best of my ability. I thank you for your confidence and for allowing me to be your voice in Olympia, even if it will only be remotely.

2021 Session Goes Virtual

The 105-day legislative session began Jan. 11 and it will be unlike any other we've ever had before. Usually, the state Capitol is buzzing with thousands of people. However, this year, we will not be meeting in person and only a few lawmakers will be allowed on campus at any given time.

We were able to meet in-person on opening day, but that is unlikely to happen again. Of course, the purpose of holding a remote session is to avoid the spread of the coronavirus and keep everyone safe.

Opening day in the Washington State House of Representatives. January 11th, 2021.

The downside is holding a remote session presents many challenges, including being able to have your voice heard in the lawmaking process. However, I want you to know that you can still share your opinion with your state lawmakers, via remote testimony. Just use these two links to sign up to testify:

House remote testimony

Senate remote testimony

One of our greatest concerns we have in the House Republican Caucus is that this session will not be transparent and that the people will be left out of the process. So, please do all you can to get involved and participate. And please let me know if you ever feel like you are being ignored by your lawmakers.

Stay connected

Despite the virtual nature of this session, I still want to hear from you, and I want you to stay up to date with everything that is going on? Here are some links that will help:

My legislative website | You can find my contact information, bio, news releases, email updates, videos, opinion pieces, bills, and other information about me here. 
The Capitol Buzz | Stay on top of the news with this daily roundup of online news stories. Click on the link to subscribe. 
The Current | This is an online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans. Click on the link to subscribe.
TVW | Watch all the committee and “floor” action live or recorded on the state's own version of C-SPAN, TVW.
The Ledger| A legislative news aggregator.
Legislature's website | Find bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature here.
State agencies | A list of all the state agencies, boards, and commissions is located here.

Tracking a bill?|Click the link to find information on specific bills. In addition, when you visit my website you can easily view the legislation I'm sponsoring or co-sponsoring by clicking “Sponsored Bills.”

Top Priority: Economic Recovery and the State Budget

Like any session, lawmakers from both sides will be presenting all kinds of legislation over the next three and half months. However, our major focus must be on recovering from the damaging financial effects of the pandemic. As state representatives, our main duty this session will be to adopt a new two-year state budget.

This will take great effort and insight, and much compromise on both sides to find the right solution for all of Washington. Our state budget was hit very hard by COVID-19 and the subsequent restrictions. However, we have taken several positive steps forward, recently.

Despite that, the majority is already looking at new ways to tax Washingtonians, including capital gains taxes, and possibly trying to implement an income tax.

Together with my fellow Republicans, I oppose any new taxes. These would only hurt individuals, families, and businesses more. We need to use the resources we already have and make cuts where necessary to get the people of Washington back on their feet.

Leadership Role and Committee Assignments

I'm also excited to let you know that I will continue to serve as the House Republican Caucus Chair this session. In addition to that role, I will serve on four committees: Appropriations, Healthcare and Wellness, Labor and Workplace Standards, and Rules.

Please Stay in Touch!

Your feedback is extremely important as we move forward with this session and tackle the many issues impacting our communities and state. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me. I'm always here to listen. You can also set up a personal meeting with me via Zoom, by clicking here.

I'm honored to serve you!

Sincerely,


Paul Harris

State Representative Paul Harris, 17th Legislative District
RepresentativePaulHarris.com
426A Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
paul.harris@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7976 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000