Strom Peterson: ‘Good chance’ for connector, marsh funding
Last updated 1/20/2019 at Noon
Rep. Strom Peterson, who began his third term representing Edmonds in the state’s 21st Legislative District Monday, Jan. 14, said he hopes to secure funding for the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector and Edmonds Marsh.
Here, he gives his thoughts a few issues posed by the Beacon.
Peterson, an Edmonds resident and business owner who is vice-chair of the House’s Capital Budget Committee, noted that the list of capital projects that will receive funding will not be completed until later in the session. But those two specific projects good chance at receiving funding.
“I look forward to working with our citizens and local elected officials on advocating for the prioritization of these needed infrastructure projects,” he said.
As of Sunday, Jan. 20, the partial federal government shutdown has lasted for 30 days and counting the longest in the nation’s history.
Peterson noted that the Washington State Employment Security Department is working to provide help for local federal employees who are furloughed due to the shutdown. He said that there is an opportunity for bipartisanship to shine through in Washington state.
“Rather than using people’s livelihoods as a political pawn, here in Olympia, the vast majority of bills and budgets are negotiated and passed through bipartisan efforts,” he said.
“While we have limited opportunities to help federal employees as a state government, I do not doubt that if the shutdown continues, we will take additional steps to do all we can to aid those who are struggling.
“Washingtonians hold great value in standing up for and taking care of one another, and in addition to state action, I believe that there is much that communities can and will do to help our friends and neighbors who have been affected by the shutdown.”
Recently, Tim Eyman, the Mukilteo resident who is a long-time initiative promoter, received enough signatures for his $30 car tab fees to appear on the November ballot. Before that can occur, the measure must go before the state Legislature.
Currently, car tab taxes assist with funding for public transportation projects, such as road improvements and large-scale transportation projects, in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties.
Peterson acknowledged he has frequently heard from his constituents on the matter, but it’s important to not cause too much impact on transportation projects.
“The Legislature has heard from many citizens about the burden of car tab fees, and we are looking at multiple pathways to reducing those fees,” he said. “However, I, and many of my colleagues, are also concerned with finding a solution that will not strangle the needed funding for pivotal infrastructure projects.”
In last year’s session, a bill was passed in both the state House and Senate that would have exempted lawmakers from certain aspects of public records request.
All 21st District representatives voted for the bill, including Peterson, but Gov. Jay Inslee ultimately vetoed the bill after many Washington residents voiced disapproval of it, largely because of the lack of public input.
It is likely that this issue will come up again during this session, and Peterson thinks the process will be more transparent if it does come up again.
“While it is early in the session, and no bills have been introduced yet, the Legislative Task Force on Public Records has submitted its recommendations,” Peterson said. “If a bill is introduced, I am confident that the process will be open and transparent, with plenty of opportunity for public participation and feedback.”
Funding for schools both statewide, and countrywide, has been a hot-button issue the last few years.
In Washington, there was a 2012 state Supreme Court McCleary ruling that told the state that it needs to fully fund basic education.
Many teachers and parents always keep a close eye on how education is funded through the state Legislature.
Peterson said the Legislature has made strides in education, but that there is more work to be done.
“I am proud of the work we have done over the past few years to make historic investments in our public education system. However, when it comes to providing quality educational opportunities for every student, there is always more work to be done. This session, I believe we can begin to address some of the areas where we have fallen short, such as adequately funding special education.”
Peterson said he hopes to address the environment, noting his work on non-recyclable items and climate change impacts.
“I will continue to focus on the environment; including introducing what I hope will become the strongest legislation in the country on single use plastic bags. This session it is also critical to focus on mitigating the damaging effects of climate change, as well as protecting and enhancing our orca and salmon populations.”