I along with few hundred others attended a Town Hall meeting in Lynden yesterday afternoon. The meet was put on by Vince Buys, Doug Ericksen, and Jason Overstreet, our freshly elected representation for the northern half of Whatcom County.
After a brief introduction by our well known Sen. Ericksen, Rep. Buys and Rep. Overstreet spent a little time familiarizing us with how the 42nd District Legislators are approaching things down in Olympia. Their goals, and I think they are good ones, are to balance our states budget without raising taxes, to strengthen the economy and to allow businesses to create more jobs. They described the principles they would employ as they approached our already very out of whack state budget.
- No new taxes
- No fund transfers
- No Federal Bailouts
- No tricks, gimmicks or shell game tricks
They also referenced some thoughts that Microsoft’s Bill Gates had on state budgeting. He said that state budgets have received a puzzling lack of scrutiny and have been "riddled with gimmicks" and “when you get down to it, the guys at Enron never would have done this.”
The next two hours were spent in Q&A. The lines of questioners were long within seconds and even though they proceeded quickly, their sheer volume had the program running over by 30 minutes. Questions, and comments, ran the gamut, but most seemed to be centered on protecting funding for educators of one variety or another. Their were also a couple of comments regarding Pregnancy Center regulation and the proposed coal export terminal being planned for Cherry Point. The other thing that was brought up several times was the notion that our legislators were somehow union busters. One questioner asked if they were operating from the same playbook as Wisconsin, to which Doug Ericksen replied, we live in Washington, I don’t even know what Wisconsin’s playbook is. On that subject, I find it interesting that so many unions, union members and media refer to the new Wisconsin legislation as a stripping away of collective bargaining rights, when once the facts are read, we find that the employees of Wisconsin will have more collective bargaining rights than Federal employees have had since President Carter signed into law the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.
With the 42nd District covering northern Bellingham and much of rural Whatcom County, the wide variety of views did make for a lively meeting. Perhaps the most entertaining comment I heard came out in the hallway near the end, when a young man collecting business cards asked one of the legislators assistants if Jason Overstreet was a liberal. I guess he missed the question where stepped center stage and made it extremely clear that he was unequivocally pro-life and that he would never measure the life in economic terms.
Overall the Town Hall was great event and I look forward to the next.