Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, and with all that’s happening in the world today, we should remember to express gratitude for the important things in life: family, friends, and the many freedoms we enjoy as Americans.
Recent events and my 21 years of service in the military have confirmed the truth of President Reagan’s words, that “freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction.”
Upcoming town hall meetings
On Tuesday, November 28th at 6 p.m., at the Country Church of the Open Bible in Elk (40015 N Collins Rd, Elk, WA 99009) Spokane County Assessor Tom Konis and I will be hosting an in-person town hall meeting focused on the Oregon Road fire response and upcoming legislation that will impact victims of the fires.
You’re invited to join the discussion and share your story.
Later, on December 14th at 6 p.m., Rep. Suzanne Schmidt and I will be hosting a town hall meeting at the Spokane Valley Library (22 N Herald Rd, Spokane Valley, WA 99206) with a focus on the upcoming legislative session and bills that impact the citizens of the 4th District.
The 2024 legislative session convenes on January 8th – so mark your calendar.
I want to hear from you!
What should the Legislature’s top priority be in 2024? What kind of tax relief should we prioritize? Have you been impacted by the rising cost of living? I want to hear from you.
Please take a few minutes of your day to fill out my three-question survey by clicking here.
I strongly value feedback from constituents. It will help inform my decisions in the upcoming session.
North South freeway opens another section
On Thursday, I attended a ribbon cutting for the Wellesley intersection that opened a new section of the US 395 North Spokane Corridor. This section was forecast to close Wellesley for about one year; however, with COVID and many other construction delays, it took over four years to reopen.
This new section will now allow traffic to enter and exit the freeway before the 20-mph zone, providing more safety to citizens and businesses in the Hillyard neighborhood. Thanks to the vision and hard work of many elected officials, and the outpouring of the Spokane community, it appears the remaining few miles have the support to complete the entire project without the 6-year delay the governor suggested last session.
The Idaho Central, Spokane Valley Performing Arts Center rises from the ground
You may have noticed a new concrete tower rising from the ground just west of the Valley Mall. This is a legacy project to showcase the pride and possibility of our region and will attract live shows with a state-of-the-art stage that will foster economic investment and growth in our district.
As a member of the House Capital Budget Committee I sponsored a funding request that was supported by Representative Schmidt and Senator Padden that allowed this project to get construction started. We should see performances starting in the 2024 season.
I wanted to recognize the many businesses and families who supported this important community project with legacy donations that will impact generations to come.
Photos of Rep. Leonard Christian with Marnie Rorholm, Managing Director for the Spokane Valley Performing Arts Center:
Central Valley School District visit
On October 24th, I met with school administrators, state officials, teachers and students on a tour of Ridgeline High School in Central Valley School District. Ridgeline High School has a rigorous academic program and a quality Career and Technical Education program.
I sincerely enjoyed hearing from students, teachers, and faculty about all the progress being made at one of our local schools.
As a member of the House Capital Budget Committee, it’s also important to see our state dollars at work: $22.6 million of the $98.2 million that went into building this school came from state funding.
I’d like to thank the Washington Association of Maintenance and Operation Administrators (WAMOA) for sponsoring the tour. They’re a professional organization dedicated to the management of maintenance and operations of educational facilities in Washington state.
Election reform ideas
This year we saw the introduction of bills that would change our voting laws. One such measure was House Bill 1220, which would institute a mandatory voting law.
I had major constitutional concerns with this approach, as I believe it would violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by compelling speech and criminalizing people for choosing not to participate in our elections.
House Bill 1220 died in committee this year, but I’ll be on the lookout for attempts to revive this idea and keep you apprised in future updates.
Ranked choice voting
Several local and state jurisdictions throughout the United States in recent years have been experimenting with a ranked choice voting system. Instead of the traditional winner-take-all, one person, one vote system, it asks voters to rank their preferred candidates from their first to their last choice.
This year, we saw the introduction of House Bill 1592 to institute ranked choice voting in presidential primaries. The bill died in committee and did not receive a hearing.
Only two states currently use this system statewide (Alaska and Maine) and it’s been used by several local jurisdictions. Seattle will begin using this system in 2027.
Public financing for candidates’ races
Another election reform I’ve heard discussed in recent months is taxpayer funded campaigns. Under this system, governments provide a public financing option for candidates or political parties using taxpayer funds.
Currently Seattle and fourteen states have some form of statewide public financing option for candidates, including Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.
Let me know what you think about this concept.
- My legislative website | Find my contact information, bio, news releases, email updates, videos, opinion pieces, bills, and other information.
- The Capitol Buzz | A weekday roundup of online news stories.
- The Current | An online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans.
- TVW | TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
- The Ledger | A legislative news aggregator.
- Legislature’s website | Bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature here.
- State agencies | List of all state agencies, boards, and commissions here.
- Participating in the Process | Information about how you can participate in the legislative process.
Please contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or comments. I work for you all year long and I encourage your feedback. I am here to serve you and everyone in the 4th Legislative District.
It’s an honor to serve you.