Republican Caucus may get tough on Inslee’s budget proposals unless …

WENATCHEE (via Zoom) -- The Washington Federation of Republican Women, in an “Issues and Strategies” pre-legislature 2021 Chelan-Douglas Republican Women meeting, heard from State Representatives Keith Goehner and Michael Steele on Monday, Jan. 4.

Approximately 33 people “attended” the virtual meeting hosted by Washington Federation of Republican Women and emceed by State President Dee Drewry of the Chelan-Douglas Republican Women.

State Rep. Goehner (R-Dryden) started the meeting off by stating, “It’s difficult to get rural areas heard” in Olympia even though small towns are struggling to provide services to the citizens in their community.

Goehner noted there was a “disparity throughout the state” in regards to the way urban areas are favored when it comes to budget dollars and state services.

Goehner also said, “a new ‘equity office,’” as called for by Governor Jay Inslee and the majority Democrat Party Caucus, “was not needed” and that “we don’t need to expand government” however well-meaning by those advocates.

The former Chelan County Commissioner, now in his second term in Olympia representing the 12th Legislative District, said he wants the state to recognize “small towns like Twisp and Cashmere” where revenues from sales tax are way down from 2019 and impacting services being provided to those communities.

Goehner’s 2021 committee assignments include the Transportation Committee. He told the Zoom attendees that a bridge in the Methow Valley was one of nine bridges statewide that needed repair or replacing. Goehner said that alone would cost about $100 million. He said about 300 bridges across the state were being assessed.

Goehner will also serve on the Environment and Energy Committee as well as the Local Government Committee.

12th Legislative District State Representative Mike Steele, a former city of Chelan Councilman and now in his third year in Olympia, said, “We are fortunate to have Washington Secretary of State (SOS) Kim Wyman” as he felt she was “committed to integrity” vis-a-vis elections.

His remarks came two days before outdoor rally attendees in Washington, D.C. were accused of storming the Capital.

Four people died, more than 60 were arrested and damage was done by those rioters managing to gain entrance to the Senate building and Congressional offices, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. Vice President Mike Pence had to be evacuated for his own safety by the Secret Service.

Many have accused Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri of encouraging the crowd of protestors. Trump has been claiming the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulently “stolen” by the Democrats and many state election officials. Washington State SOS Wyman has ensured voting machine, motor-voter, early voting, voting by mail, voter identification and voter registration rolls as well as final results were all done with the utmost integrity, according to Steele.

Rep. Steele stated the Governor has not responded to repeated requests by Republicans statewide to be included as part of the State Legislature, to advise on executive orders issued by the Governor over the last year, most of which centered around health and safety mandates due to COVID-19.

“It’s critical that the state legislature be involved,” Steele said.

“The Governor will have to work with us” if he expects to get active participation and engagement to approve budget expenditures on such line items as the statewide broadband initiative,” Steele said.

The Manson/Chelan native stated that Inslee should stop “flatly ignoring us” and that he should “tread lightly” since Steele has been appointed to the State Budget Committee.

Another attendee via Zoom was 25th District State Representative Kelly Chambers (R-Pierce County) who said, “The Governor’s budget does not reflect restraint due to a shortfall of revenues” from the COVID-19 economic disaster.

Steele has also been executive director for the Lake Chelan Chamber of

Commerce for 15 years and is, by default, an expert on local business concerns.

He has been appointed to serve as the Ranking Member (lead Republican) on the House Capital Budget Committee, which considers funding for the construction and repair of public buildings and for other long-term investments, such as land acquisitions and transfers.

“It's an honor to take on this leadership role for one of our state's budgets,” said Steele. “The long-term infrastructure investments made by this committee, especially during these challenging times, will help our communities to recover, grow, and thrive. I look forward to working with the other committee members to create an effective plan for our state.”

Keep reading NCW Media publications for updates on the 2021 State Legislature. Managing Editor Gary Bégin can be emailed at:   Comments received will be considered “on the record” and subject to publication as a “Letter to the Editor” in future NCW Media publications unless specifically requested not to.


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