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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! I wanted to send one final interim update before the start of the 60-day 2016 legislative session on Jan. 11. As you know, I've been incredibly busy this interim meeting with hundreds of folks, touring businesses, and attending meetings that help inform me about the issues our district and state are facing. It is an honor to serve as your state representative, and I look forward to continuing the good work we have started.

I recently returned from Olympia, where we participated in Legislative Assembly Days. We held committee meetings, planned legislative activities, and continued reviewing the issues we will be facing in the upcoming legislative session.

While in Olympia, I met with fellow members of both the kids kaucus and the wildfire caucus. During the kids kaucus meeting, we reviewed the information that was gathered from meetings we held around the state with foster parents and foster children. We listened to a presentation from Kathleen Arthur, an advocate for advanced directives that support placing children with relatives. She has been championing legislation at the federal level to move this along. Lori Cavender from Ryan's House also gave a presentation, where she discussed the issues her organization has faced while trying to help displaced youth. Both Ms. Arthur and Ms. Cavender have devoted their lives to helping our young people, and I can't thank them enough for their work.

During our wildfire caucus meeting, we discussed possible legislation regarding forest health. We also reviewed a draft wildfire report I and others have been working on this interim. Along with attending the caucus meeting, I also attended the Washington Forest Protection Association's annual meeting in Olympia. It is great to see how many people are engaged in efforts to preserve our timberland.

Upcoming benefit to support wildfire victims

Because of the devastating wildfires that have raged throughout our state, many of you have asked how you can help the victims. The Salvation Army has been accepting donations, as has the American Red Cross.

Additionally, on Dec. 5, a benefit will be held at the Grant County International Airport to support the communities of Methow and Okanogan. I will be the featured speaker, and will share information about the wildfire report I mentioned above, which addresses forest health, fire suppression and salvage operations. I will also discuss ways we can help the victims of these fires.

When: Dec. 5, 2015
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Where: Million Air – Grant County International Airport Main Terminal Building

For more information, please call (509) 762-2222 or (509) 855-0151.

The latest in district

Below is an overview of some of the meetings and events I've recently attended.

In late October, the Columbia Basin Development League held its annual meeting at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake. The non-profit League was formed in 1964 to support completion of the Columbia Basin Project as originally designed. Because of the irrigation project, the basin is an incredibly drought-resistance agricultural area, and the League has continually led the charge to keep the development of the long-term project moving.

Earlier this month, the Kittitas County Chamber held its legislative day. Sen. Warnick, Rep. Manweller and I met with local business owners to discuss the important issues facing our district. Our small businesses are a key component of our communities, as they provide needed employment opportunities and services, and also help strengthen our tax base. I look forward to casting votes in Olympia that will help our small business grow, as well as incentivize others to start small businesses.

The Moses Lake Municipal Airport (MLMA) acts as a reliever airport for Grant County International Airport, and as a commissioner for the MLMA for more than 20 years, I occasionally receive awards on behalf of the city. I recently traveled to Seattle to attend the Washington Asphalt Pavement Association awards banquet and accepted an award won by the contractor who oversaw the completion of the overlay project at the Moses Lake Municipal Airport Commission.

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Finally, I had the opportunity to ride with a Grant County Sheriff's Deputy and observe the issues our law enforcement personnel face on a daily basis. It allowed me to observe the impact of legislation we have passed in Olympia that affect them. Grant County is fortunate to have such qualified and professional deputies putting themselves out there every day to serve the public and keep us safe. They have a very difficult and dangerous job, and it is important we continue to support them and make sure they know they're appreciated. Thank you, and hats off to the GCSO.

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Contacting me

Please continue to contact me with any comments, questions or concerns you have. My email address is tom.dent@leg.wa.gov and my phone number is (509) 766-6682. I'll be back with another update in January. Have a very happy holiday season!

Sincerely,


Tom Dent

State Representative Tom Dent, 13th Legislative District
RepresentativeTomDent.com
437 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
tom.dent@leg.wa.gov
360-786-7932 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000