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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Legislators will be under election year restrictions from Dec. 1 until Jan. 13, the first day of session, so I wanted to touch base with you one more time before the session starts. That means I will not be able to send out email updates or newsletters during that time frame. However, I will be able to communicate with you again once the session starts. I will still be able to respond to any emails, mail, phone messages or other direct communications in which you contact me. Please let me know if you have any questions.

I recently served on a panel at Washington Policy Center’s “Farmers Hall” event in Kennewick.

Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission

I have shared with you I am serving on the Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission (CACC), which is tasked with identifying and exploring the feasibility of another Sea-Tac-like airport. The bill we passed during the legislative session establishing this task force created more interest statewide than any other piece of legislation I have worked on during my time in Olympia. I believe that is a testament to the excitement and potential surrounding the possibility of another major airport or transportation hub in our state.

The CACC has had one meeting. Our duties include initiating a broad review of potential aviation facility sites, review existing data, and conduct research as needed with the support of the Washington State Department of Transportation. The commission must have a shortlist of six sites by Jan. 1, 2021, narrowed to two sites by Sept. 1, 2021. A single preferred location for a new commercial aviation facility must be identified by Jan. 1, 2022. We will have our next meeting on Jan. 9 at Sea-Tac Airport. Whatever the outcome, the aerospace industry in the state of Washington is going to benefit from the work of this commission.

Child care legislation

The recent struggles of the child care industry have been well-documented in the media. You will recall I shared a handful of articles on that issue in my previous email update. The one constant comment I continue to hear from parents around the state is, “We need affordable child care.” It’s time to make a change, the direction we are taking isn’t working!

I am introducing legislation in the upcoming session that would limit the professional development requirements and look at the regulatory impact of the state’s rules and regulations on our child care facilities. The state is imposing more burdensome requirements, which is driving child care providers out of business and increasing costs, in an industry that is already very expensive and has limited options for parents across Washington.

Legislators were recently in Olympia for Committee Assembly Days – a final few days of preparation at the Capitol before they return for the start of the legislative session on Jan. 13.

Oversight Board – Department of Children, Youth and Families

In 2018, we passed legislation creating a new agency called the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). The DCYF has assumed responsibility of child welfare, early learning functions and juvenile justice programs previously administered by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).

To ensure there is transparency and accountability with the new agency, an Oversight Board was also created as part of the legislation. I continue to serve on the board since its creation. The board is getting close to issuing its annual report to the governor and Legislature.

It is critical we continue to monitor DCYF’s progress toward performance measures and outcomes so we can ensure our youth are getting the proper intervention and prevention services they need.

Rep. Dent and Washington State Patrol Trooper Bart Olson before Rep. Dent’s ride along.

In the community

I want to commend the Washington Cattlemen’s Association for its recent convention held in Kennewick. It was a great event and a reminder how important the cattle/livestock industry is to Washington state and our country.

In October, I was on a panel at Washington Policy Center’s Farm Hall in Kennewick. We discussed key agriculture and farming policy issues facing us in Washington state.

Celebrating Veterans’ Day with some local veterans.

The last couple weeks have been filled with other activities in the community. I had the opportunity to participate in a ride-along with the Washington State Patrol. We are fortunate to have such dedicated professionals out there putting themselves in harm’s way to help keep order in our society. Please take the time to thank all law enforcement for their service.

And, I was able to honor our veterans at a Veterans’ Day celebration in Davenport that included two World War II veterans! Thank you all military personnel for your service to our great country.

Page Program

We have a fantastic Page Program in the House of Representatives. If you know a student who would like to serve as a page, have them get in touch with me at tom.dent@leg.wa.gov or call my district office at (509) 766-6525. To serve as a page, a student must have permission from a parent or guardian, and his or her school, be at least 14 years of age and not have reached his or her 17th birthday. Paging is a paid position – $35 per day. To learn more about the program, click here.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have a legislative issue or an idea you’d like to discuss. If you plan on being in Olympia during the session, contact my office to set up a meeting. It is always great to see the familiar faces of the 13th District at the state Capitol.

It is an honor to serve as your representative.


Tom Dent

State Representative Tom Dent, 13th Legislative District
437 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(509) 941-2346 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000