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Dear Neighbor,

Due to election year activity (EYA) restrictions that begin on Monday, this will be my last email update to you until after the November election results are certified.

Over the interim, I will continue working on solutions that help you and your family at the kitchen table.     

Please feel free to email me with your thoughts or concerns at peter.abbarno@leg.wa.gov or call my office at (360) 786-7896.

Visit my YouTube playlist to find videos on a variety of topics, including economic security, public safety, housing, education, and more.

20th District Legislative Review

Many of you have already received our 20th District Legislative Review in your mailbox. It provides valuable information about all three legislative budgets (operating, capital, and transportation), as well as the major good bills that passed – and bad – during the 2024 legislative session.

With your help, we were able to restore the ability of law enforcement officers to pursue criminals, strengthen parental rights in education, and enact new protections against income taxes. These were historic victories that stand as a testament to what active citizens can accomplish.

You can access a digital version of the newsletter here.

The new Fix Washington podcast

I had the opportunity to be one of the first guests on the new Fix Washington Podcast, produced by the House Republican Caucus. You can listen to the podcast here.

We discussed our state’s crime and affordability crises, as well as solutions to the problems and missed opportunities from the session.

Cowlitz County methane capture project tour

Last week, I toured the Cowlitz County Public Utility District (PUD) methane capture project and got to see our state dollars at work for the benefit of our local communities.

The Cowlitz County PUD will develop a renewable landfill gas-to-electricity project in partnership with the Cowlitz County Public Works Department. As the ranking member on the House Capital Budget Committee, I was able to help secure $4.9 million in this year’s supplemental capital budget for the project.

Six internal combustion engines will process landfill methane gas (LFG), producing approximately 8 megawatts (MW) of electricity for the benefit of Cowlitz PUD’s customers.

This project could help generate clean energy for generations. It’s a win-win for affordable energy, the environment, and our local economy.

The project will take landfill methane gas – currently being flared into the atmosphere – and convert the heat into renewable electricity.

Washington must continue to diversify its energy portfolio. This project is innovative, efficient, and will create greater energy security and reliability in southwest Washington.

In addition to state funds, financing of the project will include federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) tax credits and contributions from Cowlitz County and the PUD.

Indoor horse arena at Southwest Washington Fairgrounds

The great thing about the capital budget is that it’s a bipartisan community-up, not Olympia-down, budget that allows us to partner with folks in the district to improve the quality of life.

Last month, I visited the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds where we’re working to build a new training facility for the next generation of Lewis County equestrians.

From the left, Lewis County Commissioner Scott Brummer; Lewis County Parks and Recreation Administrator B.J. Kuykendall; Southwest Washington Fair Association President Jerry Owens; state Rep. Peter Abbarno; Southwest Washington Fair Advisory Board Acting Chair George Dodd.

As the ranking member on the House Capital Budget Committee, I helped secure $206,000 for the Southwest Washington Fair and Equestrian Center to help plan, design, and engineer a new covered equestrian center and barns with a future goal of holding equestrian, 4-H, and rodeo events year-round.

This effort is bolstered by House Bill 2433, a new law sponsored by my seatmate Rep. Ed Orcutt, which will help streamline the financing of the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds Park.

This is about quality of life and economic opportunity. But it’s also about preserving our history and tradition. I think a lot of people forget about how important the Southwest Washington Fair is. It’s not a Lewis County fair. It really is a regional fair.

Meeting with local students and encouraging them to make a positive difference

I recently toured schools in the Centralia School District where I met with students to discuss career-readiness, trades careers, apprenticeships, college and secondary education, as well as opportunities in the legal and governmental fields.

My first stop was Futurus High School, a small pioneering school in an alternative setting that provides a personalized learning environment.

There, I emphasized the fact that basic education is the paramount duty of the State of Washington. We must continue to strive for excellence by meeting the educational needs of all our students, whether college bound or career ready. Futurus is helping both families in the district and our Centralia students by meeting their unique needs along their educational paths.

Later that day I met with several classes at Centralia Middle School to discuss how to help students build upon their educational foundation to be successful in their personal and professional lives.

In Mr. Gedney’s 7th grade class, I talked about the many jobs I’ve had during my career journey, from delivering newspapers, to working at a butcher shop, landscaping, politics, and even the many areas of law I’ve practiced as an attorney.

At Centralia Middle School, I met with over 50 students between classrooms and meetings. The day was coordinated by Centralia School District College/Career Counselor Amy Hendrickson.

Middle school students don’t need to find their career at age 12. This is a time to develop, support, and promote their passion and find ways to turn that passion into a career. Ms. Hendrickson and the staff in the Centralia School District are really focused on making sure students know their options and help them achieve their goals.

Many students asked about salaries. I believe salary should not be the end goal. If you find your passion – if you love what you do – then do it to the best of your ability and the money will come. The primary focus should be on whether you love your job and whether it brings you satisfaction in life.

I let the students know that the most important factor is making a positive difference in the lives of their family, friends, and community.

Washington families need meaningful tax relief

Washington’s carbon tax has increased the price of regular gasoline by about 50 cents per gallon. This tax isn’t just hurting Washington drivers at the gas pump, it’s increasing the cost of basic services and goods, including groceries.

Despite numerous opportunities to help working families with meaningful tax relief in recent years, the majority party has refused to do so.

Majority party prioritizing criminals at the expense of victims

During a crime spree, House Democrats in Olympia introduced legislation to reduce sentences for gun, gang, and drug related crimes around schools. They also introduced legislation to allow criminals to vote, serve on a jury, and run for public office while incarcerated.

Washington has the lowest number of police officers per capita. We need to turn that around.

I work for you year-round

Please call, write, or email me if you have questions, comments or suggestions about your government. Don’t forget: I work for you all year.

Thank you for the honor of allowing me to be your voice in Olympia.

Sincerely,


Peter Abbarno

State Representative Peter Abbarno, 20th Legislative District
representativepeterabbarno.com
411 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
peter.abbarno@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7896 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000