In addition to receiving thousands of emails, phone calls, letters, and messages from social media on a variety of topics, I recently conducted a round of telephone town halls to all eight counties that make up the 4th Congressional District. I wanted to share a few questions that your neighbors recently asked me:
There are more than 9 million acres of federal forests in our state alone. Many of our communities are in close proximity to federal forests, and we are all too aware of the wildfire risks. Ensuring proper management of forests is critical to preventing wildfires and important to the long-term health of our forests and communities. The federal government made a commitment more than 100 years ago to actively manage forests and provide a percentage of revenue from management to counties containing national forest land. However, as we are seeing in Wenatchee and Goldendale, the failed attempts by bureaucratic Washington, D.C. agencies to actively manage our forests have real and dire consequences. Rural communities no longer have stable funding to pay for vital services. Thirteen years ago, the Secure Rural Schools Act was intended to be a short-term solution to continue to provide funding as timber sales declined. With a national debt measuring in the tens of trillions of dollars, the program is becoming increasingly difficult to finance, especially when it fails to address declining forest management. These communities cannot afford the status quo. Police units don’t have the resources to respond to emergency calls, school districts are laying teachers off and communities are being left to crumble. A new approach is needed. The government’s lack of forest management has cost tens of thousands of American jobs. In the last 10 to 15 years, it has not been uncommon to pick up a newspaper in the Pacific Northwest and read of yet another timber mill shutting its doors. Instead of people going to work managing our forests, they are heading to unemployment lines. The lack of active forest management has caused significant forest overgrowth and degradation and made them increasingly susceptible to bug infestations and wildfires. Our national forests can and must be managed more effectively. We can’t continue to sit idly by. This week, the House Natural Resources Committee, of which I am chairman, approved House Resolution 1526, Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, a bill I introduced to address these problems. My bill, which has bipartisan support, renews the federal government’s commitment to manage forest resources. This is a long-term solution to put hard-working Americans back to work and to restore the economies of rural communities. This common sense approach will help our forests remain healthy, turn forest timber into economic opportunity, produce revenue, reduce the risk of fires and increase local and state management of our forests. I’m hopeful the full House will soon consider this vital legislation to restore active forest management. Our communities, our families, and our businesses deserve better than the status quo and the current failure of federal forest management. Rep. Doc Hastings represents Washington’s 4th Congressional District, including part of Okanogan County.
Gov. Jay Inslee was in New York for the world rollout of BMW’s new electric car, the BMW i3, which is partially built in Washington. We are all justifiably proud of our state’s role and see the car as a harbinger of Washington’s economic future.
Making a college education more affordable for all those who wish to pursue it is in the best interest of our country. America depends on an educated population in order to remain successful and prosperous.
Military installations and defense contractors are taking the brunt of the automatic budgets cuts mandated by sequestration. Why should we care?
The newspaper Politico reports that dozens of members of Congress and their staffers are so worried about rising premium costs under the Affordable Care Act that they may quit or retire before the law fully goes into effect Jan. 1.
The Chronicle’s June 12 editorial on the federal proposal to take wolves off the list of endangered species could leave readers less informed than if they hadn’t read the paper.
June 14 celebrates “Flag Day” – a day when millions of homes, schools, government buildings, businesses, and gravesites across the country will display the most recognized American symbol that captures the spirit of our ideals and freedoms – the American flag.
Right now across Central-Washington, caps and gowns are being handed out, well wishes prepared and parties are being planned, as students get ready for graduation. I want to take a moment to recognize the Class of 2013 and congratulate them for their achievements.
Many families across Central Washington spent Memorial Day weekend − the unofficial start of the summer vacation season − enjoying the weather outdoors at barbecues, county fairs and on hiking trails.
There is no doubt that Washington is home to a number of tax incentives, sometimes referred to as “loopholes.”
By now, most residents in the 7th District are aware the Legislature has been called back for a special, 30-day session due to disagreement on the state operating budget and the House Democrats’ insistence on a massive tax package.
Once again the Washington state Legislature is in a special session. The word “special” has lost its meaning when it comes to Olympia. This is the seventh special session in four years. Taxpayers are rightly frustrated and disappointed.
With a steady stream of bad news stories about maimed soldiers, the Boston Marathon bombing and the house of horrors in Cleveland, it would be natural to despair for the human condition. What defect in the human character allows us to do such things?
Air travelers received a bit of good news recently: A bill to put air traffic controllers back to work whisked through the House and Senate and flew into the White House for President Obama’s signature.