COLUMN: Reflecting on 2019 Accomplishments for Central Washington

January 6, 2020
Weekly Column and Op-Ed

As we look forward to 2020, it is important to reflect on the accomplishments we achieved in 2019. I am proudly working to put Central Washington's priorities first, and it is truly a privilege to represent our District in Congress. 

The year began on a high note, as I joined President Trump in the Oval Office for the signing of a comprehensive lands package, which included my language to authorize Phase 3 of the Yakima Project. The future of our agriculture economy depends on access to water storage, and the signing of this bill represents bipartisan collaboration on one of the most important priorities for the Yakima River Basin. The lands package also contained language I worked to include that will protect the Methow Valley Headwaters from mining, an important effort that was brought to me by local constituents in Okanogan County. 

In March, I had the humbling opportunity to dedicate the Sergeant Dietrich Schmieman Post Office in West Richland, in honor of a young Marine who passed away in July 2017 in service to our country. We were joined by his family, friends, brothers-in-arms, and former Secretary of Defense General Jim Mattis as we unveiled the plaque that will serve as a reminder of Dietrich's service and sacrifice.

As I worked with my colleagues to represent our interests at home - from protecting the Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center program to securing funding for the Hanford cleanup and addressing the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women, I also worked to directly serve you. I hosted a variety of public events, including a Job Fair, Small Business Expo, Health & Safety Fair, and numerous issue-based roundtables to discuss forest issues, immigration, conservation, and more. I traveled across the 4th Congressional District, touring local businesses, visiting schools and hospitals, and learning about how federal issues affect you. 

My office assisted 359 constituents with federal agencies, from the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Department of Agriculture to the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration. These cases resulted in $4,744,091 being saved or returned to Central Washington families. My staff hosted 66 Mobile Office Hours across the District, to better serve those in rural areas outside of Yakima and Benton Counties. I connected with over 11,000 constituents on live telephone town halls, where I heard directly from you and answered your questions about a variety of topics like healthcare, land management, and Second Amendment rights. Lastly, my office helped arrange nearly 300 tours of the U.S. Capitol, the White House, and other landmarks for constituents visiting Washington, D.C. 

We have a lot to be proud of, and we have a lot of work to do. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act, the historic agriculture labor reform bill I helped to write and pass in the House, still awaits action in the Senate. Despite progress with the Yakima Project, our nation's water infrastructure is crumbling and in desperate need of updating. The House voted to approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to strengthen our trade relationship with our neighbors to the north and south, and I look forward to continuing to gain momentum with other trade relationships across the globe. 

As the second session of the 116th Congress reconvenes, I will continue to work on your behalf with the people and the priorities of Central Washington in my heart and mind.