They call it your freshman year for a reason. It resembles what many of our students have recently embarked on as freshman high school and college students; new buildings to learn your way around, new staff, classmates and colleagues, and a new system and schedule to memorize. Throughout my freshman term, I had the opportunity to develop numerous new relationships with people in Olympia and especially around our community. Over the last two years I have worked tirelessly for the people of Whatcom County and considered it an honor and a privilege.
One of the first things you learn is the necessity to build relationships on both sides of the aisle. This doesn't mean you agree on everything, but rather that at the end of the day, regardless of differences in opinion, you respect, and are respected by, others.
Over the span of two years, I have introduced numerous pieces of legislation, sponsored legislation, and through the committee process, asked the necessary questions to make better laws. One of the bills I am especially proud to have sponsored was HB1936, "Amending the existing nonresident retail sales tax exemption." This was a bi-partisan bill sponsored by myself and Reps. Lytton, Overstreet and Morris.
Testifying side by side in committee with Democrat Rep. Lytton from the 40th District, we were able to get the bill moved through committee and signed into law. This effort made certain that our neighbors to the north were paying sales tax in our communities with the purchases they made here -- helping to support not only our local economy, but also our local governments.
I have been criticized for not supporting all the budgets brought to the house floor. There is a reason for this, and it involves accountability. One of the numerous reasons for my persistent vote against these budgets was the diversion of funding from the environmental cleanup account known as the Model Toxics Control Act account. Here in Whatcom County, we have numerous cleanup projects, such as the Bellingham Bay waterfront, which rely on funding from this account. Our projects are perpetually placed on hold while these funds are raided by the majority party for their own pet purposes.
Note that I voted to support both capital budgets as well as the related bond bills. These budgets have provided the funding to replace the aging Meridian High School buildings as well as the Ten Mile Creek Elementary and Irene Reither Primary project, which is going on currently. These projects represent a significant investment in our community, providing construction opportunities for local companies and their employees at a time when the construction industry is struggling. These projects will provide our students with safe, healthy schools and continue our investment as a community in education.
Most importantly, I was able to stand up for our businesses and farmers and fight for their rights to continue to exist. Farmers throughout our state were being dumbly regulated by an out-of-control Department of Ecology. Through interpretive gymnastics, the department decided to regulate the taking of the smallest soil samples as though people were drilling a well. I sponsored and we passed regulation to put a stop to that.
With your support and vote this November, I will continue to work hard for the people of our community, making sure that our government works best for you. Now that my first term is nearing its end, I have much to look back upon, and much to be proud of. I have tried always to serve the people of our community with dignity, respect and honesty. As for that "freshman 15," I've already worked it off.
Vincent Buys is the incumbent and Republican candidate for the Washington State House of Representatives, District 42, Position 2. Each of the 49 state legislative districts is represented by one senator and two representatives who vote on state laws and budgets. State representatives are elected every two years and are paid $42,106 annually. The state representatives from the 42nd District represent about 137,000 people in the northern half of Bellingham and Whatcom County north to the Canadian border. One candidate will win election in the Nov. 6 general election.