Local Rotarians get a treat each Tuesday morning at their breakfast meetings held at the Grange Hall in Woodinville. A homemade buffet with fellowship and good coffee gets them going from week to week. A pledge, a song and a prayer for peace ushered in the week’s guest speaker, the Honorable Suzan DelBene from the 1st U.S. Congressional District.
Rotarians care about peace and community projects and having fun. Anyone will tell you, it’s serious business for the club. Rotarians also care about education and issues facing our communities today. So, we were delighted to have Congresswoman DelBene catch us up with a legislation update on the other Washington.
Covering a diverse region, she calls her Washington the purple state, a mix of red and blue constituents. “D.C. is far too black and white,” says DelBene. “We all need to work together, like Rotarians, because there is so much work to do. Challenges like addressing division in D.C. and the District is paramount as well as getting others engaged in respectful dialogue, even agreeing to disagree.”
This is part of the civic duty of all legislators. We know it’s important to work across the aisles in Congress and take a bipartisan approach, but the grim reality is quite the opposite as we see and hear in the news.
The threat of a government shutdown moving into FY2019 causes our governmental agencies to run inefficiently, says the Congresswoman. “We need to be moving forward, but we spend so much time and energy keeping the government running. We have serious issues with infrastructure, healthcare, the opioid crisis and homelessness in our region.”
More concerning is the mention of a system that doesn’t let good bills come to the floor, to let the body decide. Some good bills don’t move through the house to the senate or vice versa. If the bills don’t move, there is no opportunity to vote on the issue. There’s little time for a U.S. Representative in Congress to enact change and bring new legislation with a two-year term as opposed to U.S. Senators with six-year terms. In all, 435 members of Congress means a lot of folks trying to get along and get things done.
The need for a comprehensive trade policy is paramount for this Washington. The Export/Import Bank was a piece of legislation that never got to the floor. New tariffs imposed by the administration is having an effect on our farmers and manufacturers that export to China. Our state is the biggest exporter to China. Retaliation by China also hurts state companies. We’re seeing that now. NAFTA is also threatened and in another two years who can predict what our economy will be like.
All the talk about fixing our infrastructure is mounting up to 1.5 trillion dollars and can only happen with a public private partnership, says the current administration. Infrastructure means more than roads and bridges, but broadband too. The Congresswoman would like to talk more about how to fund transportation in Washington. We’re seriously behind the times. What needs to be done is to break down the barriers, find a place to connect. There’s always two ways to look at an issue. In the end, we value our democracy. In the meantime, we need more people to run for office.
Ask any Rotarian how they get so much done, they’ll tell you how they do it. By coming together in the spirit of service above self. Rotarians value the Four Way Test. Want to learn more? Join us for breakfast Tuesday mornings at 7AM at the Grange Hall in Woodinville.