New Congress, Ongoing Commitment to the Pacific Northwest Economy

By Rep. Rick Larsen

We in the Pacific Northwest know that our part of the country is second to none. Our mountains and waters offer plentiful outdoor opportunities. Our local economy is fueled by innovative businesses and manufacturers in a variety of industries. And our communities include increasingly diverse perspectives and backgrounds that enrich our way of life. As Congress starts a new session, I want to share with you some of my priorities that will help keep our region strong.

My top priority in Congress is to help create jobs and opportunity for people in Northwest Washington. The best way I know how to accomplish these goals is to invest in our roads, bridges, highways, and transit systems. These investments will put people to work immediately, keep goods moving across our state, and improve safety for all of us.

As the only Member from Washington state on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I will be pushing the interests of the Pacific Northwest as we work to reauthorize a surface transportation bill. You will be hearing a lot from me on these issues because they mean jobs back home. I will be fighting for programs like TIGER grants that enable our small and medium-sized cities to better compete for federal transportation dollars, improving bridge safety here at home and across the nation, improving rail safety, and investing in trails for walkers and bikers.

I am also excited to keep my position as Ranking Member of the Aviation Subcommittee. Washington has always been at the forefront of the aerospace industry. This year, our Subcommittee will be writing legislation that updates and makes changes to federal aviation programs. I will be working to make sure this bill supports growth and safety in the Puget Sound and across the country. 

Another way I will be working to create jobs and grow our local economy is by helping businesses sell their goods, not our jobs, overseas. I will continue to champion initiatives that aid small businesses in overcoming hurdles to exporting their goods, and that help them compete for government contracts.

Our way of life depends on a healthy environment. That means protecting our waters, our fish and our outdoor recreation opportunities. I led efforts to preserve some of our open spaces during the last Congress, including the historic Green Mountain Lookout near Darrington. Be assured I will continue working to protect Washington state’s environment.

You will also hear more from me this year on ways I am fighting to break down barriers that keep people from participating in our economy and our democracy. Congress has a lot of work to do to protect people’s fundamental right to vote and to make sure elections give power to the people, not to money. I will continue to fight voter identification laws that are designed to intimidate and disenfranchise voters. And after the Citizens United Supreme Court decision gave the wealthy an unprecedented level of influence on elections, Congress worsened the problem last month by essentially destroying limits on how much people can give to political parties. I have already supported a bill to roll back these harmful changes. 

With perseverance and willingness to work across the aisle I know we can get important work done this year to create jobs and opportunity, protect our environment and make sure people can participate in our communities.