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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Part of my job as your legislator is to continually educate my colleagues around the state – especially the West side of the state – about the issues, challenges, priorities and values we have here in Northeast Washington. When we receive edicts from others, whether through legislation, initiative or agency rule making, that do not make any sense, we have the obligation to push back and make our voice heard.

I had the opportunity to do that this week (again) when I responded to a West-side lawmaker who sponsored a bill that said there could be no lethal removal of gray wolves, period. Doesn’t matter if we have a wolf kill a thousand cattle, a hundred pets or a dozen children: no lethal removal!

Well, this seems a little asinine to me. We have a wide range of people that are desperately trying to bring folks together and keep them talking to one another so we can find solutions that work. We have processes and procedures in place, agreed upon by people who have invested literally thousands of hours of time. Is it perfect? No. But we’re all still at the table. Unfortunately, the legislative proposal that came flying in from the West side of the state doesn’t make it easier to build trust and continue the conversation.

Frankly, I’m not the kind of person who can let that kind of attack against my people go unnoticed. To me, that piece of legislation demeans, belittles and devalues the lives and livelihoods of my constituents back home. So I sponsored legislation (House Bill 1639) to make the state’s first Gray Wolf Sanctuary in the lovely island confines of Bainbridge Island. I’m sure this apex predator will get along fine with the pets, animals and people of that place. Now, I’m not completely heartless. My bill would allow for the lethal removal of gray wolves on the island if four dogs, four cats, or two children were killed, to illustrate the insanity of someone who would place a higher value on wolves than on children.

If you want to hear a short radio report on my bill, click here. If you’d like to read my press release, click here. iFiberOne did a pretty good short video on this issue. You can find that here. King 5 TV from Seattle came into my office and interviewed me as well. You can find that story here. The Columbia Basin Herald did an editorial on my bill, you can find that here. Here’s a short excerpt from that editorial:

“In farm and ranch country, wolves are a menace to livestock and people. In the urban centers and suburban enclaves of the west side, they are viewed as majestic, noble creatures, because people aren’t affected by them. While we bear Bainbridge Island no malice, we do feel that it is manifestly unfair for people who are safe to vote others into danger and to inflict on rural people problems which they themselves do not share. If the wolf must be at the door, let it be at the door of those who insisted on inviting it.”

“Laws should affect those who vote for them,” – Columbia Basin Herald, Jan. 31

Taxing the hairdressers and stylists
This session, several bills (HB 1515SB 5513SB 5326) have been introduced to do away with independent contractors’ ability to rent booths to conduct their work or service. The main idea with these bills is to get folks away from being their own small businesses and into being employed by larger companies that pay more in business and occupation (B&O) taxes.

The problem is, many of these independent contractors need the scheduling flexibility provided to them by being their own boss. They can work around school, sports, childcare or spouse’s work schedule. And, they are maximizing their own take-home pay. If forced to work for a salon or larger company, many of these small business entrepreneurs would go out of business or lose a significant portion of their income.

This week, over 1,000 hairdressers and stylists descended on the state Capital to let lawmakers know how they felt. They are a great example of how our system should work. I want you to know that I stand with them in defense of their livelihoods.

With Democrats in control of the House, Senate and governor’s mansion, the gun control advocates are having a field day. No bill is too onerous. Instead of listing all of the gun bills here, we’ve created a web page that will be updated throughout session so you can see House Democrat firearms bills and House Republican firearms bills. You can access that site here. I encourage you to stay engaged on this issue if you value our Second Amendment rights. Write a letter to your local paper. Join an organization. The worst thing we can do is give up in the face of the Seattle liberal agenda.

7th District Telephone Town Hall
On Wednesday, Feb. 13 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. my seatmates, Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber and Sen. Shelly Short, will join me for our 7th District Telephone Town Hall. You can call (509) 213-3069 during that time and we’ll give you an update on the legislative session, the issues we’re working on, and take questions from you. Because of the size of our district, this is the best way to reach out to constituents in a timely, efficient manner. I hope you can join us!

Thank you for taking the time to read my update. It’s an honor to work on your behalf in Olympia. My door is always open to you. If you’re ever in Olympia, even if it’s on an issue you think we might disagree, please feel free to visit. A call first would be appreciated as it gets pretty busy. But we’ll do our best to get you in!


Joel Kretz

State Representative Joel Kretz, 7th Legislative District
425A Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7988 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000