Dear Friends and Neighbors,
After nearly a year and a half of restrictions, closures and lockdowns, Washington is finally set to fully reopen next week. I know how difficult this time has been for all of you, so I want to thank you for your resilience. It's been nothing short of extraordinary. I've never been prouder to serve the Mighty 8th. As we continue to recover from the pandemic and life increasingly gets back to normal, please know I'm here to serve you 24/7. If there's anything you need or anything we can collaborate on to make our communities stronger, please reach out to me day or night. My phone number is (509) 315-2315, and my email address is Matt.Boehnke@leg.wa.gov.
Last month's virtual town hall
Last month, Sen. Sharon Brown, Rep. Brad Klippert and I held our second virtual town hall meeting of the year. During the 90-minute event, we were able to provide our perspectives on this year's legislative session (my session recap is here), but more importantly, we were able to hear directly from you. I'll make sure to keep you posted on when our next town hall will be. I'm looking forward to hosting it at a physical location and seeing all of you in person!
Touring the Clean Energy Institute at the University of Washington
During this year's legislative session, I sponsored a bipartisan bill to provide a framework for our state to add 300,000 new manufacturing jobs over the next 10 years. One of the provisions in House Bill 1170 requires the Department of Commerce to appoint a workforce innovation sector lead to coordinate with leaders in industries such as manufacturing, clean energy, and aerospace. To gain a greater understanding of where our clean energy industry is at and where it's going, I recently visited the Clean Energy Institute (CEI) and Washington Clean Energy Testbeds at the University of Washington.
Founded by the Legislature in 2013, CEI's mission is to accelerate the adoption of a scalable clean energy future that will improve the health and economy of our state, nation, and world. The testbeds, which were established in 2017, allow innovators and investors to come together to develop critical new technologies in the clean energy space. During my visit, I had the privilege of meeting with CEI's leadership and a number of researchers to learn more about the ongoing work taking place, including research and development of solar energy, batteries, the electrification of transportation, and grid integration and resilience. We also discussed the Institute's efforts to support clean energy startups and economic development in Washington.
As the ranking member of the House Community and Economic Development Committee, my goal is to help make our state number one in job creation in as many industries as possible, while also working to revitalize communities across the state. I want to thank CEI for everything they're doing to develop groundbreaking technologies and grow the workforce of the future. I look forward to seeing what they're able to accomplish in the years ahead!
Honored to be recognized as one of AWC's City Champions
Last week, I received an email from Candice Bock, Director of Government Relations at the Association of Washington Cities, letting me know I had been chosen as one of their 2021 City Legislative Champions. I told Candice that I was honored to be recognized, and that it means a lot to me to support our cities. I was also happy to see Sen. Brown recognized as a City Champion. Here's what AWC wrote on its website:
AWC's City Champion Awards acknowledge the hard work and dedication of legislators who championed critical city issues during the 2021 legislative session.
Representative Matt Boehnke (R–Kennewick)
Rep. Boehnke is an important voice for cities in his caucus. As a big supporter of local economic development, Rep. Boehnke was the cosponsor of this year's Tax Increment Financing proposal and a key supporter in helping the bill to pass into law. As a former city councilmember, he appreciates the challenge of making city budgets work and he's always willing to look for solutions that help cities.
Senator Sharon Brown (R–Kennewick)
Sen. Brown has been a long-time supporter of economic development tools. Her strong backing of the economic development efforts in her district and around the state have helped to ensure continued legislative focus. As a former city councilmember, she knows the importance city officials place on economic vitality for their communities. She has historically sponsored bills to authorize Tax Increment Financing (TIF) in Washington. Her consistent and ongoing support was key to ultimately passing the TIF bill this year.
I know I speak for Sen. Brown when I say what a privilege it is to serve the Mighty 8th. We'll continue working hard every day to make our district the best place to live and work in Washington state.
Please continue reaching out to me with your comments, questions and concerns. My district office number is (509) 315-2315, and my email address is Matt.Boehnke@leg.wa.gov.
It is an honor to serve you.