Isn't the weather wonderful! Across the State here in Olympia we've had all kinds this past week. The first day of the new legislative session on Monday morning, Jan. 10, dawned cold and sunny. I could walk outside without all the paraphenalia. Tuesday was quite the same, but Wednesday greeted us with 3 inches of snow. That is a crisis over here. The counties are ill equipped for snow removal and the drivers have no sense of driving in it. Schools close or start late.
Thursday of last week it rained in continuous streams and reaches 56 degrees. We had to wear raincoats, which got soaked and so did our feet. It was quite miserably humid.
Beside the weather on the outside, there is a climate on the inside of the state buildings. I think it's friendlier this year.
We have finished all the ceremonial beginning of this legislative session. Most legislators were genuinely happy to see their colleagues. They went out of their way to meet and encourage the 27 freshmen, or newly-elected ones.
The Governor's State of the State message was also encouraging. Even though the financial picture is grim and that will be a tough battle for all concerned, she spoke of our strengths and our resolve to do what is right for all the people of the state. She did not use the veto threat as in past years, but promoted working together for better solutions.
At the reception afterwards, I noticed that this year she divided her time evenly between the parties. She even spent time talking to me!
I'm still disgusted she spent so much money the last four years and didn't rein in enough two years ago when the recession began, but I appreciate her words and attitude now. We'll have to put the past behind and think of the future, trimming the budget to be financially sound once again. We must work together to grow jobs, improve education and leave a safety net in place for those in catastrophic situations. That's the task ahead for the legislators.
Let's hope and pray both the weather and the climate keep improving.
- Jerri Honeyford, wife of Sen. Jim Honeyford (R-Sunnyside), writes her "Across our State" column to keep Lower Yakima Valley residents apprised of what is currently happening in Olympia.