The Odessa Record -

By Tom Dent
State Representative for the 13th Legislative District 

Legislative update from 13th District legislator


The 2017 legislative session is now underway, and I am a couple of weeks into my second term. The opening ceremonies were a great reminder of what an incredible honor it is to be in Olympia representing the folks of the 13th District and Washington state.

While the first week was busy with the swearing-in ceremony, the governor’s State of the State address, and the inaugural ball, it was still 0-60 m.p.h. in no time flat when the session got underway. Our days have been filled with committee hearings, constituent meetings, working on legislation and many other things. I truly enjoy the work I do on your behalf, and I appreciate you sending me back to Olympia.


I will be serving on two committees this year, both relating to issues about which I am very passionate. I will be serving as the ranking Republican on the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee. As the “ranking Republican,” I am the lead voice for the caucus on the committee, and I will work with the chair on the committee agenda. The committee reviews legislation and issues relating to early learning, as well as a broad range of issues affecting children and families, including foster care, children’s mental health, child welfare services, at-risk youth, juvenile justice and many more. I served on this committee last year, and it is a great fit for me.

I will also be serving as the assistant ranking Republican on the House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee. The committee reviews issues related to agricultural production, forest practices, forest fire protection and water, all issues I have worked on in the past or am working on right now.

Wildfire Caucus

Since I have been in Olympia, one of my passions has been to develop solutions to prevent devastating wildfires in our state. As part of that effort I put together, and chair, a bipartisan Wildfire Caucus. Last Thursday we met with newly-elected Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz. The meeting went well, and she is promoting “open and often” lines of communication with legislators. Commissioner Franz is receptive to many of the things we are working on to promote our forest health and combat wildfires, such as prescribed burning, stronger interagency partnerships, proactive instead of reactive solutions. I am very encouraged.

Improving mobilization

of state fire services

While we continue to develop solutions for preventing devastating wildfires, we also need to be proactive in our response once wildfires start. My House Bill 1019 expands the definition of “mobilization” so we can have our state resources and services in position before a wildfire starts, rather than be reactionary and scrambling to line up resources as the fire grows. Every second counts when wildfires and emergencies hit, and by having the resources in place beforehand we could be saving property, natural resources and, most importantly, lives. My bill has bipartisan support and received a public hearing last week. The House Public Safety Committee is scheduled to vote on it later this week.

Modifying airports grants

My bill to modify the maximum amount for grants provided to airports and air navigation facilities had a public hearing the first week of the session and has already been passed by the House Transportation Committee. House Bill 1018 would increase the allowable grant amount that the Department of Transportation may provide for general aviation projects through the Airport Aid Grant Program from $250,000 to $750,000. The maximum grant amount has not been changed in 35 years.

Page Program

We have a fantastic Page Program in the House of Representatives. If you know a student who would like to serve as a page, have them get in touch with me at To serve as a page, a student must have permission from a parent or guardian and his/her school, be at least 14 years of age and not have reached his/her 17th birthday. Paging is a paid position, $35 per day.

Keep in touch

There are a number of ways you can stay in touch during the legislative session. Capitol Buzz is a daily electronic clip service of House Republicans and Capitol Report is my weekly three-minute radio program, or podcast, on important issues I’m working on in Olympia. Go to my website at to get more information about me, the bills I’ve sponsored, view my news releases and current and past e-newsletters.

You can also get bill reports, track legislation, view committee agendas and get information about upcoming activities in the legislature at

If you would like to get in touch with me with any questions, thoughts or concerns, or if you are going to be in Olympia, please don’t hesitate to send me an email at or give me a call at (360) 786-7932. I look forward to hearing from you!


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