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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope you are staying safe and healthy. I'd like to begin by saying thanks to all those who are working to keep our society running. Health care providers, grocery store workers, truckers, law enforcement and first responders among so many others are truly heroes in this battle. I'd also like to thank our teachers who are earnestly trying to educate our children in a completely different manner than you've ever done before. You are all playing a vital role in keeping Washington moving!

I've been speaking with many people across the state and especially in our District. The biggest thing on everyone's mind is how do we safely get back to work. There are many options on how we do this. I'd like to share a few plans with you in this update.

The first plan is the governor's, which relies heavily on staying home until we see a drop in the number of cases and deaths, and an increased capacity for extensive testing. It also involves a centralized, regional approach where one-size fits all policies apply evenly to all four corners of our state.

The second plan would be to allow any business that can operate safely to do so today. Now, while it would be great to have every business open their doors again, this could continue to threaten our public safety and health.

Both of these plans are basically “all-or-nothing” and represent the far ends of the spectrum. I believe there is a third approach that is much more nuanced and will allow us to save lives and livelihoods! I call it Decentralize and Recover.

Our state is diverse. We have the west side and the east side. We have urban and rural communities. Each county has been affected in different ways and each county has different resources available to deal with the virus. A one-size-fits-all policy may assist with slowing the spread of the virus, but it also will unnecessarily prolong and increase emotional and economic suffering across the state.

Each county has elected officials and staff who are capable of waging the tactical fight in their particular areas. They are closer to the problem. They know the specific resources available in their area. They can also be much more responsive to the needs of their individual areas and determine which restrictions to impose or modify, which to remove, and the proper timeframe to do so.

Empowering these county level leaders to make tactical level decisions will have a number of positive effects.

  • First, it will spur the creation and sharing of good ideas. Unleashing the creativity of 39 counties will undoubtedly produce numerous best practices that can be quickly shared across the state, and perhaps the nation.
  • Second, we will continue to see positive health benefits while allowing the economy to spring back to life faster than anyone could have imagined.
  • Finally, it will allow the governor and his staff to focus on the strategic level fight. This includes logistical efforts such as procuring more personal protective equipment and increasing the number of testing kits. It will also allow them to shift resources to the Employment Security Division in order to unclog the backlog of applications for unemployment, and it will allow them to ensure the Department of Health begins producing timely and accurate data, which is absolutely essential.

The governor simply cannot do everything on his own no matter how hard he tries. He has people ideally situated in each county to take much of this tactical burden off his shoulders and allow him to focus on higher level strategy.

I believe this is the right plan for Washington to start the economic recovery process and get back on its feet financially.

As we move forward, I urge you to continue reaching out to me. I am here to listen and to help in whatever way I can.

Stay healthy!

Resources and Information

House Republican Caucus coronavirus website. This site is a comprehensive list of resources and I'd encourage you to bookmark it for easy access.

Washington State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19)

Employment Security Department:

U.S. Small Business Administration:

Department of Commerce:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Department of Labor:

Department of Revenue:

Department of Financial Institutions:

Department of Labor & Industries:

Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave:

Sincerely,


Chris Gildon

State Representative Chris Gildon, 25th Legislative District
RepresentativeChrisGildon.com
409 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
chris.gildon@leg.wa.gov
360-786-7968 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000