Sen. Hatfield served as an ardent and early supporter of Unemployment Insurance (UI) reform legislation and real Workers’ Compensation reform (SB 5566), issues extremely important to the success of farmers and ranchers in our state. As leader of the “Roadkill Caucus,” Sen. Hatfield was responsible for creating an environment that allowed for the creation of a reasonable, bipartisan budget.
In addition to also supporting UI & Workers’ Comp. reform measures, Rep. Blake exercised sound judgment when discussing complex ag issues both in his committee and his caucus. As Chair of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Blake championed funding of the Department of Agriculture and the Conservation Commissions-services critical to the continued success of our state’s agricultural businesses.
Both legislators of the year demonstrated their understanding of the importance of agriculture to our state’s economy by supporting agriculture’s requests related to complex water use issues; limiting punitive fertilizer and fuel fees related to agricultural operations; and, protecting English Holly growers. Both Hatfield and Blake also played vital roles in creating the new Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) as an alternative to new regulations of agriculture under the state Growth Management Act. The VSP will allow locally-driven plans to drive stewardship decisions while protecting existing agricultural activities from harmful restrictions.
The 19th District lawmakers will be recognized for their efforts on behalf of Washington state farmers and ranchers at the Washington Farm Bureau’s 92nd Annual Meeting in November.