Lawmakers tout wins for Sandy
Throughout the past legislative session, and with a visit to town on July 24, Rep. Anna Williams (D-Hood River) and Sen. Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River) have really tried to drive home that Sandy is among their priorities.
The legislators' Sandy-focused efforts this session included helping garner $500,000 for the city to complete a study on the path to its wastewater treatment plant renovation, which will consider green alternatives for dispersing treated water, and also connecting Mayor Stan Pulliam and staff to ODOT higher-ups to explore options for a bypass study on Highway 26.
"The hard part of my job is representing all of these different areas," Thomsen told The Post. He added that the bypass study is a very preliminary discussion, but "you've got to start somewhere, and we helped get them started."
Both endeavors were talking points at last Wednesday's legislative lunch-and-learn event hosted by the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce.
"We haven't had someone in the majority party representing us in Salem in years," Mayor Pulliam said in his introduction at the luncheon. "I feel like we got good headway on both of these issues."
Rep. Williams spoke about her and Sen. Thomsen's use of bipartisanship despite an overall divisive session. Though HB 2020, a bill to establish a statewide cap-and-trade system and reduce carbon emissions, was confronted with a Republican walkout from the Senate and left a negative pall over the Legislature at the end of the session, Williams stated that she and Thomsen worked to remain civil and united.
"I think what this district needs is to see us working together," she told Chamber members in attendance. "If you're wearing a red cape or a blue cape when you walk in the building doesn't matter. I never had a cross word or ill will with (Sen. Thomsen)."
Thomsen agreed that he was glad to work with Williams during the session, saying "We got to work on several capital construction projects together to represent the district."
However, he noted that he continues to stand by his decision to walkout to prevent a vote on HB 2020. "I think the walkout brought awareness to that bill across the state," Thomsen said. "We tried to get them to refer it to the voters. I think that bill as written and proposed this session doesn't have a chance (if it's proposed again next session)."
In a conversation after the luncheon, Williams told The Post, "I was reminded how much emotion is on both sides on the topic of the climate bill.
"I was a little disheartened by Chuck's partisanship (when he spoke)," she added. "But, I think it's good to be aware that there's a discourse and we need to work to bridge those gaps. I think we work better together when we focus on where we do agree."
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