January 31, 2020

Wilcox Encourages Young People to Consider Public Service

By: Andrew Lenderman   Comments: 0
House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox encouraged young people to consider serving in the Legislature at Thursday's Lobby Lunch. Photo: Brian Mittge/AWB

House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox kicked off Thursday's Lobby Lunch with strong encouragement for young people to consider a career in public service.

Wilcox was speaking to a packed house in AWB's board room, filled with business leaders, employers, lobbyists and a large delegation from the Tri-Cities Legislative Council, which spent the day at the AWB campus.

He encouraged people to explore a professional life in Olympia, and said there's turnover in the Legislature.

"I hope that I see some of the younger people that are coming down here again and again over the next few years, regardless of which party asks you, I hope that you will consider coming down here as an elected official," Wilcox said.

He also said it's amazing what a good cross section of regular people make up the Legislature, and that personal integrity matters.

"The people that are least successful are the ones that come in here and don't have regard for the personal relationships that you form here," he said.

Wilcox also discussed the low-carbon fuel standard bill that passed the House Wednesday night. His said he was proud of his caucus, which discussed the bill for more than 3 1/2 hours. House Bill 1110 passed on a 52-44 vote.

"Most people want to do the right thing for the environment," Wilcox said. "But when you tell people that often are of modest means, who have to drive the farthest, for the jobs that are not the most lucrative jobs, in the cars that are often a few years old, that they're going to have to pay 57 cents a gallon to make a marginal improvement in the environment, that doesn’t even seem worth it to Californians -- that isn’t a very popular thing."

AWB is opposed to the bill, which raises fuel prices and provides minor reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. AWB Vice President Gary Chandler issued this statement after the vote, saying the measure is not worth the cost.

Later during the question and answer session, Wilcox addressed Washington's workforce housing shortage. A recent report says the state should have built about 250,000 more houses over the last decade. He expressed frustration with how the current debate is impacting smaller property companies.

"Many, many small business, small property owners, who actually fill the gap, are fleeing the industry because we're making it harder and less profitable," he said.

AWB's Lobby Lunch series continues next Thursday with Democratic leaders from the Legislature.