Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Life as we know it has seemingly shut down overnight as the coronavirus pandemic changes our lives in unprecedented ways. I'd like to thank all the people taking the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” directive seriously. Health experts from across the country agree that it's critically important that you stay home, limit your time shopping to just the essentials, and observe social distancing rules.
Here's why these guidelines are important: We must do all we can to stem the contagion, have more time to find medical treatments, and ultimately get people back to work and businesses reopened. For the sake of our loved ones, and those with pre-existing health conditions, let's all look out for each other by following the governor's instructions.
How you can help
In this time of rapid changes, people across the state are facing significant challenges including loss of pay, employment and business closures. Amid the crisis, our communities and state continue to find new ways to help. If you are looking to channel your worry and anxiety into actions that can assist your neighbors and community, here's a list of things you can do:
- The Washington State Department of Health is recruiting emergency COVID-19 volunteer health practitioners. If you are a licensed health practitioner, you can register as a volunteer here. Licensed health practitioners should also consider registering with their local Medical Reserve Corps.
- You can give locally to the Community Foundation of North Central Washington. To help, donate here.
- Thrive Lake Chelan is providing weekend meals for students in need. If you would like to help, donate here.
- Chelan Valley Hope provides assistance, advocacy, and referral service to under-resourced families and individuals throughout the Greater Chelan Valley. To donate, click here.
- Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council helps meet the needs and interests of the economically disadvantaged. To learn more, click here.
- The Okanogan County Community Action Council helps individuals and families facing financial difficulties. To donate, click here.
- Boys and Girls Club of America provides meals and other support to children who need it the most. You can donate here.
- Some Meals on Wheels programs may need help, while others cannot process new volunteers because of the coronavirus or have temporarily adjusted their delivery methods. Check with your local program to find out if you can help or donate here.
- The Northwest Salvation Army is busy delivering food and giving access to shelter and childcare nationwide. You can donate here.
- Give blood if you can. Blood banks nationwide need donations. Find out more by clicking here.
Governor partially vetoes the 2020 supplemental operating budget
On Friday, the governor vetoed 147 items and reduced spending by $445 million in the state's 2020 supplemental operating budget. I'm sure his decision was not an easy one. However, in light of the deepening impact of the coronavirus pandemic to our state's budget and future tax revenues, this difficult but necessary step was the right way to go forward.
In the weeks and months to come, winning the economic fight against COVID-19 will require all of us to cooperate and work together. State agencies must do their best to create efficiencies and make necessary cutbacks to ensure the state has adequate fiscal resources to continue critical services.
Several days ago, the governor modified his “Stay home, Stay Healthy” order to allow thousands of real estate professionals to go back to work under a careful set of instructions to minimize the chance of infections. In the days to come, I'm hopeful we can find even more ways to think creatively about other business sectors. If your business is not on the governor's current list of essential businesses, and you believe it should be, you can petition to be added to the list by sending an email to email@example.com; or filling out the online form.
State-provided resources, information and help
Listed below are three state-provided webpages with information on healthcare, unemployment, and even small business loans. As always, if you need additional assistance—call my office. I'm happy to help.
- Washington State Department of Health has information about symptoms, testing, confirmed cases and fatalities across the state involving the virus. Click here to learn more.
- The governor's office coronavirus webpage has links to the latest news, info, and proclamations.
- Washington State House Republicans have a webpage that is updated daily with a comprehensive list of information and resources.
Let's all look out for each other!
The problems created by the coronavirus are immense and often unseen—but by working together we can overcome even the most difficult situations. Let's all do our part to protect ourselves and others by making smart and safe choices in the days ahead. Rest assured, we will get through this and come back stronger than ever!