Session finale brings huge win, lasting achievements for Eastern Washington, Baumgartner says

Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane.

Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane.

OLYMPIA… The 2015 legislative session ended Friday in victory for Eastern Washington, said state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane. Seldom has the outcome of a legislative session so well reflected the interests and the bedrock principles of Eastern Washington, he said.

Washington lawmakers wrapped up their session Friday on the 176th day, the longest continuous legislative session in state history.

“Never has Washington seen a single legislature that has accomplished so much for our part of the state,” Baumgartner said. “Normally those of us from Eastern Washington come away feeling slighted. This time we got what was coming to us, and Spokane will feel the effect for years to come.

“Spokane has been waiting for the North-South Freeway since before I was born. Check it off the list. We got nearly $1 billion in road-construction money for Spokane County — we’re going to finish it.

“Washington State University gets a medical school that will be a centerpiece of the Spokane branch campus, and will be a focus of economic development for Spokane’s highly-skilled medical community.

“Students across the state will see lower tuition, because of our bold move in the Senate to make college more affordable. We passed the best budget for K-12 education in more than 30 years.

“What we didn’t do was important, too. We blocked an absurd Democratic proposal for the biggest tax increase in Washington-state history. We stopped the governor from imposing low-carbon fuel standards, which would cause gas prices to skyrocket. We blocked further state funding for Seattle’s troubled downtown tunnel project. And we prevented high-handed efforts to reorder our economy to suit the political activists of downtown Seattle, which would have done great damage to business, large and small.

“We finally got to see what a Republican-led majority in the Senate really means. The session went way too long, but it will go down as a huge win for Eastern Washington with a positive impact on our schools, our community and our economy for generations to come.”