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Front Page » February 1, 2011 » Opinion » Guest column: First week of legislature
Published 1,707 days ago

Guest column: First week of legislature

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By Christine Watkins
State Representative District 69

The first week of the legislative session was a very busy time for me.

On Monday after the opening ceremony I presented my Italian-American Heritage Bill and my resolution seeking support for the Navajo Code Talkers Museum. Tuesday I presented HB 193 Public Highway Designation. The first two bills are on their way to the Senate and HB 193 was read on the House floor yesterday.

As a member of the House Minority Team (Caucus Manager) we will meet with the governor every Tuesday morning. I am looking forward to the dialogue with the governor. We also meet weekly with the Majority Leadership team. I find being in leadership both rewarding and demanding. I am the only Democrat who does not live on the Wasatch Front, and therefore my ideas on rural issues are often different from those of legislators who live in urban areas. I work hard to keep rural issues in front of the other leaders. Our votes can often be different because the needs of our constituents can be very different.

I serve as a member of the Natural Resources Standing Committee and the Health and Human Services Standing Committee, as well as a member of the Natural Resources Sub-appropriations Committee and the Executive Appropriations Committee.

I did not vote for Representative Carl Wimmer's bill designating a Utah state gun. I have nothing against guns. I grew up hunting with my father and have been around hunting and guns all of my life. I just felt this was not an appropriate bill, but it did pass the House and it goes to the Senate this week.

None of the other controversial bills have come to the House floor yet. I am still waiting to see what happens with the illegal immigrant bills.

I am against closing any of our state parks. The strategy by some legislators is to balance our budget in one year, however, this will cut deeply into many programs and close many other programs which are important to the citizens of Utah. I believe a common sense approach would be to balance the budget over a two or three year period as the state's economy rebounds; this can be done without devastating our rural economy.

To balance the budget while cutting more jobs in departments that are already at bare bones operations seems counterproductive. I am fighting to keep Green River's Golf Course open and the Edge of the Cedars Museum operating. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you in the Utah Legislature. My email is, please let me know how you feel about the issues that are important to you.

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February 1, 2011
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