CWU OBSERVER 2011-The Ellensburg Chamber of Commerce held its fifth Legislative Event of 2011 today and Representative Judith Warnick took her seat, she said, for the third time among the honored guests.
Warnick recalls that having a sit-down with local business owners, merchants and members of the farming community is one part of her job as the 13th district representative that she is most enthused about.
She went on to say that she is a small business owner first, a state representative second. Warnick said that she entered public office because of the regulations that the government places on her business.
The topic of these meetings is generally the same, Warnick said. The workplace. The environment. The economy. She spends hours each week researching and reflecting on the challenges within her district, taking her findings back to the house floor in Olympia.
Warnick talked about the limited course work that she completed prior to raising three daughters and the cost of college then and now. She also discussed the proposed changes to the state budget with regard to higher education.
“We are so up in the air about what is going to happen with these proposals,” Warnick said. “The majority party (Democratic) has not let us know what to expect.”
Warnick is serving her third term in the state house of representatives. She recently learned that Washington state has need for 60 thousand employees to perform necessary jobs in business and industry, and the number of vacancies within our state both surprised and motivated her.
The staggering numbers of higher education students, many of them Pell Grant recipients, are unqualified to fill these jobs for lack of interest in particular industries where the vacancies remain. Among the bills that she has brought to Olympia are awards of sustainable pensions for public and higher Ed employees, Alternative learning funding, and tougher controls on statewide student assessment.
Warnick has openly discussed her position on State debt statutory limits, and defends her position on limiting funding for “career” students.
“I think that if a college student is getting assistance to obtain a degree than they should obtain that degree and get out into the workplace.” Warnick said. “I feel like we are wrong to be cutting [funds] from higher Ed college programs.”
Warnick has defended the rights of small business owners to grow within their communities and tries to represent her district effectively in the wake of what she called “serious budget crises” that [our] state faces. She hopes that the work that she does in Central Washington, and for every one of the campuses here in Washington, represents her hope, her views, and her development as a public official.
Warnick’s myopic view of the Capital budget and her support of social services with accountability criteria intact may not make up for her controversial position on Judicial branch funding, and the deregulation of pensions for state employees, but insofar as Gaudino’s incentive pay-off is concerned, Warnick explains that the Board of Trustees (B.O.T) made that call and whether or not she supported it, she feels that the timing should have weighed heavier than the necessity of one president’s retention.
“The decision to push that raise through was made by the B.O.T,” Warnick said, “and in my opinion it should have been considered that the timing is really bad for that kind of increase. Our state is in crisis, and now is not the time to be spending more than we have.”
Though Warnick’s vision for the future of our state may be fiscally conservative, her allegiance to progress remains intact.