The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

By State Senator Mark Schoesler
Ninth District 

Legislative Commentary: Sept. 26, 2019


Last updated 9/26/2019 at 12:10pm

Dear Friends,

It’s hard to believe summer is finally leaving us. I recently finished planting wheat for next year and have been busy catching up on farm chores. Besides tying up loose ends on the farm, fall’s arrival also means football. Like so many of you, I’m pleased that the Cougs are off to a good start. While EWU has lost a couple of games early on, I’m optimistic the Eagles will have another successful season.

Eastern Washington Legislative Tour last week

It isn’t often when legislators from the west side of the state make it over to eastern Washington, so I was pleased to join several of my fellow lawmakers from both sides of the Cascades for last week’s Eastern Washington Legislative Tour. Ninth District Reps. Joe Schmick and Mary Dye also took part in the tour.

The tour began Sunday with a stop in Pullman to see the recent airport expansion there. On Monday morning, we were in Clarkston for meetings with officials with the Port of Clarkston and Port of Whitman to discuss the area’s river system and broadband in rural Washington. The meeting with the staff from both ports made my legislative colleagues more aware of how valuable the Snake River dams are for allowing barges to transport wheat and other products down the Snake and Columbia rivers. Breaching the dams would be not only an economic blow to our region but also would hurt our environment since barges produce far fewer emissions than freight trains or trucks, plus breaching would remove four dams that produce clean energy.

Later Monday morning we learned about the economic impact of tourism on the Lewis Clark Valley before touring Walla Walla Community College’s Clarkston campus, including its nursing program. During the noon hour Monday, we attended a large luncheon hosted by the Nez Perce Tribe at its golf club in Clarkston.

On Tuesday morning, my fellow legislators and I took a tour of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman, followed by a terrific presentation by Dr. Ed Schweitzer, the company’s president and chairman of the board. For many years, SEL has been a key employer in the Pullman area, as well as a leader in innovation and community involvement. I’m glad the legislators on the tour had a chance to see SEL for themselves and meet Ed and his team.

The Eastern Washington Legislative Tour is very worthwhile because it gives legislators from the west side a chance to see our region in person and talk with experts about important issues affecting it. I thank all of my legislative colleagues who traveled to SE Washington to join us on the tour and learn more about this part of the state.

Teens can apply to be a Senate page for 2020 session!

I also want to encourage teens ages 14-16 to apply to be a Senate page during the 2020 session, which will start in mid-January and end in mid-March. Pages are employed at the Capitol for one week during session and they are paid for their work. They attend “Page School” for two hours each day, and they get a firsthand view of how the Legislature works. Teens can learn more about the Senate Page Program and how to apply by going to


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