Sen. Jeff Wilson, R-Longview, is joining the Senate Freedom Caucus, the cadre of Washington senators focused on issues of individual liberties, economic growth and restrained, responsible government.
“If ever there was a need for a Senate Freedom Caucus, the time is now,” Wilson said. “This year’s legislation presents major threats to our economic freedoms and the principle of equal protection under the law for all individuals, regardless of race, ethnic background or place of residence. The Senate Freedom Caucus is a voice for solutions that keep taxes low and reduce government interference in our daily lives, and I am proud to join my colleagues in advocating these principles.”
The Senate Freedom Caucus, formed this year to advocate fundamental principles embodied in the federal and state constitutions, is one of several such groups formed within the Legislature to advocate political perspectives and specific legislation. On the Democratic side of the aisle, other caucuses have been formed in the Senate to promote legislation based on race and sexual orientation. Previous caucus organizing efforts in the Washington Legislature over the last decade have emphasized ideological differences between Democratic liberals and moderates.
Lawmakers right now are wrapping up their 2021 legislative session, due to adjourn Sunday. This year the Senate Freedom Caucus advanced specific proposals for responsible spending of federal stimulus money, prevention of discrimination based on vaccination status, and sustainable highway-construction funding without higher taxes.
“I don’t think you see the broad differences of opinion on our side of the aisle that you do among our colleagues,” Wilson said. “But within the Legislature, political-party caucuses and leadership have different responsibilities. The Senate Freedom Caucus calls attention to the enormous gulf between the Legislature’s majority party and the people.
“Nothing illustrated that divide better than ‘Governor Inslee’s wall,’ the eight-foot cyclone fence that kept the public out of the Capitol this year, while our majority-party colleagues voted for massive increases in taxes and regulation that will slam the poor and create misery for working families. We need to put it bluntly – the people deserve a voice in these decisions. This elitist top-down approach to governing needs to end.”
Founding members of the Senate Freedom Caucus are Sens. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, and Jim McCune, R-Graham.
“I’ve been encouraging Sen. Wilson to join us since his election,” Fortunato said. “I am glad to have him join us.”
Padden said, “I am thrilled Sen. Wilson is joining us. In his first session in the Legislature, he has become a standout member of the Senate and a consistent voice for freedom, limited government, individual liberty, restraint of executive powers, law and order and responsible budgeting.
“We look forward to his unique voice in the Caucus as he brings to the table the interests of the hardworking people of coastal and southwest Washington.”