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Articles written by Ron Muzzall


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  • 2024 Legislature wrap-up: Republican lawmakers push financial restraint

    Sen. Ron Muzzall|Mar 27, 2024

    The final gavel has fallen in Olympia and the Legislature is adjourned. I thought I might wax philosophical about this year's events as I've done in previous columns, but let's start with a high-level accounting of what your state government is doing for you. Given it's an even-numbered year, our main task was to develop a supplemental budget, making tweaks to the two-year spending plan we adopted last year. Incredibly, our state continues to see ever-increasing tax collections and that's both...

  • Hope springs eternal for this local lawmaker

    Sen. Ron Muzzall|Feb 28, 2024

    Nothing changes your outlook on life quite like the birth of a child. Seeing the helpless life for which you’re now responsible can be scary, but as many parents find, that gives way to excitement and optimism for what the future holds for this precious gift. What will their personality be like? What will their laugh sound like? What impact will they have on our community and world? I’m eagerly awaiting the birth of a grandchild and considering what the world will look like for them. It got me thinking that too many people aren’t as optim...

  • The problem with Progressivism

    Sen. Ron Muzzall|Feb 7, 2024

    The United States was born out of conflict. Profound disagreement led to a war with tragic losses of life and property for the revolutionaries who put at stake their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. The promise of progress was worth the risk even as many of the fledgling nation’s potential citizens fled north to Canada or returned to the United Kingdom. Similarly, during the Civil War, it became apparent that the evils of slavery could not stand, and the Union’s moral certitude required imposing progress. From today’s vantage point, I can’t...

  • Healing our health care system

    Sen. Ron Muzzall|Jan 17, 2024

    If you’ve been following my work in the state Senate, you’ve likely picked up on some themes. In all my work, I look at the state’s policy problems through a pragmatic lens of structure, discipline and accountability. But what’s the goal? In my view, legislators have an obligation to the public to use the resources they send to state government to do the most good for the most people. One area that touches all of our lives and pocketbooks is health care. Escalating costs are a big problem for patients in Washington. You may have heard me rattle...

  • More hope and less politics

    Ron Muzzall|May 17, 2023

    During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wrote a column in this paper bringing attention to a different public health problem sweeping the nation. While maybe not as physically deadly, the long-term impacts on the health of our communities were and are still as dire. I was discussing the very real pandemic of hate. The data is clear. While COVID-19 was a killer, the government's heavy-handed response was just as deadly. Deaths of despair via suicide and other destructive behavior have...

  • Health Care: Why does it cost so much?

    Ron Muzzall|Apr 12, 2023

    The facts about health care in the United States are eye opening. How can a nation that spends nearly twice as much as our economic peers still have so many problems? As the former ranking member of the state Senate Health Care Committee and current assistant ranking member, I spent some considerable time trying to unpack our rising health care cost challenge. Like other complex, human problems, this one won’t be solved with a silver bullet either. Let’s start with the biggest problem in our...

  • Reproductive care is more than abortion

    Ron Muzzall|Mar 22, 2023

    It seems that the efforts to enshrine reproductive access in the state constitution have been aborted, as the proposed amendments from the House and Senate failed to receive a Floor vote before our most recent cutoff. As I’ve said in other media outlets and during committee proceedings on the Senate’s version, I believe the issue of abortion access is settled in Washington state. In no uncertain terms, voters told us via initiative their policy preference on the matter. My job is to rep...

  • We owe it to the future

    Ron Muzzall|Mar 1, 2023

    There seem to be a lot of “crises” in Olympia – a housing crisis, an opioid crisis, a public safety crisis, a climate crisis. Attaching this moniker has adverse effects on people by creating a false sense of urgency and helplessness and driving otherwise rational people toward the irrational. Lawmakers better serve the public by toning down the rhetoric. Instead of stoking the flames of division and panic, legislators should offer a positive vision of hope, unity and calm. There is too much...

  • Ideology not making communities safer

    Ron Muzzall|Feb 8, 2023

    There are lies, dang lies and statistics, but in the debate on fixing the failed "police reform" laws from 2021, it seems that no amount of research, pleading, facts or lived experience can overcome ideology. In my estimation, that is exactly the sticking point. Advocates of the public safety status quo that has facilitated significant upticks in police evasions, violent crimes and thefts, are unwilling to entertain any reasonable arguments for why their ideologically driven approach may need...

  • We need more accountability, not less

    Ron Muzzall, Senator|Jan 18, 2023

    We deserve better, even if we don't demand it. The latest findings from the Washington state auditor's office are unfortunately just a snapshot of an obscure yet growing problem in our state government, one that has only been made worse by large influxes of funding from the federal government and unprecedented economic growth in our state. In a time of scarcity, when many of our neighbors have been left behind, not only is state government failing to provide necessary and promised services, but...

  • When is enough enough?

    Sen. Ron Muzzall|Mar 3, 2021

    My mom was a great cook and baker. Every year as we neared my birthday, she would ask what kind of cake I wanted. It was the same every year, but she would ask anyway before making the four-layer chocolate cake with a pudding-based filling and a hard frosting. As much as I loved that cake, I could not make it through a second piece. In other words, no matter how good it was, enough was enough. It often resulted in a queasy feeling in my stomach. I am having that feeling right now. While this pandemic has been no party, I am a little concerned...

  • Confronting a philosophical pandemic

    Sen. Ron Muzzall|Feb 10, 2021

    It was clear to me as early as 2008 that a pandemic was at hand. The symptoms were easier to ignore than to acknowledge. Some embraced and reveled in the early stages of this malady. Doctors began pointing to the symptoms, only to have their opinions dismissed. Clergy, mental-health professionals and lay people tried to stem the spread, and some began organizing to stop it. By 2016 this pandemic had spread to almost every corner of the United States. No one assumed responsibility for the finger-pointing; it always was someone else’s fault. A...

  • Environmental activist or active environmentalist?

    Sen. Ron Muzzall|Mar 4, 2020

    As a farmer and outdoorsman, I despise litter. Maybe it’s because the wind blows on Whidbey Island, but it seems we spend an inordinate amount of time picking up litter that has blown into our fields and woods: plastic bags, pet-food bags, flowerpots, cardboard boxes, even trampolines. But litter is an inanimate object, like the chair you stubbed your toe on – yelling at it doesn’t help. The real culprit is always human. Our state imposes steep fines ($50 to $5,000) for littering, but it still occurs. Whether the cause is ignorance, apa...

  • The value of listening

    Sen. Ron Muzzall|Feb 5, 2020

    R-Oak Harbor I am very familiar with the 10th Legislative District. I’m a fourth-generation family farmer on Whidbey Island who has been deeply involved in our community for years, serving as a firefighter and fire commissioner, and on community and business-related boards. However, I cannot read minds – so when I became state senator, my first priority was to travel around our district to get a sense of what you believe the legislature should be doing. We covered a lot of topics, from climate policy to transportation and the state’s res...

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