By Peter Abbarno
20th District Rep. R-Centralia
If history is any indication, less than 40% of Washington voters will participate in the November 2023 Elections. In the last local election year, only 38% of Lewis County voters cast a ballot. Will this year be different?
‘All politics is local’ is a phrase commonly used to emphasize the importance of local issues and local elections. As a former Centralia City Councilmember, I can assure you that casting your ballot this year will have a huge impact on your city, school district, PUD, and Port elections.
How are your local roads? Are your streets safer than 4 years ago? Is your power grid more stable and reliable? Is your port creating jobs and economic development? How is your children’s education? Many of these issues are what I consider “kitchen table” issues. While the media may focus on the ‘big story’ or some fringe issues, Washingtonians are sitting around their tables talking about the price of gas, heating and utility costs, crime in their neighborhoods, and local schools.
As your state representative, but more importantly as a local business owner, husband, and father, I consider these issues on a daily basis. Real Solutions are not always easy. We need leaders that are willing to work on tough issues, communicate, collaborate, and hold steadfast to the values of their community.
Sadly, Americans are struggling because of bad policies and with their faith in our government. A recent Pew Research poll from September 2023 indicated just 4% of adults say the political system is working very well. And, nearly 3 out of 10 voters express unfavorable views of both major political parties. That is likely the reason a majority of Americans continue to support term limits.
I have been mentioning ‘kitchen table’ issues for many years. It is the reason I ran in 2015 for the Centralia City Council – to help improve my community for my children so one day they will have the opportunity to live, work, and raise a family here. To work real solutions for the problems working families face every day.
Too many politicians would rather fight and call each other names, than find real solutions. Like many of you, we don’t want to constantly hear personal attacks. We want to hear policy debates, as well as policy collaborations. Today, research finds that 86% of Americans say, “Republicans and Democrats are more focused on fighting each other than on solving problems.” Pew Research found that 66% of Americans say not enough attention is given to local policies and issues. Maybe this is partially the fault of the media and partially the candidates. But, if you are a candidate running in 2023, local voters want to know about local issues and solutions; and want to support candidates that can both represent their values while at the same time find some common ground.
This year’s ballot has a lot of great local candidates and I look forward to listening to the debates and conversations. I congratulate every candidate for making the decision to run for public office. It is not easy to put your name, ideas, and reputation on the ballot. I look forward to working with our new and re-elected community leaders and I appreciate their commitment to service.
For more information about registering to vote, your ballot, or candidates, visit www.sos.wa.gov. To learn more about the legislative process, getting involved, or sharing your policy ideas, visit my official website at www.RepresentativePeterAbbarno.com.
Rep. Peter Abbarno represents the 20th Legislative District and is an attorney with Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP.