(BRANDON HANSEN/Managing Editor for the Chewelah Independent)
I’m not sure why the legislators of the Washington 7th District put up with me, but they do. Representative Joel Kretz even hopped on a spinning flower-printed lounge chair at Jean Bean’s Coffee in Chewelah during their annual legislator’s media tour two weeks ago.
Regardless of your political leanings, this kind of access to lawmakers is telling. I can meet my representatives in a casual coffee shop setting and talk politics with them freely. In other forms of government, we’d just have a photo of our leader on the wall and a stern reaction from a military person if we did something wrong.
It’s something we shouldn’t take for granted, nor should we take our role in government for granted. As people, we should always be communicating with our reps, giving them suggestions and telling them what we’re experiencing. The squeaky wheel gets the oil.
So without further delay, here are my friendly suggestions for our legislators to work on next year.
JOEL KRETZ NEEDS TO SEND OUT HIS RANCH CALENDARS TO EVERYONE
Last year, State Rep. Joel Kretz handed out calendars featuring photography from his ranch in Okanogan County. The calendar found its way on to my wall and I have never gotten more compliments about a calendar than that one. This year? No calendar. I’m not sure if Washington had to make cuts in its budget somewhere to make up for the money they’re spending elsewhere and that means no more lawmaker calendars, but I’m super disappointed. That was the calendar I used to write down the things I had to attend, otherwise face the wrath of my fiancée for missing it. It was the most important calendar I owned.
WE NEED A BIGFOOT TASK FORCE
I know we have predator problems, wildlife problems, wildfire problems, farming problems, school problems and water problems, but let’s be honest, we can’t solve all of those in one day. What we can solve is the discovery of Bigfoot. Stevens County appears to be a hotbed of activity for these creatures, and I feel our lawmakers should establish some kind of special search force. The more black vans, black helicopters and official-looking government jackets the better.
If we find Bigfoot first in Stevens County, you can just open up your wallets for those sweet tourism bucks from everyone who wants to come into the area to get a look at a real, live Bigfoot. If we do find Bigfoot, we should make him the Grouch of Kettle Falls, the next mayor of Chewelah (after Dorothy, we’re not advocating replacing Dorothy with Bigfoot) and perhaps make Bigfoot the automatic winner of Chewelah’s Got Talent.
GET SOME GRANT MONEY FOR AN OLD-TIMEY RAILROAD
Many people these days talk about the wonder of high-speed rail. A new rail system would be awesome in Stevens County, but does it have to be high speed? I don’t need to get to Spokane traffic any faster. Instead of high speed, could we go to steam speed? An old-timey railroad with a conductor holding an old-looking pocket watch would be perfect. Make sure each train station is built on a dirt road, and be sure to have the train get robbed by bandits every once in a while.
Make sure the train is never on time, billows more smoke than the BBQ behind the Jenkins High School football field south endzone and costs like a nickel to get on.
DO WE HAVE AN OFFICIAL FLAG OF THE THREE COUNTIES?
Am I missing something here? Is there a way our lawmakers can get the official flags of Ferry, Stevens and Pend O’Reille County? It would be a lot better than that tacky “509” tattoo everyone gets. What if phones go out of style in 20 years? You’ll be an old person telling everybody what VHS tapes were used for and that time you had to punch in 509 to make a long distance call. We really need some nice flags with like mountains, big pickups, chainsaws and some Busch Lite cans. The 51st State people have a flag, and they’re not even a state right now.
PASS MORE TAX INCENTIVES FOR MOVIE COMPANIES
Can we get more movie companies out here in Stevens County? We could get a zombie movie filmed at the old Magnesite Plant. The new Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movie could be filmed on one of the burn scars. The new Kevin Costner western could be filmed here also. In fact, just get Kevin Costner to come to Stevens County. That guy is my hero. Speaking of heros, why hasn’t there been a super hero movie in the area? You’re telling me there are Superman movies with the town “Smallville” and no one though about Stevens County?!
MAKE DECLARATIONS FOR MORE STEVENS COUNTY HOLIDAYS
We really need some more local holidays like “Tax return day time to buy that sweet 80s Camaro sitting out in the neighbors field” day or “It doesn’t hurt my face stepping outside anymore because Winter is over” day. It would take a simple stroke of the pen from lawmakers for it to happen!
So there you have it! You can take these ideas or leave them. Because at the end of the day, lawmakers are the ones who make the laws, and newspaper editors are the ones full of hot air and little substance!