Writer's Note: I did a blow-by-blow analysis of both Overstreet's and Buys' legislative record on my blog, The Political Junkie and decided to share them with the NWCitizen readers as well. I hope to do one for the Democratic candidates in the next week.
Recently, I did a blow-by-blow report on Rep. Jason Overstreet's record. If you haven't seen it, you really should. Now I take an equally close look at Rep. Vincent Buys' time in Olympia.
In most cases, he votes lockstep with his seatmate, Jason Overstreet. They both voted against protecting our children from contagious diseases by lowering the immunization requirements for schoolchildren (ESB5005). They both voted to allow toxic toys to be imported into our state (EHB2821). They both voted for intrusive government telling you what gender of person you are allowed to marry (SB6239).
But what helped break Rep. Vincent Buys out of the mold was his brutal record on voting against women and children. He voted against allowing low-income women on Medicaid to have access to federal family planning dollars (SB 5912). It was unclear if he voted against it because it was birth control, or because it helped the poor.
He was one of the extreme few who voted against a bipartisan foster care program targeted at reducing crime (HB1128). Again, voting from a super-minority, he voted against creating a work group within our educational system to combat bullying and harassment (HB1163). At a time with soaring student suicides, the fact that he would turn his back on our vulnerable students is appalling.
Personally, the most shocking vote I found was Rep. Buys shielding child abusers (HB2331). I tried to figure out how to write about this in a more neutral manner, but this was really disappointing. Rep. Buys voted against a bill that would have made ignoring child abuse or neglect a crime. Usually these requirements apply to law enforcement personnel and teachers, but this bill would have expanded that definition to include some employees of non-profits and for-profit companies. This straightforward and decent proposal would have saved lives. Period. It would have helped change the culture of silence surrounding child abuse and made a giant stride toward justice, and Rep. Buys voted it down.
So what did he do? What did Rep. Buys think was worth his time? In his whole two years, with two sessions and several special sessions, Rep. Buys has managed to pass exactly two bills that he sponsored, and one was partially vetoed. The bill (HB1467) that tackled the definition of a water well seemed innocent enough. His other bill (SHB1538) dealt with tracking livestock health inspections and passed with bipartisan support. The rest of his legislative efforts are, frankly, pretty dull. License plate registration, motorcycle theft, and water transfer protocols.
During his entire time in Olympia, he did not sponsor a single jobs bill and he voted several of them down. I'm just left with a quote from a great letter to the editor in the Cascadia Weekly recently, “At a time when we desperately needed someone with sway and influence to bring resources to our community, Rep. Buys voted against infrastructure bills, job bills, grants for early education, funding for schools, funding for roads and funding for a whole range of basic functions of government. Our communities needed a champion and instead, they got a bench-warmer.”
This November, help elect a champion. Vote Matt Krogh for State Representative!