Posted by Tom McClellan on Apr 06, 2018
A visit from Congressman Denny Heck
Minutes of the April 4, 2018 meeting of
The Rotary Club of Clover Park
Recorded by Sydna Koontz
Edited by Tom McClellan

Meeting was called to order for the last time by President Bryan Christensen at 12:30pm. Bryan will not be able to attend our Wednesday meetings any more due to a job change.  Good luck Bryan.  In place of an invocation and in honor of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, Bryan showed a video on his life. Jenny Goodin led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Rotary Four Way Test was recited by all.

James Hairston introduced visiting Rotarian Thomas George from Sunset Rotary. Visiting guests included former club member Colleen Henry, Ingrid Willis, Joe Nichols, Lola Goodin, the Wachter crew: Neil, Kathryn, Abbey, and Ellie, Congressman, Rep. Denny Heck, his assistant Dallas Roberts, and Asst. Superintendent for Clover Park Schools, Ron Banner.

Joy Taylor broke her elbow (no robots were involved in the mishap)!

Tom McClellan reported that on
April 11 - Mary Forbes, Washington State Dept. of Veterans Affairs
April 18 - Teresa Nye, Wire Fraud Prevention
April 25 - No noon meeting as we will be delivering roses

Rose Sale - Heidi Wachter reminded everyone to turn in rose sale money. Let’s make this a banner year.

Shelter Box thank you - President Bryan read a handwritten note from Kerry Murray, President of Shelter Box USA, thanking Clover Park Rotary for our donation.

No FUN AND FINES this week, to allow for a longer program block.
Tom McClellan introduced Congressman Denny Heck (please insert bio).  Rep. Heck was elected on Nov. 6, 2012 as the first ever representative from the new 10th District (thanks to population growth in the 2010 census).  He is a native Washingtonian, a graduate of Evergreen State College.  Married for 42 years to Paula Fruci Heck, an educator who began her career as a teacher and retired as principal of Jefferson Middle School in Olympia.  He has been a member of the Rotary Club of Olympia for many years.
Rep. Heck served in the state House of Representatives for nearly a decade, and was chosen as Majority Leader before retiring in 1986.  He was one of the prime authors of the stat's historic Basic Education Act.  After retiring from the Legislature, he served as Chief of Staff to Governor Booth Gardner.
In 1993, he co-founded TVW, WAshington's public affairs TV network.  He was also an early investor in Real Networks, the digital entertainment company which pioneered streaming media on the Internet.

Congressman Heck wanted to focus his presentation on one subject — Housing in the US. As a member of the House Financial Committee the group has examined the housing market. A two-part report is being prepared. The first part looks at the causes (21-page handout was distributed). Congressman Heck went on to say that housing is increasingly unaffordable because prices and rents are rising faster than wages, and because construction is not keeping up with demand. Millions of people are struggling to meet their most basic need: a pillow, a blanket, and a roof.
What is causing the housing crisis? Four inputs: Land, Lending, Labor, and Lumber (building materials). There is a 5 million units shortfall. Why is this important? It has become a drag on our economic ecosystem, forcing people to live on the street, reducing our GDP, substantially reducing retirement savings, and limiting our ability to recover from recession. The second part of the report will cover the recommendations and should be out soon.

The rest of the meeting was devoted to Q & A.
1. Homelessness seems to be significant. How is the federal government addressing this issue? Old, unsafe public housing units are being torn down and not replaced at the same rate. There has been a cut back on federal government housing.

2. In 2013 we had a federal debt of $16.4 trillion. Now it is $21.1 trillion. What is Rep. Heck's plan for paying this back? Congressman Heck is very concerned and voted against the tax cut. We need to do better on expenditures. Procurement on
defense could be improved.

3. How do we make the playing field level when it comes to conventional and VA loans for housing? Sellers do not want to accept VA buyers. Timely appraisals are better but appraisal amounts are six months old. Congressman Heck was not aware of the concern and thanked Marie Barth for the information.

4. Mental Health seems to be focused on warehousing instead of education for independent living. What is the federal government’s role? The leaning is to allow states to assume responsibility. Congressman Heck, however, wants to make sure the dollars for running Western State Hospital continue from the federal government.

5. The role of the federal government in addressing school shootings without all the second amendment drama. Is there any work bringing together educators, students, and parents addressing safety? In the latest budget, the Center for Disease Control is allowed to study these issues. There are federal partnerships with educators, but there are 295 school districts in Washington State and each district has different needs and views. We must not ignore the impact of social media and the leverage of student use of this form of communication, i.e. to get information from the students who might know about risks and vulnerabilities, and who might be contemplating an attack.

6. State versus federal jurisdiction — example of marijuana.  26 states have adopted some form of laws ranging from adult recreational to medical use. The federal government has taken note and has structured laws on two fronts: out of the hands of minors and money out of the hands of gangsters and cartels. What about other issues other than marijuana?

7. Immigration laws — federal law versus state laws. It has always been a tough issue back to the beginning of our country’s existence. Congressman Heck feels there should be a country-wide policy.

8. Do you accept as legitimate media’s comments on Congress’s low job approval rating? Over time Congress has never been popular, no matter who the president is or what party is in control.  The public is widely divided on many issues, and so when we send our representatives to D.C. to grapple with problems, the result is necessarily and understandably messy.

9. Lobbying efforts on Congress — Congressman Heck agreed there is way too much money spent in American politics, but there are two sides to every issue and there is lots of lobbying on both sides.

$145 in the pot. Carr's employee Maria had the winning ticket but did not draw an ace. Meeting adjourned at 1:35.
And Finally...
How was your Easter?