State Senator Drew MacEwen (LD-35) joined us for this week’s Newsmaker Interview. Serving as the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment, Energy, and Technology Committee, MacEwen discusses his strategy for the 2024 legislative session, aiming to thwart misguided Democrat proposals, including bans on natural gas and rent control. Despite Republicans being in the minority, he expresses hope for bipartisan collaboration on key issues such as public safety and affordability. A Congressional candidate, he outlines his priorities if elected to Congress, focusing on national security, budget reform, and border security.
- What are your goals for the 2024 legislative session? Play defense. I will be working to, once again, block a host of bad legislation. The Democrat proposals are so out of touch – whether it is banning natural gas, banning gas powered lawn equipment, rent control, or raising taxes – the Democrat majority continues to make WA less safe and less affordable. I will do my best to stand in their way of implementing these policies.
- Given that Republicans are in the minority, do you see much hope in working with Democrats on any policy changes this session, such as improving public safety or making our state more affordable? Recently, the Democrat leadership signaled they do not intend to do more on public safety as changes were recently made and they want to see how that works out. They are so detached from reality on this issue. Further, they have signaled their intent to increase REET taxes and rent control. As we know those two items do not make housing more affordable. Being a short session, they are focused on appeasing their base and not on working across the aisle on good public policy. Having said that, as I always have done, I will endeavor to look for opportunities to work on good policy with members of both parties.
- In what ways has your experience in the State Legislature prepared you to serve in Congress? It has been extremely beneficial. One learns how to effectively legislate and how to be successful when not in the majority. I have done that by forming relationships with members on both sides and in both chambers. Not every success is with a bill. If one knows how to work through the budget positive things can happen. Relationships are huge, and I think that is something lacking at the federal level. I have no illusions, I am not going to walk into DC and change it overnight, but I will work hard and effectively for my district by leaning on the experience gained at the state level.
- As a member of Congress, what are three issues or policy concerns which you would prioritize? My top priorities are national security (our military has been neglected, especially the Navy), budget reform (we have not passed an actual budget in over 20 years), and border security. We cannot even begin to truly reform immigration until we get our border secure.
- How crucial do you believe it is for a representative of the 6th Congressional District to come from a rural area rather than the urban part of the district? Very crucial. For far too long the hard-working families of the Olympic Peninsula have been left behind. When I ran for my State House seat in 2012 a Republican had not held it since 1932. I won by connecting with voters who felt their voices had not been heard. I will do the same in the 6th congressional district.
- Which political figure has most inspired your approach to governance? President Reagan. He led with an optimistic viewpoint and surrounded himself with policy experts. We still see many examples today of the impact his leadership had on our nation. He was also fond of the notion that if the right thing is getting done do not worry about who gets the credit. Just get it done.