To speak for individual liberties, restrained, responsible government
- Will advocate lower taxes, greater freedom, rights guaranteed by constitution
- Issue-oriented caucus will be voice for life, liberty and prosperity
- Will ensure conservative voice is heard
OLYMPIA – Freedom is the watchword for the new Senate Freedom Caucus, announced Thursday by lawmakers to advocate for lower taxes, responsible state spending, individual liberties and a government that gets out of the people’s way.
The new caucus will advocate for core conservative principles. Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, said the Freedom Caucus will tackle big-picture issues that often cannot be encompassed by broader political caucuses that must represent a wide variety of views.
“We need to take a stand for lower taxes, less government regulation and respect for people’s constitutional rights,” Ericksen said. “Some of us wish to speak more strongly about these issues than others. The people need a voice for freedom in Olympia, and that voice will be the Freedom Caucus.”
The Freedom Caucus, announced at a news conference Thursday, will put its emphasis on the direction and role of government. Key issues include the rights of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution, with a particular emphasis on the economic freedoms that underpin the free-market economy. Top concerns include the sweeping agenda being pushed by Gov. Jay Inslee and majority Democrats this year as the public is excluded from Olympia by COVID precautions. Also of concern are arbitrary edicts from the governor’s office regarding the shutdown of the Washington economy, and the lack of public input into decision-making.
Founding members of the Freedom Caucus are Ericksen, Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, and Sen. Jim McCune, R-Graham.
“Never has the need for a Freedom Caucus been so great,” Fortunato said. “Legislative Democrats this year are pushing one of the most radical agendas in Washington history. While the public is forced to stay home, a narrow band of urban activists are pushing an income tax, measures to increase gas prices, and legislation to erode the people’s rights under the Constitution. Rather than working to make these bad ideas somewhat better, we need to draw the line and make ourselves heard. We don’t want to throw a drowning person a life preserver. We want to pull people out of the water.”
Padden said, “During these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever that we stand up for the people of this state. They want their right to petition their government, speak their mind, protect their families and communities, and make a living to be defended. They want their rights to initiative and referendum kept intact. They need relief from crushing taxes, and stifling duplicative regulations. More than anything else, they want their elected officials to hear them and reflect their will.
“It is my hope that, through the Freedom Caucus, we will be able to focus like a laser on these issues and move the ball further down the field towards liberty and justice.”