Whirlwind week in Olympia for Quincy’s Ybarra
Some big decisions loom ahead for Alex Ybarra, Quincy’s newly minted state representative.
Having been sworn in on Jan. 14 by Grant County Judge David Estudillo in Ephrata, Ybarra found himself thrust into a hectic first week.
“Got [to Olympia] Tuesday morning, worked all the way through Saturday night, took it easy on Sunday and watched football, and back at it today,” he said on Jan. 21. “Meetings all day long, but it’s a lot of fun.”
Ybarra likened it to getting in a racecar going 150 mph.
“It’s really scary the first four, five laps, because you’re not used to going at that speed,” he said. “But after the third or fourth day, you’re going, ‘OK, not as bad as I thought it was.’ You get used to the speed.”
If the busyness does not let up, though, he might need to surrender his seat on the state’s Hispanic Affairs board and the Quincy School District board.
Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Ybarra, a Republican, to the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs in 2016.
“It’s looking like [being a representative] is a full-time job and then some, so I might have to give up my position” on the Hispanic Affairs board, Ybarra said. The same belief applies to the school board position, for which he won a four-year term in 2017.
“I would hate to not be at the school board meetings to get things done,” he said. “Without one of the board members there, they have to do extra work, so if it makes sense for me to leave the board, then I will have to do that so they can hire somebody right away.”
He will remain employed with the Grant County PUD, which has given Ybarra a leave of absence. He’s working about 15 hours a week for the PUD, mostly on weekends, he said.
To continue as a legislator, Ybarra will have to run for election in November 2019. For his first year in office, he said he hopes to contribute toward solving the statewide shortage of teachers. He is a member of four legislative committees: education; consumer protection and business; appropriations; and civil rights and judiciary.
“We have to make decisions that affect everybody in our district, so I want to make sure I do enough homework,” Ybarra said. “Make sure the decision I make will really support the people of District 13. Make sure you know what that bill says, so if there’s language in there that might hurt the district, you can catch it before you vote on it.”
By Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Alex Ybarra receives committee assignments
On Jan. 16 on the House floor, Rep. Alex Ybarra, R-Quincy, was ceremonially sworn into office by Associate Chief Justice Charles W. Johnson. The newest representative for the 13th legislative district was selected by commissioners from Grant, Kittitas, Lincoln and Yakima counties to fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Cle Elum.
“It’s a tremendous honor and responsibility to do this kind of work. I was born and raised in Quincy. I love the people and the district,” said Ybarra. “It’s incredible to realize I have the opportunity to make a real difference for them in Olympia. My focus will always be on them and how government can do a better job providing solutions and outcomes on issues they care about the most.”
House Republican leadership appointed the freshman legislator to sit on the House Appropriations Committee. Along with considering bills with large budget impacts, the committee is tasked with the critical responsibility of reviewing and approving the state’s 2019-21 operating budget.
House Republican Caucus Leader Rep. J.T. Wilcox says Ybarra’s appointment will help strengthen the work of Republicans this session.
“I am very happy to have such a highly qualified person joining our caucus. After reviewing Alex’s biography and meeting with him, I decided to add him to the most demanding committee in the House, Appropriations. Ybarra’s talents will make an immediate impact,” said Wilcox, R-Yelm.
Ybarra will also serve on the House Civil Rights and Judiciary, and Consumer Protection and Business committees. The Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee oversees a broad range of legal issues including anti-discrimination measures, constitutional law, torts, probate, commercial law and civil commitments. And, along with several other responsibilities, the Consumer Protection and Business Committee reviews financial service matters, insurance, and consumer protection service issues.
“I’m humbled to have been selected for each of these committees. Now, the real work begins. Today was my first full day. I’m looking forward to digging into the issues and being an effective voice for the people I represent,” continued Ybarra.
His email address is Alex.Ybarra@leg.wa.gov.
The 105-day legislative session began Jan. 14 and is scheduled to end April 28.
By Washington State House Republicans