Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I am Travis Couture, your new state representative serving the 35th District! The district spans Mason County, southwestern Kitsap County, and South Thurston County. If you are unsure which legislative district you live in, you can find out by entering your address into the Legislature’s District Finder tool.
During my time in the U.S. Navy, I patrolled the Pacific as a submariner while stationed with Ballistic Missile Submarines USS Alabama and USS Nebraska and successfully completed multiple strategic deterrence patrols. In 2011, I was honorably discharged.
Today I live with my family in Allyn and work at Naval Submarine Base Kitsap as a defense contractor, where I continue to assist the U.S. Navy.
2023 legislative session
We officially gaveled in for the 2023 legislative session on Jan. 9, when I had the honor of taking the oath of office.
The magnitude of the responsibilities of being a legislator really struck me when I looked up at our beautiful Capitol building and reflected on the task before us. I will work tirelessly – with honor, courage, and integrity – to protect your rights, make our communities safe, and provide our kids with a quality education.
You can watch a video of the opening day ceremony here.
House committees I am serving on
- Human Services, Youth and Early Learning (Assistant Ranking Member)
- Capital Budget
- Environment and Energy
The House Human Services, Youth, and Early Learning Committee, where I am serving as assistant ranking member, considers various issues and services affecting children and families, including early learning, child care, economic assistance programs, developmental disabilities, child and youth development, child welfare services, children’s mental health, at-risk and homeless youth, and juvenile justice.
As a father of four, I understand that family comes first, and the unique challenges parents face with education, child care, the high cost of living, and more.
I am also a strong advocate for the most vulnerable members of our society. Too often, our state government neglects the needs of kids with developmental disabilities and child abuse victims. As long as I am in Olympia, I will fight to protect their rights and ensure we prioritize their needs.
We need better outcomes for families in the 35th District and Washington state.
Serving on both the House Appropriations Committee and the House Capital Budget Committee gives me a unique opportunity to work on all things budget-related.
I am focused on identifying and reducing wasteful spending; delivering desperately needed critical infrastructure projects to our rural communities in the 35th District; promoting workforce development; and finding solutions to the housing affordability crisis.
Bills I am sponsoring this session
- House Bill 1274 would create a child malnutrition field guide for the department of children, youth, and families.
- House Bill 1537 would reduce the cost of child care centers and indoor early learning programs.
- House Bill 1671 would require candidates for public office and elected officials to be honest about their military records.
- House Bill 1672 would provide a spirits tax exemption on spirits purchased for veterans’ service organizations’ fund-raising.
Bad bills moving through the process
In the Human Services, Youth, and Early Learning Committee, we heard House Bill 1045, “a “basic income pilot program.” This program would hand taxpayer dollars, with no strings attached, to certain prioritized groups, including recently released criminals.
Republicans tried to amend this bill to exclude criminals who owe restitution to their victims, registered sex offenders, convicted kidnappers, people who aren’t paying their child support, and domestic abusers. We also tried to require recipients to work and be able to pass a drug test. Sadly, every amendment we proposed was voted down by the majority.
You can watch a video of the committee’s actions on House Bill 1045 here.
Tenino sex predator house
For the past few weeks, I’ve been fighting, along with my fellow 35th District legislators, Sen. MacEwen and Rep. Dan Griffey, to stop the transfer of five sexually violent predators (SVPs) from a secure facility on McNeil Island to a residential home in Tenino run by a private company with minimal security measures.
Thurston County officials threw a wrench in the plan for a Feb. 1 grand opening, notifying the company that existing water permits are inadequate.
I am working on introducing a House companion bill to Sen. MacEwen’s Senate Bill 5544, which would require stricter public notice requirements.
While the lack of public notice is bad enough, my primary concern is public safety. Government has a fundamental responsibility to protect the public, and we must ensure that happens.
Facilities that house dangerous criminals must have high-security standards and be held liable if they fail to protect the public. We also need more local control over the placement of these facilities to ensure they’re located far from schools, parks, and other vulnerable sites. The status quo is simply not acceptable.
I am working feverishly to craft robust legislation that would make it illegal to house sexually violent predators in our residential communities, so that Washingtonians don’t need to worry about something like this happening ever again.
Proposed airport in Thurston County
Last year, the Commercial Aviation Coordination Commission identified Thurston County as one of three potential sites for constructing a new commercial airport. The issue has generated a lot of discussion about noise, air pollution, property values, and public input, and we even saw a “No Airport” rally this week at the Capitol. Full disclosure: I am opposed to the airport. But I would like to know what you think about the issue. Please take my survey by clicking here.
How you can get involved
- My legislative website | Find my contact information, bio, news releases, email updates, videos, opinion pieces, bills, and other information.
- The Capitol Buzz | A weekday roundup of online news stories.
- The Current | An online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans.
- TVW | TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
- The Ledger | A legislative news aggregator.
- Legislature’s website | Bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature.
- State agencies | Lists of all state agencies, boards, and commissions.
- Participating in the process | Information about how you can participate in the legislative process
Please contact my office with your questions, concerns, comments, or suggestions. I am here to listen and serve you.
I will do my best to answer messages from constituents first, so please include your home address and phone number in your correspondence.
It’s an honor to serve you!