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Exploring the outdoors feeds our souls and helps keep us healthy, when done responsibly. Yet, as we begin to once again enjoy these benefits, we must keep the wellbeing of all of us in mind.

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“May we take a moment to commemorate all the women and families in our community impacted by the missing and murdered crisis,” remarked Emily Washines during a Facebook live event on May 5, the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

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Throughout these unprecedented times, Members of Congress – like many families across the country – are facing uncertainty about returning to work. While we understand that it will take time to return to business as usual, we should be taking important steps to ensure the legislative branch remains representative of the American people.

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Our local, state, and federal governments are working together to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 and provide a bridge for our economy – and our society as a whole – to get to the other side of this outbreak.

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When Congress was first considering coronavirus relief packages, I immediately recognized the needs of our rural hospitals. While Washington began as the epicenter of the outbreak, most of the focus was on the west side of the state in heavily populated Seattle, where healthcare providers are abundant and where experts were concerned hospital bed capacity constraints could threaten the availability of care.

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Wherever we turn these days, it is nearly impossible to avoid news, information or conversation about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on all of us individually and collectively. Certainly, it has changed the way of living for every one of us, and some of these changes will likely outlive the life cycle of this virus.

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Life has temporarily changed for many during this pandemic, and as we adjust our schedules, work environments, and daily activities to keep our communities safe and flatten the curve, we must ensure that our economy can recover and that families are able to provide for their loved ones.

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In the United States and in Washington, we are fortunate to have an abundance of agriculture. We are even more fortunate to have the hard-working men and women who work to keep food on our tables. Keeping our food supply chain stable – especially in times of crisis or distress – is critical to ensuring the health and safety of all Americans.

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For generations, farmers and ranchers in Central Washington have understood that in order to continue their important job of feeding the world, we must work together to conserve one of our most precious assets: our land. Much of the land is rich with fertile soil, making it one of the most diverse and productive agricultural regions in the country, but our producers also understand that it is also rich with wildlife and natural resources that are worth protecting.

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The COVID-19 virus is one of those problems that should cause elected officials to put aside their partisan differences and work for the common good. I’m proud to say that’s precisely what is happening in Washington state.

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March is Women’s History Month, and there are a number of extraordinary women from Central Washington to celebrate. Our state has a strong history of female leaders who have paved the way for future generations and exemplified the values we hold dear.

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