Ritzville, Wash. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today traveled to Walla Walla, Connell, and Ritzville to meet with community leaders, high school students, local business owners, and host a Farm Bill town hall. Details and photos from these public events, as well as a preview of the remainder of this week’s schedule, are below.
Meeting with State Trooper Dean Atkinson Jr.
This morning, Cathy sat down with State Trooper Dean Atkinson Jr. from Walla Walla. Trooper Atkinson was horrifically shot last year in the line of duty. Despite being critically injured, Trooper Atkinson managed to drive himself to the hospital where medical staff saved his life. After several surgeries and a difficult road to recovery, Trooper Atkinson is back on patrol serving the people of Eastern Washington. Cathy presented Trooper Atkinson with a flag flown over the United States Capitol in honor of his unwavering bravery and commitment to our communities.
Hearing From Walla Walla Community Leaders
Following Cathy’s meeting with Trooper Atkinson, she met with a group of Walla Walla community leaders at Carte Coffee to discuss issues affecting the Walla Walla Valley, including: the flow of illegal drugs plaguing the community, housing shortages, the need to expand broadband, and how she can help deliver results for families in Walla Walla. Leaders in attendance included County Commissioner Todd Kimball, Port Commissioner Ron Dunning, Walla Walla City Administrator Elizabeth Chamberlain, Walla Walla Police Chief Chris Buttice, Walla Walla School Superintendent Wade Smith, College Place Mayor Norma Hernandez, as well as representatives from the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation, Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, Community in Schools, Makers Box.
Honoring Robert “Bob” Allen Klicker
At the meeting with Walla Walla community leaders, Cathy presented the Klicker family with a framed Congressional Record honoring the life of Robert “Bob” Allen Klicker who passed away last September. Bob was the third-generation owner of Klicker’s Strawberry Acres in Walla Walla, which is now operated with the help of his son Kirk (middle) and grandson Nick (right). Bob was the definition of a hardworking American, passionate family man, and inspiring leader in his community whose legacy will never be forgotten. Throughout the years, Bob was a trusted friend and advisor to Cathy who was honored to celebrate his wonderful life.
Visiting Walla Walla High School
Next, Cathy visited Walla Walla High School where she met with a group of AP Government and Politics students and other seniors. She took time to share her role in Congress on behalf of Eastern Washington and hear students’ concerns on topics like closing the digital divide, the importance of the Columbia River Treaty, and the effect TikTok is having on mental health.
Touring Corps of Recovery and Discovery (C.O.R.D.) Transitional Housing for Veterans
Later in the morning, Cathy stopped by the state-of-the-art Corps of Recovery and Discovery (C.O.R.D.) Transitional Housing for Veterans in Walla Walla. This home offers excellent care to our veterans in the Walla Walla and College Place communities by providing person-centered recovery plans, individual case management with community agencies, skills training with the goal of obtaining permanent housing, and various recreation programs. During her visit, Cathy met with employees of the facility and some of our nation’s heroes who benefit from its services.
Stopping By Taqueria Yungapeti
Next, Cathy made her way to the family-owned and operated Taqueria Yungapeti, which has been serving the Walla Walla community for 19 years. She caught up with the restaurant’s owners, the Reyes family, and their hardworking team. Like many small businesses across Washington state, the restaurant went through some uncertain times during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, things have recovered and business is booming once again!
Hearing From Connell Community Leaders
Cathy traveled to Connell this afternoon, which now falls in the 5th Congressional District after redistricting last year, where she held a roundtable to meet with local community leaders. They discussed a number of issues facing the community like the uptick in criminal activity, food shortages and supply chain issues, workforce shortages, and so much more. Leaders in attendance included School Superintendent Jim Jacobs, Chamber Director Lauren Smith, Police Chief Chris Lee, Food Bank Director Jamie Utecht, Wheat Grower Board Member Ben Cochrane, L&L Ag Production Manager Kerrick Bauman, and others.
Hearing From Eastern Washington Farmers and Ranchers
Cathy ended her day in Ritzville, another new addition to the district, by hosting another Farm Bill town hall to get some more input from farmers and ranchers on what they think should be included in the upcoming legislation. As previously noted, this is the bill Congress works on every five years to support agriculture across the country. The community highlighted the importance of crop insurance during drought conditions, called for reforming the permitting process to expand fertilizer production in the United States, and expressed their determination to protect the Lower Snake River dams.
Tomorrow’s Event Schedule
The remainder of the week, Cathy will be in Spokane, Tumtum, and Wellpinit. She has released the following schedule of events for planning purposes only.
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
12:30 PM Meet with Broadband Advisory Group
3:00 PM Meet with Congressional Youth Advisory Group
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