Elect Peter Abbarno

Homeless Students Falling Through Cracks

In 2018, Senate Bill 6560, Ensuring that no youth is discharged from a public system of care into homelessness, passed unanimously (House and Senate) in a strong bipartisan commitment to reducing homelessness among our most vulnerable population.

According to a recent report from Komo News regarding young people living on the street, Seven out of 10 young people released from state-funded programs in 2015 came out of behavioral health- the rest from criminal justice and child welfare, according to a new state report. One year later, one-quarter of the youths were found to be in unstable housing and homeless.

Releasing young adults into an unstable environment puts them at significant risk for physical assault, sexual assault, robbery and sexual and commercial victimization, the report says. There are real doubts whether the Department of Commerce, Office of Homeless Youth, and Governor have the right approach.

This is heartbreaking! Our State must focus on preventing students and our youth from becoming homeless and providing opportunities to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. This is not about giving a fish- we need to be teaching them how to fish and providing them and families the skills to be successful. Preventing homelessness is not only the right thing to do morally and ethically, but it is the most fiscally responsible approach.

The latest reports indicate a failure by the State to protect children and families, and show a lack of commitment to reducing homelessness. The same-old Olympia big-government approach does not work- and most certainly is not in the best interest of at-risk children. The state needs to do a better job supporting early identification and early intervention.

Solutions must include building strong families, building stable homes, and building programs that provide opportunities for every student and every family to be successful. The State is releasing these children without the necessary life skills and in unstable environments.

Peter Abbarno, candidate for State House in the 20th Legislative District, business owner, attorney, and Centralia Mayor Pro Tem.
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Bipartisan Funding Bill for Chehalis Basin Flood Mitigation Passes House!

House Bill 1154, sponsored by Rep. Richard DeBolt, passed virtually unanimously on Sunday night in a strong bipartisan manner.

The legislation authorizes the State Finance Committee to issue up to $700 million in general obligation bonds to finance Chehalis Basin flood damage reduction and aquatic species habitat restoration projects and create the Chehalis Basin Taxable Account. The bill moves to the State Senate!

Catastrophic flooding is one of the most important issues facing our community in Lewis County and throughout the Chehalis Basin. Past floods have cost our community financially and emotionally; and the threat of future flooding holds our community back from reaching its full potential.

Although it has been over 10 years since the last catastrophic event, the effects of the past flooding and fear of future flooding have negatively impacted our region. This funding will guarantee work continues on small- and large-scale flood mitigation projects throughout the basin. Thank you Rep. Richard DeBolt and the Chehalis Basin Board.

Peter Abbarno, candidate for State House in the 20th Legislative District, business owner, attorney, and Centralia Mayor Pro Tem.

In 2007, the catastrophic flooding event in the Chehalis Basin caused $9 billion in economic impact to the state, including devastating the agricultural industry in the area and shutting down Interstate 5 and the main rail line between Mexico and Canada, and brought trauma and tragedy to the community. In 2016, the Legislature established the Office of the Chehalis Basin (Office) in the Department of Ecology (Ecology). Its purpose is to aggressively pursue implementation of an integrated strategy and to administer funding for long-term flood damage reduction and aquatic species restoration in the Chehalis River Basin (Basin).

I strongly support this long-term vision and commitment to our community. This is a very smart investment when you consider the last flood cost the community $9 billion and it is only a matter of time before the next catastrophic flood. This shows a strong bipartisan commitment to funding a comprehensive solution.

The City of Centralia, City of Chehalis, Aberdeen, and many other communities have already benefitted from funding for small flood mitigation projects and this legislation helps guarantee the work continues. Home owners, land owners, and businesses need to know their family, property, and business is safe from flooding, destruction, and ruin.

Peter Abbarno, candidate for State House in the 20th Legislative District, business owner, attorney, and Centralia Mayor Pro Tem.

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Ghost Bills: End the Practice.

Legislative attempts to end the practice of title-only bills died in Legislature without even public hearings. Title-only bills contain a title or intent statement—but no content. Legislators amend the bills with text later, often when it is too late for the public to review or comment.

Title-Only or Ghost Bills don’t hold the Legislature accountable to the taxpayers!

Legislation to end title-only bills ‘died’ in the Legislature and became ‘ghosts’ themselves. Open and transparent government should be the hallmark of our legislative process in Olympia. ‘Title Only’ bills are the opposite of open and transparent and, last year, were introduced to advance a very unpopular high-tax big-government agenda. I support efforts to make the legislative process more open and transparent.

Peter Abbarno, candidate for State House in the 20th Legislative District, business owner, attorney, and Centralia Mayor Pro Tem
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Bipartisan Bill Supports Historic Downtowns in Lewis and Cowlitz Counties

House Bill 2868 recently passed the State House with unanimous Bipartisan support. The legislation, Sponsored by 19th Legislative District Representatives Walsh and Blake, is very important to small and rural communities because it encourages investment and reinvestment into historic downtown properties.

Centralia Downtown Historic District

Historic downtowns are a vital part of the local economy and way of life in many parts of rural Washington. I work in historic downtown Centralia in the historic Masonic Building. I live in a historic neighborhood in Centralia. Preserving, enhancing, and encouraging investment in historic downtown communities is important to any diverse economic development plan.

Peter Abbarno, Business Owner, Attorney, Centralia Mayor Pro Tem, Candidate for State House in the 20th Legislative District
Peter Abbarno in front of his law office, Althasuer Rayan Abbarno, in historic downtown Centralia.

According to House Bill 2868, Rehabilitated historic properties receiving Rehabilitated historic properties receiving special valuation for purposes of property taxation are eligible for two seven-year extensions of the special valuation if the property is located in a city that is listed as a distressed area by the Employment Security Department (ESD) and has a population of less than 20,000. This would include many cities in the 20th Legislative District, including Centralia and Chehalis in Lewis County.

Some properties that are currently receiving this tax preference are nearing the expiration of the exemption. I know there are many historic property owners haven’t recouped their investment and this would help them, and organizations like the Centralia Downtown Association and Chehalis Renaissance, continue revitalizing their building and revitalizing our historic commercial and residential buildings. I am very glad to see the bipartisan leadership on this issue to support our historic communities.

Peter Abbarno, Business Owner, Attorney, Centralia Mayor Pro Tem, Candidate for State House in the 20th Legislative District
Historic Downtown Centralia with the Lewis and Clark Hotel on the Left and the Masonic Building with law office of Althauser Rayan Abbarno on the Right

Taxes going UP again for many Washington businesses

February 9- Last year, the majority in Olympia raised the Business and Occupation Tax (B&O) on businesses like mine and more than 85,000 others. I was a very vocal opponent of the tax increase- testifying before the State Senate with the Association of Washington Businesses and being interviewed by King5 News.

Centralia attorney Peter Abbarno joins AWB Government Affairs Director Clay Hill to testify in opposition to Senate Bill 5129, which would increase taxes on employers.(2019) (Photo: Brian Mittge/AWB)

This past week, the majority party passed a tax increase to 4,400 more businesses; with an estimated impact on over 450,000 Washington employees. And, once again, Abbarno is in opposition of this regressive funding mechanism that disproportionately impacts small and family-owned businesses in our communities.

Investments in Workforce Development and creating more opportunities for higher education is a very important goal; however, it is fiscally irresponsible to impose tax increases through a regressive funding mechanism at a time when the State is experiencing revenue growth from existing sources.

Peter Abbarno, business owner, attorney, Centralia Mayor Pro Tem, and Candidate for State House in the 20th Legislative District

The legislation, ESSB 6492, passed both chambers along party lines (with a number of Democrats joining Republicans) in opposition of the tax increase and expansion. The tax increase and expansion comes in response to higher-than-expected costs for the Washington College Grant, which lawmakers created through last year’s Workforce Education Investment Act. The program was created to offer free college by paying full tuition and fees.

Peter Abbarno speaking at the 2017 Centralia – Chehalis Chamber of Commerce Rob Fuller Scholarship Luncheon about educational opportunities. Peter is also President of the Centralia College Foundation.

Effective and sustainable investments should be the hallmark of legislation coming from Olympia. There are few better investments than education and workforce development, but there are ways to improve education and expand workforce development without punishing local businesses. It is about solutions and doing the hard work to find them. That is what I will bring to Olympia.

The Business and Occupation Tax being increased and expanded is a tax on the gross revenue of a business- meaning government has their hand in the pocket of small and family owned businesses before they even see a dollar. The State should be prioritizing and using the ample existing sources.

The voters of Washington, and most certainly the 20th Legislative District, overwhelmingly voiced their ‘tax fatigue’ and rejected virtually every tax advisory vote on the 2019 ballot and passed limitation on car tab fees. When elected to the State House in the 20th Legislative District, I will carry that message to Olympia- Loud and Clear- our families and businesses have had enough of irresponsible taxing and spending.

Peter Abbarno, business owner, attorney, Centralia Mayor Pro Tem, and Candidate for State House in the 20th Legislative District
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Lewis County Law Enforcement Team ‘Polar Plunges’ for Special Olympics Athletes

February 8 – The Lewis County Law Enforcement Team plunged into the Puget Sound to raise money and awareness for Lewis County Special Olympics and Special Olympics Athletes in our community.

Peter Abbarno and the 2020 Polar Plunge Team at the Polar Plunge in Tacoma

The Lewis County Law Enforcement Team has been raising awareness and money for local athletes for many years. It is truly an honor to be part of the Polar Plunge Team and the Lewis County Special Olympics events. I want to thank all the donors, volunteers, participants, and organizers; especially Police Officers Ruben Ramirez and Steven Summers- Co-Chairs of the Centralia Police Officers Association.

Peter Abbarno, Business Owner, Attorney, Centralia Mayor Pro Tem, and Candidate for State House in the 20th Legislative District
The Lewis County Special Olympics Polar Plunge Team in 42 degree water to raise money and awareness for Special Olympic Athletes.

This year, the Team raised over $4,000.00 for Special Olympics at the time of the Polar Plunge event, held at Owens Beach in Tacoma by the Special Olympics of Washington. There is still time to donate at https://impact.sowa.org/fundraiser/2554300. The Team will begin planning the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run, a run from Napavine to Centralia occurring in Late-May.

The Lewis County Law Enforcement Team Polar Plunges to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics athletes in Lewis County and beyond!

I volunteer and support Lewis County Special Olympics because I love that the organization highlights athletic abilities (not disabilities) and provides opportunities for local athletes to compete. Inclusion and Accessibility is very important to me and my family, and the hundreds of people diving in the Sound. I have always wanted to do more than “talk the talk” and one way I can do that for our local Special Olympics athletes is to raise money and awareness so they have every opportunity to fulfil their dreams.

Peter Abbarno, Business Owner, Attorney, Centralia Mayor Pro Tem, and Candidate for State House in the 20th Legislative District
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Flooding; Homelessness; Family Wage Jobs; and Taxes discussed in Kelso

February 7- Peter Abbarno, candidate for State House in the 20th Legislative District, joined Cowlitz Citizen Update host Spencer Boudreau in Kelso for a discussion about many local issues important to local residents. Cowlitz Citizens Update is Cowlitz County’s premier media outlet, offering local programming, aerial vide, and livestreams featuring local news and local topics.

Abbarno and Boudreau discuss flooding on the Cowlitz River with a local Kelso Resident

Flooding is a huge problem for many communities in the 20th Legislative District. Centralia-Chehalis; Kelso; and Kalama all have uniquely different flooding issues that cause substantial financial damage- and the stigma of flooding holds back the communities from reaching their full economic potential. To find solutions, it is important for a candidate, and elected official, to be engaged in the community and communicating with the people most impacted.

Peter Abbarno, Business owner, Attorney, Centralia Mayor Pro Tem, and Candidate for the State House in the 20th Legislative District
Abbarno discusses Flooding of the Cowlitz River with a local Kelso Resident.

Abbarno and Boudreau also discussed the struggles addressing homelessness in Longview, and the need for Cowlitz County to attract family wage jobs in the manufacturing and natural resource based economies.

There is a strong history and tradition in Cowlitz County, and throughout SW Washington, of natural resource based jobs in agriculture and timber. Unfortunately, Seattle based politicians aren’t concerned with what happens to our industries outside of the shadow of the space needle. They have overregulated or out-regulated local jobs. I strongly believe our communities deserve the opportunity to create family wage jobs.

Peter Abbarno, Business owner, Attorney, Centralia Mayor Pro Tem, and Candidate for the State House in the 20th Legislative District
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Abbarno Meets with Kalama City Councilors to Discuss Local Issues and Solutions

February 7- Peter Abbarno spent the day in Cowlitz County with local community members and Kalama City Councilors Matthew Merz and Steve Kallio. Both Merz and Kallio have endorsed Abbarno’s campaign for State Representative in the 20th Legislative District to replace the retiring Richard DeBolt.

Abbarno (center) discusses important local issues with Kalama City Councilors Matthew Merz (left) and Steve Kallio (right).

I am honored to have the endorsement of Matthew Merz and Steve Kallio. They are both leaders in the Kalama and Cowlitz County community. Local issues like flood mitigation, job creation, and protecting our way of life in SW Washington are not partisan issues. Solutions take communications and cooperation at all levels. My campaign is about solutions to build strong families and strong communities.

Peter Abbarno, Business Owner, Attorney, Centralia Mayor Pro Tem, and Candidate for State Representative in the 20th Legislative District.

Councilors Merz and Kallio discussed many local issues with Abbarno, including flood mitigation; infrastructure improvements; homeless policies to address drug abuse and mental illness; the creation and retention of natural resource based jobs; economic development in the City and at the Port of Kalama; and the general feeling Kalama and Cowlitz County families are over taxed and local businesses overregulated.

Contact, Donate, and Learn More About Peter Abbarno at www.ElectPeterAbbarno.com

Peter Abbarno Announces Campaign For State Representative!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE— Peter J. Abbarno, Centralia Mayor Pro Tem, local Centralia business owner, and attorney, announced he will seek election to the State House of Representatives in the 20th Legislative District.

“Richard DeBolt has served this community very well over the past 24 years and I am proud and honored to call him a friend,” said Abbarno, who was has been endorsed by both 20th Legislative District Representatives Richard DeBolt and Ed Orcutt. “I will continue to work on solutions for homelessness, lack of housing inventory, catastrophic flooding; and improving economic opportunities for working families and small businesses.”

Peter Abbarno releases Announcement Video

In 2019, Peter received the “Economic Development Leadership Award” from the Lewis County Economic Development Council, received the Human Rights Award from the Church Women United organization, and was voted by the Daily Chronicle newspaper readers as the “Best Elected Official” in Lewis County. In January 2020, Peter was named “Person of the Year” by the Daily Chronicle newspaper.

“I believe in building strong families and strong communities so that our children and future generation will have the same and more opportunities to be successful,” said Abbarno.  “I am running, as a business owner, to hold government accountable to the people and businesses they represent; I am running, as a father and husband, to make our communities more affordable for working families; and I am running, as a community member, to protect our streets so everyone feels safe.”  

In addition to his role on the Centralia City Council, Peter Abbarno is the current president of the Centralia College Foundation, member of the Lewis County Economic Development Council board, host of the AM1470 KELA “Let’s Talk About It” show, and volunteers with WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students), the Hub City Mission, Lewis County Special Olympics, Centralia Little League, Centralia Youth Soccer, and mentors at several local schools in Centralia, Chehalis, and Morton.

“Instead of solving ‘kitchen table issues’ that families and small businesses care about, the Legislature is focusing on extreme fringe issues without regard to the citizens living past the shadow of the space needle,” said Abbarno.

Peter lives in Centralia with his wife Holly (Hawes) Abbarno, a math teacher at Centralia Middle School, and their two children Sophia and Antonio, students at Edison Elementary School. The first campaign kickoff is scheduled for Wednesday, February 26, at 7:30am in the Lewis County Veterans’ Museum, Chehalis.