News Press Releases

Leslie Lewallen Discusses Bridge and Timber for WA-03

CAMAS, WA – On Thursday, May 16th, The Daily News published an article by Brennen Kauffman that highlighted the different positions for each candidate in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District race. The disastrous collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore Harbor has put renewed attention on the bridges of Southwest Washington. Leslie Lewallen, as a voting member of the Regional Transportation Commission from 2022-2024, had a front-row seat on this issue, and has been a strong voice for the residents impacted most by the I-5 bridge replacement project. 

Specifically, Leslie has pushed back on bureaucrats’ repeated attempts to tie funding for the bridge to the addition of a light rail system. Washington voters have repeatedly voted down light rail, and the Coast Guard has cautioned against the plan because it pushes the bridge too low in the water. 

When discussing the Lewis and Clark Bridge, Leslie emphasized the importance of completing studies to determine where the bridge is the most vulnerable, and use those results to determine the next steps to mitigating those vulnerabilities. Leslie has also advocated for Southwest Washington to receive a larger share of Washington’s infrastructure monies: “King County gets more of the lion’s share of attention, while down here we have some very critical needs that could use both federal and state tax dollars.”

Beyond the bridges, Leslie has been a vocal proponent of Washington’s timber industry, both for the jobs it provides and the role responsible tree harvesting plays in the overall health of the area’s forests. There has to be a balance between maintaining our forests and keeping them accessible to the public for recreational use. For Leslie, the Nakia Fire underscored the importance of maintaining the forests through the removal of underbrush and older trees – all of which provide fuel for catastrophic forest fires –‘“There’s a liberal misconception that a hands-off approach is the best way to preserve and protect our environment. That’s not based on science or what we see at the local level,’ Lewallen said.”

As the Representative for WA-03, Leslie will work every day to ensure that Southwest Washington’s vital bridges meet the region’s needs, and that the timber industry is supported.