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Rep. Van de Wege holding town hall in Forks

State Representative Kevin Van De Wege is hosting a town hall on Friday, Feb. 17 in Forks. Van de Wege represents the 24th Legislative District, which covers all of Clallam County, all of Jefferson County and sections of Grays Harbor County.

The town hall begins at 5:00 p.m. at JT's Sweet Stuffs, 80 N. Forks Ave.

Discussion of the town hall took place at this week's West End Business & Professional Assoc. meeting, and at the Forks Chamber of Commerce meeting, both held Wednesday, Feb. 8. At both meetings Forks Community Hospital Administrator Camille Scott asked the members to express concern about the future of state funding for the hospital. Scott said bills currently alive in the current session of the Legislature would in future years cut over $1 million in state funding for hospital services from the budget of the Forks Community Hospital. She said if the cuts are put in place services would be gutted at the hospital and its Bogachiel Clinic, reducing the rural, critical access care hospital to being primarily an emergency services hospital.

Harry Bell, speaking for the Port Angeles Business Association at the Chamber meeting on Wednesday, addressed the issue of cut backs of logging lands sought by proponents of the Wild Olympics plan. The plan would purchase would include private lands now used for logging that would be sold by willing sellers. Bell spoke in opposition to the plan. It is expected the Wild Olympics issue will be brought up at the town hall meeting. U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Hoquiam) is a major proponent of the Wild Olympics plan, which is backed by leading environmentalist groups located in the Seattle- I-5 corridor region.

A press release from the legislator's offices describe the format of the town hall: "These town halls are an opportunity for constituents to meet with the representatives and ask questions about legislative issues or share their concerns. The events are informal, and will mostly be conducted in question-and-answer format."

Van de Wege, who is a Democrat, is splitting the hosting duties for a series of town halls around the Olympic Peninsula with state Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-24th district). Tharinger is scheduled to host a town hall at 5 p.m. on Feb. 17 at Quilcene. 

For more information contact Tharinger's office at (360) 786-7904 (steve.tharinger@leg.wa.gov) or Van de Wege's office at (360) 786-7916.
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