OLYMPIA… The state senators who represent southern Thurston County reacted today to an effort to convert a residence near Tenino into “less restrictive” housing for convicted sex predators – thought to be Level 3 sex offenders now in custody in a Department of Social and Health Services facility on McNeil Island.
Senate Republican Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, represents the 20th Legislative District, which includes the town of Tenino:
“The people of this area have every right to be outraged by what they are learning about this plan. The situation is more serious than a classic case of government failing to be transparent and respectful of public concerns, because it involves criminals who have committed truly heinous offenses, and state agencies that aren’t known for running a tight ship.
“The residents of southern Thurston County can see what’s happening up in Lynnwood, where people were blindsided by plans for a drug-treatment facility that was quietly approved by a state agency. They know how a special state commission suddenly put their part of the county on a short list for a massive new commercial airport that no one wants. They have little reason to trust the security of their families and property to either the Department of Social and Health Services, with its history of mismanagement, or the Department of Corrections.
“People across our state, not just in the Tenino area, can see the fallout from the policies approved by majority Democrats in our state Legislature. These actions have been welcomed by criminals, discouraged law enforcement and led to thousands of inmates being freed from prison in just the past several years. Anyone living near this proposed sex-offender home is right to be concerned about their safety, knowing how police can’t even pursue criminals like they could just a couple of years ago.
“The public-safety concerns surrounding this proposed sex-offender home are another example of why Senate Republicans have again made public safety one of our priorities for this year. We believe victims of crime and law-abiding citizens deserve to be treated equitably and respectfully.
“There are laws about the housing of sex predators that must be followed, but this is not the way. We stand with the people of Tenino and southern Thurston County as they rightfully demand honest answers. They deserve more respect than they’re getting.”
Sen. Drew MacEwen, R-Shelton, represents the 35th Legislative District, which includes the location of the planned sex-predator housing. MacEwen said the plan illustrates Olympia’s indifference to public-safety concerns.
“The public outrage should not surprise us. When a project like this one is foisted on a small community, it tells us state agencies are simply not interested in the burdens they place on neighbors and the surrounding area. State agencies must be held to account for decisions like these. The people of Tenino and southern Thurston County deserve to know how the state plans to protect them.”