October 19, 2015
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AWB Government Affairs Council talks education, charter schools, carbon, politics at annual retreat

After completing the longest legislative session in history this year, and with a gubernatorial election ahead, there was plenty for the AWB Government Affairs Council to discuss during their retreat last week at Alderbrook Resort.

Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, and Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, spoke to the group. Bill Bryant, the Republican candidate for governor, also spoke, discussing his long career in business that began in the very town of Union where the retreat was held. Bryant went on to work in agricultural promotion and international trade, and was elected to serve as a port commissioner for the Port of Seattle.

The agenda also included panels on charter schools and labor issues, including the minimum wage, mandatory safe and sick leave. Advocates on different sides of the carbon and climate debate also spoke about their efforts, including proposals for a carbon tax on the 2016 ballot.

And a panel of climatologists and weather experts spoke on the drought and what's ahead for Washington's weather. Sen. Braun discussed his work on a statewide water resources bill.

Contact AWB Government Affairs Vice President Gary Chandler to learn more about AWB's employer advocacy work.

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Export-Import Bank Critical to Washington's Economy

Ex-Im Bank Is an Easy Yes

By Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers

ProGauge Technologies, Inc., a manufacturing company based in Bakersfield, California, is bidding on a project that could lead to 30 new jobs, but only five are staying here in the United States. The rest will be created abroad.

It didn't have to be that way. ProGauge is one of countless manufacturers in the United States, large and small, losing out on foreign sales and international deals because of Congress' failure to stand up for American jobs. "It's pretty sad not to be able to keep the jobs here," said ProGauge president Don Nelson.

Earlier this year, Congress allowed the Export-Import Bank's charter to expire and has not yet acted to reauthorize it. The Ex-Im Bank has served for more than 80 years as the U.S. export credit agency, ensuring access to competitive export financing for manufacturers in the United States that private banks are unable to offer. Countries around the world have similar credit agencies, and without ours, it is harder for U.S.-based companies to sell their products, made by American workers, overseas.

Click here to read the full column in U.S. News & World Report
Ag Worth Billions to State

Needed: More Water for Everyone in Yakima Valley

By The News Tribune editorial board

Some of America's richest farmland lies just over the Cascade Mountains in the Yakima River Valley. It provides most of the nation's apples and hops, and pulls billions of dollars into the state economy.

It's also fragile, as this year's unprecedented drought demonstrated. The valley's reservoir system is roughly a century old; even in the best of years, it doesn't deliver enough water to go around. U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell has introduced a measure that would bring the system into the 21st century; the Senate should pass it.

Her bill would put the U.S. government behind the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, a combination of irrigation, reservoir and habitat improvements. The legislation is backed by an improbably broad coalition that includes farmers, environmentalists, the Yakama Indians, fishermen, Republican and Democratic leaders.

A lot of those people are normally in the habit of squabbling with each other. Their unanimity in this case reflects the fact that the Integrated Plan pretty much makes everyone happy.

Click here to read the full editorial in The News Tribune
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