October 26, 2015
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Business leaders form new group, Challenge Seattle, to encourage improvements

Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com and Ray Conner of Boeing Commercial Airplanes are among the chief executives who are part of the new Challenge Seattle. The collaborative group is being led by former Gov. Chris Gregoire and is focusing on solving challenges facing the greater Seattle area to ensure the region stays globally competitive.

Challenge Seattle aims to keep Seattle as one of the most innovative, vibrant and globally competitive regions in the world. Its goals are four-fold:

1. Providing our children the opportunity through education to compete for the jobs of the future right here in Washington state;

2. Developing world leading infrastructure that drives our future growth and vitality, and improves quality of life;

3. Creating and maintaining good jobs while preserving our values; and

4. Telling the Seattle story here and around the world.

Specific goals include creating 80,000 jobs over the next five years, reducing traffic congestion by 50 percent and increasing the number of low-income students who attend college by 50 percent.

The Seattle Times praised the effort, saying, "These leaders’ commitment of time and focus is a godsend for a region that’s enjoying remarkable prosperity today but facing an uncertain tomorrow."

The group's aims for shared prosperity are closely aligned with Opportunity Washington, another newly announced effort with a statewide focus on the same general themes: Achieve, Connect and Employ.

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House Democrats Opposed Carbon Tax

Opposing Inslee's climate proposals is a bipartisan affair

By Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch

A couple of weeks ago, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a new carbon-emissions reduction plan and declared any lawmaker who opposes it a "fear monger." He said opponents are joining ranks with "the climate deniers." And he blamed Republicans in the Legislature this year for failing to act on his big plan to restrict and tax carbon.

Well, I don't think the governor is giving his own party enough credit. It wasn't the Republicans who killed his grandiose cap-and-trade proposal. Democrats killed it before the Republicans even had a chance. ...

People in both parties recognize there are big problems with these overweening schemes to remake our economy and our society. Democrats are as leery as anyone. It's just that most of us don't like to go public with our misgivings.

The latest development is that the governor is ordering the Department of Ecology to impose another poorly thought-out carbon program -- that's one way to avoid a vote of the Legislature. I'm not sure he will get away with it, but it's no wonder he's trying.

Even if we could change the world climate with an immediate reduction in carbon emissions, Washington simply doesn't produce enough to make a difference -- just two-tenths of one percent of global output annually. At best the governor's proposals would reduce a small fraction of that, and any reductions in this state will instantly be offset by increases on the other side of the globe.

Click here to read the full op-ed in Crosscut
Washington Benefits From the Ex-Im Bank

It's past time for Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank

By The Yakima Herald-Republic's editorial board

Congressional representatives get paid to govern, not grandstand. It appears that enough House members recognize that reality, and now a key piece of legislation stands a legitimate chance of passing -- with great benefit to the Yakima Valley and Washington state.

The issue involves the Export-Import Bank, which Congress created in 1934 and has reauthorized 16 times in the ensuing decades. But a small minority in Congress this year held up reauthorization on the argument that it amounts to corporate welfare.

It is not so much welfare as it is a tool that enables companies, especially American companies, to conduct business across international borders.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Yakima Herald-Republic
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