November 9, 2015
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Alcoa closes Washington smelters as global aluminum prices drop from worldwide commodities glut

Alcoa announced last week that it would scale back operations in New York and Washington, including idling the company's smelters in Ferndale and Wenatchee.

There is a worldwide glut in commodities as economies in China and elsewhere slow down, according to The Associated Press, which reports, "Aluminum prices since January have plunged and Alcoa's sales have followed."

Aluminum smelting in Washington was once a multi-billion dollar industry, thanks to cheap hydroelectric power The Puget Sound Business Journal reports. As recently as 1998, five large aluminum smelters in the state employed 7,510 workers and generated $2.6 billion in revenue, but Alcoa's are the last remaining.

“Today’s news is a tough blow for many hard-working Washingtonians and communities like Ferndale and Wenatchee where Alcoa employs hundreds of men and women,” Gov. Jay Inslee said last week. “I’ll be asking my agency directors to ensure we’re doing what we can to assist impacted workers and their families during this difficult time.”

The closures mean that computer data centers will replace the aluminum industry as the largest energy consumers in the state. By 2035, data center could consume 1,900 megawatts of electricity — this would be about two-thirds of the draw of the state's aluminum industry at its peak in the early 1990s, The Puget Sound Business Journal reports.

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Children Need Options

Parent Perspective: Making A Non-Political Case For Charter Schools

By Linda Sikora

I know there are funding issues and administration issues and legislative issues and union issues... all the "yeah buts" that people stake their positions on so vehemently. Here's my "yeah but" -- I wish we could channel that passion differently, I wish the "opposed" people could have the experience I had today... to see a child's eyes light up and watch her confidence emerge. It was one of those soft, seminal moments in my life. In that moment, I knew this child's life, her trajectory, could completely change. Sometimes, the biggest changes start small -- one child at a time, one school at a time. We can figure this out, people.

Please don't close these schools.

Click here to read the full blog post via the Washington State Charter School Association
Reauthorize Ex-Im Bank

Businesses Languishing Without Ex-Im Bank; Congress, Reauthorize It

By The Seattle Times editorial Board

Hilliard's Beer is gaining popularity in Sweden, where the Seattle-based brewery planned to expand sales this year. It has also received interest from distributors in Toronto and London.

Those opportunities are now on hold since Congress failed to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank last summer.

Elected leaders must end the ideological battle over Ex-Im and revive this vital tool for U.S. companies to grow exports overseas.

Hilliard's Beer is one of hundreds of exporters that used Ex-Im to secure loan guarantees and credit insurance for international sales. The shutdown has resulted in more than $9 billion worth of deals lost, said U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

A lot more is at stake -- last year the bank completed $27.4 billion in transactions and supported 164,000 U.S. jobs.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
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