November 16, 2015
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Donations to AWB's Holiday Kids' Tree project make season brighter for rural, low-income families

Each year, AWB works with members and rural fire departments throughout the state to make Christmas happen in places where it wouldn’t otherwise. This project is known as the AWB Holiday Kids’ Tree. Each year, hundreds of AWB members contribute to the Holiday Kids’ Tree fund. Last year, members contributed a record $20,000 to the fund that helped families in need across the state during the holiday season.

As a special treat this year, Okanogan County firefighters will light the tree. Their presence is especially welcome as they fought hard to contain and put out the largest fire in the state’s history this summer.

Last year’s tree theme was Disney’s Frozen and this year’s theme will be…wait, that’s a surprise. You’ll have to wait to find out when you arrive Dec. 4 for the tree-lighting ceremony at the Capitol rotunda.

To learn more about the project and contribute, follow this link or contact Bonnie Millikan.

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Slowdown Hurt Everyone

Congress Must Act On Ports

By The Editorial Board of The Columbian

Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Yakima, has brought about legislation that would trigger federal involvement in port disputes. In introducing the bill named Ensuring Continued Operations and No Other Major Incidents, Closures or Slowdowns -- ECONOMICS -- Newhouse said, "We must take the lesson of the most recent ports slowdown to heart that two parties cannot hold hostage the nation's economy." Among the co-sponsors are Republican Washington lawmakers Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dave Reichert.

In February, the International Business Times reported that the slowdown was costing the U.S. economy about $2 billion a day, and others have asserted that it contributed to anemic national economic growth at the end of 2014 and through the early months of 2015. That impact was particularly strong in Washington, the nation's most trade-dependent state, a fact that makes legislative action especially pertinent to the region and calls for the rest of the area's congressional delegation to support the proposed bills.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Columbian
An Educational Monopoly

Is Public Education a 'Natural' Monopoly That Needs to Be Broken Up?

By Sean Gill, research analyst at the University of Washington's Center on Reinventing Public Education

There are many reasons why education does not fit the definition of a natural monopoly. Schools are human-driven enterprises. They are hugely dependent on people -- that is the teachers who are so important to education. Yes, schools have to have buildings and textbooks, but these capital costs don't outweigh the cost of labor.

Further, education is the provision of learning and knowledge -- it is about as far away from the definition of commodity as possible. My neighbors and need exactly the same electrical service -- an electron is an electron. But learning can take an infinite number of forms, based on children's needs and interests.

A top-down, centralized approach isn't going to meet these needs and interests.

Click here to read the full blog post via
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