October 24, 2016
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Election update: Final gubernatorial debate, endorsements, ballots arriving in mailboxes

The composition of the state Legislature and the people occupying the governor's office and the state Supreme Court, and whether Washington will have a host of new regulations and taxes will all be decided by voters Nov. 8. Ballots have begun arriving in mailboxes for the 2016 general election. AWB has a quick video voter guide on its endorsements in major statewide races and positions on three initiatives.

Control of the both chambers of the Legislature is in play, according to a detailed Crosscut analysis, which says the outcomes of races in just eight of the state's 49 Legislative Districts will determine the balance of power. In the House, which Democrats currently control by a single seat, nine positions are rated as a toss-up in this election. In the Senate, where the Republican-led Majority Coalition Caucus has a two-seat majority with four seats rated as toss-ups.

Gubernatorial challenger Bill Bryant and incumbent Gov. Jay Inslee met for their third and final debate last week. Taking the stage at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, the candidates sparred over their visions for the state, from transportation to regulation. The Associated Press, Tri-City Herald and Seattle Times covered the debate, and TVW has the full video. The Times also has a fact-check of debate claims by both candidates.

The final debate helped Bryant earn two more major newspaper endorsements last week. The Tri-City Herald endorsed Bryant, saying, "The Washington state governor’s race is a choice between an incumbent who has made politics a career and a feisty challenger who wants to bring a fresh approach to state government."

The Spokesman-Review also endorsed the outsider, saying "Bryant offers more engaged leadership."

MyNorthwest.com says voters should "start paying attention to the Washington state Supreme Court," where three incumbents are facing challenges. AWB has endorsed Kittitas County Prosecutor Greg Zempel and Judge Dave Larson in two of these races.

In an open letter, three previous secretaries of state endorsed Kim Wyman for a second term as Washington's top elections officer. Sam Reed, Ralph Munro, and Bruce Chapman wrote: "In the midst of the angry world of politics, which seems uglier by the day, we should all be grateful that Washington's elections are trustworthy, accurate, and run by Secretary of State Kim Wyman."

The Columbian endorsed Erin Jones for superintendent of public instruction, saying she is a transformative leader who could produce lasting change: "Erin Jones is the kind of inspirational, enthusiastic, infectious leader who can make a palpable difference in the state’s education policy."

The Longview Daily News took a look at I-1433, which would raise the state's minimum wage to $13.50 an hour and require employers to provide paid sick leave. AWB opposes the measure. Among the quotes in the story is this one, from a small-business owner: “We want to pay people as much as we possibly can, but it all comes to down to affordability,” said Eric Smith, co-owner of The Pet Works in Longview. “It’s not that employers are being greedy, it’s just a lack of revenue to keep up with costs.”

The Everett Herald also looked at the minimum wage measure and recommends a no vote on I-1433, saying the Legislature is a better place to address the complexities of how such a measure would affect employers.

The Spokesman-Review urges a no vote on Initiative 1464, which would raise taxes on merchants catering to cross-border shoppers to pay for an experimental "democracy voucher" program.

A full list of AWB's election endorsements is online.

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Focus on Sustainability

Helping CAT Excavators Ride the Rails

HPF Manufacturing, Inc. has created an innovative way to cut fuel use by 97 percent for railroad work and maintenance.

The Snohomish County employer designed Rail-X undercarriages to maximize fuel efficiency by incorporating drive motors so that an excavator can be driven on rail to a work site by a single operator. The average fuel consumption is just 5 gallons per hour. In contrast, the traditional process for rail maintenance involves the following: An excavator is trucked to a rail site, hoisted and bolted onto a rail car, then pulled by locomotive to the work site. The average fuel consumption is 175-200 gallons per hour.

Using Rail-X excavators significantly cuts fuel consumption by up to 97 percent when compared to the traditional process of railroad maintenance, thus reducing the carbon footprint within the rail industry for a more sustainable and green environment.
Read more in Washington Business magazine
Reasons to Say Yes

Oil terminal merits approval

By Mike Bridges, business representative for IBEW 48, Longview

A recent letter by International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 4 President Jared Smith mischaracterized the proposed Vancouver Energy crude-by-rail terminal.

Opponents such as Smith largely base their arguments on concerns about oil trains that are already running through this state and will continue whether or not Vancouver Energy is built.

The letter presented a false choice of windmills versus oil trains -- we need both. Cars, trucks, buses and jets don't run on wind. Petroleum fuels keep us moving and keep our economy strong.

Smith also asserted falsely that Vancouver Energy crude oil would go overseas. Instead, Midwest oil will go to West Coast refineries to create products we need, reduce crude imports by 30 percent, and enhance U.S. energy independence...

Read the full letter to the editor in The Olympian
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