November 13, 2017
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Sen. Kirk Pearson resigns from state Senate after presidential appointment to USDA post

A longtime legislator and former congressional aide, state Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, is stepping down to serve in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He has been appointed to serve as director of rural development for Washington state. Today is his first day in the new position, according to the Monroe Monitor.

Pearson has served as chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee. He was a member of the state House for 12 years before being elected to the Senate in 2012. He previously served as an assistant to then-U.S. Rep. Jack Metcalf.

“I have been proud and honored to represent the people of my area,” Pearson said in a news release. “We’ve been through a lot — the Oso mudslide, the concerns for the safety of correctional officers working at the state penitentiary at Monroe, and the statewide concerns about the spread of wildfire.”

He represents the 39th District, which includes parts of King, Skagit and Snohomish counties.

Former state Rep. Elizabeth Scott has thrown her hat into the ring for the appointment to replace Pearson.

The appointee will be on the ballot next year.

He is the second state Senator to step down after a presidential appointment. Seventh Legislative District Republican Sen. Brian Dansel resigned earlier this year for an agricultural position.



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Rural Jobs Summit


Why Rural Economic Development Is Top of Mind in Washington State and Elsewhere

By Joshua Wright

Rural economic development is a thorny, multi-layered topic with many challenges and few obvious answers. But the summit -- hosted in Moses Lake by the Association of Washington Businesses -- was encouraging, not just because it focused on solutions for small towns and regions but also because so many people attended the event.

Sweeney himself said it speaks well for Washington that 250 decision-makers from every part of the state came together to talk rural jobs and economies.

"We put our focus on where the need is, and the need is the biggest in rural communities," said Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington Department of Commerce.

Read the full essay at EconomicModeling.com
Quality Health Insurance


Association Health Plans offer model for the nation

By AWB President Kris Johnson

Since they were created, Association Health Plans (AHP) have grown in popularity, insuring as many as 400,000 people at their peak. Many of those people were not previously insured. For AWB's plan, approximately 40 percent of employers did not have prior coverage. It's clear that AHPs expand health care access and choices for small employers, their employees and families.

What's more, employers that start with an AHP tend to renew. Historically, as many as 90 percent renew coverage year after year...

Washington's AHPs offer high-quality health insurance plans with consumer protections like guaranteed issue (nobody can be denied coverage) and renewal built in. They are fully insured and comply with all state and federal mandates, including those contained in the Affordable Care Act such as dependent coverage up to age 26, lab and X-ray, preventative care and mental health services.

Read the full column in The Wenatchee Valley Business World
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