December 4, 2017
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Senate Republicans announce 2018 committee appointments

State Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, was sworn in to office last Wednesday, officially giving Democrats the majority in the upper legislative chamber for the first time in four years. Dhingra won the special election in the 45th Legislative District race last month to permanently fill the seat left open by the death of Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond.

Senate Republicans, now in the minority, released their committee assignments last week. A full list is here.

The 2018 leadership team for the Senate Republican Caucus is:

  • Leader: Sen. Mark Schoesler
  • Deputy Leader: Sen. Sharon Brown
  • Caucus Chair: Sen. Randi Becker
  • Vice Caucus Chair: Sen. Judy Warnick
  • Floor Leader: Sen. Joe Fain
  • Assistant Floor Leader: Sen. Brad Hawkins
  • Whip: Sen. Barbara Bailey
  • Assistant Whip: Sen. Maureen Walsh

Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, will continue to caucus with the Republicans.

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Improving Career Pathways

Rewarding, good-paying careers await hands-on workers

By AWB President Kris Johnson

As many as 740,000 good-paying jobs in the state's manufacturing sector are open. These are jobs that often require a trade certificate or a two-year degree.

Filling all those hands-on jobs means we must rethink not only how we close the skills gap, but also the "interest gap" for the next generation of builders, welders and makers.

Too often, these good-paying career pathways take a backseat to a four-year degree track. The good news is that both tracks -- the trades and a bachelor's degree -- can be equally successful.

I recently traveled to Switzerland with the governor and a group of business leaders and education experts from across the state to look at the country's successful and robust apprenticeship programs, which are geared toward engaging 16-19-year-olds in meaningful work.

In the Swiss system, young apprentices can easily shift career paths or seek higher education after earning their initial training diploma. It's focused on options and opportunities -- right after graduation and into the future. I heard from several young people who said they were "finished" with the classroom by ninth grade and eager to work with their hands...

Read the full column in The Wenatchee Valley Business World
Bigger Issues at Play

Blaming Amazon for the Seattle area's problems is lazy and wrong-headed

By Washington State Department of Commerce Director Brian Bonlender

Our thriving economy is bringing additional people who buy homes and use our transportation systems, and we have Amazon along with every other growing company to thank for that. But the problem isn't too many jobs, and the solution is definitely not to blame our job-creating engines. Over the course of many years, we've amassed a deficit of about 120,000 homes in the state.

Subtracting Amazon from the housing equation would leave us still experiencing growth and escalating housing prices, just like many other states, yet with tens of thousands fewer high-wage jobs.

Blaming our entire housing affordability crisis on Amazon ultimately leads to a defeatist attitude. It also does a massive disservice to people experiencing homelessness, families struggling to stay in their homes, and businesses trying to source a local workforce...

Read the full op-ed in The Puget Sound Business Journal
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