March 5, 2018
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Races emerge as incumbents announce intent to leave Legislature

Four legislators recently announced that they will not run for reelection.

Rep. Jay Rodne, R-Snoqualmie, announced last week that he would not seek reelection to the seat he has held since 2004.

Former Rep. Chad Magendanz of Issaquah said he would seek Rodne's seat in the 5th Legislative District. Magendanz had left his House seat in 2016 to run for the Senate, but narrowly lost to Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah.

Rep. Melanie Stambaugh, R-Puyallup, who when elected at age 24 was one of the youngest House members in state history, will step down after two terms in office. Stambaugh said she will return to her consulting business in Sumner called, “You Impression,” which teaches confidence and public speaking.

The race to replace her is likely to be contentious, The News Tribune reports.

Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, said in a Facebook post that will run to serve as Spokane County Treasurer. Baumgartner is completing his second term in the state Senate.

Baumgartner said he will endorse Rep. Jeff Holy, R-Cheney, to fill his Senate seat.

Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, also announced last week that he would be retiring from the Legislature when his term ends. Haler has represented the 8th Legislative District for 14 years, and previously served 15 years on the Richland City Council. Kennewick City Council member Matt Boehnke has announced his intention to run for the position, The Tri-City Herald reports.

Haler offered this advice for anyone seeking to serve in the Legislature: "It’s not as glamorous as you might think; it’s a lot more work than you think; you’re not as powerful as you might think; but you can have more influence than you might think. And all of the frustrations, hard work, time away from family, successes and failures are worth every second. It truly was the honor of a lifetime.”

Half of the 49 state Senate seats are up for reelection to four-year terms and all 98 House members are up for reelection to two-year terms this November.

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A Lifetime of Learning

Workforce development begins young, continues over lifetime

By AWB President Kris Johnson

We all want our kids to grow up in a state with good-paying job prospects and the training to match them.

Today, there is a laser focus by our association's membership and other groups about the need to fill the workforce pipeline with skilled, job-ready workers. There simply aren't enough workers to fill the high-tech, high-wage jobs available in our state and nation.

We're working to address that problem by advocating for robust career and technical programming in our middle and high schools, training and certificate programs for high-demand jobs at our state's community and technical colleges.

We'll be talking about those very issues at the second-annual AWB Workforce Summit on March 21 in Bellevue.

Read the full column in The Wenatchee Business World
Dealing with Debt

State needs to begin paying down its bond debt

By The Everett Herald Editorial Board

Duane Davidson, now in his second year of office, hasn't been one to pursue many policy issues with lawmakers, unlike his predecessor who outlined an ambitious tax reform proposal that earned little interest. But Davidson has taken a stand to defend against raids of the "rainy day" fund and asked lawmakers to consider using some of the additional revenue to pay down the state's bond debt, add to its "rainy day" reserves or pay more toward its unfunded pension obligations. Their choice.

"I think that money would be better spent paying down any debt, pick your debt," Davidson said.

And there's significant debt to pay down.

The state's Debt Affordability Study for 2018, released by Davidson's office, reports that the state's debt portfolio has over the course of the last 20 years grown from $6.8 billion to more than $19 billion and totals $21 billion when financing contracts are included....

Read the full editorial in The Herald
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