December 8, 2014
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Holiday Kids' Tree lighting attracts hundreds of visitors, gives nearly $20,000 to families in need

The lighting of the 26th annual Holiday Kids' Tree Friday night in the Capitol Rotunda was the best attended tree-lighting ceremony in years. And as families listened to the music of Olympia Musical Theatre's Kids in Concert under the dome, Gov. Jay Inslee welcomed firefighters from across the state who came to receive bags of toys and a check for $1,000 to spread some Christmas cheer to their local families in need.

The donations came from 111 members of AWB and individuals in the community, who collectively gave $19,765 this year to the Holiday Kids’ Tree Project. Those funds go directly to families in seven counties, via their community fire departments. The donations were so generous that AWB was able to add another fire district this year – Bald Hills, in Thurston County. Next year we hope to add the fire district in Soap Lake (near Ephrata), which will make a total of 17 fire districts taking part in the program.

This year's tree, donated by Winkelworld Tree Farm near Olympia, was decorated with 80 stuffed characters from the hit movie “Frozen.” After Christmas, the toys, along with a “Frozen” storybook, will go to patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Coast Guard Second Class Boatswains Mate Jimmy Thrall of Gig Harbor, with his wife, Rachele, and their children, Jaret and Finnley, lit the tree. Photos of the ceremony are online.

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New 'business-blue' coalition focuses on protecting Washington's trade status

By Eric Schinfeld, Washington Council on International Trade

As an advocate for international trade, I'm fortunate to work with some of the most innovative global brands in America today, witnessing companies whose efforts both distinguish them across the globe and also bring jobs and prosperity back to America's middle class. Last week, following our annual Washington Trade Conference, I introduced a panel discussion convened by partners from Keep Washington Competitive, a new coalition of business and labor leaders.

READ MORE: Click here for the full op-ed column in the Puget Sound Business Journal

Opinion: Gov. Inslee and Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce should carefully consider climate policy

By Mike Elliott, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

The low-carbon fuel standard the governor is considering by way of executive order could raise prices at the pump anywhere from 13 cents a gallon to $1.50. I'm told the purpose of the fuel standard is to encourage sustainable fuel production and use, with the ultimate goal being a reduction in carbon emissions (largely from cars and trucks operating on our roadways).

When considering climate change on a global scale, few would dispute the need to seek reductions in carbon emissions. But without a thorough understanding of potential impacts on fuel prices and, ultimately, jobs connected to transportation costs, further study of the fuel standard as a means of achieving reduced carbon emissions is warranted. While I'm all for lower carbon, cleaner fuels and better efficiency in our cars, trucks, industrial processes and lives, I cannot support taking action without knowing for certain we're not sending jobs out of the state or, worse, overseas where few standards, if any, exist.

READ MORE: Click here for the full editorial in The Seattle Times
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