April 15, 2019
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Nikki Haley to give keynote address at Spring Meeting

AWB is proud to welcome Nikki Haley, America's 29th permanent representative to the United Nations, as the keynote speaker at the 2019 AWB Spring Meeting at the Davenport Grand Hotel in Spokane. Haley's keynote address will cap a day of speakers touching on the latest political and business news in Washington, the nation and the world.

Haley served as the United States permanent representative to the United Nations from 2017 through 2019. She was also a member of the Cabinet and the National Security Council.

At the United Nations, Ambassador Haley worked to ensure that the American people saw value for their investment, introducing reforms to make the organization more efficient, transparent and accountable. In a two-year period, she negotiated over $1.3 billion in savings, including rightsizing U.N. peacekeeping missions to make them more effective and targeted, while improving their ability to protect civilians.

As U.N. Ambassador, Haley championed human rights, challenging human rights violators across the globe, standing up to oppressive regimes in Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and Russia. During the U.S. presidency of the U.N. Security Council, she hosted the first-ever session devoted solely to promoting human rights. She traveled the world visiting people oppressed by their own governments to see firsthand the challenges they face and to work with them directly on life-improving solutions — from Syrian refugees in Jordan and Turkey, to internally displaced people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, and Venezuelan migrants walking miles every day to cross the Colombian border for food and medicine.

Prior to her service in the United Nations, Haley was elected in 2010 as the first female and first minority governor of South Carolina. Reelected in 2014, she served as Governor until confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations in January of 2017.

Under Governor Haley’s leadership, South Carolina was a national leader in economic development. Known as the “Beast of the Southeast,” South Carolina’s unemployment rate hit a 15-year low, saw over $20 billion in new capital investment, and her administration announced new jobs in every county in the state, over 85,000 total.

Haley also ushered in the state's largest education reform in decades — making education funding more equitable for schools in the state's poorest communities, prioritizing reading in early grades, and equipping classrooms with the latest technology.

Born in Bamberg, South Carolina, she is the daughter of Indian immigrants and a proud graduate of Clemson University. In her first job, Haley kept the books for her family's clothing store — at the age of 13.

Haley and her husband, Michael, a major in the South Carolina Army National Guard and combat veteran who deployed to Afghanistan's Helmand Province, have two children, Rena, 20, and Nalin, 17.

After leaving public service for the private sector, she recently founded an organization called Stand for America, closing an introductory blog post on its website with these words: "Even though I have entered private life, I will never stop standing up for America’s freedom and values. We all have a part to play in keeping our country safe, strong, and prosperous."

In February, Boeing announced that Haley was joining the company's Board of Directors.

“Ambassador Haley brings to Boeing an outstanding record of achievement in government, industry partnership, and successfully driving economic prosperity for communities in America and around the world,” said Boeing Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg. Boeing has helped sponsor Haley's appearance at Spring Meeting, and a representative of the company will be joining her on stage for part of her presentation.

Follow Haley on Twitter @NikkiHaley.

For more on Spring Meeting and to register, visit AWB's website.

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Spring Meeting
State Funding

Lifting levy lid violates spirit of McCleary deal

By The Columbian Editorial Board

Efforts in the Legislature to remove a lid on local school levies represent a step backward for school funding in Washington. Rather than invite a return to inequitable funding and open the door for lawsuits, lawmakers should provide state funding where necessary and adhere to a hard-fought agreement.

Following the 2012 state Supreme Court ruling in McCleary v. Washington, lawmakers took five years to hammer out a compromise in which the state would fully fund public K-12 education. That compromise limited local levies to $1.50 per $1,000 in assessed property value or $1,500 per student, whichever is less.

That was the promise lawmakers gave to taxpayers in 2017 -- state property taxes would increase in order for the Legislature to live up to its "paramount duty" of funding basic education. In exchange, local levies would decrease. The adjustments would prevent inequalities between districts that were at the heart of the McCleary decision; local levies had been used to fund basic expenses such as teacher salaries, creating disparities between wealthy districts and poor districts.

Now, school districts want the Legislature to keep both state and local property taxes high. Senate Bill 5313 would allow districts to tax up to $2.50 per $1,000 in assessed value -- a 67 percent increase from the current law -- or $2,500 per student, depending on a district's enrollment.

Passage of such a plan would put the state on the road to McCleary 2.0. It would invite the return of an unfair funding system that triggered the lawsuit in the first place and that had the amenities of a public education determined by a student's ZIP code.

Read the full editorial in The Columbian
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