December 2, 2019
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State Rep. Jeff Morris resigns

State Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon, has resigned to take a new job with Schneider Electric, a multinational corporation based near Paris, France.

“They’re like the GE of France. It was a dream opportunity for me,” Morris told The Bellingham Herald. The company is at the forefront of developing smart grid and artificial intelligence technologies, he said.

Morris has represented the 40th Legislative District since 1996. His resignation is effective Jan. 6, 2020, which allows local officials time to name a replacement before the legislative session begins on Jan. 13.

House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, praised Morris' leadership.

"He has worked to modernize our state's energy infrastructure and been a leading advocate for stronger consumer protections, especially around data privacy," Jinkins said in a statement.

State law outlines the process for filling a midterm vacancy, The Bellingham Herald reports.

Candidates submit their names to the local party, and the party’s elected precinct committee officers choose three names to forward to the Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan county commissions, the newspaper reports.

For more information please contact Gary Chandler at GaryC@awb.org or 360.943.1600.



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Cross-laminated timber can help the Northwest lead on the Green New Deal

By Seattle City Councilmember Abel Pacheco and his director of communications, Conor Bronsdon

We live in a region of pioneers and conservationists in a land built on the back of the timber industry. The idea of sustainable working forests fits not just our historical industrial strengths, it fits our regional ethos. In the Pacific Northwest, we want to live green. It's time for Seattle to take the lead on mass timber. With cross-laminated timber (CLT) and other mass timber products we can move to solve our housing crisis, develop needed density, and address climate change -- all while staying true to our regional culture and history.

By using CLT in the development of much-needed housing we will actively remove and store carbon from the atmosphere -- every cubic meter of timber growth captures one ton of carbon from the atmosphere. Construction would simultaneously emit less carbon.

Encouraging CLT usage could also jump-start stalled rural economies that have languished since the logging industry slowed down. Construction startup Katerra opened the nation's largest capacity CLT manufacturing facility in Spokane and Vaagen Brothers Lumber, which has been in Washington for four generations, is expanding CLT production operations in Colville. With the state making code changes fall that allow for the use of mass timber in buildings as tall as 18 stories, the region is primed to use CLT to address our affordable housing crisis.

Read the full op-ed in The Puget Sound Business Journal
A more resilient workforce

Prepare students for technical careers

By The Seattle Times editorial board

Once, all it took to secure a satisfying and well-paying job was a high school diploma and a good work ethic. But that story has largely changed.

That's why Washington's public schools must offer robust, high-quality Career and Technical Education programs to help prepare the state's vocationally minded students for career success.

A college education should be within reach of all students with the aptitude and interest to pursue a four-year degree, but not everyone wants to follow that path. At the same time, there is a high and consistent workforce demand for skilled tradespeople, without whom Washington's economy would shudder to a halt.

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times.