December 9, 2019
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Record Holiday Kids' Tree Project donations brighten homes across Washington

Fire department officials from across Washington met at the Capitol Friday evening to collect more than $20,000 in grants and toys to help rural families this holiday season.

Some traveled more than six hours to be in the State Reception Room as part of this year's Holiday Kids' Tree Project. AWB President Kris Johnson presented the grants, which will help firefighters buy toys, food, school clothes and more to help families in their rural communities. The donations to support the project come from AWB members and individual donors.

"We're excited," said Linda Layton of Camano Island Fire and Rescue. "Our firefighters are ready to start handing out gifts and making people happy."

Local school districts help the fire departments identify what families to work with. Layton said she learned of the project thanks to her local chamber of commerce.

Officials from Asotin, Benton, Thurston, Island, Mason, Chelan, Pierce, Grant, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Okanogan, Adams, Spokane and Walla Walla counties participated in this year's project.

The ceremony to light the AWB Holiday Kids' Tree began a few minutes later.

This year's tree-lighter was Jayden Nelson, a 10-year-old from Lewis County who has hosted spaghetti dinners and more to raise $4,500 for the Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. She made the news a few times last week, including these stories in The Chronicle and KOIN-TV of Portland.

Gov. Jay Inslee gave Nelson a compliment shortly before she flipped the switch to light up the tree:

"This is a person who wakes up in the morning thinking of her fellow Washingtonians," Inslee said.

Donations are still being accepted for the ongoing Holiday Kids' Tree Project. Learn more and donate here.

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Spreading Christmas Joy

Vote on U.S., Mexico, Canada trade agreement for the sake of Washington's economic growth

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Washington's Congressional delegation and Gov. Jay Inslee should advocate strongly for prompt approval of the new trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The nearly complete agreement is enormously important to Washington's economic growth and job creation. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) also substantially improves environmental and labor protections over NAFTA, the 1994 agreement it will replace...

Inslee's support is important. He was a strong advocate for NAFTA while in Congress in the 1990s.

But campaigning for president last summer, Inslee was skeptical of USMCA, siding with wary unions and environmental groups seeking more aggressive mandates...

With Inslee now seeking another term leading trade-dependent Washington, he should be more publicly supportive of progress USMCA makes and benefits it would bring the entire state.

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
Speak up

Survey on Snake River dams is online. Help protect the region's economy and fill it out

By The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board

We know December's to-do list is already long, but we've got an important task that must be added to your check-off list: Please fill out the state survey on the Snake River dams.

It can be found at

Don't delay.

We have been critical of this state effort since its proposal nearly a year ago, but now that written comments are being taken we encourage people to fill out the survey and let their voices be heard.

Read the full editorial in the Tri-City Herald.