October 21, 2019
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Top Stories

New report shows dangers of I-976 as "No" campaign pushes against transportation cuts

Initiative 976 would slow transportation projects, cost jobs, damage the environment and dampen economic growth, according to a new report on the ballot measure. The No On 976 campaign, which is pulling together business, labor, environmental advocates and local communities, is accepting donations to fight the initiative.

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AWB's Gary Chandler named to Ag Hall of Fame

The Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce has inducted AWB Vice President, Government Affairs Gary Chandler into its Agriculture Hall of Fame. Chandler has been a farmer, legislator, small business owner and statewide business advocate. He has led AWB's recent push for rural jobs -- including a statewide Rural Jobs Summit held in Moses Lake.

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Mark your calendars for Evening of Excellence on Nov. 20

Please save the date to join us on Wednesday, Nov. 20 as we celebrate our members and the good work they do every day to make Washington a great place to live and work. Tickets are available now!

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Federal Issues

Business groups keep up pressure on Congress to pass USMCA

Manufacturers, farmers and other employers are continuing to push for passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, or USMCA, a trade deal that will support jobs in Washington state and across the nation.

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Other News

Federal judge tosses federal license for shellfish industry in Washington

What happens next is unclear after a federal judge has thrown out a federal permit for Washington's shellfish industry. The judge said he could vacate the permit completely, but to avoid disruption of the industry, also said he could allow continued operations while the Army Corps of Engineers dives into a deeper analysis.

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Whidbey Island farmer Ron Muzzall named to state Senate, replacing Sen. Barbara Bailey

Elected officials from three counties voted unanimously on Friday to name Ron Muzzall to fill the Senate seat vacated by former Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor. Muzzall is a Whidbey Island farmer. He'll be up for election in 2020. A Democratic county official has already announced a challenge.

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Seattle's first Opportunity Zone development breaks ground in Pioneer Square

More affordable apartments are coming to Seattle's Pioneer Square thanks to the federal Opportunity Zones program, which offers tax benefits to developers who invest in low-income areas. The Canton Loft apartments will offer studios at $1,795 a month, and supporters are hopeful it will inject some new life into Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood.

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Leadership of two Hanford offices consolidated under one manager

The Department of Energy has announced that two Hanford offices, run separately for the past 20 years, will now be consolidated under one manager.

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Russ Elliott named to head Washington State Broadband Office

Gov. Jay Inslee has named experienced telecommunications leader Russ Elliott to head the new State Broadband Office. The office, located in the Department of Commerce, was created by the Legislature to develop and improve broadband throughout the state. Elliott finalized Wyoming's Broadband Plan, and has worked for many years to connect rural communities to high speed internet in the Western U.S.

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Lynn Strickland, Jasmine Donovan and a former governor among the honorees of the 16th annual Women of Influence awards

This year's Women of Influence award-winners include longtime supporters and partners of AWB, including Demetria "Lynn" Strickland of the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee and Jasmine Donovan of Dick's Drive-In Restaurants.

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State Rep. Sherry Appleton to retire after 2020 session

Longtime 23rd District lawmaker Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, announced last week that she will not run for reelection in 2020.

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Now more than ever, employee benefits matter

A new suite of employee benefit programs through Colonial Life can help employers give workers access to quality insurance options.

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AWB Events & Resources

Year-End Tax & Investment Planning for Business Owners and Executives Workshops in Kirkland and Benton City

On Nov. 14 in Kirkland and Nov. 15 in Benton City, Kristofer Gray, CFP, will deliver workshops covering year-end tax and investment planning for employers. Gray will describe how to develop a thoughtful process to address the main issues surrounding year-end tax and investment planning.

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Holiday Kids' Tree Project now accepts donations online

The holidays are approaching and AWB is getting ready for this year's Holiday Kids' Tree Project. AWB members have donated more than $420,000 since 1989 to help rural families in need.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

Land Use Committee will meet this Wednesday

The AWB Land Use Committee will gather this Wednesday at 10 o'clock at AWB to consider, short-, medium- and long-term land use policy reforms. For more information on the content of the meeting, contact Mike Ennis. For a secure call-in option, contact Liv Johnson.

AWB Rural Jobs Task Force meets Nov. 12 in the Tri-Cities

AWB's Rural Jobs Task Force will meet Tuesday, Nov. 12 in the Tri-Cities. The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce, 7130 W. Grandridge Blvd., Kennewick, WA, 99336. For more information please contact Mike Ennis at MikeE@awb.org.



Best of the Blog

U.S. Chamber: #NoRestRecess Pushes USMCA Forward

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce highlighted AWB's Manufacturing Week visit to Stemilt Growers in Wenatchee in a blog post about the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, or USMCA. The blog shows U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier, D-WA, meeting with AWB President Kris Johnson and Christopher Eyler, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's regional executive director for congressional and public affairs. Read the "Above the Fold" blog post here.



Tweet of the Week

Manufacturing the Future



They Said It

Giving Back

"When you grow up poor you think, 'Someday if I ever make it what am I going to do.' Well we didn't win the lottery but we sort of did. We have successful businesses and can afford to do [charitable things] so it's kind of the American dream." ~ Steve Lee, a Kennewick businessman and city council member, in a Facebook post announcing that he and his wife had erased the school lunch debt for all students in Kennewick and his alma mater, Columbia School District in Burbank. He encouraged others to publicize their charity to build up a groundswell of donations using the hashtag #DoGoodStuffAndBragAboutIt.




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Policy Summit Highlights
Save Our Highways


Vote no on I-976, which will slow our traffic and the economy

By Larry Brown, Steve Mullin and Alex Hudson

Every year, Washington residents spend hundreds of hours commuting and stuck in traffic. Our state has grown by 1 million people in a dozen years, making transportation for people and goods even more challenging.

The public has been clear and consistent: We need better roads and more transportation options. As a result, investments at the local and state level are being used to prioritize road improvements, increase safety for bridges and overpasses and expand mass transit services where they matter most.

Initiative 976 threatens to undo all of that, and will slow our traffic and the economy.

This isn't just about commute times, it's also about jobs. Huge amounts of raw materials, agricultural goods and manufactured products move via roads and railways. That's why our state's business, labor and environmental leaders have all come together to oppose I-976. We agree that I-976 threatens our economy and our environment. It is far too costly....

Larry Brown is president of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, which represents the interests of 550,000 union members in the state. Steve Mullin is the president of the Washington Roundtable, a nonprofit organization run by a board of senior executives from companies around Washington that supports education and economic development. Alex Hudson is the executive director of Transportation Choices Coalition, a statewide policy and advocacy nonprofit dedicated to bringing Washingtonians more and better transportation choices.

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times