April 17, 2017

Food trucks descend on the Capitol to raise awareness about legislative issues

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Emily Wigley of Vashon Island, owner of Orca Eats and a board member of the Washington State Food Truck Association, wears a food truck costume and talks about legislative issues facing food truck operators during last week's Food Truck Lobby Day at the Capitol in Olympia. (Photo: Brian Mittge/AWB)

A fleet of food trucks parked outside the Capitol last Thursday for the first-ever “Food Truck Lobby Day.”

Long lines of legislators, staff, lobbyists and others waited at trucks with names like “Buns on Wheels,” “Boss Mama’s Kitchen” and “The Silver Spork” for a chance to liven up their usual lunch fare. The Washington State Food Truck Association organized the event.

The organization, founded in 2015, is working to raise awareness about the issues facing the industry, including, the prices of business licenses and permits and, city-based location regulations that damper the food truck owner’s ability to be competitive with other local small businesses.

Coming to the Capitol gave the small business owners who operate the trucks a chance to meet their legislative representatives in person and, “show them we are an important small business industry growing in their communities,” according to the association’s website.

The Washington State Food Truck Association encouraged local street vendors who have struggled to maintain competitiveness with other businesses to be a part of the lobby day to discuss their issues with their district lawmakers.

Thursday’s event showed that small businesses, whether they're located in a building or a truck, face some similar challenges.

Last year, AWB and the AWB Institute hit the road for a 15-city small business outreach tour, meeting with small-business owners from every corner of the state to learn about the challenges facing them Staying competitive with other states and regions surfaced as a top concern from the tour, as well.

A report on the tour delivers a snapshot of the impact small businesses have on Washington’s economy while providing the “next steps” for small-business growth in the state. The full report is available here.

King 5 and KOMO News have more from the event.