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December 6, 2017

AWB's D.C. Fly-in brings Washington employers' perspective to Congress

By: Bobbi Cussins   Comments: 0
U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell chats with Alex McGregor, president of the Colfax-based McGregor Co., as Kelly Fukai of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories looks on during one of the many AWB D.C. Fly-in meetings between Washington employers and their congressional delegation. (Photo: David Bohrer/National Association of Manufacturers)

Three years ago, AWB expanded its role in federal affairs by traveling to Washington, D.C., to share the voice of employers with the state’s 12 members of Congress.

The top issue for Washington employers then was renewal of the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank’s charter. With the help of AWB members across Washington and employers around the nation, the issue was resolved in December 2015. But, the bank still needs a quorum and approval of a new president.

This week, AWB President Kris Johnson and AWB staff, along 20 business owners and leaders, economic development and infrastructure advocates are once again in the “other Washington” for the fourth-annual D.C. Fly-in.

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-WA, meets with the with members of AWB's 2017 D.C. Fly-in delegation in Washington, D.C. (Photo: David Bohrer/National Association of Manufacturers)
In a series of meetings with Washington state’s 12 congressional delegates — 10 House members and two senators — the group is continuing to discuss ways to get the Ex-Im Bank back up to full speed as well as hearing updates on key issues, such as tax reform, immigration, infrastructure, health care and workforce development.

Jeffrey Bishop, chief executive at the Port of Moses Lake, which operates Grant County International Airport, and Moses Lake Port Commissioner Darrin Jackson are two of the participants in this week’s D.C. Fly-in.

Together, they are raising awareness of the need for infrastructure investments, particularly in rural parts of the state, and Mitsubishi Regional Jet, or MRJ, project in Moses Lake.

On Twitter, Bishop highlighted Commissioner Jackson speaking with U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-2) about the MJR project and its importance to central Washington.

Employers know what they want to talk about and they’re taking every opportunity to offer their input on policies that impact their communities as they meet with members of Congress from both chambers and both parties.

AWB President Kris Johnson makes a point during a meeting with U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, D-WA, who talked with the with members of AWB's 2017 D.C. Fly-in delegation in Washington, D.C. (Photo: David Bohrer/National Association of Manufacturers)
“It is evident from our discussions that our state’s congressional delegation is working hard to ensure a tax package that is good for Washington business,” said Amy Anderson, AWB government affairs director for federal issues. “With businesses struggling to find a skilled workforce, immigration reform is a key priority for all members of Washington state’s congressional delegation.”

She added that the employer delegation is “engaged and well informed” to lead significant discussions with all of Washington’s congressional delegation.

On his Twitter feed, Johnson is highlighting each meeting and the discussions, from infrastructure and business climate issues with U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-6) to a full rundown of the legislative agenda with U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-3).

Follow the group this week on Twitter at @awbolympia and hashtag #AWBinDC. For more information on federal issues, contact Anderson at 360.943.1600.

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-WA, with members of AWB's 2017 D.C. Fly-in delegation in Washington, D.C. (Photo: David Bohrer/National Association of Manufacturers)


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