Governor's chief of staff kicks off Lobby Lunch series
Chief of Staff David Postman spoke to about 40 business leaders and lobbyists at the AWB offices in Olympia. His message was clear: Come and talk to us. We're happy to hear from you.
Postman shared a story about the Forestry Riparian Enhancement Program, which reimburses landowners for the value of the trees they leave as a buffer to protect fish habitat. By connecting with advocates and working with budget officials, Postman was able to advocate for more resources to help landowners navigate the grant application process.
"You don't know unless you ask," he said. "Again, we all have fundamental beliefs of what we do, there's different agendas at different times, there's limited amounts of money that we are able to deal with -- But we want to make things work. And you can't do that unless you come and talk to us and ask about it."
In recent months much of the state's political news coverage has focused on the fact that Democrats have expanded their majorities in both the state House and Senate. Democrats have a 57-41 advantage in the House, and a 28-21 lead in the Senate.
Postman reminded the crowd that the executive branch has a say in the lawmaking process too.
"Even though Democrats control both chambers it doesn't mean that we embrace everything that gets delivered to our desk," Postman said. "We've vetoed a few things, I think, each year. We try to agree, we always would rather work something out. But I also think it behooves you all that if you have bills that have gotten through that you think are going to be controversial in our office, come and talk to us. Give us a heads up."
Postman also addressed data privacy bills working their way through the Legislature, saying the governor would like to see a privacy protection bill this year. The governor is generally supportive of state Sen. Reuven Carlyle's bill, he said.
"He wants the Legislature to try to find something that works," Postman said.
He also referenced recent developments that have made headlines regarding facial recognition technology.
"I think that whole debate has changed," he said. "The world is just moving so fast."
On climate-related bills, Postman reiterated the governor's support for a low-carbon fuel standard, which AWB opposes.
"The governor would like to see a clean fuel standard, he thinks that's an important piece," Postman said.
Next week's Lobby Lunch is just around the corner. AWB will host State Sen. Mark Schoesler and Rep. J.T. Wilcox, leaders of the Senate and House Republicans, at the Jan. 30 Lobby Lunch.
Check out video from Thursday's event below.