Monday, March 30, 2009

Chamber Takes It to Olympia

A delegation of Chamber leaders held a conference luncheon with many of the Washington State Senators and Legislators from Pierce County last week in Olympia.

Rep. Larry Seaquist addresses the Chamber delegation.

Handling the leadership duties was Hans Hechtman, Comcast’s Government Affairs Manager and the Chamber’s Vice-Chair for Government Relations. He, along with the Chamber’s Contract Lobbyist, Michael Transue, lead a discussion on the Chamber’s TEACH legislative agenda. Several legislators shared their insights on critical budget issues and likely results on key business legislation in both houses during the session.

The delegation was treated to an exchange of philosophies between Sen. Mike Carrell and Rep. Jeannie Darnielle. Sen. Carrell’s observation that the legislature’s management of the forecast budget deficit, reduced by the federal stimulus infusion, was achievable by financial stewardship and frugal expenditures on raises and similar cost increases. Rep. Darnielle said that there are real consequences to individuals because of budget cuts, including the potential loss of 5,000 teachers within the state.

Business and community representatives also highlighted their interests and needs with the delegation. Among them, Dr. Patricia Spakes, Chancellor, University of Washington Tacoma, spoke of the capital needs for the campus, including the Joy Building and the minimum financial support to keep the momentum alive.

Business representatives addressed the need to protect our competitive environment and to recognize the tough choices businesses are making.

Our special thanks to event sponsors Boeing, Comcast, KeyBank, and Puget Sound Energy for hosting this event for everyone.

The Chamber has a strong program of advocacy for business issues. The Public Affairs Council is open to any interested members and meets monthly on the 3rd Thursday at 8 am in the Chamber’s office.

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