A broad cross section of leading executives in the Tacoma-Pierce county area turned out for the Chamber’s 21st Century Partners’ Insider Briefing Monday morning. CEOs in the private sector to Executive Directors in the public sector were able to speak with Congressman Norm Dicks on federal issues.
Ray Tennison, Simpson Investment Company told a story of meeting with Cong. Dicks after work at the Congressman’s office to discuss an industry issue and suggest a specific language change in an upcoming bill. Cong. Dicks not only met on the issue, but took it before Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and got the necessary language change.
“Still getting used to the idea that we’re running this place,” Rep. Dicks joked.
Cong. Dicks spoke to the group about the stimulus plan. He would prefer more infrastructure, spending especially on stormwater and waste water treatment. He pointed out that it is unlikely that there will be a second stimulus package as there is a need to get the first package’s dollars “out and spent to help encourage the economy.”
A sector of the economy that Dicks says we should appreciate during this tough economic time is the military presence in the area. “We’re fortunate to have federal installation like the shipyard, Fort Lewis, and McChord AFB. It gives the area much needed stability,” Dicks said.
Dicks went on to speak about health care, a controversial issue. He said, “health care costs are killing us” and we need to do something about it. Town hall meetings are coming up next week and Dicks was hoping for civility—a key component of the democratic process.
His aides passed out a New Yorker article that Dicks found interesting about the health care controversy, especially about the waste from unnecessary tests mentioned in the article. He went on to mention Washington State is not being fully compensated by the federal government for its health spending and he is working on an improved reimbursement formula for states like ours. He, along with other members of the Washington State congressional state delegation, are pushing for the Institute of Medicine to determine the existing disparities between geographic areas and how to fix that issue.
“Let’s at least reform Medicare. Thirty percent of expenses can be reformed without impacting quality of care,” urged Dicks.
Blog Author: Mike Weinman, Government Affairs Manager