3 new ways for businesses to engage on policy issues

As business owners and workers at businesses throughout the Tri-Cities, you are busy balancing your work and family life while at the same time trying to keep an eye on the issues that impact you.

There are so many issues coming out of local governments in Pasco, Kennewick, Richland, West Richland, etc., and, of course, at the state and federal levels that impact businesses and their ability to grow and hire more workers, which can be overwhelming.

As we start a new year, it is great to see three new organizations that are now operating in our state that can help you stay up to date on issues as well as offering ways for you to engage and get involved.

The Center Square

The Center Square was launched to fulfill the need for high-quality statehouse and other public policy news.

The focus of its work is state- and local-level government and economic reporting.

A taxpayer sensibility distinguishes its work from other coverage of state and local issues.

As a result of this approach, readers are better informed about the focus of state and local government and its cost to the citizens and businesses whose tax dollars fund governmental decisions. They engage readers with essential news, data and analysis – delivered with velocity, frequency and consistency. 

They distribute their stories through three main channels at no cost to readers: a news service, TheCenterSquare.com and social media. 

The Center Square has launched a new Washington state bureau which includes an editor and reporting staff based here in Washington.

They now produce a weekly email compiling their recent articles and daily stories that are being picked up by newspapers, TV and radio across our state.

I encourage you to sign up for their Washington state stories via their website.

Go to: thecentersquare.com/washington.

Change Washington

Change Washington is a strategic communications organization focused on bringing a business perspective and common sense to policy discussions across the state. 

Though not directly involved in last year’s Seattle election and not supporting candidates, Change Washington was talking about public safety, homelessness and policing issues for 12 months.

Last fall’s election sent a message that it’s time for a shift in Seattle. 

ChangeWA’s work has helped move the conversation toward a more balanced approach to public safety and government accountability and in 2022 they will be taking that message and ability to educate voters statewide which include providing action alerts to busy people like you so you can quickly and easily make your views known to local and state policymakers.

Go to: changewashington.org.

League of Our Own Washington

And for those who want to take their interest and activity with policy to the next level, there is League of Our Own Washington, a new organization focused on recruiting and train women to run for office.

Developed after Major League Baseball’s recruiting and training model, League has already recruited over 80 fiscally-conservative women to run for office now or in the future (prospects), 26 of whom were on the 2021 general election ballot, and more than 50 volunteer scouts and coaches to help these prospects become great candidates and leaders. 

The League hit it out of the park in its first year with 17 candidates who went through their training program win their races last fall (seven are new school board members, five are city council members, two new port commissioners and even three will be mayors!), most of whom were first-time candidates.

As the League WA’s executive director Katlin Vintertun said on election night: “This is what it is all about: Talented, smart, qualified women who can relate to voters and win in tough districts/cities.” 

So now you have three new ways in 2022 to engage on policy issues, which is encouraging as we start the year. And I hope you will, as the Tri-City area and our state will benefit from business leaders and workers like you getting involved and sharing your expertise.

Go to: leagueofourownwa.org.

Daniel Mead Smith was the president/CEO of Washington Policy Center for 20 years before forming The Mead Smith Group last fall and working with groups such as Project 42, a new nonprofit created to change the course of Washington state.

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