Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tukwila representative Zack Hudgins wins appointment to state Arts Commission

Speaker of the House Frank Chopp has announced that State Representative Zack Hudgins has been appointed to the Washington State Arts Commission. Hudgins replaces former State Representative and long-time arts-supporter Lynn Kessler, and joins three other legislators and 19 governor-appointed citizen commissioners on the governing body.

Celebrating its fiftieth year of existence, the Arts Commission was created by the Legislature to address the “conservation and development of the State’s artistic resources [that] are essential to the social, educational, and economic growth of the State of Washington.”

From participating in events like the power tool race at the Georgetown Arts Festival, to serving on the SIFF-Renton host committee at Renton’s IKEA performing Arts Center, to hosting local art shows in his legislative office, Rep. Hudgins has gained a reputation around the capital as an ardent supporter of the arts in and around the communities of the 11th District he represents.

“I really enjoy showcasing the great art and artists from my local communities,” said Hudgins. “I can think of no better way to showcase what it means to be a member of such a vibrant, diverse community.”

Hudgins plans to make the most of this appointment, seeing it as a great opportunity to remind Washingtonians of the value added to the quality of life we enjoy, and believes we must protect and encourage local involvement in the arts throughout our state.

“During hard economic times some people think we can do without the Arts, but they don’t understand that the Arts are a strong economic driver,” Hudgins added. “They create better places to live and work, while creating jobs. And our Arts commission leverages private and Federal money to do this important work.”

Click on the links below to view the local artists showcased in Rep. Hudgins’ legislative office in Olympia:

Georgetown artists
Tukwila artists

Click here for more information on the Washington Arts Commission.

To read this blog post in Spanish, go here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Washington's personal income growth ranked 8th in nation

Despite a high percentage of workers still looking for jobs, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis ranks Washington the 8th-fastest in personal income growth during the first quarter of the year.

The Seattle Times reports:

Total personal income rose 2.08 percent in the first quarter, to $304.1 billion, according to the BEA data. That was due to strong increases in wage and salary income, business owners' income, fringe benefits and dividends, and despite a 0.6 percent decline in unemployment insurance, welfare and other "transfer payments" from government.

The industrial sectors with the greatest income growth were the usual state powerhouses: aerospace and software - the highly skilled, highly educated sectors. In fact, Washington lead the nation in growth rate in personal income from durable-goods manufacturing last quarter: 7.5 percent.

Note: We assume it's possible that our state's aerospace income will grow, thanks to Airbus' penchant for scraping buildings on the tarmac at large Parisian air shows...

To read this blog post in Spanish, go here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rep. Upthegrove named Legislator of the Year by Washington Conservation Voters

Washington Conservation Voters has named Rep. Dave Upthegrove their 2011 Legislator of the Year for his outstanding leadership during the recent legislative session on environmental issues.

Rep. Upthegrove is chairman of the House Environment Committee, and was instrumental in ensuring that key environmental legislation made it through the House this year. This includes legislation to ensure a coal-free future for Washington state, a measure to keep lakes and rivers free from toxic algae blooms caused by phosphorous loading, and a bill making our state the first in the nation to ban the use of toxic coal-tar sealant in pavement.

He has long been an advocate for a cleaner, healthier Puget Sound. In 2007, he sponsored legislation creating the Puget Sound Partnership, and is former chairman of the Select Committee on Puget Sound.

In addition to his leadership on statewide environmental issues, Rep. Upthegrove has also worked on issues in and around his South King County district, which is the 33rd Legislative District. He sponsored legislation in 2005 to require that playground soils in areas exposed to industrial pollution be tested for contaminants like arsenic and lead, and that those contaminants be removed from the soil so that children have a clean, healthy place to play. The 33rd District is in an area affected by pollution from the former Asarco Smelter near Tacoma, and some of the highest concentrations of contaminated soil were found in Normandy Park.

Additionally, Rep. Upthegrove is a strong proponent of the proposed Green River Gorge Mountains to Valley Greenway, which would create one continuous corridor of open space between the Cascade foothills of the Upper Green River watershed to the Puget Sound lowlands in the Green River Valley. He recently worked closely with the director of the State Parks Commission to remove Flaming Geyser State Park from a list of potential state park closures, since Flaming Geyser is a key component of the proposed Greenway.

Congratulations, Rep. Upthegrove!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Rep. Billig honors WWII vets during Spokane's first Flag Day parade

This past Saturday, Rep. Andy Billig took part in Spokane’s first annual Flag Day Parade.

The Flag Day Parade and Celebration began at the Convention Center and ended with a flag retirement ceremony at Veterans Park. The procession included veterans organizations, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, reenactment groups, city officials and the 560th Air Force Band as well as elected officials.

The flag retirement ceremony honored Spokane-area World War II veterans from all military branches, and eight 48-star flags from that era were retired at the ceremony. The fires in which the flags were burned – which is allowed under the U.S. Flag Code – were started with wood from trees planted by George Washington in the late 1700s.

“It was an honor to take part in the inaugural Flag Day ceremony here in Spokane,” said Rep. Billig, who was one of several dignitaries to say a few words over the retired flags. “And an opportunity to show our respect for those who served in World War II.”