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Cities to Legislature: Economic development, jobs, housing and safety net

Nearly 400 city officials expected in Olympia next week to ask the Legislature to support city needs.

OLYMPIA – The short 60-day legislative session is underway in Olympia, and nearly 400 mayors, councilmembers and city staff will engage with legislators during the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) City Action Days conference, January 24-25.

“The 2017 legislative session was the longest in history and yielded numerous helpful policy and budget actions for Washington’s cities; however, critical issues remained unresolved,” said AWC President and Buckley Mayor Pat Johnson. “We are pleased to see the Legislature has passed a capital budget sending critically needed funds to local communities. We now look forward to their support on other important city priorities.”

Cities are calling on the Legislature to act on priorities to help communities and the state thrive. AWC’s priorities are set by city representatives who sit on the organization’s Legislative Priorities Committee and the Board of Directors.

“The key to growing 281 strong cities starts with providing tools to enhance local economic vitality, addressing housing shortages and affordability, and helping individuals with mental health and drug addiction issues,” said Peter B. King, AWC Chief Executive Officer. “Cities and communities throughout the state need the Legislature to support our priorities.”

This legislative session cities are asking the Legislature to:

  • Strengthen city tools to address housing conditions in our communities;
  • Direct funds to mental health, chemical dependency, and social safety net programs;
  • Enhance economic development tools and programs that foster business development in cities; and
  • Preserve state-shared revenues with cities and increase law enforcement training funds.

City Action Days conference sessions will focus on AWC legislative priorities and other issues impacting cities. All conference general sessions will take place at the Hotel RL Olympia by Red Lion.

Conference general sessions will include a conversation with city partners, recognition of public records champions from the 2017 legislative session, a discussion with legislative leaders from the four chambers, and an address by Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Visit the AWC website for the conference schedule, more information on city priorities, or a publication about what cities do.

AWC serves its members through advocacy, education and services. Founded in 1933, AWC is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan corporation that represents Washington's cities and towns before the state legislature, the state executive branch, and with regulatory agencies. Membership is voluntary, yet AWC consistently maintains 100 percent participation from Washington’s 281 cities and towns. AWC also provides training, data and publications, and programs such as the AWC Employee Benefit Trust, AWC Risk Management Service Agency, AWC Workers’ Comp Retro, AWC Drug and Alcohol Consortium and the AWC GIS Consortium.

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Members of the media are invited to attend City Action Days general sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. However, due to space constraints, breakout sessions are reserved for paying conference attendees. The Wednesday evening reception is for conference attendees and invited guests.

Media contact:
Alicia Seegers Martinelli
Communications Director
aliciam@awcnet.org
(360) 753-4137

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