ARLINGTON — City of Arlington elected officials have met with state legislators in Olympia over the course of two weeks to discuss how new laws and rules could impact not only Arlington, but also neighboring cities and the county as a whole.
Just as Arlington City Council member Debora Nelson joined Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert in traveling to Olympia the week prior, to assert the need for a comprehensive transportation package including improvements to state routes 531 and 9, so too did fellow City Council member Ken Klein join Tolbert in attending the Snohomish County Cities and Towns Legislative Reception in the state’s capitol on Feb. 13, while she stayed on for the Association of Washington Cities City Legislative Action Conference from Feb. 12-14.
“I met with mayors from all over,” Tolbert said. “I spoke with state senators and representatives about job growth and how Snohomish County is a smart investment for them on that front.”
“Instead of each municipality approaching the legislature individually, we came together to focus on agenda items that will be most beneficial to the entire county, and by extension Washington state,” Klein said. “When our legislators hear a concise, well-founded and unified message from multiple sources, our collective case for funding is more likely to be heard.”
Tolbert credited the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County with helping to coordinate the various municipalities’ interests, which she explained intersect in the case of Arlington and Marysville’s shared goals of bringing more manufacturing and light industrial jobs to the area.
“Arlington’s already seen a growth in manufacturing just within the past year,” said Tolbert, who likewise cited Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring’s efforts to bring family-wage jobs in that field to north Marysville. “We want this whole region to serve as a platform for economic growth. Rather than competing with neighboring cities, we’re coalescing into one voice. It’s not just moving businesses between cities, but making Washington as a whole competitive with other states.”
Among the state legislators who spoke to bills relevant to the economic and civic interests of Arlington and Marysville alike, Rep. David Hayes of the 10th District mentioned his bill to restore funding for the criminal justice training program, which would help cities with training costs, while Rep. Mike Sells of the 38th District noted two bills that could bolster the joint effort by Arlington and Marysville to establish a manufacturing and light industrial center.
“This manufacturing industrial center will bring investment dollars into the Arlington/Marysville area and has the potential to create more than 10,000 family wage jobs,” Klein said. “The reception was a wonderful opportunity to showcase how Snohomish County governments and business organizations are working together to create jobs and bring investment to our communities.”
The city of Arlington will continue to follow activities and developments from the legislature during its current 105-day session, and encourages its residents and businesses to do the same by logging onto www.leg.wa.gov or www.tvw.org.